Hard boiled eggs are part of my weekly food prep, but they can be such a pain to peel.
If the eggs are really fresh, the white is still very voluminous which can make the membrane stick to the shell. The result is often a million pieces of broken shell that pull bits of white off until it looks more cratered than the dark side of the moon. Not only is it annoying, it’s wasteful.
Now, I know everyone has their tried-and-true method for hard boiled eggs. If you have something that works for you, that’s awesome. Keep doing it!
From personal experience, I thought I had my method on lockdown. I used to boil the eggs, then plunge into icy cold water. And while it worked (most of the time), it wasn’t foolproof. I’d sometimes get batches where the white would stick to the shell and end up frustrated.
After seeing steamed eggs mentioned on The Kitchn, I knew I had to try this method, but I was skeptical. I mean, my boiling method worked most of the time. Reluctantly, I dragged out my steamer basket. (It was shoved into the back of a kitchen drawer, long forgotten as a relic of my low-fat cooking days when every vegetable was meticulously steamed.)
The results blew me away. Even fresh “hard boiled” eggs peeled with ease. Their shelly coats slipped right off, making peeling a breeze.
Click below to watch the video or keep scrolling down for a photo tutorial:
Plus, I didn’t need to add salt or oil or vinegar to the water. I didn’t have to poke holes in the bottom or leave them in my fridge for a week. I didn’t need to add one at a time to a Mason jar and shake the shell off. I didn’t have to do some incantation over the pot and hope for the best.
So, here’s the easiest way to make hard boiled eggs with shells that come off every single time: You steam them.
First, fill a medium pot with about an inch of water. Make sure your steamer basket fits before you do this. Bring the water to a boil. (Usually, I add the water and basket, then bring the water to a boil, but I wanted show you there was water in the bottom.)
Carefully add the steamer basket. Don’t burn yourself!
Add the eggs straight from the fridge if you can. (The temperature difference from cold to steam is what helps loosen the shell from the egg’s inner membrane.) Cover.
Set a timer for 10 minutes for medium-well yolks. They will be just a bit tender in the middle instead of fully yellow and dry. That’s my preference. For well-done yolks that are light yellow all the way through, steam for 11 minutes. (Note: If you live at high altitude, you’ll have to adjust for longer time.)
Meanwhile, set up a bowl with ice water. It needs to have ice so there is a big temperature difference again. Cold water without ice won’t work as well.
Move the eggs from the pot to the ice bath. Chill the eggs for 10-15 minutes.
To peel, I tap the more rounded end of the egg on the counter to get it started.
Then, I peel straight down and as I go around, the shell comes off in big sections.
Store in the refrigerator for later or eat right away.
Easy, right? That’s all there is to it. It’s quick and easy to make these hard boiled eggs, and no special equipment like a rice steamer or pressure cooker is required.
Give it a try and let me know how it went in the comments below!
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