Tired of hard to peel boiled eggs? Shells that slip right off every time are within reach thanks to this simple technique, and it doesn’t require an Instant Pot or special gadget. As a bonus, Easy Peel Eggs can be prepared with soft, medium, or hard yolks and will store in the fridge for a week.
Have you ever hard boiled farm fresh eggs? If so, you likely had a heck of time peeling them. Sometimes, not-so-fresh eggs can be a challenge to peel, too.
I thought I mastered the art of boiling eggs some time ago, but after reading about the merits of cooking eggs in a pressure cooker or the über popular Instant Pot, I realized there was an even better way. And the thing is, you don’t need one of those fancy contraptions to do it.
There’s a simple stovetop solution for perfectly cooked soft, medium, and hard boiled eggs…and the shells will slip right off. (See the big pieces of shell below?🥚👀)
After reading that eggs cooked in a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) are extremely easy to peel, I tried. And they did. Eggs cooked this way were actually fun to peel!
For obvious reasons, the Instant Pot method became the only way I wanted to boil eggs. (Especially because we have backyard chickens, so our eggs are usually fresh and hard to peel.) But for those who don’t have a pressure cooker or the increasingly popular Instant Pot, there’s an equally good way: steam the eggs.
Why does this work? When the steam vapor penetrates the shell, the egg membrane pulls away from the shell and essentially loosens, making the egg easier to peel. (Do note that, though the science is the same when using a pressure cooker, the time it takes to cook the eggs differs.)
You can buy an inexpensive steamer basket, often in the baking aisle of the grocery store. A rack that fits inside your pot will work, too. You just don’t want the eggs to be submerged.
For the sake of the photos, I pulled eggs out in the middle of the recommended time ranges for the medium-hard and hard cooked yolks. The time of six minutes for soft boiled is pretty accurate, as a minute less is too soupy and a minute more is slightly firmer than soft boiled—although still tasty.
Do note that factors such as egg size and precise heat setting will affect the cooking times somewhat. That said, these ranges should be quite helpful. My personal preference is an egg with a yolk that’s slightly undercooked (it’s creamier that way), so I steam them for 11-12 minutes.
I placed some of the shells in the photo to show how a nice big piece of shell just lifts right off. (Break membrane where the air pocket is for easiest peeling.)
As mentioned, these instructions include a water bath for best control. As an option, I sometimes stop the eggs at 11 minutes and then put some in a cold water bath and let others cool without rinsing. The eggs that don’t sit in the cold water continue cooking until the yolks are evenly cooked through but still tender and creamy. Those who like the just undercooked eggs enjoy the ones where the cooking process was stopped and are a little soft in the center. When cooking for different preferences, you can store the eggs in different labeled bowls or use a Sharpie to mark the eggshell. To best preserve freshness, store any eggs that aren’t used the same day in the fridge with the shells intact.
How To Steam Hard or Soft “Boiled” Eggs:
- Start with eggs that are cold from the refrigerator.
- Once the water has come to a boil over high heat, add the eggs, and then reduce the heat to medium-high. Cover immediately and set your timer.
- Place the eggs in the steamer basket in an even layer.
- Cook up to 6 eggs at once. If you want to cook more than 6, you’ll likely need a few extra minutes of cooking time and the eggs may not all cook evenly.
- Make sure to keep the pot covered.
- Have an ice bath ready to stop the cooking process.
- The first time you use this technique, check one egg a minute or two early in order to determine the perfect level of doneness for you.