Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are part of my weekly food prep, but they can be such a pain to peel.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

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.

How to Make a Hard Boiled Egg Easy to Peel

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.

But not anymore!

Eggshells Won’t Stick With This Method

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:

Do You Need Vinegar?

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. Add your steamer basket to the pot. Bring the water to a boil.


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.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

For soft yolks, set a timer for 7 minutes.

Set a timer for 9 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.)

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

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.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

Move the eggs from the pot to the ice bath. Chill the eggs for 10-15 minutes.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

To peel, I tap the more rounded end of the egg on the counter to get it started.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

Then, I peel straight down and as I go around, the shell comes off in big sections.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

Store in the refrigerator for later or eat right away. If you decide to save them for later, I would keep the shells on until you’re ready to eat them.

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.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 62 kcal
Author: Steph Gaudreau

The easiest way to make hard boiled eggs that peel perfectly every time! Try this foolproof method and speed up your meal prep time!



  • 12 large eggs


  1. Fill a medium pot with about an inch of water. Add your steamer basket to the pot. Bring the water to a boil.

  2. Add the eggs straight from the fridge if you can. Cover the pot. Steam for 7-10 minutes, depending on how hard you like the yolks.

    7 minutes = soft yolk, 8 minutes = medium yolk, 9-10 minutes = hard yolk

  3. While the eggs are steaming, set up a bowl with ice water. Move the eggs from the pot to the ice bath after the time is up. Chill the eggs for 10-15 minutes.

  4. If you're going to eat the eggs right away, peel them. If you want to eat them later, keep them in their shells and peel right before serving. Refrigerate the eggs after you cook them.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

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Nutrition Facts
Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 62 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 163mg54%
Sodium 62mg3%
Potassium 60mg2%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 240IU5%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Pin this Hard Boiled Egg Tutorial for later!

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs |

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64 Responses

  1. Do you think this steaming method will work with a rice cooker? I have one and use it to steam veggies and cook rice in all the time.

      1. I have a 3-in-1 (rice cooker, slow cooker, food steamer); it has a steamer basket and normal steamer settings, by the minute. I cooked my eggs for 15 mins because I’m over 5,000 ft.

        They were cooked great, and probably released the best I’ve had so far here. I say “here” because I live in Mexico now and the eggs are very different. They are unwashed, room temperature, very brittle shells, and thick membranes. At least, I think they are harder to hard cook and peel than U.S. eggs.

        But thanks for the idea – like I said, best experience with hard cooking eggs so far, and I cooked a whole dozen really easy!

  2. Hi Stephanie,

    This is great! But I was wondering, do you turn down the heat once you put the eggs in the pot? Thanks.


  3. Works like a charm. I even got perfect soft yolks at 8 mins and was still able to peel them no problem! Thanks Steph!

  4. This recipe is awesome and easy! I fall in the more well done yolks, but it’s so easy and its so much more forgiving because you don’t have to worry about how hard the water is boiling. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi, I just tried this method & two of my eggs ruptured. Any suggestions for what I can do differently? Thanks in advance!

    1. I’ve not had that happen unless there were already cracks. Inspect your eggs before putting them in.

  6. You can actually use this method and skip the steamer basket. I heard this tip on an America’s Test Kitchen podcast. I made perfect soft boiled eggs this way. Since the eggs are curved, they make very little contact with the bottom of the pot, so you’re ok without the basket!

  7. Ok- so after you take the eggs out of the cold bath- you peel them, and then how do you store them in the fridge? just in a bowl? or in water? how long do they keep?

    1. If I’m not going to use them right away, I do not peel them. I store them in a bowl in the fridge, no water. Throw them away when the date on the egg carton comes around. You may want to put a note on the container or on your refrigerator door to remind you in case you throw away the carton.

  8. You were dead on right! 10 min is that “medium-well” yolk. Next time I’ll try 11 to see the difference. I only cooked 7 ’cause that’s all that would fit in a single layer – can you pile these on top of each other and will it still work right? I’m going to see tomorrow if the “not peeled right away” eggs will peel as easily – I like to take them to work for breakfast or a snack but hate when they won’t peel. THANKS for continuing to educate us on cooking tips we thought we learned as kids! 🙂

  9. Thanks for this method!!!!!!! It worked perfectly and the yolks came out exactly as I like them at the 11 minute time, gelled in the center!! Thanks again, this will be my preferred method from now on!!!!!!

  10. hi! Im dying to try this! Just wonder; if I want to eat them warm, can I leave them in the cold bath for a shorter period of time?

    1. They will still be a bit warm on the inside. Honestly, if you don’t let them cool long enough they will still be a bit tough to peel.

  11. The steamer we have sits on top of the pot, like a double boiler. Do you think this method would still work with this setup??

  12. Thank you for this! You don’t specify, and I can’t tell from the pictures: Does the steamer basket have to sit up OUT of the water? Or is it OK if the boiling water comes up through the holes in the bottom of the basket?

    1. Hi there,

      It’s okay if some water comes up through but ideally you want the steam to cook the eggs, not the water. A little water won’t hurt though!

  13. This method works beautifully for removing the shells easily, but I’ve had the same problem someone else mentioned — my eggs will often rupture. These are fresh farm eggs, straight from the fridge, and there are definitely no cracks in them. Do you have any other explanation for why they tend to break?

    1. I have my own chickens, and so I have the freshest possible eggs. I was just washing them under running water as that’s all you need to do, BUT!! I found that soaking them exposed fine cracks I didn’t see before. (You’ll see dark lines looking like a spider Web) If your eggs are cold use cold water, if not use warm water. I don’t know how long it will take to expose the cracks, but I soak for 15 minutes.

  14. I wish I could report better news. This only worked for about half of my eggs. I did 8 and 4 of them were okay, the other 4 like the craters you were trying to avoid. So, I think I’m back to the drawing board.
    These were farm fresh and I followed the directions to the letter. Bummer.

  15. I never thought to store them shelled, I’ve always shelled them immediately and then stored the eggs in a tupperware with a paper towel under them in the fridge. They keep about a week if not eaten. Cooks Illustrated suggests putting them in a tupperware of water and ice for about 10 mins after steaming, then pour half the water out and put the lid on the tupperware and shake it vigorously. I was shocked to find all the eggs completely shelled when I opened it again! (I only cooked 6 at one time).

  16. I always thought the eggs had to be at room temperature when you put them in the water to keep them from rupturing. Have you ever tried with room temp eggs?

  17. I LOVE this method of hard boiling eggs! I tried it this weekend in my double boiler steamer and it worked great. Thanks for sharing this on your website!

  18. Wow! I’m super impressed. I buy eggs from a woman who raises chickens, so they are about as fresh as it gets. I had never had success hard-boiling them… Simply gave up. I put this method to the test and it passed with flying colors. Thank you so much!!

  19. This method did not work for me… steamed them for 11 minutes, then ice bath. It’s hard to peel a still raw egg!!!!

    1. Hi Jen…that just doesn’t seem possible. 11 minutes over boiling water leaves a very hard cooked egg. Are you at altitude? Did you wait until the water came to a boil? Did you cover the pot?

      Trying to troubleshoot this for you but it’s honestly the first time someone’s ever told me this method left raw eggs so I’m stumped.

  20. This works perfect, just like you say, every time! I often use my Instant Pot to pressure cook my eggs, but often enough, my IP containers are full and this way of boiling them actually makes them even easier to peel. Thanks for this method – it’s awesome!

  21. For the peeps that are saying that some of the eggs ruptured: I had this issue the first couple of times. However, I use a large hourglass shaped pot with a wicker basket (the kind they use to make Thai sticky rice). I had the gas on the highest setting so it was boiling really hard. So now after it is boiling hard, I turn it down JUST ENOUGH to where it is still at a rolling boil. I have never had the issue since. Also, I don’t use the ice bath and the peelings still fly right off the shell! I like to eat them warm. I run them under cold water just long enough so I can touch them.

  22. I know how to boil an egg, but I still like trying various methods for “perfect” hard boiled eggs. This is where I stop! These really were perfect and the skin peeled right off. Having the skin come off in little chips and bits is a huge pet peeve. No more. Thanks for the tip.

  23. Store bought eggs are graded and thus uniform in size, shape, shell thickness, etc. Farm fresh eggs will vary in shell thickness, and frequently the raw yolk and whites are denser than store bought. This may explain varying results in cooking time or tendency to rupture. Allowing eggs to warm to room temperature before cooking reduces the chance of rupture as they won’t expand as fast. The quick cooling in ice water prevents greening on the surface of the yolk and buildup of sulfur between the yolk and white.

  24. Thanks for this technique!! I have destroyed hundreds of eggs over the years using every method I came across to cook them. This year, I had the prettiest deviled eggs for Thanksgiving and they’ll be pretty for Christmas, too. You’ve saved my egg-peeling sanity and my deviled eggs!

  25. It worked for me I have a large steamer in which I steam veggies. I did two dozen took twenty five min. don’t have ice cubes but got a big pot of snow from outside and put them on there . Done to a T

  26. Ooooooh, I HATE hard boiled eggs because I’ve only ever had ones with dry, pasty yolks. I LOVE me some soft yolks. I can’t wait to try this!

  27. OMG! I have never in my life been able to make hard-boiled eggs successfully This steam method worked PERFECTLY!!! Thank you!

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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