Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs . . . Without Boiling!

I have a challenge for you today!

What would you say if I asked you to cook a pan full of eggs in their shell until they are hard-cooked and then PERFECTLY PEEL all of them with ONE HAND??? You would probably tell me I’m CRAZY, right?

Well, CALL ME CRAZY! This is totally what I did today!

Let me explain. I was going through some recent “Comments” on the website and this comment from Pia made on a post I did quite awhile ago about the “World’s Easiest Boiled Eggs” caught my eye.

Steaming eggs??? Wha???  I’d literally never heard of such a thing. Which of course made me HAVE to try it! Immediately!!

My timing wasn’t exactly the greatest however because I’d forgotten that I had an important phone call I had to take right in the middle of this process. Unfortunately, It wasn’t one of those phone calls where you can say, “I’m sorry, but I’m steaming some eggs right now…can I call you back?”  

Anyway, I’m in the middle of this business call and my timer for the eggs goes off! Ugh! What now? I was worried that if I just let them SIT I would somehow ruin the whole “experiment”.  So…..I proceeded to attempt to peel the eggs with ONE HAND while I continued with my phone conversation.. Guess what?  Yep….I peeled every single one of those eggs PERFECTLY!  WITH ONE HAND. True story.

I mean LOOK at these eggs! Have you ever seen more perfectly peeled eggs? Well, *I* haven’t. These are probably the prettiest eggs I’ve EVER peeled…and I was AMAZED at how easy it was. Seriously amazed.

 

steamed eggs

 

steamed eggs

 

steamed eggs

 

I have to give a shout-out to Michelle at What’s Cooking With Kids where I not only FOUND the “steaming method” but also got a great explanation about WHY this works! (I was one of those annoying children growing up who constantly badgered my mother with the question, “But WHY?”  I have to know WHY! I just do.)

Excerpt from “What’s Cooking With Kids” —

Why Steamed Eggs are Easier to Peel
Egg shells are permeable, which means that they are porous. Water molecules in the steam form are tiny enough to penetrate the shell. While they don’t disrupt the membrane, the heat from the steam is adequate enough to cook the egg inside. 

steamed eggs

 

This method is SO easy it hardly requires a “recipe”….but for those who really NEED/WANT a step-by-step….here goes:

Easy To Peel Hard-Cooked Eggs
adapted from What’s Cooking with Kids

  • Place steamer basket in bottom of your usual egg-boiling pot. (looking at these pictures made me realize…it’s time for some new cookware!)
  • Add water until it begins to barely come up through the bottom of the steamer. (You want enough water in the pan so that you can boil for 15 to 20 minutes.)
  • Add eggs to basket and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Bring water to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how “hard” you want them.)
  • Allow the eggs to cool enough to be able to handle and then peel them. One-handed or two…it’s your call. :-)
  • EAT!  Or store in refrigerator until you are ready to eat.

steamed eggs

 

A couple more “hard-cooked eggs” tips I gathered as I was researching this method:

  • That grey ring you sometimes find around the yolk after cooking is IRON from the yolk and is an indicator that the egg is overcooked.
  • For perfect deviled eggs….the night before the eggs are to be cooked (approximately 12 hours), store your carton of eggs on its side in the refrigerator to center the yolks. Brilliant!
  •  An egg that is at room temperature at the start of the cooking process will require about 1 minute less cooking time than eggs taken directly from the refrigerator.

steamed eggs

Now that you know everything *I* know about hard-cooked eggs and THE easiest way to peel them, it’s your turn!  

I expect to hear back from those of you who accept “the challenge”! :-)

 




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82 thoughts on “How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs . . . Without Boiling!

  1. danielle

    I’m weird. I LIKE the green overcooked eggs.
    I saw on interest baking whole eggs in a muffin tin (in their shells) to make hard cooked eggs. Might be useful if you’re making a whole bunch….

    Reply
    1. Desiree

      I have baked the eggs right on the rack in the oven…think I saw it on pinterest. They were still very hard to peel. I just did this way and SO EASY to peel!!!! This is the only way I will make my hard boiled eggs.

      Reply
  2. Kristin

    From the time I was just a little girl, my Mom taught me to hardboil eggs. It’s like second nature to me, and they always peel so easily and look perfect. But now that I’m grown, I’m amazed at the number of people that struggle with this. It’s just foreign to me. But this is definitely an interesting method of doing it. They can also be done in the microwave, the oven…and even some toasters!

    Reply
  3. Angela

    I’ve always been a little ‘challenged’ with the boiled method and, have to say, I am so glad to have found the steamed method instead. Did exactly as instructed using 7 eggs. And, all came out beautifully! Not a single flaw whatsoever. So, a BIG thank you for helping me to finally master this technique!!

    Reply
  4. Jennifer

    I have seen all kinds of different things on pinterest about cooking perfect boiled eggs without boiling them and I’m perplexed…

    …is boiling eggs really hard? I have been doing it the same way for years and years, since I was in high school and my mom taught me how to do it. They come out perfect, no grey and just a little bit soft in the middle (which is how we like them) every time.

    I’m interested more in peeling easily, which I find is accomplished better with fresher eggs and if done immediately after cooking by cracking the shell all around (into tiny pieces) and then peeling it off in one or two pieces. But every now and then I get one in a bunch that turns to a crumbled mess with chunks of the white coming off attached to the shell and I scratch my head and wonder what on earth I did wrong. I’ve heard of things like putting baking soda in the water and the like but I have not tried them because most of the time, my method works perfectly.

    BTW, my method for boiling eggs:

    Put eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot, and set a timer for 10 minutes. Done!

    Reply
    1. Linda Lou

      you know all you have to do is bring them to a boil, then turn them off. no later than 5 minutes, your eggs are perfect. Makes it simple, cuz you can walk away and do them when ur ready. Think about soft boiled eggs. If you go any over 2.5 mins, they are hard.

      Reply
    2. C Mac

      In your statement of fresh eggs I have to correct you. The fresher the egg the harder the peel. Try getting some from Gravel Gurdy’s box and try them. They are very difficult to peel. I usually wait a couple weeks or so before use.

      Reply
      1. Peggy

        Yes I agree, that is always what my grandma said, if making boiled eggs and know in advance, get eggs a few weeks ahead of time. Fresh is always hard to peel.

        Reply
      2. WLH

        We have 30 hens and always have fresh eggs and they are extremely hard to peel. I came across a tip on pinterest that has worked wonderfully. Use a push pin to pierce the large end of the egg – that is where the air pocket is – only push the pin in about halfway. Boil as usual. Peeling is much easier since I discovered this tip.

        Reply
  5. Ann

    If I pay attention to my eggs, I don’t have a problem! It’s the days that I put them on and then walk away to do something else and come back to find they have been boiling for who knows how long. It’s getting worse as I get older! Is there such a thing as age induced ADHD?

    This is an interesting alternative, may have to try it, as they can boil the whole time!!! My kind of cooking.

    ~Ann

    Reply
  6. Holly Roberts

    My problem is not the cooking/boiling of the eggs, taste, or rings, I cannot get them to peel well at all. We have really yucky water here and am beginning to think maybe that is part of the problem.

    Anyway, any ideas of how to adjust this method for an electric steamer? I would love to make pretty deviled eggs again!

    Reply
      1. Jamie

        The salt thing works! I also dump out the hot water as soon as they’re done and add cold water and some ice, once melted I repeat and let them set for about 10 minutes then peel if I need them right away or put them in the fridge for future use. I’ve never had a prob peeling my eggs.

        Reply
    1. ann fontanez

      My method of peeling is to crack the shell all over, run under cool water and roll the egg between your hands (like you’re making a meatball). The cool water will seep under the membrane & the gentle pressure of rolling between your palms will ease the shell right off! New eggs, old eggs, works just the same.

      Reply
    1. Jillee Post author

      Thank YOU Michelle….for sharing this gem!! I’m with you…cooking the eggs wasn’t the problem…it’s the PEELING!!!! I have never, EVER had eggs turned out so nicely! :-) Thanks again!

      Reply
  7. Mary

    Thank you for this interesting post….my husband has always been the better ‘boiled egg person’ in our house, and it IS all about timing. Put eggs in pan of cold water, bring to a boil, immediately set timer for 10 minutes exactly [that's where I mess up, I'm too impatient to hang around to wait for the bubbles] then run the eggs under cold water to stop the cooking process.
    However……peeling the eggs is another challenge all together. If the eggs are too fresh, they are hell on earth to peel, and the result is an unattractive, knobbly mess only fit to be chopped up for egg salad !! And I kind of have a wee problem when the eggs do peel well…..all I can think about then is….my eggs are STALE ! This thought quells my appetite immediately and I end up turning them into unrecognizable egg salad anyhow, haha.
    So I’m hoping that this steaming method also remedies this peeling dilemma ! I love to see the perfect slices of sunny yolks fanned out on a simple slice of toast. My family will be grateful too I’m sure….yeah, Mummy can make more than egg salad after all !

    Reply
  8. Carole

    I think your method sounds wonderful. I am always willing to try something new and different even though I have been boiling eggs for many years. Thanks, Jillee. You are amazing!

    Reply
  9. Cathy

    although this may seem like a lazy man’s way out and very embarrasing, but I have the toaster/egg maker that steams eggs too. I’ve used it for years, and I love it! I’ve used it ever since I moved out, and never really hard boiled an egg before.

    Reply
  10. Lisa Stephens

    I must say — this post inspired me to make a mean egg salad sandwich this afternoon for lunch. This process works like a charm! Perfect egg at 18 minutes simmering and could not be easier. I love simple, a-ha techniques like this. ;-) Thank you, Jillee!

    Reply
  11. Karen

    Wow, I just tried this out of curiousity and am totally amazed at how perfect they turned out – absolutely No green/gray, peeled easy w/o taking any whites (1 hand didn’t work for me, but I can’t crack one w/one hand either – so I’m sure its user error :-) and to my pleasure was a creamier yolk ! I used to do the boil 5 min., turn off heat and cover 10 min. I will be steaming from now on.

    Reply
  12. Lisa D

    This is just a side question, but I get farm fresh eggs and I can never get them to peel right. Not sure if it because the don’t sit on a shelf.

    Anybody have any tips for this?

    Reply
    1. Elaine

      Lisa, we have our own farm fresh eggs, and I’ve started steaming my eggs in the last year. It really works well with fresh eggs and I almost never have one that is difficult to peel. I steam mine for 11 or 12 minutes (start counting the time when I see steam coming from the lid) as we don’t like them too well done, cool in cold water and peel immediately. Hope this works for you :)

      Reply
      1. Catherine's not naturally crafty,

        Lisa: Fresh eggs really are harder to peel. In the excerpt they mention that egg shells are permeable, but there’s an internal membrane that keeps most stuff out of the actual white and yolk. So, as more air travels into the egg, a space develops between the shell and membrane, “loosening” the membrane away from the shell and drying the egg very slightly. You’ll notice that as eggs age, the “dimple” you see in the bottom of the boiled egg gets bigger. When you boil or steam or otherwise cook the egg, the egg white and yolk coagulate and pull further away from the shell. If there’s already more air space in the egg, then more of the water and steam can permeate, expand and further push the egg and shell apart internally. So, when it cools enough to peel, the peel slides off easily because it’s already pretty loose from the age and the steam.

        The steaming method further helps because steam is hotter than boiling water, more easily permeates the egg shell and helps create that expansion space in even newer eggs. If you can let your eggs age for a week or so you’ll find your peeling results improve.

        And, helpful tip, the Grade AA, A & B are actually looking at that air space as an indicator of freshness. An egg is an egg as far as quality goes some are just fresher than others. So if you don’t use a lot of eggs, your better value is to buy the AA and take a month to use them up rather than buying a 6 carton of A’s every two weeks. Really, they’ll be perfectly fine and tasty. Use fresher eggs for pan cooking and older eggs for cooking and steaming/peeling.

        And the larger eggs will always be more fragile because the amount of calcium used by a chicken to produce the shell is relatively fixed, so a large egg has the same amount of shell as a medium egg, just spread out over more surface area = thinner shells. So if you’re packing for a camping trip, get smaller eggs to handle the bumps of packing and transport.

        So Ok, that’s the end of my dissertation on eggs. The penalty of once being a program coordinator for a federal food safety training program ; all kinds of information much of which isn’t particularly useful. Unless you want to boil eggs :)

        Reply
        1. Marcia

          to Catherine, thank you so much for the free education. We raise chickens and sell their eggs at our veggie stand and I didn’t know about the fixed calcium, interesting. I cannot wait to try this steaming idea, I LOVE hard boiled eggs and HATE to peel them, the fresh eggs are always pretty challenging to peel. It seems they are the most difficult when they are destined for deviling. I have quit offering to bring them to pot lucks since they get so mutilated! Thanks to Jillee too, your blog is so helpful and entertaining. You truly have a gift.

          Reply
      2. Sandy826

        I have a question. I never refrigerate peeled eggs. So does the steaming work if you refrigerate them rather than peeling immediately?

        Reply
  13. Marybeth

    Boy could I have used this yesterday! Last night I boiled 1 dozen eggs and had the WORST time ever peeling them! I’m with you Jillee (and others) I generally have no problem boiling the eggs, it’s the peeling that seems to never go well. Last night’s eggs were no exception. What should have been a 5 minute job, turned into a 15 minute catastrophe. Only 1 egg was free of divots and missing egg whites. I always think the problem is our farm fresh eggs – even though these were about a week old. I am very interested in trying this method to see if it does make a difference. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  14. Vicki

    I recently started experimenting with a home made solar cooker constructed out of a windshield shade. You can find instructions on youtube under solar funnel cookers. Anyway, my cooker reaches 225-250 degrees. I saw where people were cooking whole eggs in their shells without water. I put 7 eggs in a dark pan, put the pan in an oven cooking bag, and placed in the funnel cooker for about 1 1/2 hours. Perfectly cooked eggs that weren’t difficult to peel! I think it’s really neat that there are many ways to accomplish the same thing. I’m definitely going to try the boiling method next (for those days when the sun doesn’t shine).

    Reply
  15. Gwyn

    OK I just can’t figure it out though I’m sure it’s a simple concept that I’m just missing…but why does storing the carton on its side overnight center the yolk? Wouldn’t it just change the possible settling from the bottom to the side they are laying on? I too have always had a harder time with the peeling so I will give this a try! Thanks

    Reply
  16. Linda

    To always have easy to peel eggs before boiling poke a hole at one end of the raw egg. I used to just use a thumb tack (the ones with the plastic on top) but found they actually have little “Egg puncture” utensil in the stores. Very inexpensive and so much easier. When you puncture a hole, it allow air to be captured between the shell and the egg white/yolk. Once you cool the eggs after cooking, gently tap it on the counter a couple of places on the egg and start peeling. The shell practically falls off once you get it started.

    Reply
  17. Janna

    I used to have trouble peeling until I found this method. Boil them and then crack them all over and place them in a bowl with ice and water. When they cool, the shells come off beautifully. I will have to try the steaming method as well.

    Reply
  18. Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com

    I make my boiled eggs by… baking them. Around Easter, when I need to do dozens at a time, it’s particularly helpful. You just put a rack in the middle of your cold oven and put the eggs on the rack so they’re not touching. Close the oven door, turn it to 350F, and turn it off 30 minutes later. Move the eggs to an ice bath using tongs. Done! (And they come out with an amazing creamy texture, too!)

    Reply
  19. Shana

    Jillee,
    Thank you so much for posting this! I just did it and my eggs are beautiful! Looks like hubby is taking egg salad to work tonight. :)

    Reply
  20. Emma

    I have a microwave egg steamer called an eggster that I bought at a yard sale for a dollar – love it, works wonderful and peels easy. I also plunge into ice water immediately after cooking.

    Reply
  21. Angie

    Peeling is a cinch if you do what my dad taught me..after you cook your eggs(whichever way you like) dump in ICE cold water crack all the eggs on the skinnier end peel the very tip off insert metal tsp (make sure it’s between the shell and skin) and push down with slight pressure while turning the egg .. The whole shell kind of pops off most times in one peice ,been doing spoon method for years!

    Reply
  22. Sarah Cook

    I tried these on Saturday and they worked perfectly! We have our own backyard chickens and sometimes the eggs are just too fresh to peel right but I had no problem with this method. I even tried to do it one handed, but I am too uncoordinated for that :) Thanks for the great blog!

    Reply
  23. Beth Al-Ashail

    Perfect hard cooked eggs have no green – these look like a slight green ring is present . I put eggs in pan of water , bring to boil & place lid on for 15 minutes , never fails , at 15 min.. run cold water over them – never green .

    Reply
  24. christina

    No, the fresher the egg, the harder it is to peel. We have chickens and we can get them straight from the source and it’s ALWAYS harder to peel than those bought from a store, as the ones from the store are older.

    Reply
  25. Gayle

    EPIC FAIL…Once again, I get to make egg salad sandwiches. I don’t have a problem boiling the eggs…just peeling them. AND…about 1/3 of my steamer insert turned black. What gives with that?

    Reply
  26. gigi lagarde

    Hi- I have an easy way to boil eggs, also. Place eggs in pot and cover with water. Turn on “high” until water comes to a boil. Then cover the pot with a snug fitting lid and turn “off”. Allow to sit for 20 minutes and then rinse and peel.

    Reply
  27. Linda

    Tried this today, and it absolutely works!! I am so excited, having tried every trick published to make hard boiled eggs peel-able. The only thing that went wrong is that one of my eggs exploded while cooking. Not sure I’m coordinated enough to peel with one hand, but these eggs peeled perfectly. Not a single chunk of eggwhite missing from a single egg. Thank you, Jillee!

    Reply
  28. Chris Simpson

    I love this article. But I don’t have a steamer and didn’t want to go out and buy one. Did you know that you can use a metal colander instead of a steamer? I found the info at the Real Simple website. Thanks for all your great posts.

    Reply
  29. Sandy

    Not all that long ago, I came across this method of peeling eggs that works great for me: after the eggs boil, crack the shell on each end FIRST then continue cracking the shell around the middle. OR just peel after cracking the ends–either does the job. No more “knobby” eggs. :-)

    Reply
  30. Kelly

    Severely disappointed with this method. I’m at over 30 mins and my eggs are still not done. And I’m down 3 eggs. I’ve never had a problem with the peeling. I tap the shell all over with the back of a spoon and then slip the spoon under the shell and it comes right off.

    Reply
  31. Amanda

    I just tried this method and I am pleasantly surprised. The eggs are so easy to peel and when I cut it open, the yoke was almost light and fluffy looking. Granted, I probably should have tested this out before now, as a family gathering like Thanksgiving is not a time to experiment with a new method of cooking. My sceptical husband was even suprised at the outcome. Thank you for posting this and for this I am thankful.

    Reply
  32. Judi

    Have any of you ever heard of an electric egg cooker? My mother always had one and I can’t live without mine. You can hardboil, softboil and even poach. A lot of people don’t know about them but they do exist. I think the secret to easy peeling hardboiled eggs is poking a hole in the large end of the egg prior to cooking. They even make the egg piercer you can push the egg down on the little needle. No the egg does not leak out of the shell. Bed Bath & Beyond carries the egg cooker and you can also fine them in Amazon.com. I like it because you put in the eggs, water in and turn it on and it turns off when done. Just wondered if anyone else has ever heard of the electric egg cooker.

    Reply
  33. Mommajozy

    Interesting how there are so many who never seem to have a problem peeling eggs !!!! For the rest of us, including me, I think peeling is the hardest part !!!!! I have heard that eggs should be a few days old before boiling them, and my mom always poked that hole a lot have referred to !
    I can’t wait to try this method !!! Hope it works as well as reported !!! LOL Either that, or it’s deviled egg salad for me, too !!!
    By the way, I also like hard boiled eggs HOT for breakfast. In my family, my mom would chop the egg, add a little butter, salt and pepper, and buttered toast cut into little squares. Comfort food now……. :)

    Reply
  34. Lyn Farris

    Loved this, but just wanted to mention: we do things ‘on purpose’ or ‘by accident’ , purposely or accidentally, but not ‘on accident’. ;D Keep up the good work – we love your posts.

    Reply
  35. Sandy Sellers

    I am a little late to the “egg steaming party”. The one minute egg post lead me here. I am sold on the steaming method! I cooked a whole dozen eggs, peeled them, and they are in the fridge for my DH and teenager to snack on. I’ll be sharing this method with all my girlfriends!

    Reply
  36. Sandy826

    There are many variables in cooking eggs. Some cooks say they are hard cooked eggs and should never be “boiled” As far as time is concerned boiling happens at different times for different altitudes. I’ve always immediately cooled the eggs and that works 85% of the time, my grandmother always blamed eggs too fresh when you couldn’t peel them. She also never boiled them. More like simmered them for a slightly longer time and cooled them with ice, immediately. I’m trying the steaming because it would be nice if there was an easy, always perfect way. thanks

    Reply
  37. Brittany Ardito

    I have tried everything from putting baking soda in the water and turning the heat off right after it boils and let sit for 12 minutes….BUT nothing had made it easy to peel until now! I just tried steaming the eggs with my steamer basket and the shells came right off! I will never boil eggs in water again. Thank you Jillee!!!

    Reply
  38. Teresa Bolton

    Okay….so I absolutely hate boiling eggs…I can’t count the number of eggs I have ruined. I probably can’t manage it due to my AADD, LOL…so anyway…I put 14 eggs in my VEGETABLE STEAMER since I don’t have a metal steam basket for my pots….I usually steam veggies in microwave using Pampered Chefs steam pot.
    I put the eggs on for 20 minutes…and my steamer dings when done, (perfect for my forgetfulness) and they came out absolutely perfect and fluffy…I peeled one to test and once a piece of shell was removed…the rest just wanted to fall off the egg! My kids loved them and cheered since I probably only get one good batch out of 3-5 tries! I cut egg in half and there was no grey/green ring and they were perfect! My kids will color them for Easter and then they can actually eat them…cause I didn’t ruin them….I am one happy mom….so glad I found your blog!!!!
    THANK YOU!

    Reply
  39. Ro

    I have chickens so I have fresh eggs all the time and when you boil a fresh egg it is near impossible to peel. The only way I do it is to bring the eggs to a bpil then turn off the heat and let them sit for 15 minutes, saves gas/electricity. I will try this but you have to boil the water for so long not very efficient.
    just my opinion…I do love all your ideas amnd use them all the time escecially the soaps and softener
    s…

    Reply

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