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This Foolproof Method Makes Hard-Boiled Eggs So Easy To Peel

steamed eggs

What if I told you there was a way to cook hard-boiled eggs that made them so easy to peel that you could do it one-handed? If you feel a bit skeptical about this claim, you wouldn’t be the only one, because that’s exactly how I felt until I gave the method a try for myself!

I originally came across the idea a couple of years ago, when I was reading through comments on one of my older blog posts. I came across one from a reader named Pia who mentioned that she had recently tried steaming eggs instead of boiling them, and that the steamed eggs had been easier to peel by far.

Related: How To Make Boiled Eggs In The Instant Pot

Steamed eggs? I’d literally never heard of such a thing before reading Pia’s comment, which of course meant that I had to try it out immediately! :-)

Check out this hard-boiled egg hack in action in my video at the end of the post!

steamed eggs

However, my timing wasn’t exactly ideal, because I forgot that I had an important phone call coming up until I was already in the midst of my egg steaming project! (And unfortunately, the call was sufficiently important that “I’m in the middle of steaming some eggs!” didn’t seem like it would hold up as an excuse to reschedule.)

But anyway, the timer for the eggs went off while I was on my important call, but I was worried about just letting them sit there until I was done. So I started attempting to peel the eggs with one hand while holding my phone in the other, and to my great surprise, I was able to peel them all single-handedly without any issues at all!

Not that I think everyone needs a solution that enables them to peel eggs with one hand, but it’s nice to know that you could if you wanted to, right? ;-) It also just goes to show how much of a difference this particular method makes in the “peel-ability” of hard-cooked eggs!

Here’s how it’s done, so that you can give it a try at home and experience the difference for yourself!

steamed eggs

How To Steam Eggs To Make Them Easy To Peel

You’ll need:

  • Raw eggs
  • Steamer basket
  • Pot
  • Water
steamed eggs

Directions:

Place the steamer basket in the bottom of a pot, then add water until it starts to come up through the bottom of the steamer. (You’re aiming for just enough water that it can boil for 15 to 20 minutes without drying up on you.)

steamed eggs

Place the eggs in the steamer basket and cover the pot with a lid.

steamed eggs

Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

steamed eggs

After steaming, remove the eggs from the pot and run them under cold water for several minutes to stop the cooking process. (You could also transfer them to a prepared ice bath to achieve the same result.)

steamed eggs

Once the eggs are cool, just crack, peel, and enjoy! The shells should slide right off quickly and easily. (Why, you ask? See below for a brief explanation!)

If you don’t want to peel the eggs right away, you can store them in your refrigerator to keep them fresh for a few days.

steamed eggs

Why Are Steamed Eggs Easier To Peel?

After I experienced just how easy it was to peel steamed eggs, I couldn’t help but wonder why and how it actually worked! So I did some research and eventually found the following explanation that helped satisfy my curiosity.

Because egg shells are permeable, the tiny water molecules trapped inside the steamy pot can penetrate the shell and cook the egg inside. The hot steam also causes the proteins in the egg whites to shrink, which makes the whites pull away from the membrane lining the shell.

Once the membrane has loosened its grip on the egg white, the egg becomes much easier to peel after it’s done cooking (not to mention a lot less frustrating for the one doing the peeling!) ;-)

What’s your preferred way to cook eggs in the shell?


Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Food & Recipes

    • I have chickens, too. I’ve tried steaming them, baking them, and everything else….but fresh eggs are nearly impossible to peel cleanly. I now keep an egg container in the fridge, and leave them a week or two before I steam them. It helps a little.

  • Hi Jillee-
    I don’t doubt the ease of steaming eggs, but I have to add something else. I have found that it’s the immediate immersion into ice cold water that makes my eggs easy to peel! This step makes all the difference. Don’t let them cool off first. I usually have a bowl full of water and ice cubes ready to put the eggs in. It works like a charm!

  • I really like your new idea for making hard boiled eggs. Can’t wait to try it! How long can you keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge? Peeled or left in the shell?

  • I have a steamer and have been doing this for years now. It works like a charm. Put in the steamer, turn on the timer and I have plenty of time to do other chores!

  • I’m more excited to know that I actually have a steamer basket. Must of been a gift because I had no clue what it was ~ LOL. Nonetheless… I am going to go try this now.

  • I have found that my rice cooker makes great steamed eggs as well. When I make potato salad I cook the potatoes and eggs at the same time in the rice cooker. I put the potatoes in the bottom with the water and the eggs in the steam basket on top. I set the cooking timer and walk away. When the timer beeps I take the eggs out and put them in cold water while dealing with the potatoes. It works like a charm.

  • My father grew White Leghorn chickens and we had a hatchery where we sold eggs when I was a young sprite. My summer job was washing and packing the eggs in cases for transport. We always put the eggs in the egg flat with the small end down. (It always bugs me when I open a carton of eggs from the grocery and find the small end up.) The reason for doing this is because the round end has an air sack. The eggs will stay fresher longer if stored with the small end pointing down or the egg lays on its side. When peeling boiled eggs, start by cracking the round end first. This breaks the air sack and releases the vacuum that the membrane has on the egg. Then I gently roll the egg on a wet paper towel and the shell will basically peal off on it’s own. Then I just pick up the paper towel with the shells in it and drop it in the trash.

    • I’m always asked to supply 4 dozen deviled eggs for various church affairs. I’ve hated doing so the past few times because of the peeling difficulty . Jillee’s steam hint sounds great but where do I find giant steamer baskets? Was ready to say no to the next egg request but will gladly try your method. Thanks!

      • Think spaghetti pot! I have a pot that you cook the spaghetti in a basket so when it is done you lift the basket out of the water in thw pot to drain the pasta.

  • Do you think that a rice cooker/steamer would work? I have an electric one. To be sure, when you steam them, they are not submerged in the water, right??

  • When I use my microwave egg cooker, the shells always peel really well. I have the one that looks like a large egg. You put water in the bottom portion of the cooker. An aluminum tray sits above the water and holds 4 eggs. Since the eggs sit above the water, they may be steamed as well.

  • I have ALWAYS dumped the hot water off of my boiled eggs immediately and run cold tap water (we are on a deep well and the water is so cold that you can’t keep your hands under it) into the pot for a couple of minutes. I also then crack one end of the egg and roll it gently between my hands or on the counter to break the shell all over, without fracturing the membrane. But with all of this, for me, it seems to depend more on the age of the eggs as to how well they peel.

    I’m going to try steaming a batch and see if it makes any difference for me.

  • I have a steam egg machine in the shape of a chicken. I can make 7 eggs at a time. The bottom has rings to fill with water for hard boiled or poached. The top fits together with the bottom to make the chicken shape. It chirps when the water is gone. I dump the eggs into a strainer and run cold water on them. When ready to peal I crack them all over and peel them under running cold water. Rarely does it take whites when peeling. I love it. So cute.

  • Do the eggs need to be at room temperature before putting them in the steaming basket? Can they go directly to the basket from the fridge? I can’t wait to try this! I tried baking them in the oven in muffin tins, but each egg had a dark brown spot where it had touched the metal so I’ve been looking for a better method.

  • Oh Jillee try doing them in the Instant Pot! Eggs in steamer basket, 2 minutes on high pressure, natural pressure release for up to 15 minutes and they are PERFECTION every time! It’s the only way I do them now. I put them right into an ice water bath and then to the fridge to eat throughout the week and they peel wonderfully!

  • WOW !!! Here in Quebec, Canada we love pickled eggs. When I make some I make about 12 dozens at a time so as to get ‘rid’ of the painful task of peeling them . Trying to get those shells out that sticked so much that some of the egg came out with the shell made my life really, really painful not counting the blisters on my fingers. But today I tried your trick with my large spaghetti pot that has an integrated strainer in it ! EUREKA !!! Magic happened and my fingers are soooo thankful! Besides the time I spent peeling those eggs was cut by 2/3 !!! THANK YOU !!!

  • My grandmother boiled eggs, and then took them off the stove and ran cold water over them, separating the shell from the white very nicely when peeled. I think it’s due to the sudden temperature change, more than the method of cooking.

  • Put eggs in a pot…cover w/water…boil for 7 minutes…immediately pour water from pot & cover eggs with ice…set aside for 7 minutes…peel without a problem…

    • Works for me too. I also add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda to the water too. Steaming didn’t work for me at all. What were to be a dozen devilled eggs ended up being a very large amount of egg salad!

  • I have surgical stainless steel cookware that has a thick bottom &I put a damp paper towel in bottom of pan, add eggs & “steam them” for 3-4 minutes, then run cold water over them & super easy to peel!

  • Just found another ideal way to cook and peel eggs with perfect results no matter if they are old or new. From Jacque Pepin (famous French Chef for those not familiar). In a kettle, boil enough water to cover eggs. Once boiling, pour over the eggs to cover. (Be careful not to pour the water directly on the eggs or they will of course crack. Although I did that once as they cracked a little. I followed through and they sealed themselves as the water boiled.). Boil over a low setting for 9 minutes. Drain the water and roll the eggs in the pan back and forth until the eggs crack. Put into a bowl of ice and water then easily peel away and with no green ring around the yolk!

  • I’m a Chef who’s always willing to try something new, to make my workday go better, so I tried this at work, where I boil 50-60 eggs at once. This method did not work for me for that amount of eggs.
    However, when I tried it at home when I was only boiling 6 eggs, it worked.
    If I may, I’m happy to share the method I use professionally:
    When boiling 50+ eggs, I found it best to put the eggs in the pot on the burner, pour cold water over the eggs just to cover, and add a long dash of salt. Right before the boiling point, add a hearty splash of vinegar. I let it boil about 3 minutes, then I turn off the flame and let the pot sit for about 10 minutes. After, it gets cold running water as the hot water flows out, then I add at least a gallon pitcher’s worth of ice and let it sit about 20-40 minutes. The less time it sits, the easier the egg is to peel. Sla’inte!!!

  • I put my steamer basket in my Instant Pot then add water to just below the bottom of the basket a few eggs or a basket full need 4 minutes high pressure. As soon as it beeps I release the pressure and move the basket to a sink of ice water. Every time i get perfectly yellow cooked yolks with no green ring around them and they peel like a dream.

  • I’ve been steaming eggs for quite some time now. Even VERY fresh eggs right out of the chickens are easily peeled! Another trick is to lay the eggs on their sides for a couple of days before steaming them. This will cause the yolks to be centered so that when you do devilled eggs, the whites will be consistent in thickness.

  • I believe we must create alternative ways to cook to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. That said, I cook/bake regularly in my solar oven. Eggs in the shell are placed in the solar oven for 20 – 25 minutes when the temperature is between 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent the eggs from exploding, push a stiff pin or a fork tine into the rounded top end of the egg. This is where the air bubble is.

    You may have to play with the oven temperature and time to achieve perfect eggs. But it works! I regularly prepare 12 doz eggs at a time!

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