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How to Hard Boil Eggs So They’re Easy to Peel

March 20, 2024

One of the small but super-annoying challenges of cooking is making a batch of hard boiled eggs, then trying to peel them and having chunks of egg white come off with the shells. Especially if you’re making deviled eggs, those pockmarked whites are so disappointing. After trying all the tricks — putting the eggs in already-boiling water, using older eggs, adding baking soda to the water — with no luck, we finally found the secret. If you want to know how to hard boil eggs so they’re easy to peel, here it is: Steam them.

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Why steaming is best

The reason why it’s often so hard to peel hard boiled eggs has to do with the structure of the egg. Inside the shell are two membranes that help protect the egg. Cooking can cause the egg white to bond with the membranes, making it stick when you try to remove the shell. When you steam the eggs, the vapor from the steam permeates the porous shell, which loosens the membrane from the egg white.

How to steam eggs

Good news about steaming eggs: Along with making them easy to peel, it’s just as simple as hard boiling, and no more time-consuming. Here’s how to do it:

  • Fill a saucepan with enough water to reach the bottom of your steamer basket; bring to a boil.
  • Place the steamer basket into the saucepan (use tongs if needed; keep your hand away from the steam). Place the eggs in a single layer in the steamer basket and cover the pan.
  • Steam the eggs for 6 to 12 minutes, depending on how hard you like them cooked. The lower end will yield soft-cooked eggs, while the higher will be hard cooked.
  • Plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water to halt cooking. If you’d like to serve them warm, remove them as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. If serving cold, let them cool in the ice water for at least 15 minutes.

Note: You also can steam eggs in an Instant Pot.

How to hard boil eggs in 10 seconds

Though steaming eggs is a pretty quick and easy process, sometimes we don’t even have those 20 minutes to spare. In moments like that, we turn to pre-packaged hard boiled eggs. A few we like:

Read next: Smart Shopping: Free Range Vs. Pasture Raised Eggs

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