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It's easier to make EASY-PEEL hard-boiled eggs than I thought. Plus, with this method, you can make several dozen hard-boiled eggs all at once!
 

For years I have taught the widely accepted method for how to make hard boiled eggs – namely, boiling them – but a few weeks ago when I ended up with a large batch of super-difficult-to-peel eggs, I felt that I had met my nemesis. Thus, I looked to a few of my colleagues for insight and happily ran across this article. (Read it – it's fascinating.)

So I changed my method and sho ‘nuf, my next batch turned out nearly perfectly, as did subsequent batches using our fresh backyard eggs (after they had been allowed to sit for a couple of weeks – I haven't tried it yet with super fresh eggs).

So today, I'm sharing what seems to me the biggest kept secret in the home cook's world – how to perfectly cook a hard-boiled egg so that it's easy to peel.

And the secret is… steaming.

Here's why:

Steaming the eggs exposes the eggs to a temperature even hotter than putting them in boiling water – but more importantly, shocks them, which helps the albumin release from the shell.

For example, when you hard-boil eggs by boiling them, you start by placing the eggs in cold water, which you then slowly heat and bring to a boil.

When you steam eggs, however, the heat hits the shell at full force – similar to searing, I suppose – which helps the white separate easily from the membrane inside the shell.

However, despite the elevated heat, it also cooks more evenly, so you more easily end up with a perfectly cooked egg: namely, that you have a fully-cooked yolk that hasn't begun to turn green from over-cooking (that green is sulfur, by the way, which is the first sign of overcooking), as well as having whites that haven't yet turned rubbery.

Of course, you CAN still overcook them if you leave them for several minutes too long, but steaming does provide more flexibility to catch them in that “perfectly cooked” stage.

This method also allows you to cook a whole whack of eggs at one time. The steamer insert in my standard-size stock pot easily holds 5-6 dozen eggs, and you can cook as few or as many eggs you want at a time, provided the lid sits properly on the pot.

So this is especially handy when you need to bring deviled eggs to a party, you want to make a big batch of egg salad, or at Easter when you want to have a serious egg dyeing party (using natural homemade food coloring, of course!). Just steam several dozen all at once!

It's easier to make EASY-PEEL hard-boiled eggs than I thought. Plus, with this method, you can make several dozen hard-boiled eggs all at once!

 

How to Perfectly Hard-Boil an Egg

To use the steam method for making hard-boiled eggs, bring 1-2 inches of water to a rolling boil in a stock pot. Place cold eggs in a steamer basket, then lower it into the pot, ensuring none of the eggs are submersed in water, and set on the lid.

Steam for 12-15 minutes for hard yolks or 6-8 minutes for soft.

Immediately place in an ice bath to halt cooking, then when cool, either peel or store in the refrigerator.

Peel under cold, running water for an even easier release and efficient peeling.

And of course – enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “The Surprise Secret to Perfect, Easy-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

  1. Janice West says:

    My husband’s grandmother taught me a neat trick. After the eggs are cooked, using 2 eggs at a time, shake them around in the pot used to cook them. Make sure you keep them pretty close to the bottom of the pan and just bang them on the sides of the pan. When you pick them up they’ll usually peel very easily because you’ve broken that membrane that’s just under the shell and the shell almost falls off! Works like a charm.

    • Kresha Faber says:

      Well, perhaps, but I’m more curious how you got a steamer basket into a Dutch oven! Did you perhaps start with the eggs in there sitting on top of a steamer insert and THEN brought it to a boil? That could definitely cause them to explode. Other than that, I’m totally curious and would love to know more about your step-by-step process. I’m sure we can figure it out!

      That said, I’m sorry you lost a number of eggs for Easter eggs. :/ (Assuming that they were for Easter since today is Easter Sunday….)

      • Justyn says:

        It’s a big dutch oven, so it fits great. πŸ™‚ No, I didn’t put in the eggs until after the water had come to a boil and I steamed them for 11 minutes. Except for using the dutch oven in place of the stock pot, I did exactly the same as the instructions. I heard them start cracking after about 1 minute. The ones that didn’t explode were perfectly cooked and peeled easily, which is awesome for farm fresh eggs! and we actually only lost 6 of the 21, so we had plenty for the kiddos to color.

        I’m thinking that maybe I’ll turn the heat down to medium low after I put the eggs in and cook them a couple minutes longer next time. We all really loved them- and our puppy got to eat the half dozen that blew up! πŸ˜‰

        I’ll let you know if it works better next time, but thanks for the steaming tip! We could never get our fresh eggs to peel easily with the boiling method.

        • Kresha Faber says:

          Wow – thank you for giving such a detailed follow-up. That’s super-helpful! And I’m glad everything turned out okay. πŸ™‚

          Yes, it does sound like the retained heat from the cast iron did make a difference, especially since you heard the cracking pretty much right away. Perhaps the radiating heat (like you suggested originally, since cast iron retains heat so superbly) overwhelmed the eggs in addition to the steam? Either way, it sounds like you’ve troubleshooted it beautifully and you’ve given us all more info to work off of in the future. πŸ™‚

          Happy Easter!

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