The experts tested the many methods, and the conclusion is: The best hard-boiled eggs are actually steamed.
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It seems the debate over the best way to hard-boil eggs is over. Our Better Homes & Gardens®  Test Kitchen, the American Egg Board, and America's Test Kitchen (not to mention lots of food bloggers) all tested the many ways to hard-boil eggs and concluded our favorite way is to steam them. We found that eggs cooked more evenly and the peels slipped off most easily. In our testing, steamed hard-boiled eggs trumped eggs boiled on the stove, made in the pressure cooker, and in the oven. It's so similar to the classic way to boil an egg that you'll master it in no time.

hard cooked eggs
Credit: Tina Rupp

How to Steam Eggs

Get the Steamed Eggs Recipe

Here's how to steam hard-boiled eggs (and how long to steam them, depending on how many you're making) any time you want deviled eggs, eggs to add to salads, for a snack, or for egg salad sandwiches:

  • Place 1 inch of water in a 4-quart Dutch oven (Target) or deep skillet. Add a steamer basket (OXO). Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  • Carefully add 6 large eggs using a slotted spoon. Cover; do not reduce the heat. Steam for 16 minutes.
    • Test Kitchen Tip: Don't let your pan boil dry while the eggs are steaming. If you run out of water, add more boiling water to the pan. To steam 12 eggs at once, increase your pan size to a 4- or 5-quart one, and add one minute of steaming time.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon (Target) to a bowl of ice water to cool.
  • When the eggs are cool, crack lightly and remove the shells. Cover and chill up to 5 days.

Benefits of Steaming Eggs

Why steam-cook eggs rather than boil traditionally? We have a couple reasons:

  • Easier peeling. Honestly, this is the only reason we need. Many suggest this works because you're adding eggs directly to the steaming hot temperature instead of putting them in a pan with cold water that slowly comes to a boil. When the steam penetrates the shell to cook the egg, it causes the whites to quickly pull away from the inner membrane that's so hard to peel. When you start by submerging eggs in cold water, that gives the membrane time to adhere to the egg.
    • Test Kitchen Tip: It also helps to use eggs that are 7 to 10 days old. As eggs age, the air pocket in the shell grows, making it easier to remove the shell after "boiling." To know how old your eggs are, look at the packing date. The packing date of eggs is stamped on the carton. It's a three-digit code near the sell-by date where each day of the year is numbered 001-365. So, 001 is January first, 166 is June 15th, and 365 is December 31st.
  • Saves time. Waiting for water to boil is one of the most boring parts of cooking. To steam eggs, you're only bringing an inch of water to a boil instead of a whole pot, so it takes less time for the water to come to a boil.

Give it a try and see if steamed eggs become your favorite way, too, to hard-cook eggs. Then add them to fun sandwich recipes, interesting salads, potato salad, and whatever else you can dream up.

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