Learn this simple technique to get perfect boiled eggs that peel like a dream every time, no matter how fresh they are. (Skip to recipe.)

easy peel boiled eggs, 3 eggs partially shelled on plate

Okay, I cheated a bit on the title; the best easy peel boiled eggs . . . are not boiled at all.

They’re steamed.

This simple trick has saved me countless hours of frustration picking away at stubborn egg shells that only come off in little bits, pulling away chunks of white with them until you’re left with something that looks like a misshapen, raggedy, white alien blob.

I love having a chicken coop. It’s one of my happy pleasures to be out there feeding my birds, watching them, and generally being a poultry mama. Our 25 chickens supply us with lots of beautiful fresh eggs, but as everyone knows – the fresher the eggs the harder they are to peel. In fact, you can never get the peels off easily or nicely on fresh eggs.

basket of colourful eggs in front of chickens in the coop

our mixed batch of chicken breeds provide us with a variety of different coloured eggs

rooster crowing amid the hens outside

Rooster Roy is a funny guy, always protecting his ladies. Every time I come out there, he’s gotta crow nice and loud to show me who’s boss

Rooster Roy giving me the stink eye

here he is, sidling up to me inside the coop and giving me the stink-eye

I’ve done a lot of experimenting over the years: start the eggs in cold water, put them into boiling water, add baking soda to the water, add vinegar to the water, put them in ice water after boiling, put them in cold tap water. Nothing. Nada. No luck. Fresh eggs were always a devil to peel – never got them nice and smooth.

That is, until I started steaming them. Now, I can take eggs still warm from the nest and put them straight into the pot, steam them until they’re done to my liking, cool them, and – wowee! – the shells just peel off in big, satisfying pieces. The eggs are beautifully cooked and have no gray rings around the yolks. Perfect eggs every time!

multi coloured eggs in the steamer basket

you can use a collapsible steamer basket like this (or a steamer insert or bamboo steamer)

Tips for Making the Perfect Easy Peel Boiled Eggs (Steamed, Actually)

I’ve played around with the steaming times and have come up with the results of different times, using large eggs. Really fresh eggs (as in straight from the nest) are still a bit hard to peel if you steam them for only 6 or 7 minutes, because they’re so soft and delicate. But if you cook them to be medium or hard, they peel amazingly easily every time. Use eggs cold, directly from the fridge. (If using warm eggs from the nest, reduce the cooking time by about 30 seconds.) Just follow these few simple instructions:

  • Use a steamer basket, steamer insert, or bamboo steamer. (If you have none of these, you can toss metal cutlery into the pot, teaspoons, etc, until it’s higher than an inch. Or put in a layer of metal cookie cutters, then top with a grid made of teaspoons. Lay the eggs on top of the cutlery to keep them raised up out of the water.)
  • Boil the water, then add the eggs in the steamer basket.
  • Cover the pot and lower the temperature just a bit to keep the water boiling steadily, but not boiling up into the steamer basket.
  • Steam for the desired time (see chart below).
  • Remove the pot from the heat and submerge the eggs immediately into a bowl of cold tap water. Change the water a couple times over the next few minutes. Cool for 10 minutes for cold eggs, and about 5 minutes if you still want the eggs to be warm.
  • Set a colander or strainer into the sink. Turn on the tap with cool water in a thin stream. Gently tap each egg on the counter on all sides to break the shell all around the egg. Peel the eggs under the running water, letting the shells fall into the colander.
peeling an egg under running water

peel the eggs under running water

Voilà! Perfect easy peel boiled eggs, ready to enjoy.


How Long for Perfect Easy Peel Boiled Eggs?

These are the steaming times for LARGE eggs (~2 ounces/57 grams with shell), cold from the fridge. Adjust accordingly if using different sized eggs. (Note: with 6 and 7 minute eggs, the peel must be removed more carefully, as the eggs are soft and very delicate.) My favourite way to eat them is at 8 minutes. If using the eggs to mash (for egg salad or deviled eggs) or to push the yolk through a sieve, 15 minutes is best, as the yolks are evenly cooked with no soft spots to get clumpy.

6 minutes: white is just set, but still soft and a bit fluid; yolk is runny

7 minutes: white is set; yolk is runny. Perfect soft-boiled egg

8 minutes: white is set; yolk is soft and creamy

9 minutes: yolk is soft and fudgy

10 minutes: yolk is hard, but still very moist. Good for halving in salads

12 minutes: yolk is hard, but still moist in the center

15 minutes: yolk is fully cooked, evenly hard. Best for mashing, as in egg salads and deviled eggs

cooked eggs cut in halves to show the insides at different stages of cooking

how do you like your eggs?

How do you like your eggs?

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Eggs can vary a bit in size, even when they’re graded. Once you’ve made the steamed eggs a few times, you’ll know how long you need to get them cooked to your liking and what temperature setting works best on your stove to keep the water boiling.

3 partially peeled eggs on a plate

Easy Peel Boiled Eggs

  • eggs, cold from the fridge
  • water
  • steamer insert, collapsible steaming basket, bamboo steamer, or a pile of spoons tossed into the pot to keep the eggs above the water
  • saucepan with lid

Put an inch (2.5cm) of water into the bottom of a saucepan large enough to hold your steamer. Bring the water to a boil.

Add the steamer basket or insert and place the eggs gently into it. You can put up to two layers of eggs in it. Cover the saucepan with a lid (a see-through lid is great so you can tell how the water is boiling).

Reduce the heat slightly to keep the water steadily boiling, but not so vigorously that it boils over the bottom of the steamer. After you’ve made the eggs once, you’ll know what setting that is on your stove. Try not to open the lid until the eggs are done, as the steam will escape and it will affect the cook time.

Steam the eggs for the required time (see the photo and chart above).

While the eggs are cooking, prepare a large bowl or pot by filling it with cold tap water. When the cook time is up, remove the eggs from the pot with a large spoon, and immediately immerse them into the cold water. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, changing the water several times (only leave them for 5 minutes if you want warm eggs).

Set a colander or strainer into the sink. Turn on the tap with cool water. Gently tap each egg on the counter to break the shell all around the egg. Peel the eggs under the running water, letting the shells fall into the colander.

Cooked, hard eggs can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in the shell, or 5 days if peeled.

Guten Appetit!


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