Perfectly-Peeled Boiled Eggs? Possible!

Look at this egg!  It peeled like a breeze!

Never boil eggs again because a steamed egg peels perfectly every time!

This egg is fresh from our chickens, only a day or two old.  Fresh eggs are usually the worst to peel after being boiled — half the white peels off with the shell.  Store-bought eggs are typically several weeks old by the time you purchase them, and they are sometimes still hard to peel.

Well, no longer! There is a simple solution to your egg-peeling problems!

I figured out this great technique by observing an old egg cooker my mother-in-law bought 41 years ago for $1 at a yard sale.  (Wow, did she get her money’s-worth, or what?!)  She was getting rid of it because we bought her a new one for Christmas.  The old one now resides at my mom’s house after my creative, able-to-fix-anything father tuned it up and replaced a missing leg.  My mother was amazed at how perfectly her eggs peeled when she made her famous deviled eggs for the holidays. (They are so delicious!  Click here to get the recipe.)

old metal egg steamer with black handles and cord

After looking at both of the egg cookers, I thought “I can do this myself without paying for another kitchen gadget!” The keys to easily-peeled boiled eggs, it seems, are a hole in the eggshell and steam.

~~~~~~~

Here’s how to properly cook “boiled” eggs, by steaming them instead:

1. Grab stainless-steel pot with steamer basket, which is typically used to cook veggies like broccoli and carrots.

2. Sanitize a sharp object, like a sewing needle (I used an ice-pick tool in a screwdriver set), and poke a small hole in the fat end of the egg (where there is an air bubble between the shell and the inside of the raw egg).

poking hole in end of raw egg before steaming it

3. Add about an inch of water to the pot, place the basket of eggs inside, and put it on the stove at a high temperature until you can see steam coming from the pot’s vent.

steam emerging from the lid vent of a pot full of steaming eggs

4. Close the lid vent, turn the temperature down enough to keep a low-rolling boil, and cook the eggs for 12-15 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.

TIP: Test to see if they are cooked the way you like.  You can test an egg by putting it in a spoon and running cool water on it until it’s cool enough to handle (or place it in some ice water for a minute).  Then peel it and cut it in half to check the appearance of the yolk.

These photos show how the egg dries off in seconds when it is still very hot!

I tested an egg at 12 minutes, and decided the others needed more time.  I like my eggs completely hard-boiled, with no dark or “gooey” places in the yolk, so I will stick with 14-15 minutes from now on for larger eggs.  Smaller eggs would, of course, take less time.

5. Place the eggs in cold water (or ice water) to stop the cooking process at the desired point.  It’s the same idea as rinsing pasta in cool water after you drain it; if you don’t cool it off, it will continue to cook.  Over-cooking will cause the eggs to get a grayish-green coating around the yolk.

6. Peel and enjoy!  Tap a cooled egg on a hard surface many times in different spots so that the shell is cracked all over.  You can even gently roll it between your hands to further crack the shell and help the outer membrane release from the egg.  Start peeling at the fat end where the air bubble is, making sure you are removing the outer membrane along with the shell fragments. (If you look closely at the first photo, you can see the outer eggshell membrane clinging to the peeled shell and holding the broken pieces together.)

~~~~~~~

Using this method, our fresh eggs are so easy to peel and so delicious! Yum!

steamed egg, cut in half, on a plate with fried potatoes

I’ve tried many of the touted tricks for easily-peeled boiled eggs:

  • heavily salting the cooking water
  • placing cooked eggs immediately into ice water
  • adding vinegar during boiling
  • using only older eggs
  • etc, etc.

Some of these methods worked fairly well, but none worked great for easily-peeled boiled eggs.  But, in my experience, steaming works without fail!