How To: Steam Eggs for Perfect Peeling

I have never had luck peeling fresh hard boiled eggs…until now:

How To: Steam Eggs for the Perfect Peeling

I swear that’s EXACTLY how they looked upon peeling!

No matter what super-guaranteed Internet method I’ve tried before, I’ve ended up with eggs that look like this:

How To: Steam Eggs for the Perfect Hard Boil

Before you jump upon the word “fresh” in the opening sentence, know that I have bought fresh eggs and have let them age before boiling, as well. They still mocked me as I tried to pull the shell away in a pattern that didn’t resemble a scalping.

Enter a method I had never ever heard of and even as I read through the directions on how to get the perfect hard boil, I side-eyed the article. Why? Steam. The method utilizes steam.


Anyone? Has anyone among you heard of this method?

My friend Kathy, over at the fascinating Chicken Chick site offers the steaming solution, with an easy to understand education on the whys of fresh/older eggs and their willingness to peel.

To the kitchen!

Per Kathy’s instructions (with a slight edit on my part):

~ In a covered pot that holds a steamer basket, bring a couple of inches of water to a boil.

~ Once water is boiling, place eggs in steamer basket.

~ Cover pot and steam eggs, at a full boil, for 15 minutes.*

~ Once done, immediately place steamer basket with eggs into a large bowl of ice water.

~ When the eggs are cool, crack and peel those bad boys.

* Kathy’s instructions included turning down the boil to a simmer, and then steaming for 15 minutes, but I have found that method doesn’t work consistently for me. Keeping the temp high and the water boiling for the full 15 minutes of cook time has never failed to give me perfect eggs.

Seems simple, but did it work?

My results:

How To: Steam Eggs for the Perfect Peeling

I will forever be grateful to Kathy and one day hope to make her a bowl full of delicious egg salad!

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  1. Oh, Mrs. Tucker, this is a great idea. However, today I have a comment unrelated to the topic of eggs. A few months ago, you shared a post about Duolingo. Now, I read your blog all the time, but almost never comment, today I must tell you that your suggestion to try Duolingo ROCKS! Husband and I have been working on Spanish for, well, a while. We spent a ton of money on Roseta Stone, but hated it. Duolingo is the best, we speak to each other in Spanish now all the time.We usually know what we’re saying too! ha ha It’s so fun and next time we go to Mexico, we are excited to try it out for real. Thank you soooooooo much!

    • THIS! This is what makes me the happiest writing. That you come here (THANK YOU for coming!) and take something away that helps you in your life…CONFETTI TOSS HERE…I swear, on the tough days, I’ll remind myself of your words. What a lovely gift. Gracias, mi amiga!

  2. Great share on steaming eggs.

  3. Wow! I have got to try this!

  4. Debbie Mills says:

    I have had the same problem for years. Can’t wait to try it. Should eggs come to room temp first or is it ok right from fridge?

    • I grab ’em straight from fridge.

      • Debbie Mills says:

        well, I don’t know if its because my eggs are fresh, fresh (chickens in the back yard) or what, but just tried steaming, cooling in ice water and have only peeled one but had a most difficult time getting shell off, was not a pretty site!

        • My eggs are fresh! I’m doing a quick series of facebook lives while we make some RIGHT NOW! I’m so sorry it didn’t work.

          • Debbie Mills says:

            I don’t “do” facebook, so couldn’t watch what you were doing live, but out of 10 eggs, 2 came out perfect, the other 8 look like a battle zone. The two perfect ones are from my Buff Orpingtons, the others are from my RI Reds, not sure if that would make any difference. Also noted that the ones giving me trouble, the membrane between shell and egg did not want to detach from egg easily. The 2 that peeled nicely, membrane came off with shell, making peeling easy.

  5. I am going to try this! I would love to make beautiful deviled eggs! Thank you! Found you in the Chicken Chicks blog hop, somehow I missed her post that you referenced. 😉

  6. I’ve never tried steaming them! We’d love for you to share this at our party the Creative Muster. Robin

  7. The trick is the ice water, not the steaming. I do this same thing with boiling them and it works just as well. The shock of the cold causes a contraction of the membrane just below the shell, and it will separate from the egg white proteins. Perfect eggs.

    • Carole, I’m not convinced the trick is the ice bath because I’ve used one for every method I’ve ever tried. Never have I had such gorgeous peeled eggs, as I have after steaming. I know lots of folks swear by the ice bath, but it has never worked consistently for me, but I’m glad it does for you…nothing worse than trying to peel hard-bolied eggs and they won’t!

  8. I steam and shock in an ice bath. I think the ice bath does it best.

    • I always thought the shock of an ice bath was the secret key…yet I used it for each method and the eggs never came out so perfectly as they do when I steamed them. (horrible photo as proof!)

  9. Patti, as others have said, it’s quick immersion in ice water that does it. What you may think is a function of steaming may be the fact that you are using the steamer insert to get all of the eggs quickly into the ice water. Perhaps the method(s) you used before weren’t quick enough? I can’t know; it’s just a guess. What I do know is that when I stopped being casual about cooling the eggs off, my peeling problems came to an end. I have always boiled — and ever since I started getting those finished eggs into an ice water bath right away, my egg shells have always come off cleanly.

    • Prior to the steaming method, I had a bowl of ice/water/ice water right next to the pot and got them in pronto. I felt diligent in the cooling method I used, but had eggs that looked like the “no” pic. I have no idea how this magic works, only that it does! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  10. I’ve been steaming my eggs since 2010 and write this article about it in 2012. A friend told me her grandmother shared that secret with her years ago…and ever since I ‘outed’ her secret, the trick has been shared and reposted by nearly every chicken blogger! The only way to hard cook an egg in my opinion. I do 20 minutes then into the ice water.


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