Three eggs boiling in pan of water

4 Ways to Boil Eggs So They Come Out Perfect Every Time

Eggs. They’re nutritious, delicious, and so beautiful when dyed and decorated for Easter. Cooking them properly any time of the year is quite simple, provided you know a few secrets.

Three eggs boiling in pan of water

A perfectly boiled egg has a yolk that is set all the way to the center, and it is a clean, beautiful yellow color with no hint of ugly green where the yolk and white meet. A perfectly boiled egg slides smoothly away from the cracked shell.

Simmer method

Because this is a tedious process, the maximum number of eggs that should be boiled at one time is twelve. Place eggs in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Bring pot to boil over high heat. Immediately cover the pot and lower the burner to simmer, which produces small bubbles and a very slight movement among the eggs. Allow to simmer for exactly 12 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.

Coddle method

Some cooks prefer to coddle eggs rather than simmer them because the results are more reliable.

Place the chilled eggs in a pot of cold water (6-7 cups for 1-4 eggs and an additional cup for each additional egg). Bring the water to a full rolling boil, remove from heat, and cover it. Set the time for exactly 17 minutes (or 18 for jumbo or extra-large eggs).

Instant Pot method

If you have an Instant Pot, rejoice! You have exactly what you need to make perfect boiled, easy-peel eggs super fast, every time (only one of the many cooking miracles Instant Pot offers).

  1. Place the trivet that came with your Instant Pot in the bottom of the inner pot.
  2. Pour in 1 cup hot tap water.
  3. Place eggs (any number from one to all that will fit in a single layer) on the trivet.
  4. Apply lid, set vent to “Sealing.”
  5. Pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes, then release as follows:
      • Soft boiled: Quick release immediately
      • Medium boiled:* Natural release for 2 minutes, then quick release
      • Hard boiled: Natural release for 7 minutes, then quick release


Steam method

  1. If you have a steamer basket, place it in a saucepan filled with as much water as needed to reach the bottom of the steamer basket (about 1 inch or so). If you are not using a steamer basket, fill the bottom of a saucepan with 1/2 inch of water.
  2. Heat the water on high heat until it is boiling and producing steam.
  3. Turn off the heat and gently place the eggs at the bottom of the steamer basket or the bottom of the pan.
  4. Turn the heat on again to medium-high, and cover the pot. Note: This method works best if the eggs are in a single layer, but you can double them up as well, you’ll just need to add more time to the steaming time.
  5. Set a timer for 6 minutes for soft boiled, 10 minutes for hard-boiled with a still translucent and bright yolk, or 12-15 minutes for cooked-through hard-boiled.
  6. Remove eggs with a spoon to a bowl of cold water or ice water, or run cold water directly into the pan to cover the eggs and quickly stop the cooking action.

If you have doubled up the eggs in the pan and they are not in a single layer, you may need to add a couple of minutes or so to the cooking time for hard-boiled.

Note that many things will influence the steaming time, including altitude and the size of eggs.

More Boiled Egg Tips

Prick the shell

Use a push-pin or needle, push it right into the large end of the uncooked egg, in about 1/4 inch, and into the egg itself. This will pierce the tiny air bubble (present in every egg) that, in an un-pricked egg, expands as the egg is heated and cracks the shell. This tiny hole allows an escape route for the air.

Peel hard-cooked eggs

Tap the egg gently to break the shell in many places around the egg. Start peeling the egg by first placing it under a small stream of cold water and begin removing the shell from the large bottom side.

If the shell is resistant and wants to take part of the white with it, simply drop three eggs at a time into boiling water, wait 10 seconds and immediately transfer them to ice water.

This will expand and contract the shell quickly and will release the shell easily.

Note: The fresher the egg, the more difficult it will be to peel. Laid yesterday? The peel is definitely going to stick. Better: Wait a week before hard-boiling very fresh eggs.

No more ugly green ring

This change of color occurs when eggs are allowed to remain warm beyond proper cooking. A chemical reaction between the yolk and the white occurs, causing this discoloration.

The way to prevent this is to chill the eggs as quickly as possible. Once the eggs have completed cooking, quickly pour off the hot water and add a tray of ice into the pan, quickly filling it with cold water so they are completely covered.

Dye Easter eggs

Mix 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, and 10 to 20 drops of food coloring in a cup to achieve desired colors. Repeat for each color. Dip hard-cooked eggs in the dye for about 5 minutes. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to add and remove eggs from the dye.

Wait until just before coloring to hard-boil eggs. Good Housekeeping recommends boiling eggs for 11 minutes for a hard boil. Do not chill the eggs afterward; warm eggs absorb color more effectively for more vivid results.

Store cooked eggs properly

If you’ve cooked eggs with a week’s worth of lunches in mind, leave them in the shell. The shell is the best form of protection a hard-cooked egg has, according to the American Egg Board.

Stored dry and refrigerated, the eggs will keep for about one week. Once peeled, they should be used immediately.


Here are links to resources mentioned in this post:

Available in a variety of models and sizes, the Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart continues to be the best value with its 7 functions—electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute, yogurt maker, warmer.

This OXO steamer basket is ideal as it easily fits a variety of saucepan sizes, has feet to hold up above the water very well, and a non-metal extendable handle to lift it out of the pan without getting burned. This steamer fits perfectly into a 6-quart Instant Pot


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23 replies
Newer Comments »
    • Mary Lue says:

      Barb, you need to pour off the hot water then fill the pan with very cold water, ice cubes help. Let sit in cold water until eggs are cold to the touch. Then peel the eggs.

  1. Roxanne Karr says:

    I used to buy my eggs fresh from a gentleman who raised chickens. I had a heck of a time peeling my hard-boiled eggs and I asked him if he had any tips. He told me, “The fresher the egg, the harder it will be to peel no matter what method you use…”

  2. Drina says:

    I have an Instant Pot Duo 8 quart. It cooks a little differently, and three minutes under high pressure with immediate release is plenty for hard boiled eggs.

  3. Susan says:

    I saw a method on Facebook where you put each egg in the slot of a muffin tin and put them in the oven and cook them. I tried it and it worked but now I can’t remember the temperature or time.

  4. Amy says:

    Years ago there was a tv program originating fro Charlotte, NC. Betty Feezor was the hostess. And, yes, it was usually about homemaking. Her perfect boiled eggs recipe has always worked. My mother used it, I use it and not sure but my sister uses it too.
    It’s so simpme. Just place cold eggs in a pot large enough to cover them with water. Bring to a full boil. Turn the burner off, cover the pot and wait 15 minutes. Always cooked perfectly. Pour off hot water and fill with cold tap water while breaking the shells. Easy to peel.

  5. Esther says:

    I have tried every method that promised great results and usually ended up being disappointed at the peeling stage, sometimes they peeled nicely often not..until I heard about the steaming method. I do exactly what BETH does, except I don’t use ice water, I just use lots of cold tap water. When peeling I start off by tapping the large end to crack and then I’m careful to slip my finger under the membrane to begin peeling the egg. It’s rare that an egg does not peel well for me.

  6. Beth says:

    I learned another way at a cooking demonstration on a Panama Canal cruise:
    1. Add water to one inch in a pan
    2. Bring water to a boil
    3. Place eggs in a steamer basket and add to boiling water.
    4. Cover pan immediately and set a timer for exactly 13 minutes
    5. At the end of 13 minutes, immediately plunge eggs in a container filled with ice cubes and water.
    6. Crack and peel. I peel them under cold, running water.

  7. Lori M McArthur says:

    We found the best way to do eggs is to steam them. They are SO much easier to peel. Bring the water to boil, then put steamer with eggs and lid over and cook 15 min. Turn the stove off, let sit 15 min. Then put in cold water. They peel much better.

  8. Czechlady says:

    I bring a pot of water to a boil and very gently lower the cold eggs into the boiling water. Turn down to a simmer and boil for 15 – 17 mins, depending on the size of the eggs. Put them in ice cold bath to cool and peeling is so easy. I have even peeled them hot.

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