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How to Cook Perfectly Boiled Eggs

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

Basket with easter eggs on white background

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

Coddle method

Instant Pot method

Steam method

More boiled egg tips



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 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

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.

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 so as to break the shell in many places all 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.

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 with cold water so they are completely covered.

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.


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  1. Grace says:

    I’ve just started using my Air Fryer for making hard boiled eggs. They come out perfect every time and I don’t have to deal with pans, water and timers.

  2. Bea says:

    I use the Dash deluxe Rapid Egg Cooker. Perfect eggs every time. The guide gives you the times for soft, medium or hard boiled. I put eggs in ice water after cooking, wait 3 minutes and peel. I have a friend that swears by her Air Fryer for the perfect egg.

  3. Leeamm says:

    The SECRET to perfect hard-boiled EASY to PEEL eggs is to sprinkle BAKING SODA in the water before boiling. Cover eggs, as many as you want, with cold water. Sprinkle over eggs, a tablespoon or so of baking soda. Bring to a boil In a covered pot for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Let set untrained for 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Refrigerate. Easy peeling with bright yellow yolks.

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