One Fast Hack for Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

One Fast Hack for Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

Say goodbye to shells that stick like wallpaper with this quick egg-peeling hack for perfect hard-boiled eggs

Photos by Brittany Conerly

You’re making a batch of deviled eggs, and you’re ready to peel them. The suspense is killing you: How many shells will slip right off? And how many will cling to the egg white, forcing you to pick off each tiny shard or risk tearing out chunks of egg?

I've got great news: That never has to happen again. Nearly all your shells can come off as easily as peel from a clementine. Yes, even just-laid, fresh eggs, which are notoriously sticky. 

The trick is to hard-cook your eggs instead of hard-boiling them. 

Rather than follow the traditional instructions, starting with the eggs in a pan of cold water, blast them with steam heat immediately. This prevents the membrane that separates egg and shell from fusing the two parts together. 

So how do you hit your eggs with heat, quickly? Two techniques work.


Steam them

A picture of eggs in a steamer basket steaming over boiling water

Set a steamer rack or basket inside a large saucepan and add an inch or two of water. Cover and bring to a boil. 

1. As soon as you see steam, remove the lid and carefully add cold eggs in a single layer. Replace the lid and steam for 11-12 minutes — the time depends on the size of your eggs and precisely how hard you prefer them.

2. While they’re steaming above the boiling water, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Transfer the cooked eggs to the bowl and when they’re cool enough to handle, peel them. (I like using ice water versus running water because it stops the cooking right away.)


Instant Pot them

A picture of eggs on a rack inside an Instant Pot with a small amount of water in the bottom

Think of this as steaming with a twist. The machine requires you to add the eggs to the pot before heating, so you’re not getting that kapow blast like you do on the stovetop. But because the Instant Pot brings a small amount of water to a boil so quickly, it’s very close. 

1. Place a trivet or steamer basket inside the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Place the eggs carefully inside, close the machine, and turn the valve to SEALING. Set it to Manual, high pressure, for 5 minutes. 

2. While it cooks, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then move the valve to VENTING. Transfer the eggs to the ice bath, let them sit for 5 minutes, and then set to peeling eggs. This is known as the 5-5-5 method, but you may find that you prefer 5-4-5 for slightly softer yolks.


A picture of setting steamed eggs into a bowl of ice water after they come out of an Instant Pot

Will this work for every single egg, without fail? Unlikely — but you shouldn’t have trouble with more than one from each dozen. Deviled eggs have never felt so easy.


A picture of peeled eggs and eggs in the shell in a bowl

Eggs, the kitchen wonder-worker

From deviled eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets, egg salad, and curries to meringues and angel food cakes, the versatile egg never fails to surprise and delight. Now that you're a pro at peeling hard-boiled eggs, learn more about how to make the most of eggs with the articles below. You'll find cooking tips and egg hacks for using egg whites and egg yolks (and eggshells!) as well as whole eggs, plus favorite egg recipes using muffin tins and more. And remember, you can always use the search bar on Yummly for specific requests such as “how to poach eggs,” “fried egg recipes,” or “eggs + avocados.”

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