The Best Hard Boiled Eggs (Steamed Eggs)

Steamed eggs are just like hard boiled but they’re easier to peel. Find out why and learn this useful technique.

Steamed egg cut in half to show light yellow yolk, on a cream colored plate.

What is a steamed egg? It’s just like a hard boiled or soft boiled egg except you don’t boil it. Instead, you steam it.

Why Steam Eggs?

It turns out that steamed eggs are easier to peel then boiled eggs. Why is that? It’s pretty interesting, actually.

OK, so you know how when you’re peeling eggs you’re super happy when the thin membrane between the egg white and the shell is stuck to the shell and not to the whites? That’s what makes an egg easy to peel. That’s what we’re trying to achieve here. With steamed eggs, the membrane is more often stuck to the shell. Why?

When an egg hits a hot temperature, it causes the proteins in the outer whites to denature (this is when they solidify), making it harder for them to fuse with the membrane. This also makes the whites contract which makes is additionally harder for the two to fuse. The key is to get the egg into a hot temperature quickly so that those outer egg whites denature fast.

What’s the difference between hard boiling and steaming here then? Why would steaming eggs make them easier to peel? When you hard boil eggs, you add the eggs to boiling water. The cooler temperature of the eggs lowers the water temperature. The eggs are thus not in boiling water at the start. Conversely, when you steam eggs, the eggs are not in contact with the water at all. Adding the eggs to the steamer basket set above the water does not lower the temperature. This means that the eggs are in a hotter temperature right from the beginning. The whites are then less likely to fuse with the membrane and the result is easier to peel eggs. Yay!

How to Steam Eggs So That They’re Easy to Peel:

Put about an inch of water into a medium saucepan.

Pot being filled with water at the sink.

Put a steamer basket over the water. My basket is pretty old but it works just fine. 

Pot on the stove with steamer basket in it.

Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once it is boiling, add the eggs to the steamer basket.

Eggs being added to steamer basket with spoon.

It’s best if they’re in a single layer in the basket.

A dozen eggs in a steamer basket in a pot on the stove.

Cover the pot and keep it over high heat for 12 minutes.

Covered pot on the stove.

Drain off the hot water.

Water from pot being drained off into the sink.


Fill the pot with cold tap water.

Pot with eggs and steamer basket being filled with cold water from the tap.

Adding ice cubes will further help the eggs stop cooking and to cool faster. Let the eggs sit in the ice water until they’re cooled all the way through.

Eggs and ice water in a pot sitting by a sink.

Peel the eggs. All done!

Halved steamed egg on a cream plate with a bowl of eggs in the background.



Steamed Eggs

Steamed eggs are just like hard boiled but they’re easier to peel. Find out why and learn this useful technique.

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 12 eggs


  • 12 large eggs
  • Steamer basket
  • Ice cubes


  1. Put an inch of water into a medium saucepan.
  2. Place the steamer basket into the pan.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Add the eggs in a single layer.
  5. Cover and cook over high heat for 12 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and drain off water.
  7. Fill saucepan with cold tap water and add a few handfuls of ice.
  8. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes, before peeling. Or refrigerate in the shells.
This post originally appeared in May 2018 and was revised and republished in April 2021.


The Best Hard Boiled Eggs (Steamed Eggs)
The Best Hard Boiled Eggs (Steamed Eggs)

Christine Pittman

Christine is the Senior Editor and Owner of The Cookful and of COOKtheSTORY and of the podcast Time Management Insider. Her sites reach over 2 million readers per month, which means that things can get a bit crazy. She's constantly writing, taking pictures, editing, recording, interviewing, managing contributors, and, oh yeah, cooking. To say that she wears many hats is an understatement - there are many hats, and also many shirts, shoes, pants, and even the odd cape!