If you’re like me and have been making hard-boiled eggs for most of your lifetime (I think it was the first cooked “meal” I made around age 7), you may still be wondering, after all these years, is there an easy, fool-proof way to make perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs that are easy to peel and have hard, bright-yellow yolks?
Through four decades of conquering soups, stews, braises, roasts, pan sears, boils, steams, grills, salads, pastas, meats, and veggies, the one dish that has remained outside consistency is seemingly the simplest: the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, I have the answer. And of course, it was so damn simple …
So simple, in fact, I don’t know how I didn’t think of it before. But then, not too many others thought of it, either (or at least, if they did, it wasn’t broadly shared via the interwebs).
The trick is in the nomenclature — you can’t think of it as a hard-BOILED egg, but rather, as a hard-COOKED egg.
Once you remove the “-boiled” part, the mind can open to new ideas. No, we won’t put it directly on a flame or a grill, but that’s close. The answer?
That’s right, you’re going to STEAM the egg. So it’s a “hard-steamed” egg.
I can’t take credit for this one — it came directly from my favorite cooking resource of all time, Cooks Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen. You can read all the science, logic, and details behind it at the Cooks Illustrated website. If you don’t care to read all experimentation, science, etc., just trust me — this method works perfectly every time, regardless of how fresh or old the eggs are, no matter how many eggs you do at a time, and there’s no need to add vinegar, salt, nor any other ingredient to the water. End result is a fully cooked egg that is easy to peel with a hard, nicely textured, bright yellow yolk.
The most complicated part of the recipe is how you choose to steam. You can use a stainless-steel steamer basket (or silicone, which doesn’t scratch your pot), bamboo steamer, double-boiler, whatever. In my case, I’ve used the classic, no-frills, inexpensive Farberware double boiler (click to buy and you’ll send a few pennies my way to help pay this site’s server fees).
Whatever steaming instrument you use, here’s what you do:
1. Fill the pot with about an inch or so of water and cover (amount of water depends on height of basket).
2. Put the pot on the stove and turn on the flame (or electric or induction or whatever).
3. When the water starts to boil and emit steam, place the basket of eggs into the pot.
4. Cover and set a timer for 13 minutes (not ten, twelve, or fourteen — exactly thirteen minutes!)
5. Meantime, get an ice-water bath ready.
6. After 13 minutes, turn off the stove and place the eggs into the ice-water bath for 15 minutes.
7. Peel the eggs or put them in the fridge for future use.
And here’s a bonus, also from Cooks Illustrated — an easy way to peel a half-dozen eggs in less than a minute (make sure you steam them first!):