Egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, and those tidy meal prep lunches that fuel your workday all start with one common denominator: hard-boiled eggs. And while this simple staple is fairly easy to make, there's a lot that can go wrong—if you've ever struggled with unpeelable eggshells or encountered that smelly greenish-gray ring around the yolk, you know how finicky the cooking process can be. That's why we're sharing our top three ways to make perfect hard-boiled eggs sans the guesswork. Whether you choose the classic stovetop boil or decide to put your Instant Pot to work, any of these three methods will give you perfectly cooked, easy to peel hard-boiled eggs every single time.
1. How to make hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop
Boiling eggs on the stovetop is the method we all grew up with, and it's a classic for a reason. It requires no special kitchen equipment and very little cooking experience. To put it simply, you just need to know how to boil water and have about 20 minutes to spare.
- Medium or large pot
- Ice bath
- Fill a medium or large pot with enough water to cover eggs by at least 2 inches, but do not add eggs yet. Bring water to a rolling boil.
- Once water is boiling, add the eggs and adjust the temperature to maintain a rolling boil. Start a timer for 12 minutes and prepare an ice bath.
- When the timer goes off, remove eggs from the pot and immediately place into ice bath for at least 10 minutes before peeling.
View the full stovetop recipe and instructions.
2. How to steam hard-boiled eggs
For anyone struggling to pry those eggshells from the egg whites, this steaming method is a guaranteed game changer. Steaming an egg yields the same result as boiling, but with the benefit of shells that are much easier to remove, thanks to the higher temperature of steam versus water.
- Metal heatproof colander or steamer basket
- Pot with a fitted lid large enough to hold your colander
- Ice bath
- Place eggs in your colander, then place the colander in the pot.
- Fill the pot with a couple inches of water. The water level should stay just below the base of the colander (not touching the eggs themselves).
- Place a well-fitted lid on your pot, and bring the water to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, start your timer and leave the lid on the pot to keep the steam from escaping (if it looks like you are going to run out of water, carefully add a little extra warm water to the pot as needed to make sure steam production doesn't cease).
- Let eggs steam for 12 minutes before removing from the pot and placing in an ice bath.
Learn more about the steaming method plus more tips for peeling stubborn eggshells.
3. How to make hard-boiled eggs in your Instant Pot
The gadgeteers out there swear by this recipe, and after one try, you will too! If you already own an Instant Pot, you know that its number one purpose is to make your life easier, and it delivers on this promise when used to make hard-boiled eggs. No need to wait for the water to boil; simply set the timer and walk away.
- Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
- Steamer rack or basket (typically included with Instant Pot)
- Ice bath
- Add the steamer rack to the Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup of cold water.
- Place your eggs onto the rack and close the lid of the Instant Pot.
- Select Manual mode and LOW pressure. Set timer to 12 minutes.
- As soon as the 12 minutes are up, use a kitchen towel and carefully release the steam. Immediately add the eggs to the ice bath and let cool before peeling.
Check out the full Instant Pot method.
Tips for success
- Use cold eggs straight from the fridge.
- Eggs closer to their expiration date will peel more easily.
- Always cook eggs in a single layer, and add enough water to cover eggs by at least 2 inches if boiling.
- Prepare an ice bath ahead of time so that it's ready when the eggs are.
- Leave eggs in the ice bath for 10+ minutes to allow for thorough cooling/easy peeling (you can place them under running cold water instead, but without the cold shock from the ice bath, you may have a harder time peeling, especially if your eggs are farm fresh like ours).
- A slotted spoon can be helpful for transferring eggs from the boiling water or hot steamer basket to the ice bath.