Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs

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I would never recommend pressure cooking something unless this cooking method improves the food or recipe in some way. For example, I didn’t publish a pressure cooker frittata recipe – it takes twice as long as the original, discolors badly, and acquires a rubbery consistency – not an improvement (flans, on the other hand, are divine)!You can imagine my suspicions about making hard-boiled eggs in the pressure cooker, given that there is no time savings.

The real magic of pressure steaming an egg in the pressure cooker is the ability of using FRESH eggs and getting easy-to-peel hard boiled eggs – instead of old, musty 7-10 day old eggs!  The result looks better, tastes better and is totally worth pulling out the pressure cooker to do.

pressure cooker eggs
Pressure Cooker Soft Boiled Eggs

An innocent blogger peeled away the mystery by noting a little technical tidbit he uncovered in a book:

Per Jeff Potter in Cooking for Geeeks pg. 183, eggs that are hard boiled commercially are steamed at 7.5 PSI for ease of peeling.

This blogger was great at connecting the dots but not very clear with his

marking eggs for pressure cooker timing

methods so, armed with resident 5-year-old egg-spert Vittorio, lots of eggs and inspiration from online previews of the scientific culinary epitome, Modernist Cuisine, we set out to perform our own experiments.

Even though the pressure cooker was invented at the end of the Renaissance (1679), it’s a cooking appliance that has become a must for any Modernist, or in our case, hip cook!

The style of this “recipe” might be a little different than what you usually find here, since it was heavily inspired by the aforementioned, book. Even the step-by-step photos are not immune, featuring our most beaker-like containers and surgical-looking tongs!


Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs
Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs


“Hard Boiling” Fresh Eggs

Why are fresh hard boiled eggs so difficult to peel? Eggs have an air cell at the wider end of the egg, between the shell and the white (albumin).

anatomy of an egg

When the egg is freshly laid this air pocket is very small and only located at the bottom – the rest of the white remains in close contact with the shell.  If a fresh egg is boiled using conventional cooking methods and peeled, much of the white will come away with the shell in uneven chunks leaving an unattractive hard boiled egg. Culinary experts recommend aging an egg for at least  week in the refrigerator prior to boiling to achieve an easy peel.

Aging the egg increases the air pocket to include the areas around the whites creating a distance from the shell that results in an easy peel. Unfortunately, as the egg ages, the size of the air cell at the bottom also increases resulting in a hard boiled egg with a flat area in the whites, reducing the quality of the egg and negatively affecting the color of the yolk.

Pressure Steaming A Fresh Egg

Steaming a fresh egg at low pressure, creates a pressure difference between the exterior of the egg and the air pocket – inflating it and separating the white from the shell. Making a pressure steamed fresh egg, easy to peel.

pressure cooker egg shells

When we are referring to low pressure we mean 6 to 8 PSI (40 to 55 kPa, or .4 to .55 Bar). Pressure steaming an egg at higher pressure, will result in the cracking of the shell prematurely, causing the whites to ooze out and be immediately cooked as they exit the shell – resulting in an unattractive, but still very usable and easy to peel egg.

Best Bets for Pressure Steamed Eggs
soft, medium and hard-boiled pressure cooker eggs

EGGSelectric *
pressure
cooker
(10-12psi)
stovetop
pressure
cooker
(13-15psi)
pressure
selection
opening
method
Egg, Hardboiled56LowNormal
Egg, Medium-boiled45LowNormal
Egg, Soft-boiled33LowNormal
Egg, Bakedseeinstructions
Egg, Poachedseeinstructions
egg, Marbled Chineseseeinstructions
*Electric pressure cookers may use high pressure for better results
Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
4 L or larger steamer basket 5-6 min. Low(1) Normal

4.5 from 19 reviews
Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs
 
Author: 
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 1-6
  • Serving size: 1 egg
  • Calories: 78
  • TOTAL Fat: 5.3g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 0.6g
  • Sugar Carbs: 0.6g
  • Sodium: 62mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 6.3g
  • Cholesterol: 186mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The same procedure and cooking times can be used for up to 6 soft and medium-boiled eggs or as many hard-boiled eggs as can comfortably sit in the steamer basket. Refer to the timing table above for cooking times for soft boiled and medium boiled eggs
INGREDIENTS
  • 1-6 XL Fresh Egg, chilled (from the refrigerator)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Fill the pressure cooker with one cup of cold water. Add the steamer basket, or trivet and steamer basket, egg stand (if using) and egg.
  2. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  3. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 minutes at low pressure (if your pressure cooker does not have this setting, try do a test egg at the pressure cooker setitng it has.
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached low pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 6 minutes low pressure cooking time.
  4. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve.
  5. Open the pressure cooker and place the egg(s) in a container filled with cold water. Keep the water cool by bringing the container to the sink and running more cold water into the container for 1 more minute, to serve warm, or 3 minutes to cool down completely.
  6. Tap the two ends and the middle of the egg and peel delicately.

Special Equipment: Heat Proof Egg Stand

Although poaching pans for the pressure cooker are readily available. Egg-stands for pressure steaming eggs are not – they do not exist! We found an Olive Oil Cap (with the plastic insert removed) to be the perfect heat-proof,  food-grade egg stand to be used in the pressure cooker.

pressure cooker egg stands

NOTE: Children can assist in the preparation of pressure cooker but should not be involved in the cooking, monitoring and opening of the pressure cooker.
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283 Comments

  1. My mother, who is 75 today, wanted me to tell you that she followed this recipe to the ‘T’ with her new Presto Stainless Steel 6 QT stove top pressure cooker and the results were perfect!

    Actually she said “Get on that blog and tell them that they taught a 75 year old woman a new trick!”

    1. God bless her!

      Ciao,

      L

  2. I pressure cooked 4 large eggs recently. 6 minutes low pressure, 6 minutes natural release. Ice bath immediately after. 3 were perfect. 1 had green around the yolk. They all came from the same carton. Any ideas???

    1. Janice, the eggs may have been slightly different sizes. : )

      Ciao,

      L

  3. Gosh — this was just awful as recipe. No real direction about what setting to put the eggs on in an electric pressure cooker (One Pot). Novice. Need you to be specific about settings. Guessed steaming and awaiting results.

    1. Welcome Helaine,
      I guess you missed this step when reading the recipe:
      “3. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 minutes at low pressure (if your pressure cooker does not have this setting, try do a test egg at the pressure cooker setting it has.”

      All electric pressure cookers have different programs. In order to make her recipes suitable for all pressure cookers, Laura always specifies the manual setting.

      I don’t know the One Pot, but I would guess “Steaming” is not suitable. It doesn’t sound like a it is a pressure setting at all.

      As you are new, I suggest you tackle the beginner lessons before venturing off piste. And let me tell you, eggs are tricky. There are a LOT of variables to contend with: Size of egg; freshness; roundness; initial temperature; species of bird; age of bird; weather (yes it does affect things); storage conditions; etc.

      1. Meant to reply so long ago. I particularly was looking for directions on the setting. My son-in-law has given me the recipe for Instant Pot:
        6 minutes
        High pressure
        Manual
        Quick Release Pressure

        I’m happy now.

  4. Love this site but I have to say this timing is off. 5 minutes low pressure yields delicious SOFT jammy yolk but nothing approaching something you could use to make deviled eggs. Other sites recommend up to 12 minutes high pressure. I know we are always looking at variables but I’m teaching newbies so I want to give them a reliable starting point.

    My variables:

    – IP Duo
    – 4 Farm fresh eggs,
    – straight from fridge
    – set on trivet
    – 5 min, low pressure, normal release

    results:
    – almost fully set white (tiny bit runny near yolk)
    – jammy delicious yolk

    Added back to IP and 2 more minutes
    – white set, yolk still runny

    Added back and 4 minutes
    – white set, yolk no longer jammy but still a bit wet at center

    Conclusion:
    5 mins low pressure produces what we call a soft boiled egg here.
    Low pressure yields nicer texture of white.
    Longer time needed to achieve fully set yolk. Going to try 11 minutes, low pressure, normal release.

    Tip: I find cracking them while placing in cold water facilitates shell removal. Running water as well.

  5. This sure didn’t work for me! After 5 minutes at low pressure in an Instant Pot the eggs were closer to soft boiled than hard. Yolk still runny? Looking at other recipes they suggest 12 minutes at low pressure. Before trying this one I had used one of the other recipes with great results, I just wasn’t sure which one so tried this one to my disdain.

    1. Yes, exactly my results. Good thing I like eggs. any which way. Lots of trials to eat!

  6. I totally don’t seem to be able to achieve the great results suggested here. I have my own pastured hens, and I have so many eggs coming in that I can’t keep up with them. I’m using the older eggs first, and so the eggs are not ‘too fresh’ to peel. Could there be a magic window of time after they are cooked and cooled when one must peel them before it becomes impossible. I have friends who love deviled eggs and would love to have me bring some to our meetings, but I’m always stuck with egg salad because out of 20 eggs, I may only get a couple that peel successfully! So discouraging!

    1. IthacaNancy (Ithaca is Gorges!) and here’s my tip for successful peeling: as you take the eggs out of your IP, crack them (bottom esp where there’s likely an air gap betw shell & egg, but all over, gently place into bowl of ice water. When ready to peel pull a little part from that bottom end and grab that membrane, allowing running water to help. You should have an easier time. let me know it that helps.

    2. Nancy, I dunk them right when I pull them out of the pressure cooker. This “SHOCKS” them from hot to cold. Then, if you need to store them in the shell do so after you’ve shocked them so at least the “inner skin” of the shell has separated from the white.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. I haven’t tried cooking eggs in my Instant Pot yet but here’s another tip for peeling eggs: after you’ve removed a bit of peel from the wide end, slide a teaspoon (not a measuring spoon) under the shell and gently pull it away. Large chunks of shell will be removed at one time.

  7. Hi Laura!
    So glad I found this site. I decided to give the pressure cooked eggs a try. The very first time I tried it, they overcooked but was the best peeling eggs I have ever had to peel.

    I have since used your method multiple times and with a few changes I get perfect eggs every time. We have a 40 yr. old presto with a 15psi regulator. just thought I would share my experience. I usually have large eggs and do a dozen at a time in a collapsible vegetable steamer set in PC. I usually do not measure the water, but put it in just under the steamer tray. we are at an altitude of 3500 ft. I then set on electric stove and put jiggler(regulator) on. then set stove dial to high just until the jiggler barely jiggles. at that time I set timer to 6 minutes and turn burner down to where the jiggler barely jiggles for the 6 minutes. As soon as the 6 mins is up, I turn off stove and do a quick release by running cold water over PC till pressure is released. I then immediately put eggs in an ice bath to cool. for me this method creates the perfect hardboiled LG egg. Just thought this might help some of your readers.. You have been a lifesaver for me. Thank You very much!

    P.S. My Father wanted to know how to do it, so was explaining to him how to do it and I must mention, you have to start with cold water and cold eggs in the PC. He started with hot water in cooker (eggs were refrigerated) long story short, starting with hot water, the egg centers where soft. slightly under done but not gooey.

    Hope that helps someone, and again Thank You! Sorry this is so long!

    1. Douglas, thanks so much for sharing your experience and methods!

      Ciao,

      L

  8. Has anyone pierced a hole in the end of egg and then used the pressure cooker method?? We recently purchased a simple 6 egg cooker from Aldis ($7) and the kiddos make several batches a day.
    It comes with a simple pin tool to pierce the large end of the egg . Then you put the small , un pierced end of the egg into the holding rack so the hole you made is at the top. Pretty easy the 6yo runs the operation and they eggs come out perfectly hard cooked and peel fantastically after a dunk in an ice bath for a few minutes. We want to make more eggs at one time and found your pressure cooking method — but 6yo insists on piercing the ends of the eggs first. (I think it helps to release any gas which turns the yolk green).

    thanks for any advice

    1. I’ve never tried it. I think this would be a good eggsperiment for your eggspert to try. Pierce some, and leave some whole. Then come back to tell us about the results!

      Ciao,

      L

  9. I boil a dozen large eggs at a time and 5 min works perfect for me.

  10. I have an Instant Pot Duo Plus with an egg setting. I’m able to make a dozen eggs. Can I make more than 1 dozen eggs at a time by just adding more water? Or should I just stick the dozen and do 2 batches.

  11. A quicker method for HARD BOILED eggs:

    I have successfully (3 times so far) steamed eggs at HIGH pressure (15 psi in my stovetop Fagor) for SIX minutes, followed by immediate pressure release i.e. turning the valve gradually. Then I plunge the hot eggs into an ice bath, allow them to cool down completely.

    No eggs have prematurely cracked during cooking. Even if any do, it won’t make any difference to the outcome.

    I find it’s quicker this way – compared to using “low” pressure and natural release – and the shells come off just as easily. No overcooked yolks so far! :)

    I don’t know if this same method works in electric pressure cookers; it may work. Perhaps anyone reading this comment can try it with their electric one (using HIGH pressure for 6 minutes and turning the valve at the end), see how it goes – good or bad – and reply.

    1. Laura, maybe you could allow comments to be edited within 10 minutes or so of posting? I’ve just spotted a grammar mistake in my previous comment and I can’t correct it lol. Maybe employ the method Facebook uses when editing posts: users can see the edit history by clicking on the link called “Edited”.

      1. I think I got them all – the forums let you updated your post within 60 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s too processor intensive on the server to apply this to comments. If you like you can re-write it and I will delete the first one. ; )

        Ciao,

        L

        1. Up to 20 minutes to edit may not be as processor intensive?

          Don’t worry, it’s only a minor mistake. I’m being very picky!

  12. Has anyone else used HIGH pressure for 6 minutes (and quick release) to hard boil eggs? I find it’s easier. Have an ice bath ready to cool the eggs, job done and eggs peel with no effort. :)

    1. Personally, I have gone back to just boiling them (no pressure) for FIVE minutes. As long as the eggs are not too fresh, I have few problems peeling them. And it is far less fuss. If if I do lose too many, I just make a Caesar Salad instead.

      1. I only started hard boiling eggs again when I discovered, from this site, that using a pressure cooker makes them so easy to peel.

        I find it too difficult to peel eggs boiled normally in a saucepan – the freshest eggs being nigh impossible, because the shell is literally stuck onto the white.

        Anyways, you can just rinse the pressure cooker after steaming the eggs and leave it to dry or wipe it dry and use again.

        1. If you go back through the comments, you will find the photo of a REALLY (laid no more than 30 minutes!) fresh egg cooked in the pressure cooker. My conclusion was that fresh eggs are difficult no matter what. And if I do eggs about 2 weeks old (i.e. bought in a supermarket that day) my method works fine for the vast majority.

          I put the eggs in cold water. Bring it to the boil reduce to a bare simmer and time for 5 minutes. Six if they are really large. Any longer and they start to get blue rings. Then shock them in cold water as you do and peel under a running cold tap.

    2. yes. exactly.

  13. Wow, this is the simple but very healthy meal. Thanks for the instruction how to boil the quails egg.

  14. I would just like to say to everyone that’s complaining that everyone’s mileage will weary.
    Size of the eggs, temperature of starting egg and different makes and models of cookers will all affect your results. You just have to experiment with what you have and what works for you.

    Btw I work at facility that making peeled hard boiled eggs for retail and commercial use.
    Maybe we use old technology but we do not steam the eggs. They are cooked in 97.4c hot water. After cooking they are rapidly chilled down in cool bath and go to straight into the peeling machine.

    Peeler manufacturer recommends for eggs to be about 14 days old and out of the fridge for about half a day before cooking. That should give best peeling results. But of course I’m talking about peeling thousands of eggs daily.

    Now I have to try this steaming method at home and see how it will work.

    1. Hope the steaming method at home works for you. It sure works great for me – I only use the pressure cooker (to steam) hard boiled eggs because I could never peel them boiled in the normal way.

  15. After reading about so many failed attempts at “boiled” eggs on the IP FB group, people have to remember that elevation plays a huge factor in the length of time. I’m in the lower desert of Arizona so almost in all of the recipes for the IP I have to shorten the time required to cook. My boiled eggs only take 2 minutes low pressure, 5 min NPR then cold water. I have a hard time soft boiling an egg because just a second or two too long and I have a boiled egg. If I were to do the 5-5-5 method the yolk would entirely gray and ugly.

  16. Quick update…

    Room temperature eggs hard boiled. Still using HIGH pressure for 6 minutes, but this time using just cold running water, no ice bath. The eggs are cooked perfectly, even in the centres. Sometimes the shells may crack during cooking, but the eggs still cook perfectly and are easier peel than boiling in a saucepan; even at low pressure the shells sometimes cracked during cooking.

    I find it’s much quicker using HIGH pressure and cold tap water.

    If you are reading this and always getting overcooked green yolks, I would suggest the ice bath, but not too many ice cubes. I found my eggs yolks were a little under-cooked in the centres if the water bath is too cold, but cold tap water without ice cubes cooks them perfectly for me.

    Tip: having peeled the eggs, rinse your hands, now hold the egg under slow running (cold) water and gently rub the white all over. This removes all bits of shell and guarantees you never chew egg shell again. :-)

  17. Just did 14 eggs in my Fagor 10qt stovetop. 5 mins at low pressure, REGULAR pressure release and then chilled in water. PERFECT hard boiled eggs! Tender, not rubbery whites, fluffy yolks, no cracked shells. I love Julia Child for almost everything, but I will never follow her (very complicated) HB egg recipe again!

    P.S. what is the purpose of the olive oil cap egg stand?

    1. It stops the eggs rolling around and possibly breaking. Anything will do. I use screw top wine bottle caps.

      1. It also helps to keep the yolk centred in the egg.

      2. Ahhh … makes sense. I had so many eggs in the steamer basket, they were pretty much anchored in position.

      3. But the tops are no longer essential as today most pressure cookers come with racks with indentations that can hold the egg (see video).

        Ciao,

        L

  18. It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on this post & forgive me if I’m duplicating info. Just an FYI: there are lots of egg steamer racks on Amazon now (there was nothing a few years ago!) – some are stackable so you can make up to 14 eggs at a time. The one I got years ago just *barely* fits in the instant-pot b/c it was designed for boiling eggs in a regular stove top pan so I think I’ll be ordering one of these soon.

    1. Personally, I’ve found that a special rack is unnecessary for doing larger numbers of eggs. I think I can fit about 9-10 eggs snugly (i.e. in a way where they don’t move) in a single layer in the steamer basket of my Fagor 10 litre pot; subsequent layers are easy to build up … the eggs themselves form their own “rack”. I’m doing 30 on Tuesday for a party … I’ll follow-up with a post to say how it goes ;)

  19. Laura,
    I have a tip and a question. I cooked a dozen eggs as I’ve done repeatedly. I peeled one, cut it in half and saw that the yolk had not set. I wrapped the cut egg in plastic wrap, put it back with the rest of the eggs, and did additional cooking. I did this a few times and the wrapped egg cooked exactly like the unshelled eggs.

    TIP: at the end of cooking peel and cut in half one egg to judge doneness. If it needs more time, plastic wrap it and put back in your cooker. Unwrap it at the end of the additional cooking to see if done.

    QUESTION: I don’t know how much additional cooking is needed to set the yolk. I brought the cooker back up to pressure and added a minute or two. I did this repeatedly and it didn’t do much to the yolk. It seemed that this just rewarmed the eggs after their pre-peeling cold water bath. I ended up cooking them for several minutes with a natural release. It appeared that time wise I needed to treat the eggs as if they were not cooked at all to set the yolks. Any thoughts?

    1. gbguy, it really depends on the egg and your cooker. You can actually extend the egg “cooking time” a tad by waiting to dunk them in cold water after pressure cooking.

      Ciao,

      L

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