Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs Instant Pot

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

EGGSINSTANTPOT
/ELECTRIC *
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 if low pressure is not available.
Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
4 L or larger steamer basket 5-6 min. Low(1) Normal

4.5 from 25 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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330 Comments

  1. Wonderful to stumble across this site. I’ve recently replaced my cooktop with conduction and have had to relearn some ways to cook. For some reason my perfect tried and true boiled eggs (bring to boil, take off heat, put on lid and leave for 10 minutes) doesn’t work anymore – but hey, my new pressure cooker was christened last night with boiled eggs. (By the way, here in Australia most wine bottles have screw top lids and they make perfect egg holders.) The first attempt resulted in one very runny egg, but the second at high pressure, was very good. I’ll need to experiment for the right timing as I’d started with three eggs (on low pressure 5 mins) and returned the remaining two to recook (high pressure 4 mins). I can see this is going to be the only way I boil eggs from now on. And I’d be glad for any hints you might have for pc cooking with conduction. Thanks for this great site. Maggie

    1. Maggie, I just added a note of “caveats” for cooking times by heat source on the Pressure Cooking Time Table!

      Basically, pressure cooking times also account for the time the cooker takes to reach pressure with traditional heat sources (about 10 minutes is you’re starting with a cold cooker and water)- during this time the food is also cooking. With induction, the cookers reach pressure much faster (about half the time, if not less) so you need to tack on about three minutes to the pressure cooking time to compensate.

      Ciao,

      L

    2. That’d explain my raw eggs at the first attempt. I’m getting up to pressure in about 30 seconds !

  2. Thank you for providing the perfectly logical answer to the reason I’m having to adjust a lot of my cooking techniques with the induction cooktop. (I just noticed I called it conduction above [duh!]). That would also account for non pc boiled potatoes taking much longer to cook after bringing to the boil than on the old cooktop. However, I’ll be doing mashed potatoes in the pressure cooker from now on, now that I have my lovely new one. Thanks once again. Maggie

  3. Thanks for this post and blog! Since getting my pressure cooker a few months ago, I’ve used it several times a week. Also, thanks so much to the “commenters” who post how to adapt recipes to those of us who only have the one “high” setting pressure cookers. I thought I had done my research prior to purchase and thought that “low” was not really needed. I am going to try some hard-boiled eggs today!

    1. Luciacara, don’t worry.. you next one can have two levels. You’ll find as you do more and more of your cooking in the pressure cooker that.. you can’t have just one!!!

      Ciao and Welcome!

      L

    2. Thanks for the welcome, Laura!

      I did make hard-boiled eggs the other day – worked perfectly! I used my Fagor 8-qt pressure cooker.

      I put one cup water in the cooker and then 13 eggs in the bottom of my steamer basket (this is the most that would fit in one layer so they wouldn’t roll around). Cooked at high pressure for 5 minutes (after fully bringing up to pressure), took the pot off the burner for 5 minutes (natural release for 5 mintues), then submerged the eggs in cold water. They peeled so easily! Thanks, everyone!

      I am going to do two layers of eggs soon to see if that works…we have college kids home for the summer and the egg salad I made from those 13 eggs lasted only one day here!

  4. Hello, and thank you for the excellent site!

    Here’s an alternative to bottle caps that hold the eggs upright and snug: a silicon ice cube tray. Completely impervious to the heat, flexible, easy to keep clean. Mine has 15 deep “cups” and, using every other slot, holds 8 eggs perfectly.

    Cheers!

    1. Great idea! HOWEVER, there are different grades of silicone. If it is not stamped on the silicone that it can resist temperatures up to 250C I would not put it in the pressure cooker!

      Ciao,

      L

  5. What a spectacular blog!!!!I am so happy to have come across this site. I am from India, and I do a LOT of pressure cooking, and it’s an integral part of my kitchen.

    I have successfully boiled eggs in pressure cooker since I was a kid in college. Never fails. My method is to dip them directly in cold water, and cook it for 1 – 6 minutes, depending on how I want them.

    But there are SO many things I have never tried. I must try them now.

  6. For standing eggs upright on a flat trivet, these Browne-Halco stainless steel egg cups ought to work:

    And at 99 cents per cup, the price is right!

  7. Quick question- do the times change if you are using large eggs vs. extra-large eggs?

    1. Ok- going with a minute less next time for large eggs- slightly overdone… BUT you are soo right that they peel like a dream! Love it!

    2. Lisa, thanks for reporting back your timing! Generally, it’s a very small difference (a minute sounds good) – timing is crucial if looking for a soft-boiled egg!

  8. Laura,
    Another WINNER! The wife had a dozen eggs to hard boil and I suggested we try this. The skeptical one (not me) had their doubts. We put a dozen eggs, loose, in the 8qt Fagor and went for it. They cooked perfectly and even the skeptical one was impressed with how easily the shells came off.

    The only negative was that the yolks weren’t centered in all the eggs. Would putting the eggs in stands/caps improved things?

  9. Laura,
    Please feel free to add this to my prior question. It looks like how the eggs are stored prior to cooking is the secret to centered yolks. I just saw a couple of references that said to put the eggs on their side (change their orientation) 8 to 24 hours prior to cooking. I’ll try this next time.

    I also saw a reference that said to store them tip down. That one doesn’t work, as that is how my eggs were stored.

    1. Ed, I have not figured out the magic for getting centered yolks! The stands only help to keep a few eggs from rolling around in the pressure cooker and cracking as you carry the cooker around.

      My guess, is that the fresher the egg the more centered the yolk. In my research for this article I learned that as an egg ages, not only does the air pocket size increase, some of the white becomes less dense (i.e. runny). From this information, we can deduce that it’s probably easier for the yolk to move around and be off-center with a runnier white.

      So, let’s ask the experts: Any of you back-yard chicken raisers who are pressure cooking super-fresh eggs have off-center yolks with this method?!?!

      Ciao,

      L

      P.S. Your first post made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the detailed report!

      1. The secret to centered yolks is to store your egg carton up on its side, so the widest part of the egg is horizontal. As Ed said, you should do this ahead of time. Works like a charm!

  10. They exploded the first couple of times, but now they’re quite good. Thanks for the recipe, I didn’t even know you could soft boil eggs, let alone in a pressure cooker.

    1. Steve, this is the first I’ve heard of exploding eggs. I’ve had the shells crack when I was slow to turn down the heat but never had an egg disintegrate. What did you change to get perfect eggs?

      Ciao,

      L

  11. What do you mean by natural release of steam? Mine has a push button to release the steam, it’s electric.

    1. Unplug the cooker and count 5 minutes natural release time. If the pressure has not come down on its own by the, release the rest of the pressure by pushing the button.

      Ciao,

      L

  12. For a cheap and easy way to put your eggs in the PC. If your eggs come in one of the pressed paper cartons, just separate the segments. I took a carton and divided it into 3 sets of 4. Two of them would fit just fine in the PC and hold the eggs upright. Of course they get wet while the eggs are processing, but they don’t disintegrate and can be taken out and dried and reused. Easy, cheap, and readily available. I’ll be trying different segment combos (single, twos, etc) to see which is the best in using the space.
    Laralee

    1. Wow, that’s interesting!

      Ciao,

      L

  13. Hi, I found this site last week and used my pressure cooker to hard boil 4 eggs today. I took the eggs from the fridge, stood each in an aluminium foil ‘cup’, added cold water in the trivet, pressured on low for 6 minutes, depressurised naturally by moving and waiting and was delighted when they peeled easily and were cooked perfectly. Thanks.

  14. My sister gave me her electric egg cooker that she wasn’t using. The basic stand for those should work, shouldn’t it?

  15. I have done this a couple of times, but the shells still stick to the eggs. My eggs are very fresh, usually laid that day. Is that the reason the shells are sticking?

    1. Marsha, that’s unusual. What kind of pressure cooker do you have?

      Ciao,

      L

  16. Interesting site! I just tried 4 eggs in my older Presto cooker which has no settings. I adjusted the heat to let the steam escape without the regulator rocking. I let it cook for 6 minutes and rest for 5 minutes. The pin still had not dropped, so I put it under cold water and almost immediately it dropped. The eggs were perhaps a little overdone, but they peeled beautifully! The only issue, which I have never experienced with hard boiled eggs before, is that the whites were golden colour above the egg holder line. (similar to the comment from Feb 27, 2012)

    1. Rick, your older Presto cooker runs at high pressure (15psi) so the eggs may be a little over-cooked. Try doing them for only 3 or 4 minutes at “almost pressure” you achieved earlier with just 5 minutes of natural release time.

      Haven’t learned anything more than my reply on Feb 27th on the yellowing of whites. Interesting phenomena!

      Ciao,

      L

    2. I thought I’d pipe in with the results of my batches using a Mirro pressure cooker with no settings. Thanks to Rick, above, for his awesome instructions.

      I tested mine in 3 batches, 2 eggs, 6 eggs, 4 eggs and all batches were consistent. I just had one casualty in the bunch (broken egg with spilled yolk).

      The eggs were fresh (bought yesterday at the groc store). They went straight from the fridge to the PC that had one cup of water & a steamer basket. I locked the lid in place & put the burner on 4 (out of 6). When the pin popped (varied from 10 to 14 mins) I set a timer for 6 minutes. I also turned the burner to 3 to try to maintain low pressure. I don’t know what that is on my PC since I don’t have settings, but I just monitored the regulator to make sure it didn’t rattle. After 6 minutes, I removed from the burner and let sit til the pin lowered again (varied from 4 to 7 mins). When it lowered, I moved it to the sink & poured cold water over the top til it stopped making noise. Then ran cold water over them in a bowl and put ice cubes in the bowl. They were all so easy to peel, the yokes were perfect, and there was no discoloring of the whites as is mentioned elsewhere.

  17. You are my new kitchen hero! I’ve been struggling to get hard boiled eggs that peel with no pitting & tearing. With your techniques, it’s egg cooking heaven.

    I did 4 xlg eggs in my 4 qt cooker, with 1 cup cold water under my bottom plate. I planned to crumple & form some aluminum foil to hold the eggs. Instead, I rooted through my kitchen drawer where I found some old brass napkin rings that have never been used on a napkin. It seems that I save everything in that drawer. They held the eggs perfectly.

    I want to fine tune my timing. I used the middle, 10 psi setting for 6 minutes from the first jiggle of my weight. I used natural cooling for pressure release of 10 mins (too long). My eggs were very slightly over done. But the shells peeled right off. WOW! Thank you!

    After the hb eggs are perfected I’ll work on med cooked yolks. Thanks again.
    Doug

  18. I am very new to the world of pressure cooking (my mother taught me to fear all pc’s) and was so excited when I found your site. But finding this post is the cherry on top! I purchase my eggs directly from a local farm and I typically keep hard cooked eggs in the fridge for quick snacks, lunches etc. This method makes peeling a fresh egg so easy – the shell just about jumps off the egg. I do find that for a cold egg 7 minutes and then natural release works best for us. Looking forward to learning my way around this new (old) method of cooking with you.

    1. Welcome Joanne!! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

      There will be cooking time variations according to cook top (induction), coldness of the refrigerator, and size of the egg – so I’m glad you found the perfect combination!

      Ciao,

      L

  19. HI – I just got an instant pot and realizing it’s a little more trial and error in terms of directions and specifics. I was wondering how I could do this with the instant pot? Thanks! and also, I’ve been trying to figure out how to adjust your recipes to the instant pot as I saw you have a page addressing this topic; however, I’m having trouble knowing how to translate regular cooker pressure recipes to instant pot. Thanks in advance!! Love the site so far :)

    1. I have an Instant Pot, and the eggs do not come out perfect with it. The pressure cooker has only ONE pressure setting and it is a bit on the high side. You can still do it, but I would only pressure cook the egg for only 3 minutes – but don’t be surprised if the shell is cracked.

      Sorry. : (

      L

      1. Hello! I just tried this with my Instant Pot using the button for soup since that setting cooks at a lower level and it worked great! I wanted them to be hard boiled and set it for 8 minutes after the pressure came up. I immediately reduced the pressure once the time passed and no broken eggs. YIPPEE!

        1. Patty, my Instant Pot Duo soup button defaults to high pressure. Did you adjust it down to low pressure? (Or maybe your model is different than mine?)

          1. Hmmm not sure Redbird. Mine is the LUX-60 6 in 1 model. The instruction booklet that came with mine says the Soup key is used for making soups and broths and “Instant Pot controls the pressure and temperature to a level that the liquid never goes into the heavy boiling state.” I can’t adjust the pressure but I can adjust the time. Hope that helps.

  20. I love this method! It works for me – every time – here at my 5000 ft elevation. I found I could use shot glasses to hold each egg in the pressure cooker — it works for all but the tiny eggs that are laid by my silkie hen.

  21. I didn’t know that we can hard boil eggs in pressure cooker. I love it.

  22. Amazing. I have very fresh eggs because I have chickens, so I can see this being very useful. I need to adapt it to quail too.
    I do have one question, tonight I tried to make soft boiled eggs, but I ended up with medium. I think it might be my pressure cooker. I have my mom’s Wear Ever, she’s not comfortable with it, and it has a weight with 5, 10 and 15 lbs on it. I used the 10 lb setting, but maybe I should have used the 5 lb setting. Any advice as to what I should use for the “high” and “low” settings on your recipes here? Thanks.

    (It is about 20 years old, but has the latch so it won’t open under pressure and an emergency valve. I’m comfortable with canning in my all american canner, but it’s the only pressure cooking I’ve done before now.)

    1. Definitely try the the lower pressure setting. Since your eggs are very fresh you may not have refrigerated them – this also helps in obtaining a soft-boiled egg.

      I wrote back and forth via e-mail with a reader who had quail-eggs and we were able to get them done perfectly at one minute under low pressure. I can’t remember if they were soft-boiled or not.

      Try it and come back to post your results so anyone else who is wondering how long their quail eggs might take can see your comment!

      Ciao,

      L

      1. I will let you know when I’ve played with the quail eggs. I’m looking to hard boil them, I like to make pickled and tea eggs with them. But a breakfast of a bunch of soft boiled quail eggs would be very cool.
        The eggs are fresh, but because I sell them I have to refigerate them, state law, and I think federal law. But I did warm them up to room temp in hot tap water before cooking them. My mom always insisted that soft boiled eggs cook better if they are room temp.

        1. AHA! OK, next time do them straight out of the refrigerator. I wrote the recipe this way exactly because most of my readership is American.

          In Italy eggs are sold and stored at room temperature – so I got funny looks from my husband when I put all of the eggs in the refrigerator to experiment cooking times!

          Ciao,

          L

          1. Another thing I found today, hours old eggs are still too fresh to peel using this method. Stuff from stores are usually about a week old, so I’ll stick with week old eggs.

            1. Just another note- generally in stores you’re getting week or several week old eggs here in the US anyway.

            2. CMTigger, the method will work if the eggs are refrigerated first. That’s part of the easy-peel magic. I had a similar problem with same-day eggs (because in Italy they are sold UN-refrigerated) but once I refrigerated them and hard-boiled next-day eggs (you could probably wait less time) they became easy to peel again.

              Try it!

              Ciao,

              L

      2. I am finding that 1 minute on 5 lb pressure is just right for quail eggs still cold from the fridge (with a quick rinse). I’ve got two jars of about 4 dozen each pickling in the fridge right now. A few seem to break every time, but I don’t have anything to hold them in there and just put them in as is.

        1. cmtigger, thanks for sharing your quail egg pressure cooking time!

          Ciao,

          L

  23. I have been doing my HB eggs using the pressure cooker for a long time. In fact, I only do the HB in the pressure cooker. I had never had a soft boiled egg before and was feeling experimental yesterday. Where have you been all my life? They came out great and they are a real treat. I love taking the top off and finally using my pretty little egg holder. Thanks for making this so easy.

    1. Theresa, now you need one of those fancy “egg snippers” to perfectly remove the top from a soft-boiled egg! ; )

      Ciao,

      L

  24. I came across your site from a review of an America’s Test Kitchen pressure cooker recipe book on Amazon. The reviewer was knowledgeable, so his recommendation of your site helped me get here. I’ve been poring through all your content and can’t wait to try so many of your recipes. But this one for hard boiled eggs couldn’t wait! I made 6 eggs last night, and my, oh my, oh my. They were the most perfectly textured, perfectly peeled eggs I have ever made. My son ate three right then and there (he loves hard boiled eggs). I am so excited that I can now make these on a Sunday night for the week, or make deviled eggs and know the yolks will be perfect. Really. Perfect. Thank your for practical and logical approach to cooking and not leaving out any steps. I think I will finally gain the confidence I need to use my pressure cooker for more than steaming veggies, and I’m really excited to create my own recipes too. I kept looking around your site wondering where the link to your book was, then I saw that you have one coming out next year. I can’t wait! Sorry for the long post, but I can’t thank you enough for letting me conquer the hard boiled egg!

    1. So glad you made it here – no matter how circuitous the route and glad to read you’re enjoying the site.

      I feel like I’ve been writing the book FOREVER but I do promise it will be worth the wait. In it, I share all of my pressure cooker knowledge – why some things work the way they do – so that readers can have the confidence to whip up their own pressure cooker recipes!

      A fellow pressure cooker expert pulled me aside and asked “why would you want to give all of this information away? Then, no one will buy your next book!”

      I’m writing a book to be a definitive guide to pressure cookery -everyone should have the tools to succeed – plus some pretty fantastic recipes, too!

      Now that you’re registered keep an eye on the newsletter as I’ll announce there when the book goes for pre-sale and I should be able to share a preview, too! The target launch date as of today is September, 2014 – just one more year. ; )

      Ciao,

      L

  25. I HAVE TO SAY THIS IS THE BEST EVER! I can go out and get the eggs from our chickens and come in and cook them in the pressure cooker and they are PERFECT!!!!! I made “deviled eyes” for Halloween and they were easy to peel and turned out great. I use canning lid rings for keeping the eggs separated so I can fit in 5-6 eggs per time!!! THANKS SO MUCH, THIS IS A WINNER!!!

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