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.
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
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!
“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).
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.
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
[table id=29 /]
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|4 L or larger||steamer basket||5-6 min.||Low(1)||Normal|
- 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
- 1-6 XL Fresh Egg, chilled (from the refrigerator)
- 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.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
- 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.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve.
- 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.
- 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.
I made one soft boiled egg in the Instant Pot Smart.
I mistakenly did it at high pressure but it was perfect in 3 minutes. I ate it and it was so good I made another.
I just did it on the trivet without a stand.
Wow!! Just hard boiled my easiest peeling eggs EVER! I quit making hard boiled eggs from my chickens eggs because they would end up all mangled and I’d be frustrated and angry. Thanks so much for the recipe :-) I’m so glad I found your site.
I didn’t have any spare olive oil caps so I improvised. My friend had let me borrow his stand for cooking beer chickens. Just so happened that the four feet were loops which could hold one egg each. I flipped it upside down, placed an egg in each one, and followed the directions (though my stove-top pressure cooker is 10psi).
I placed the eggs in a steamer basket without propping them up in any way. I reasoned that the pressure would be uniform throughout the pressure cooker and that, therefore, the eggs would not be tossed about. I was right. The hard-boiled eggs were perfect.
I’ve been experimenting with my new Instant Pot Duo for about a month and loving it, but I was skeptical to try the hard-boiled eggs. Easy to peel? Had to be too good to be true…
Well, I just experimented with 4 eggs straight from the fridge, and it was a complete success!
• Sat a collapsible steamer basket on top of the supplied trivet and added 1 cup of water
• Placed 4 eggs in (without holders)
• Pressed “Steam” and reduced to 6 minutes
• Once it finished I left it in the “Keep Warm” mode and counted 5 minutes
• Released the pressure by moving the dial to “Venting”
• Removed eggs to an ice bath for a few minutes
Then I held my breath as I started to peel. Never have I gotten peels off so easily, no torn whites, no green ring around the yolks. Perfectly hard-boiled. I’ll be trying different timings for a softer yolk consistency next. Thank you, Instant Pot (and Laura P.), from a flight attendant who brings a lot of eggs with her on her trips!
I just tried for the first time with the Instant Pot Duo as well. 4 eggs on a steamer basket with 1 cup water. 3 min. on low pressure and manually released pressure by opening the valve. Ran under cold water for a minute. The result was incredible soft boiled eggs! Easy to peel with all the white intact and an oozy yolk. Delish! This will be my new ¨go to¨ method for boiled eggs.
Thanks, Flygirl/Susan! I tried following the directions on the website but my eggs came out soft boiled. Then I tried your method and it worked great. My farm fresh eggs came out hard boiled and peeled perfectly!
I had this same problem with my eggs coming out soft boiled when I followed the original directions for hard boiled. I will try this method instead! Thanks Flygirl/Susan and Valorie!
Update:. Success! This worked great, although I accidentally left the cooker on High pressure. Only one egg “exploded”, the rest were perfect. The exploded egg wasn’t too bad, mostly just exploded the shell off. Still had the structural integrity the egg. I will use Low pressure next time.
I just tried my fourth batch in my Instant Pot Duo and finally got the whites set (although now the yolk was hardboiled, and I was aiming for medium). At least this time it was easy to peel – the previous three times they were soft boiled with just a bit of unsettled whites around the yolk (on low for 3 minutes and then 4 minutes) and peeled horribly. This time I did 6 minutes and waited 2 minutes before releasing pressure. Next time I’ll do six minutes and release pressure right away – fingers crossed! I’m not sure why I keep persisting – I’m really happy with my results in a little pot on the stove, which is a lot less work than getting the Instant Pot out of the cupboard and set up. I guess I just want to conquer it now ;)
I wasn’t using a steamer basket in the Instant Pot; I was just using its trivet. Could that be a contributor?
I mistakenly cooked my egg(1) at high pressure and it turned out perfectly. I used soft boiled timing and got a perfect soft boiled egg with absolutely no runny white and no overcooked yolk.
I just put it on the trivet and the yolk was centered but I think this is more to do with storing eggs on their side in the fridge. Was so good Immediately made another which turned out exactly the same.
Try high pressure for one egg next time the IP is out.
Thanks, Helen. I tried high pressure for four minutes this time and they were significantly better. I was previously worried that high pressure might cause them to crack or something – not something I wanted to risk :) Still lost one medium chunk of egg white while peeling, despite shocking them in cold water after cooking. This is a different brand of eggs, so I’m not sure if it’s the high pressure or the new brand that’s helping but I’ll definitely stick with high pressure from now on.
I’ve never been able to get boiled eggs just right, so I decided to try this today with my shiny new Redmond electric pressure cooker. Used the Multichef mode set to three minutes, sat the eggs on a steam basket sat on a trivet, carefully released the steam valve and removed. Result – perfect medium boiled eggs, just what I wanted! Although boiling on the hob is probably quicker in total, I don’t mind because I know it will come out the way I want it, no guesswork! Thank you for the post.
OK. I decided to give this another try. And this time test the premise that you can readily peel a FRESH egg.
I used two eggs for my test.Neither was refrigerator cold. I keep my eggs at room temperature. One was four days old – just a little fresher than I can get locally store bought. It weighed 54g. The other was FRESH. It was still warm from being laid.I had last checked the coop about 45 min earlier, so that egg was no more than 45 minutes old. Probably a lot less as there were no chooks in sight when I checked earlier. It weighed 55g
I cannot figure out what an “XL” egg is but I figured it is more than my two test subjects, so I decided to use Laura’s timings exactly rather than add my usual fudge factor for altitude. I was after Medium so I used 5 minutes at low pressure then used the Kuhn Rikon Rapid release. (Pull button up) Incidentally @Laura this recipe is still using cold water release.
I dropped both in cold water for a few minutes then peeled each under running water. I did the “stale” one first. The stale one peeled like a dream. I cannot say the same about the fresh one. See photos for details. Both were cooked pretty much perfectly though. Lunch was eggsellent.
So can you peel fresh eggs successfully? No if they are farm fresh. Yes if they are shop fresh. Here that seems to be about a week old at best.
Note that I used the holes in the trivet to cook them. I just used the stelvin caps for display. I took other photos too, but I forgot this section only allows one photo.
That’s a sad looking egg, Greg. I can see why you’re dissapointed! The technique uses refrigerated eggs, please try that next time – it helps more than you’d think! It’s probably because the egg is shocked twice. Once with the large temperature difference during cooking, and again with the cold water cool down.
Ah but any egg that has been out of the chook long enough to refrigerate it is not truly fresh! ;)
This was about taking the concept to the extreme not about the real world. Now I know to use eggs a few days old. The fridge is for other stuff . Not eggs (or tomatoes or avocados)
P.S. Yes, we need to re-work the timing of this recipe to include the Normal Release since it adds a minute or two to the cooking time. Haven’t had time to test it, yet.
Maybe you could quickly chill freshly laid eggs before pressure cooking? Putting the eggs into the freezer for 20 minutes (don’t forget to take them out!) or immersing the eggs into a bowl of cold water with a handful of ice cubes could work? I’ve not tried either method. Worth a try!
What I do know is that pressure-cooked eggs *DO* peel easily compared to ordinary boiled eggs. It would appear that freshly laid eggs need to be cooled first, then pressure cooked and finally plunged into icy cold water before peeling.
Hey guys. Chill. It was just an experiment to see how far the easy peel fresh egg concept would go.
4 day old was fine. 0 day old was not. I may try 0.5, 1, 2, 3 day old some time, but as our egg supply is limited (4 most days. Sometimes 5, sometimes 1 or 2. 3 today) it will be a while before stocks will be high enough to waste them this way. We use a minimum of 4 eggs a day. 5 if I am making mayonnaise. More if Pam is baking. She usually only uses the whites so those days I make a batch of creme brulee or similar. That has left the pressure cooker and entered the domain of the SV BTW.
Greg, what we’re trying to say is that you can’t pronounce a method doesn’t work if you’re not following it. It sounds like you’re coming up with your own – and that’s great, too. Actually, it’s this kind of experimentation that can bring about new methods! So please, keep us updated on your experiments.
I think David was just trying to get creative on how you might follow the original method in less time.
I’m just saying that eggs laid the same day may peel easier if you rapidly chill them first, then pressure cook and finally plunge the cooked eggs (still hot) into icy water for peeling. Older eggs can be pressure cooked at room temperature.
If you try chilling your freshest eggs first, they may need an extra minute cooking, compared to eggs cooked from room temperature. See how it goes.
I had great success following the guide for pressure cooking eggs as listed above. I use the cardboard egg crate that the eggs are sold in and it seems to work fine. No discolouration or aftertaste. For 9 eggs I would add one extra minute to allow for a slightly firmer yolk if you like it that way! The eggs are tender and tasty! Excellent.
BTW I used an electric pressure cooker for the eggs above.
great idea using the cardboard container!
just finished making 9 eggs–i have pullet eggs (the small “practice” eggs chickens first lay) and they are quite fresh. i placed them in a collapsible steamer basket with 1/2 cup water and brought to low pressure (faygor duo 4 quart). pressure cooked for 4 minutes, then natural release, cool water rinse and they were absolutely perfect! just a bit moist in the yolk. i am sold on pressure cooking eggs. (along with just about everything else not nailed down!) love my pressure cooker……………. :o)
Hard boiled eggs
I load up my Instant Pot with 8 eggs on the trivet, add 2 cups water, hit “manual” and set time for 6 minutes. when done, I let it sit about 2 minutes and then vent. Take eggs out and peel…no shocking with ice water, no peeling under running water. Peel perfectly every time. This is the ONLY way I will hard boil eggs!
Weighing in on the fresh egg question. I used one and two day old eggs which had been chilled in the refrigerator, and two were quite easy and two were what I would consider ‘normal’ – pretty difficult with some dings in the whites. Might be best to wait a day or two if you are gathering eggs from your own chickens. I found six minutes on low pressure and then resting for six minutes before releasing the last bit of pressure in the Smart Instant Pot before running under cold water resulted in egg yolks that were a bit underdone. I’d probably add a minute or two next time.
Also, if just doing four eggs, the depressions in the trivet provided with the pot worked very well as egg cups, holding my eggs upright.
thanks for all the info – like Greg we have our own layers, so I appreciate his ‘test’ since I can have fresh eggs still warm from the brooder box – so I now know that a quick chill and they should be fine, so THANK YOU all!!
Love this method. Have been using it since first posted on this site. Recently purchased an egg rack from Williams-Sonoma that is fantastic for this purpose.
I’m searching online for this wonderful looking egg rack and cannot find it anywhere. Can you tell me the manufacturer and product number? I’ve checked Williams-Sonoma online and it does not come up.
I found it here:
Do you think I could find it, or something similar, in Italy?
Artemisia, you could use these… and pull them out using tongs! They’re stainless steel (inox):
You’re right, it looks like they no longer sell them. However, I did a quick search and found a couple of sites that sell them. Although, not sure how long they will have them.
Williams-Sonoma Stainless-Steel Egg Boiling Rack … – Houzz
http://www.houzz.com › All Products › Kitchen › Cookware
Whether you prefer your eggs soft-boiled, hard-cooked or somewhere in between , this rack is the secret to preparing them perfectly. It holds eggs upright in a.
Williams-Sonoma Stainless-Steel Egg Boiling Rack – Wanelo
Williams-Sonoma Stainless-Steel Egg Boiling Rack from Williams Sonoma. Saved to kitchen gadgets.
Hope this helps!
The link is for Australia.
The item is discontinued in the USA. It may be still on the shelf.
My local W-S store said it was new for Easter and then placed on the clearance list.
I did the boiled eggs in the pressure cooker again recently. So worth it! The star ratings didn’t exist when I wrote my earlier reviews, so now I can happily give this recipe 5 stars. You will never struggle to peel your supermarket eggs again with this method.
I’m sure the older version of this page/recipe recommended the natural release for hard boiled eggs? That’s the method I follow; leave the pressure cooker off the heat after the cooking time, then if the pressure is not gone in 5 minutes, release the last of the pressure. That way I can ensure the yolks are fully cooked in the middle.
I’ve been experimenting with my All-American 10 1/2 quart pressure cooker/canner. It’s large so I can do a lot of eggs and it has a 5 lbs setting. Here’s my recipe for perfect eggs.
Bring pressure cooker up to 5 lbs pressure for 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and wait 12 more minutes. Release any remaining pressure by removing the weight (use tongs!). Immediately remove the eggs and plunge into cold water. Run a trickle of cold water over them for a few minutes until the eggs are completely cold.
Eat ’em! The whites are tender and sweet. The yolks are completely set but very moist.
Dale, how many eggs do you do at a time this way? Thanks for sharing your technique!
Oops. Here’s the photo
Your method worked like a dream in an 80s-era 4-or-5-qt Presto, for which I bought an “adjustable 5/10/15#” regulator (by adding/removing weights) because I’d never seen the option to cook at lower pressures.
1 C water. 12 eggs, upended in wide-mouth twist-off beer caps in my case. Install lid. High heat to drive off air and build steam. Add 5# regulator when steam is steady out of the steam vent. When regulator begins steady rocking reduce heat (a surprising amount on our propane stove) to “just enough” to maintain the pressure. Begin timing the 6 min at that point. Kill the heat at 6 min (I left it on the hot burner) and time the additional 12 min. I prepared my ice water bath in the last minute or two. Remove the regulator (carefully) to remove any remaining pressure (none in my case). If no steam is coming out the lid AND the pressure indicator has gone back down, you can remove the lid. Immediately place eggs in ice water (I did this with bare fingers, taking care to cool them briefly in the water a little too between eggs). Stir them around and replace the water with cold tap water when it warms. (I only did this a couple of times.)
Perfection. I still need to verify that this works with “farm-fresh” eggs–my nemesis–but I know now that this is my “backstop” method.
Thank you. I ate 4 in celebration of this article.
I have done up to 2 dozen using two racks as shown. I’m sure I could fit at least 4 dozen if I stacked them on top of each other. I’ve just never needed that many hard boiled eggs at once!
I love my pressure cooker and usually recipes turn out better than expected, especially from this website, but I can’t get this one to work. I have a stovetop pressure cooker, followed the directions for hard boiled eggs, but I have gotten soft boiled every time. Any suggestions? I’m sure it’s user error…
Eggs are very critical for size. Lots of variations out there. We grow our own eggs, and they can vary from 45 to 80+ grams. From the same chooks! Also the starting temperature, freshness and even the material you use for the stands can affect cooking time. Try to eliminate as many variables as you can, and keep trying.
Try the natural release for hard boiled eggs. When the 6 minutes are up, turn off the heat and move the pressure cooker off the burner and leave it for 5 minutes, don’t try releasing the pressure – it will settle within 5 minutes. Check there is no pressure after 5 minutes (if there is, release it now), remove the lid and cool the eggs down quickly, I use an ice bath for mine.
hi. a soft boiled egg takes me back to being a kid (eggs & soldiers!). when I found this I was so excited to make the perfect soft boiled egg but, alas, that is not the case. I see conflicting information above so I’m looking for help. I have an electric cooker (instant pot) and I live in San Jose, CA, which is close to sea level.
4 large eggs – Manual – low pressure – 3 minutes – quick release – ice bath = runny whites :(
4 large eggs – Manual – low pressure – 3 minutes – slow release – ice bath = medium boiled :(
clearly I need something in between. advice?
I don’t think you don’t need an ice bath for soft boiled eggs, it’s only for cooling down hard boiled eggs to avoid overcooked yolks. You could try leaving the eggs to “set” for a minute or two after the 3 minutes (at low pressure) and quick release.
Mistake… I meant to say you don’t need an ice bath. Shame the comments can’t be edited after posting.
I assume you have a Duo or Smart model?
I’m trying to figure out how to cook soft boiled with Lux model. I can’t adjust pressure
I’m still making hard boiled eggs in my pressure cooker. 6 minutes, low pressure and natural release (by that I mean not releasing the pressure by turning a dial or whatever, but leaving the pressure cooker alone for a few minutes until the pressure is gone) followed by an ice bath works perfectly. No green ring around the yolks, perfect whites and the shell never sticks to the white.
Tip from me for hard boiled eggs: put a bowl or container of water in the freezer with a handful of ice cubes added, before you begin cooking the eggs. This will really cool down the water, ready to plunge the cooked eggs into. The secret is cooling the eggs down quickly to avoid overcooking, the ice bath does this perfectly and saves a lot of water, compared to running the cold tap for ages. If you have lots of eggs you will need a bigger bowl of water and plenty more ice.
I wonder why this recipe has changed from natural release to normal release? I don’t think the yolks would cook fully with normal release, but I’m using a stovetop pressure cooker, I don’t own an electric pressure cooker.
Forgot to say… when you have peeled the eggs, rinse and rub the whites to remove any bits of shell. Make sure all fragments of egg shell are removed, you don’t want to crunch on a forgotten bit!
Thank you for this recipe. I put 8 eggs right onto the rack the pot came with. I added 2 cups of water, set the pot to 6 minutes on low pressure, and let sit for 2 minutes. They came out great and peel very easily!
The next time I followed the same instructions above but forgot about the eggs and they sat inside for 9 minutes instead of 2, OOOOPS!!! But they still came out great and peel easily!
Yes, with the eggs you really need to pay attention minute-by-minute. Those and some other very delicate foods cannot be just “set it and forget it” but, as you found out the easy-peel alone is totally worth it!!
Sorry, stovetop steamed HB eggs rules here. 1-inch of water takes no time to get to boil on the stovetop, and the 11 minutes it takes to get my eggs done is roughly the same it takes to get my IP up to pressure then cooking then release. And my stovetop eggs come out perfectly and release from the shells easily, following the Serious Eats guidelines:
The hope held out here is that pressure cooking will result in easy-to-peel fresh eggs. The link says that “age does matter.” Does stovetop steaming deliver the goods with fresh eggs too?
I don’t understand the theory of the thing. How does pressure outside the egg enlarge the air pocket inside the egg? Shouldn’t pressure make the air pocket smaller?
I have a device that used steam, no pressure, for cooking whole eggs, and it works great. The eggs are easy to peal. It’s a “Nordic Ware Microwave Egg Boiler” that I’ve used for 3 years — $9.77 from Amazon. It holds 4 eggs.
It’s used in the Microwave, but it’s lined with metal (aluminum?) that supposedly prevents microwave energy from cooking the eggs directly, but instead boils water in the bottom of the cooker. It is not necessary to puncture the eggs. I cook the eggs for 6 minutes, then let them sit for a couple of minutes.
I don’t claim to understand how it works, but I think it suggests that the steam method is more important than the pressure used.
A theory is just that – a guess without any evidence that’s waiting for someone to prove or disprove it. Saying that its the steam that is making the eggs easy-to-peel is also a plausible theory about how it works. : )
Actually, Laura, you are describing an hypothesis. It is quite common to confuse the two..
A theory has evidence backing it up.
Consider the Theory of Evolution which has an enormous body of evidence behind it to Newton’s Laws of Motion which have been disproven, but are a sufficiently useful approximation in everyday life to be kept in use.
But not a topic for “Cracked”. More something for Kitchen Chit Chat.
Thanks for setting me straight, Greg!
I don’t think it’s the size of the pocket, but the increasing pressure of the air working its way out of the pocket and along and between the membrane and the shell, separating them the way they do in ordinary aging.
Laura, the banner text says to cook at LOW pressure.
The recipe text says to use HIGH pressure.