Have you done hard-boiled eggs in your Instant Pot? Are they easier to peel? What’s the normal process? Could a stove top pressure cooker be used?
email from Terry
I’m behind the trend on this one. Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs are all over the web – especially Facebook. People say they are quick, consistent, and easy to peel.
Now, I love eggs, but I have not tried pressure cooking. I overdosed on hard-boiled eggs during a low-carb diet a few years back, so I’ve been avoiding them. Also, I was playing with sous vide eggs, trying to get the perfect soft-boiled egg.
The other issue: hard-boiled eggs are easy to overcook, resulting in a green-ringed, rubbery yolk. I tried all sorts of stovetop methods, settling on one from Cooks Illustrated: start with cold water and eggs, bring to a boil, then finish off the heat with a 12-minute rest. It worked better than most, but it was still not consistent. Sometimes the eggs were not completely cooked. Years later, Kenji Alt explained why: the amount of water matters in this technique, because water acts as a thermal battery. A large pot of water cooks the eggs more than a small pot of water. I stuck with this method through my low-carb diet phase. (And I do mean stuck, the way the shells stuck to the eggs as I tried to peel them.)
Researching this recipe, I couldn’t find the articles from ten years ago explaining how to boil eggs. I missed the hard-boiled shift to steaming a few years back. Both Cooks Illustrated and Kenji now say that steaming eggs is the way to go. (That’s right, the best hard-boiled eggs are not boiled.) Why? Steam is gentle, consistent heat compared to boiling water. That was my “Aha!” moment – steam power makes a pressure cooker a good egg cooker. I use my pressure cooker as a pressure steamer all the time for Pressure Cooker Cheesecake. I’m in! Time for some internet research, let’s compare recipes and see how everyone pressure cooks their eggs.
Everyone uses the 5-5-5 method: 5 minutes pressure cooking, 5 minutes natural pressure release, 5 minutes in an ice water bath to chill. Done. That seems so easy, but I hear my mother saying “if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”
I test 5-5-5, and it does work – hard boiled eggs, easy to peel, just the way I like them. I try some variations – shorter times under pressure or quick releasing the pressure immediately undercook the eggs; longer cooking times or a full natural pressure release overcook the eggs. I should have trusted the wisdom of the internet: everyone uses 5-5-5 because it works, and works well. (Sorry Mom, everyone was right.) 1
Everyone was right about the easy peeling, too. After chilling, the shells don’t stick to the pressure cooker hard-boiled eggs, like they used to with my stovetop eggs. I’m a pressure cooker egg convert, and I think I’m ready for some more hard-boiled eggs.Print
Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs, quick, consistent, and easy to peel, hard-boiled eggs are one of the killer uses for an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker
- 12 large eggs
- Put the eggs in a steaming basket in the pressure cooker: Pour 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker pot. Put a steaming basket in the pot, then set the eggs in the basket. Lock the lid.
- Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes with a 5-minute natural pressure release: Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes in an electric pressure cooker or stovetop pressure cooker. (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot.) Let the pressure come down naturally for 5 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
- Cool the eggs in an ice bath (or with cold running water) for at least 5 minutes: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker and transfer the eggs to a bowl full of ice water (or cold running water) for at least 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water bath and pat dry. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to a week.
- Size matters: use large eggs for this recipe. I haven’t had the time to test medium or XL eggs, but I estimate 3-5-5 for medium eggs, and 7-5-5 for XL eggs.
- Timing matters for the 5-minute pressure cook and 5-minute natural release: don’t wander off during the cooking time. Waiting longer, or for a full natural pressure release, results in overcooked eggs.
- Extra time is fine for the 5-minute cold water bath: Colder is better for peeling eggs, so the 5 minutes in the cold water bath is a minimum.
- The “Egg” button on the Instant Pot: Go ahead and use it if you want. It automatically sets the cooker for 5 minutes at high pressure. (Don’t forget the 5-minute natural pressure release).
- The egg’s air pocket will have a brown color to it sometimes with this method. It’s not important – the browning is on the shell, not the egg, and doesn’t change the taste.
- Want to cook fewer eggs? More eggs? Pile them in there – the cooking time stays the same.
Keywords: Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Eggs
A grammar note: “hard-boiled” or “hard boiled” without the dash? Hard-boiled, with the dash, is the proper spelling, but both are common usage. I prefer the dash; I’ve always wanted to write a hard-boiled detective story, and a hard-boiled detective needs the dash.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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