Pressure cooker, Side dish
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Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs, or Is the 5-5-5 Method a Myth?

Hard-boiled egg halves on an aqua colored plate

Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs

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?”

Hard-boiled egg halves on a cutting board, 4 undercooked, 4 cooked just right, 4 overcooked

Undercooked (1-5-5), Just Right (5-5-5), Overcooked (5-15-5)

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.

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Hard-boiled egg halves on a teal plate

Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs, or Is the 5-5-5 Method a Myth?


  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 eggs
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Tools

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.

Halved hard-boiled eggs on a teal plate, sprinkled with salt and pepper, with a pepper grinder, salt pig,and paring knife in the background

Instant Pot Hard-Boiled eggs, salted, peppered and ready to eat

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

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  1. I can’t help myself with the “is 5-5-5 A Myth?” headline. It’s my chance to share Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “No.”

14 Comments

  1. Polly Ester says

    I can’t imagine getting tired of eggs; and I use my IP frequently for the perfect boiled egg. I did find that 4-5-5 was a bit better for me – still qualified as hard boiled, but not completely crumbly dry. Yep, I’ve got some cooked up right now that will go on my salad!
    Thanks for your blog and videos; always so helpful.

  2. razzy 7 says

    Hard boiled or hard-boiled? I’ve always been taught in various cooking classes I’ve taken that one shouldn’t hard boil eggs at all. They should be hard cooked and thus the water never brought to a boil. Of course, all this is immaterial now that we’ve converted to pressure cooking eggs.

    P.S. Mike I think our moms went to the same “Mom School.” I too heard, “if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” Then there’s the corollary you might also have heard when you wanted to do something and said, “Everybody else gets to do this, mom.” Mom responded, “Well, maybe everybody else gets to, but you don’t.”

  3. Melody Gardner says

    I still like 6 IPR, and cold sink water. I am low carb and eat these eggs every morning, and they turn out perfect. However, I can see how 5-5-5- works, but is more fiddling for the cooker. I will stick with my recipe.
    BTW, love your blog!!!

  4. Terry says

    Thanks Mike for both the email response, and then this follow-up research. We don’t have an Instant Pot, so I’ll have to give this a try in our stove top pressure cooker.

  5. low and slow says

    For a s/t p/c do we just turn off the heat or remove it to cool burner?

  6. Douglas says

    Older eggs seem to shell easier so I always buy them a couple of weeks before I boil them.

    • I’ve heard that, but in my testing (some with eggs approaching their use-by date, some fresh bought from the store) I didn’t notice much of a difference. If it’s working for you, though, keep doing it!

  7. Leslie says

    I just did 6 eggs in my 3 qt Instant Pot using this 5-5-5 method and they came out perfectly. I usually steam eggs in my rice cooker (22 min) but that appliance was in use cooking rice! LOL. This is a great alternative and I am glad to know the timing works in my smaller IP. Thanks, Mike!

  8. I did seven x large farm fresh eggs in my 6 qt instant pot with a eggs stand in a cup of water but they were under cooked my friend did 16 for the 5-5-5- and her xl eggs from the same place were done how weird is that so next time I will try 6-5-5

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