Preview: This tutorial shares several ways to hard boil fresh eggs so they peel easily.
Your backyard chickens are producing lots of eggs. While you love those fresh eggs, you are growing tired of egg scrambles, omelets, and frittatas. So you decide to hard boil a few since they make such a great breakfast or snack. One you’ve boiled them and allowed them to cool, you start to peel those eggs and lose most of the white of the egg in the peeling process. So frustrating!
You don’t want to resort to buying eggs from the store just to hard boil when you have plenty of fresh chicken eggs in your backyard. What to do? I’ve got lots of tips and tricks to make cooking and peeling those fresh eggs much easier.
The Basic Method
Hard boiled eggs make a great grab and go breakfast, but they are also a protein rich snack or salad topping. And they are also fabulous turned into deviled eggs.
You may have heard to let eggs sit in the fridge a couple weeks to make them easier to peel. While this is a great idea with store-bought eggs, it hasn’t seemed to help with my fresh eggs. In either method, we aren’t actually going to boil the eggs. Steaming the eggs (plus plunging them in cold water after cooking) makes them much easier to peel.
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How to Hard Boil Eggs in the Instant Pot
If you have an Instant Pot you can easily use it to hard boil your fresh eggs. (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can read this article to see if you really need one.) Using the Instant Pot doesn’t really save much time, but this method is an easy way to cook your eggs.
The process is simple: Put a cup of water in the bottom of the stainless steel pot. Place the rack (that came with your Instant Pot) inside. Add as many eggs as you would like on the rack. If you need to cook a lot of eggs, you can stack them on top of each other.
Close the lid and turn the vent to seal. Set the Instant Pot for 5 minutes on high pressure. Once the cycle is complete, turn the pot off and let it sit for 5 minutes. This is usually referred to as a 5 minute natural release. Finally, release the remaining pressure by using something to tap the vent to “venting.” (I use a wooden spoon.) Use extreme caution when releasing the pressure so you don’t get burned by the steam. Allow the steam to finish venting.
Immediately after releasing the steam, open the lid and plunge the eggs into ice cold water. I use a pair of tongs to transfer each egg to the water. Allow to eggs to stand in the ice water for 5 minutes. Remove from the ice water. Gently tap the eggs on the counter to break up the shell and then peel. The peel should come off easily.
This method is sometimes referred to as the 5-5-5 method. If the eggs are over cooked for your liking, cut down to 4 minutes on high pressure next time.
A Quick Caution:
Just a quick caution about this method: (because I always tell the good and the bad!) Occasionally, I have had an egg burst out of the shell prematurely. (See picture above.) The egg is still edible, but if it offends you, chop it up, shell and all, and feed it back to the chickens.
How to Hard Boil Eggs on the Stove
To steam the eggs on the stove, you need a pot with a lid and either a silicone steamer basket or a metal steamer basket. Place the pot on the stove and add 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil. Carefully, insert the steamer basket and add your eggs. (I use tongs for this.) Place the lid on the pot and steam the eggs for 15 minutes for barely done eggs or 17 minutes for fully done eggs.
As soon as they are done, remove the eggs from the stove. Immediately plunge them into ice cold water. Allow the eggs to cool in the ice water for at least 5 minutes. Once cool, remove them from their ice bath and gently tap them on the counter. They should peel like a charm. Be sure to save the eggshells for your compost pile.
Making Adjustments For Your Eggs
No matter which method you use, the size of your eggs can make a difference. My backyard chickens produce eggs from slightly smaller than “medium” to some jumbo eggs that friends refer to as “dinosaur” eggs. Be prepared to adjust the timing based on your egg size.
Also, you may be ok with a barely done center, while others prefer their eggs fully done. You may have to adjust the timing slightly to achieve your desired doneness. After you have steamed and peeled your eggs, write down what you’ve done, so that you can adjust your method next time to achieve the perfect hard boiled egg that actually peels easily.
So instead of getting frustrated peeling hard boiled eggs, give steaming a try. I think you’ll find your new favorite way to cook eggs.
If you want to learn more about raising backyard chickens, I’ve got a library of posts to help you. You can learn everything from how to raise baby chicks to when is it safe to move the chicks into the coop.