Frustrated by hard to peel boiled eggs with a green-rimmed yolk? Happily, there are obsessive people in the world, scrambling to figure out the best methods for simple tasks!
This one used a pressure cooker, but later tests show that steaming is better in most ways.
UPDATE: Serious Eats did an in-depth comparison of hard-cooked egg methods and found that simple steaming works better than the pressure cooker.
For me, the pressure cooker produces hard boiled eggs that are much, much easier to peel. Serious Eats did not see that. Now, they did exhaustive, double-blind tests on many eggs, a way-better protocol than my tests, so I grant that their tests are more scientifically sound than mine. But for my pressure cooker, on my stove, it was very clear: pressure cooked eggs peel with no effort and the steam-cooked eggs require a little effort and have a higher failure rate.
That said, guess what? I am now using the steam method. Although peeling requires a little fussing and running water, it almost always produces a great egg, with no places where the white peels away with the shell. And the egg is superior. As the article's author, Kenji, says, the pressure cooked eggs tends to overcook the whites a bit, making it a little more rubbery. It also is harder to control, so the yolk might be a bit more or less done.
So, bottom line: While pressure cooked eggs peel far mnore easily for me, eggs produced with your steam method peel pretty well and are otherwise superior.
To summarize the method:
- Put an inch of water in the pot, set to boil.
- Add eggs, straight from the refrigerator (don't bring them to room temp and don't add to the pot until you have a full head of steam).
- Cover and steam six minutes.
- Place in ice bath for 15 minutes, then refrigerate.
Here's the original article:
Sometimes I wonder what makes people try things. Who was the first to eat an artichoke? Must have been really hungry. And what made Laura Pazzaglia put eggs in a pressure cooker?
I don't know but I am glad she did. It's a fast, precise way to make soft-boiled or hard-cooked eggs and it has a really cool advantage: The eggs practically peel themselves.
Tips for peeling eggs are a-plenty but I haven't found any that always work. This method does. Even fresh eggs leap out of their shells.
And happily, I ran across this method right after buying a new pressure cooker! It was still in the box.
The method is simple. Place the eggs in a basket in the pressure cooker, turn on heat.
When the cooker reaches pressure, start the timer. Three minutes for soft-boiled, five minutes for medium, seven minutes for hard-boiled (which some people call hard-cooked). At the end of the time, douse the pressure cooker with running water, then remove and rinse the eggs in cool water.
This worked really well for me. One time, one egg cracked (first picture). The cracks closed as the egg cooled and unlike when an egg cracks during boiling, the membrane was unaffected and no water entered the egg.
How does this work? Pazzaglia suggests the air cell at the large end of the egg expands under pressure. That's not quite right — it would shrink under pressure. I don't know all the physics at work here. I suspect the magic happens during compression (because slow or fast cooling of the pressure cooker don't affect how well it peels). The fluid portions of the egg are not very compressible. Could the pressure on the air cell cause the air to squeeze into the space? No, because the air cell is outside the membrane, and when I peeled the eggs, the membrane stayed with the shell.
One interesting note is that the inside of the shell turns brown where the air shell was. I wonder why?
Regardless, this is a great method. Recipe follows.
Not fun enough? She also cooks little egg meals — a soft-boiled egg with cheese and prosciutto, for instance — in a glass in the cooker. Nice. Hit the link to see the recipes for those.
Soft-, Medium-, or Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker
Place eggs in a basket or on a heat-proof trivet in the pressure cooker. Add a cup of water and set up to pressure cook according to the pressure cooker's instructions. Turn on heat. When the cooker reaches pressure (use the lower pressure setting, if your cooker has one, start the timer, as directed below. Cool the pressure cooker:
Soft-boiled: 3 minutes.
Medium: 5 minutes.
Hard-Boiled: 7 minutes.
Cool pressure cooker quickly by running water over it, release pressure according to your cooker's instructions. Rinse eggs in cool water.
Note: The original recipe says that for hard boiled eggs, to allow the pressure cooker to cool without the rapid, running water cool-down. I don't know why it differs from the soft- or medium-boiled eggs, which it directs to use the running water. But I have experiemented several times and found that 7 minutes with rapid cool-down works and is more convenient.