How to Steam Eggs

What a revelation, this simple method for cooking both soft-cooked runny eggs and hard-cooked eggs in the same pot at the same time using steam, not boiling water. All you need are eggs (duh ...), water, a saucepan, a steaming basket and a bowl of ice water. And info about just how long it takes to steam eggs! No egg cooker, no Instant Pot, no specialty cooker required. Read on ...

How to Steam Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com. Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs at the same time.


Easy DIY for Hard-Cooked Eggs Plus Bonus Soft-Cooked Eggs. Real Food, Fast & Fresh. Mere Minutes to the Table. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep. Low Carb. Low Fat. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free.

Cooked Eggs. Now Even Simpler.

For years, the Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs technique from Cook's Illustrated was my go-to. It works! It's reliable! And ... admittedly, especially now, it's fussy.

At least it doesn't require a kitchen-counter tank (affiliate link), with apologies to the many fans of Instant Pots, I'm well aware of holding a minority opinion here.

Anyway. I digress.

After my father died last year, I came home with a special pot from his kitchen.

  • Special ... because my Finnish "mother" gave it to my mom when she and my Finnish "father" visited the U.S. after hosting me, a foreign exchange student, in their home.
  • Special ... because my Finnish family didn't just buy a good pot, they built it. They owned a stainless steel factory called El-Rod Oy. El-Rod designed and fabricated houseware vessels: pots and pans, buckets and milk cans, coffeepots and tea kettles, berry juicers and pressure cookers, and more. The factory was sold in 1987 but stainless steel and good design last forever so there's an aftermarket for vintage El-Rod.
  • Special ... because all the El-Rod products were named for people, the new-to-me pot is a "Liisa," named for my Finnish mother. I've written about her before, see Finnish Glögi (Hot Red Mulled Wine).
  • Special ... because the Liisa pot transformed my meal prep, turning occasional hard-cooked eggs into an every-week refrigerator staple.
How to Steam Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com. Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs at the same time.

Here's My Favorite Thing About Steaming Eggs

It's "breakfast" or "lunch" and meal prep, both at once.

Who else loves soft-cooked eggs, the ones with the runny yolks? Oh, heaven.

When you steam a pan of eggs, you can pull out one or two or three early for soft-cooked eggs to eat on the spot, leaving the remaining eggs in the pan to finish up.

Yes! Soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs cooked together in the same pot, at the same time, in the same batch!

But Cooked Eggs Are So Handy to Have On Hand

Even my husband has jumped on my cooked-egg bandwagon, especially since I started storing the eggs in the fridge in clear-glass Mason jars at eye level. (MEN!) He's taken to slicing an egg and a little cheese late at night, following his doctor's suggestion that a hit of protein before bed might alleviate night-time hand cramps. For him, it works!

Here are some favorite ways I've used cooked eggs just in recent weeks.

How to Steam Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com. Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs at the same time.

What Is "Steam Cooking"?

Let's think through the basics of what it means to "steam" food vs "boil" food.


Boil – To "boil" a food means to cook it in a liquid that's been heated (on a stove, over fire, in a microwave, etc.) until the liquid boils, which for water, anyway, happens at 212F/100C and is obvious because bubbles form near the bottom of the liquid and pop to the surface where the bubbles "pop". We're probably all familiar with boiling food, even if we haven't thought about the details.


Steam – To "steam" a food means to cook it above a boiling liquid, using the heat of the steam arising from the boiling liquid, not the liquid itself, to cook the food.

How to Steam Eggs

The steaming method is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in a few easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a pot.
  • Arrange cold eggs in a steaming basket (metal, silicone, a pan insert, etc.) and lower it into the pot over the boiling water.
  • Cover the pot and set a timer or two.
  • Let the eggs steam for 8 minutes (for soft-boiled eggs with runny yolks) or 15 minutes (for hard-cooked eggs with fully cooked yolks).
  • Cool the eggs in a bowl of ice water just briefly (for soft-boiled eggs) or until chilled through (for hard-cooked eggs).
How to Steam Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com. Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs at the same time.

A Pot With a Steaming Basket.

First off, know this.

Steaming eggs does NOT require a special pot.

In combination with your own pot, an inexpensive collapsible metal steaming basket works great, so does an inexpensive silicone steamer basket. So would a bamboo steaming basket, I suspect.

But boy, a small pot with a steaming basket insert sure is convenient.

Since getting the pot, every week I steam not only eggs but also vegetables, bok choy is especially good.

How to Steam Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com. Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs at the same time.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!


Are steamed eggs better than boiled eggs? Maybe. They're definitely easier to cook. But steam heat is more gentle than boiled heat and to my taste, Steamed Eggs' whites are a little more tender and the yolks are a little bit creamier.


To avoid cracking, do the egg shells need to be pierced with a pin before steaming? No. I see this recommendation every so often. But I've been cooking a panful of eggs every week for nine months and have never once had an egg crack while being steamed.


Would Steamed Eggs make good eggs to dye for Easter eggs? Yes! Just be sure to cook the eggs for the full 15 minutes for hard-cooked eggs and cool completely before dying. If you're going to actually eat the dyed eggs, be sure to do so within a week of steaming. That said, please do be aware that the eggs should be refrigerated so if they're out at room temperature for more than an hour or so, they're better tossed than eaten.


I don't have a steamer basket, what should I buy? I've tested this steamed egg technique with:


All three work well. The metal collapsible basket is preferable over silicone because it can be lifted out without losing the eggs. Silicone works fine though, you'll just need to use a slotted spoon to remove the hot eggs from the basket.

If you have a bamboo steaming basket like this one, (affiliate link) I think it would work as well.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!


Use a Timer No guessing! Steaming eggs produces perfect eggs, every time, but only when they cook for an exact amount of time. If you have a smart speaker like Alexa, just say, Alexa, set the egg timer for xx minutes.

In my setting (the pan I use, the temperature of large eggs straight from the fridge, the steamer basket I use, how I chill the eggs in a bowl of ice water, etc.), it took a few tries to get the exact timing, 8 minutes for soft-cooked eggs with runny yolks, 15 minutes for hard-cooked eggs with cooked yolks.

Start with these times, they may work perfectly for you, too.

But if not, adjust to your own environment, moving up or down a minute at a time, testing different batches, just as I did. FYI I had no bad batches during testing, no eggs were wasted: just eggs where the runniness was more/less than I preferred, just ones where the yolks weren't quite as fully cooked as they should be.

I've used the 8 minutes and 15 minutes for a few months now, perfect every time.

If you find the 8/15 minutes works for you, please do let me know. Or if you settle on another set of timing, I'd appreciate knowing that too, other readers will as well.


Standardize Egg Size This technique was tested with large eggs. If you stock medium eggs or extra-large eggs (hello, Ina Garten fans), be conscious of timing, medium eggs will likely take less time and extra-large eggs may take more.

If you keep chickens, select eggs for steaming that are roughly the same size.


What Makes This Technique Special

  • Way simpler than other methods, including the Cook's Illustrated technique I've used until now, Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs.
  • It's so simple to cook soft-cooked eggs and hard-cooked eggs at the same time in a single batch.
  • It works well for a couple of eggs or a whole panful of eggs.
  • The eggs cook perfectly every time, no green edges on the yolks.
  • The eggs peel perfectly every time, no tearing the whites apart.
  • Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!

Most Useful Recipe for 2022? Possibly!

In the fall, Kitchen Parade will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Wow! Time does truly fly.

With more than 500 recipes, I like to highlight recipes that over the course of two decades remain most useful in my own and others' kitchens. They choices are rarely flashy, mostly they're just basic techniques and recipes, the things you make over and over again: like white rice and Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables.

The competition is tough: only one recipe per year. That's right, just one.

Will Steamed Eggs turn out to be the most useful recipe for 2022? Time will tell!

Kitchen Parade's best recipes 2002 - present, just one per year ♥ KitchenParade.com

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this easy egg technique hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...


How to Steam Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com. Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs at the same time.



STEAMED EGGS

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time-to-table: 25 minutes
Makes one or two or twelve, however many will fit a steam basket
  • Large eggs, cold from the fridge
  • Bowl of ice water, deep enough to submerge all the eggs

Add an inch or two of water to a saucepan with a lid, keeping the water below the steamer basket. (See ALANNA's TIPS.) Bring the water to a boil on high.

While the water comes to a boil, arrange the eggs on the steamer basket (see TIPS) and prepare the bowl of ice water (see TIPS) and put it beside the stove. If you have a slotted spoon, dig around for it now.

Once the water boils, lower the steamer basket into the saucepan and bring the water back to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a boil and put the lid on the saucepan.


FOR SOFT-COOKED EGGS WITH RUNNY YOLKS Set the timer for 8 minutes.

When the timer goes off after 8 minutes, lift the steamer basket out of the saucepan to remove from the heat. Working quickly, submerge the eggs in the ice water, either by lowering the entire steamer basket into the ice water or by using a large spoon to move the eggs individually into the ice water. Careful, they're hot!

Let the eggs cool only briefly, just until the eggs are cool enough to handle to peel or to use a knife to slice off the tip.

For soft-cooked eggs, eat right away, while hot.


FOR HARD-COOKED EGGS WITH COOKED YOLKS Set the timer for 15 minutes.

When the timer goes off after 15 minutes, lift the steamer basket out of the saucepan to remove from the heat. Working quickly, submerge the eggs in the ice water, either by lowering the entire steamer basket into the ice water or by using a large spoon to move the eggs individually into the ice water. Careful, they're hot!

Let the eggs cool until completely cold.

For hard-cooked eggs, refrigerate either shelled or unshelled and eat within a week.


FOR SOME OF BOTH, COOKED AT THE SAME TIME (MY FAVORITE! ) Set two timers, one for 8 minutes, one for 15 minutes.

Once the first timer goes off, use a large slotted spoon to lift one or two or a few eggs out of the saucepan and submerge in the ice water. Let cool briefly, just until the eggs are cool enough to handle. Enjoy hot, such a treat!

Once the second timer goes off, move the remaining eggs into the ice water, either by submerging the entire steaming basket or one by one with a slotted spoon. Let cool until the eggs are completely cold.


HOW TO STORE HARD-COOKED EGGS Hard-cooked eggs must be refrigerated. My favorite way to store them is to fold a paper towel into the bottom of a large canning jar, then to carefully lower the eggs into the jar.

HOW LONG DO HARD-COOKED EGGS KEEP? Kept refrigerated, the eggs keep for up to a week.

TO SUMMARIZE

Soft-cooked eggs with runny yolks: steam for 8 minutes, cool briefly in ice water, eat while hot.

Hard-cooked eggs with cooked yolks: steam for 15 minutes, cool in ice water until fully cold. Refrigerate and eat within a week.

But! Your timing may well vary. Start with the times that work so well in my environment, fingers crossed they work for you too. But the size and refrigerator temperature of your eggs may vary, your pot's conductivity may vary, how much water you use may vary, your stove setting may vary, your ice may vary, even your taste for "doneness" may vary. So many variables! There's just no accounting for all of them, other than to offer a heads up.

For soft-cooked eggs, adjust the 8 minute-time up or down by a minute at a time depending on your taste for runniness of the yolks. For hard-cooked eggs, adjust the 15-minute time up or down by a minute at a time; the yolks of hard-cooked eggs should be cooked evenly throughout with no signs of uncooked yolk at the center.

ALANNA's TIPS
HOW MUCH WATER? Well, it depends, both on your pot and your steaming basket. You want enough water so that the pot doesn't boil dry. But you also don't want the water to overtake the steamer basket once the water boils. So it's a balance. Once you figure out the right amount for your situation, stick a finger into the water, touching the bottom of the pan, to "measure" for the next time.
HOW TO ARRANGE THE EGGS Well, it depends, again. If you're filling the entire basket, arrange the eggs in the same way, upright or on their sides, not some of each. This helps the eggs cook evenly. The eggs are less likely to crack if the steamer basket is full, this prevents the eggs from knocking around.
HOW TO PREPARE THE ICE WATER Well yes, it depends, LOL. First make sure the bowl is big enough to hold all the eggs at once, I like to use one that's big enough for the entire steamed basket to be lowered into the bowl, submerging the eggs, but that's not necessary. Don't just fill up the bowl with ice and add water, there won't be room for the eggs. Instead, add a cup or two of ice, then add water to fill. Just FYI, it really helps if the ice water has a chance to really chill down, that's why I always try to remember to get the ice setup before the timer goes off, yeah, I'm not 100% on this. But you could be!
PRINTING? If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about best results and more. See https://www.kitchenparade.com/2022/03/how-to-steam-eggs.html.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Large Egg: 71 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 211mg Cholesterol; 70mg Sodium; 0g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 2 & SmartPoints 2 & Freestyle 0 & myWW green 2 & blue 0 & purple 0 & PersonalPoints
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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

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