How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs 5 Different Ways

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Our tips and techniques on how to boil eggs will make you a master in no time. We'll also share tips on peeling hard-boiled eggs, storing them and much more.

Hard-boiled eggs are just about the best kitchen staple around. Whether they’re for deviled eggs, a cobb salad or enjoying as a snack on their own, knowing how to boil eggs is a must.

You know the basics, right? Water, eggs, boil. But how to boil eggs properly takes a little more know-how. To make things simple, we’ve outlined five effortless methods for hard-boiling eggs: on the stovetop, in an Instant Pot, in the oven, in a slow cooker and in an air-fryer. You can determine which method works best for you.

Hard-Boiled Egg Tips

Before you dive in, read these tips from our Test Kitchen pros:

  • Remove your eggs from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook them. This will help them cook evenly and prevent the shell from cracking.
  • Older eggs are best for hard-boiling. Eggs that are close to their best-by date will peel much easier than fresh eggs.
  • Avoid a green ring around your yolks by diligently timing how long the eggs cook. No more leaving eggs on the stove and walking away!
  • Don’t skip the ice bath. Not only does the ice bath prevent your eggs from overcooking, but it also helps loosen the shell and make them easier to peel.

Psst: Check out these differences between types of eggs.

How to Hard-Boil Eggs, 5 Ways

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Ice

Equipment

  • Large saucepan and lid
  • Pressure cooker with a trivet
  • 6 silicone muffin cups
  • Muffin or sheet pan
  • 6-quart slow cooker
  • Air fryer
  • Large bowl

How to Hard-Boil Eggs on the Stovetop

This classic method might be a little different from what you’ve seen before. Since most of the cooking is done off the heating element, your hard-boiled eggs will never overcook.

  1. Place 6 large eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Cover and quickly bring eggs to a boil over high heat.
  2. Immediately remove the pan from heat and let it stand for 15 minutes for large eggs (18 minutes for extra-large eggs and 12 minutes for medium eggs). The residual heat in the water cooks the eggs.
  3. Once done sitting, rinse eggs in cold water and place in ice water until completely cooled.

If you prefer a soft-boiled egg, consult this chart for cook times:

Soft Boiled6 minutesRunny Yolk
Medium Boiled9 minutesGel-Like Yolk
Firm Boiled12 minutesFirm Yolk
Hard-Boiled15 minutesHard Yolk

How to Hard-Boil Eggs in an Instant Pot

Hardboiled Egg Recipe Instant PotTaste of Home

For a hands-off approach, the Instant Pot is a great option.

  1. To a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker, place the trivet insert and pour in 1 cup water. Then, set the eggs on the trivet.
  2. Lock the lid and close the pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 5 minutes.
  3. Let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes then quick-release any remaining pressure.
  4. Rinse the eggs in cold water and place them in ice water until completely cooled.

Get more tips here about Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs.

How to Hard-Boil Eggs in the Oven

Already have your oven on? Hard-boil some eggs while you’re at it. (It doesn’t even require water!)

  1. Preheat your oven to 325° F.
  2. Place 6 silicone muffin cups on a muffin pan or sheet pan and add 6 large eggs.
  3. Bake the eggs for 25-30 minutes, then remove them from the oven.
  4. Rinse eggs in cold water and place in ice water until completely cooled.

How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Slow Cooker

If you don’t need your eggs right away, making hard-boiling eggs in the slow cooker is another great hands-off method.

  1. Gently place 12 eggs in the bottom of a 6-qt. slow cooker.
  2. Add enough water to completely cover the eggs. Then cook, covered, on high for 2 hours.
  3. Remove eggs from slow cooker and place in a bowl of ice water until completely cooled.

How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Air-Fryer

Yes, your air-fryer can even cook eggs!

  1. Preheat your air-fryer to 275° F.
  2. Place 6 large eggs in a single layer on the tray in the air-fryer basket.
  3. Cook the eggs for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the eggs from the air-fryer and rinse them in cold water. Then, place the eggs in ice water until completely cooled.

Check out these other surprising things you can air fry.

Hard-Boiled Egg FAQs

Peeled and halved hard boiled eggs laid out on a cutting boardTaste of Home

Why do my eggs crack when I boil them?

Usually, cracked eggs are a result of turbulent cooking. A rapid boil could knock eggs against the side of your cooking instrument too hard, and crack the eggshells. Egg whites could then leak out and allow the egg to overcook.

Another reason could be that your eggs are too cold when they’re added to the cooking appliance. To prevent this, take your eggs out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start cooking. Be sure to avoid these other common mistakes when making eggs.

How do you know when boiled eggs are done?

The best way to know when hard-boiled eggs are done is to use a timer and follow the cooking method. If you’re worried about overcooking your eggs, pull one out a minute or two early and cut open the egg to check the yolk’s consistency. Here’s how you can tell if an egg is fresh or not.

Do you have to let hard-boiled eggs cool before refrigerating?

Yes, you should let hard-boiled eggs cool down completely before refrigerating them. You can speed this process up by placing cooked eggs in a bath of ice water, as indicated in the cooking methods above.

Why are my hard-boiled eggs hard to peel?

The most likely culprit for eggs being hard to peel is that the eggs are too fresh. The shells of fresh eggs will chip much more than eggs that have been in your fridge for a few days. So, always use older eggs for easier peeling. If you’re still having a tough time peeling eggs, take a look at these three ways to peel a hard-boiled egg.

How long can you keep hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator?

Hard-boiled eggs with the shell last about a week in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. Peeled hard-boiled eggs should be enjoyed the same day. Just make sure you don’t store eggs in this part of the fridge.

How do you keep hard-boiled eggs from smelling in the fridge?

To prevent hard-boiled eggs from stinking up your fridge, stick to the recommended shelf life of one week. If they smell, they are probably past their prime. Also, make sure you are storing them in the shell (unpeeled), so they don’t pick up other refrigerator flavors or odors.

Can I freeze hard-boiled eggs?

No, we would not recommend freezing hard-boiled eggs. The whites of previously frozen eggs will have a rubbery texture and be watery. You can, however, freeze eggs when they’re cooked these ways.

Now that you’ve mastered hard-boiled eggs, learn the four other ways to cook an egg.

Try These Recipes Using Hard-Boiled Eggs
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Rashanda Cobbins and Julie Schnittka contributed to this article.

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James Schend
As Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, Culinary, James oversees the Food Editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, and manages all food content for Trusted Media Brands. Prior to this position, James worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and Southern Living. An honor graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, he has traveled the world searching for great food in all corners of life.
Elizabeth Harris
Liz is an unapologetic homebody who loves bowling and beers almost as much as food and fitness. The highlight of her week is making cheesy popcorn for her family on movie night. She's been hooked on Taste of Home since interning for the magazine in 2010.