Free Range Eggs

The 3 Best Methods for Perfect, Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

By Nellie's Kindness Crew


Egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, and road trip snacks all start with one common denominator: hard-boiled eggs. And while this simple staple is fairly easy to make, there's a lot that can go wrong—if you've ever struggled with unpeelable eggshells or encountered that smelly greenish-gray ring around the yolk, you know how fussy the cooking process can be. That's why we're sharing our top three ways to make perfect hard-boiled eggs that are easier to peel, minus the guesswork. Whether you choose the classic stovetop boil or decide to put your Instant Pot to work, any of these three methods will give you perfectly cooked, easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs every single time.

1. How to make hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop

Boiling eggs on the stovetop is the method we all grew up with, and it's a classic for a reason. It requires no special kitchen equipment and very little cooking experience. To put it simply, you just need to know how to boil water and have about 20 minutes to spare.


  • Medium or large pot
  • Ice bath


  • Fill a medium or large pot with enough water to cover eggs by at least 2 inches, but do not add eggs yet. Bring water to a rolling boil.
  • Once water is boiling, add the eggs and adjust the temperature to maintain a rolling boil. Start a timer for 12 minutes and prepare an ice bath.
  • When the timer goes off, remove eggs from the pot and immediately place into ice bath for at least 10 minutes before peeling.

View the full stovetop recipe and instructions.

2. How to steam hard-boiled eggs

For anyone struggling to pry those eggshells from the egg whites, this steaming method is a guaranteed game changer. Steaming an egg yields the same result as boiling, but with the benefit of shells that are much easier to remove, thanks to the higher temperature of steam versus water.


  • Metal heatproof colander or steamer basket
  • Pot with a fitted lid large enough to hold your colander
  • Ice bath


  • Place eggs in your colander, then place the colander in the pot.
  • Fill the pot with a couple inches of water. The water level should stay just below the base of the colander (not touching the eggs themselves).
  • Place a well-fitted lid on your pot, and bring the water to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, start your timer and leave the lid on the pot to keep the steam from escaping (if it looks like you are going to run out of water, carefully add a little extra warm water to the pot as needed to make sure steam production doesn't cease).
  • Let eggs steam for 12 minutes before removing from the pot and placing in an ice bath.

Learn more about the full steaming method plus more tips for peeling stubborn eggshells.

3. How to make hard-boiled eggs in your Instant Pot

The gadgeteers out there swear by this recipe, and after one try, you will too! If you already own an Instant Pot, you know that its number one purpose is to make your life easier, and it delivers on this promise when used to make hard-boiled eggs. No need to wait for the water to boil; simply set the timer and walk away.


  • Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
  • Steamer rack or basket (typically included with Instant Pot)
  • Ice bath


  • Add the steamer rack to the Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup of cold water.
  • Place your eggs onto the rack and close the lid of the Instant Pot.
  • Select Manual mode and LOW pressure. Set timer to 12 minutes.
  • As soon as the 12 minutes are up, use a kitchen towel and carefully release the steam. Immediately add the eggs to the ice bath and let cool before peeling.

Check out some more yummy Instant Pot recipes.

Tips for success

  • Use cold eggs straight from the fridge.
  • Eggs closer to their expiration date will peel more easily.
  • Always cook eggs in a single layer, and add enough water to cover eggs by at least 2 inches if boiling.
  • Prepare an ice bath ahead of time so that it's ready when the eggs are.
  • Leave eggs in the ice bath for 10+ minutes to allow for thorough cooling/easy peeling (you can place them under running cold water instead, but without the cold shock from the ice bath, you may have a harder time peeling, especially if your eggs are farm fresh like ours).
  • A slotted spoon can be helpful for transferring eggs from the boiling water or hot steamer basket to the ice bath.


BeckySeptember 16, 2023

I put my cold eggs in the hot water and they cracked!!! I hope its ok to boil them with pieces of egg floating around that leaked out of their cracks!!!


Hi Becky, thanks for sharing. They should still be okay, just a little messier!

KarenJune 05, 2023

These are great tips there were some things about egg cooking I didn’t know.


Hi Karen, thanks for the kind words. We're glad you were able to learn something new!

Debbie MayseJanuary 29, 2023

Thank you Great Help


Hi Debbie, we're so glad to be able to offer helpful information!

Debbie E WatsonJuly 23, 2022

Very helpful



Joe BellJune 23, 2022

Very helpful suggestions. Thank you!


Hi Joe! We're so glad you are finding the methods helpful!

Crystal June 12, 2022

Don't forget to add salt and white vinegar to ur eggs


Thanks for the tip Crystal!

Verna July 29, 2021

Thanks so much. I’ve tried many tricks, this technique is a game changer. I was asked to make a potato salad for an event; I dread that because of peeling eggs. To my delight the shells slid right off!


Alright, Verna! We're so glad to hear this has brought some ease to your potato salad endeavors!

Chuck DJuly 27, 2021

A pinch of baking powder makes the shells come off like magic. Hot or cold. No need for ice bath if you prefer your eggs warm.


Thanks for the tip, Chuck!

TomJuly 23, 2021

I had no idea it was always hit or miss but now I know. Thank you so much


We're so glad to help, Tom!

Billie TeixeiraJuly 10, 2021

I discovered Nellies about 5 years ago. I won’t eat any other eggs! They taste great every time, and have never failed me in my baking. Thanks! Now, about hard boiled; a friend said to start with cold water and eggs, as soon as the water boils, the eggs are done??


We're so glad to hear that you love our eggs, Billie! We haven't personally tried that cold water method you mentioned. When it comes to boiling eggs, we try to stick with and recommend the methods above!

MMosesApril 27, 2021

Run hot water over the eggs for about a minute before placing them in boliling water this will prevent the eggs from exploding.


Awesome thought!

Ron M.January 16, 2021

I had the same experience as did Jean. As I slowly lowered (four) fresh eggs from the fridge into the boiling water, two of them immediately cracked open and spewed out their contents. I will try again at a later time. I liked the "ice bath" procedure (it worked fine).


Hi Ron, Sometimes eggs that are closer toward their expiration date contain more air inside. This could cause that pressure cracking sensation.

Kevin MahonyDecember 16, 2020

These instructions are definitely easy peal, but you will waste about 20% of the egg. The chick’s may be fee range, but Nellie is a business. Now I know why mother always bought white shell eggs when she was hard boiling them!


Hi Kevin, we take great pride in providing our customers with the freshest eggs possible. Because they are so fresh, it can result in the eggs being harder to peel when hard boiled, but that's a tradeoff we're willing to make in order to ensure a consistently fresh Certified Humane free range egg.

LaurieDecember 15, 2020

Great idea, trying it for the first time but does the ice bath consist of water & ice. It may seem obvious but it’s not clearly stated either...ty


Thanks, Laurie! We're so glad you discovered this method. And there are no silly questions--the ice bath should consist of ice and cold water. We hope you find this helpful!

George BarnhillDecember 10, 2020

Thanks ♥️


You are very welcome. We hope you found this helpful!

Rachel MoranNovember 26, 2020

Jean, after that happened to me in the past, I gradually raise the raw eggs temp by placing on the counter for an hour, then warming them in the pot of water set on “low” for 20 minutes. Then I crank it up to “high” to start the recipe. Best wishes!


Thanks for the great feedback, Rachel. We will keep this in mind if we hear of others having this same issue.

Carolyn BarneyNovember 24, 2020

I tried the egg steaming method. It worked Great!! I was able to peel the eggs in a few seconds instead of minutes. Thank you for your tips!!


Hi Carolyn, Anytime! Thanks for choosing Nellies!

Paula November 24, 2020

Sounds pretty easy. I making red beet eggs for Thanksgiving, and I am going to boiling eggs now, so they have plenty of time to soak in red beets, vinegar, etc...I believe three days should be long enough!!! Thanks for advice!!


Hi Paula, No problem! Thanks for choosing the purple carton!

JeanNovember 23, 2020

I tried your "Boil & ice bath" method. Almost as soon as I eased the eggs down in the boiling water, 2 of them exploded! I had a mess in the water from the boiling egg white and yolk. I won't try that again!


Hi Jean, We are sorry to hear that some of the eggs burst as they transferred from one climate to the next. If the eggs are older they may contain more pockets of air, which could increase the chances that they burst. Next time, you can try taking the pot off the burner for two minutes before moving the eggs to the ice bath. Email us with any other questions!

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