This features has been updated.

In spring our thoughts often turn to eggs, especially those of us who celebrate Easter, with its customs of egg “hunts” and decorating; and Passover, which traditionally features a hard-cooked egg dipped in saltwater before the start of the Seder feast to remember the tears of Israelites.

Both holidays also feature egg-rich dishes. Perhaps that’s because the humble egg carries a lot of symbolism, including calling to mind rebirth and the circle of life. In some cultures, the egg also represents mourning.

And it is also likely because eggs are so versatile. Any time of year, eggs are an essential item in most well-stocked kitchens because they are utility players in so many recipes and serve as a thrifty way to get protein into the diet.

Getting the best result with from your eggs feels even more important right now as the staple has become more scarce and expensive due to panic-buying during the coronavirus pandemic.

As we head into this holiday season where hard-cooked eggs play a key role in celebrations, we decided to experiment to find the best ways to make them. We tried three methods: steamed on the stove top, steamed in a multicooker and boiled on the stove top.

Here are the methods, starting with our favorite.


A collapsible steamer basket makes steaming eggs much easier.

How make steamed hard-cooked eggs on the stove top

Add about 1 inch of water to a medium pot and bring to a boil.

Place up to six eggs in a steamer insert that fits in the pot and gently lower the steamer in the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and steam the eggs for 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ice and cold water. When eggs are finished steaming, transfer them to the ice bath and let sit for 5 minutes. Peel immediately, if possible.

Why we like this method best: It consistently produced eggs that were well-cooked, but still with moist yolks and delicate whites. The eggs were consistently easier to peel, but note peeling grows more difficult if the eggs are refrigerated after steaming.


Steamed, hard-cooked eggs, left, usually have a moister yolk and more delicate whites than boiled eggs, right.

How to steam hard-cooked eggs in a multicooker

Set the trivet or a steamer insert in the bottom of a multicooker. Gently place the eggs on top of the trivet. Add 1 cup of water to the pot.

Follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on low for 4 minutes.

After the pressure cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release and wait until the quick-release cycle is complete. Unlock and remove the lid, using caution to avoid any escaping steam.

While the eggs are steaming, in a medium bowl, combine the ice and cold water. When the eggs are finished steaming, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the ice bath for about 5 minutes.

Why we like it: The multicooker produces moist yolks and delicate whites. Again, the eggs were relatively easy to peel.
The downside: Unless you keep the cooker on your counter, it’s a bit of a hassle to pull it out just to steam a batch of eggs.

How to make hard-boiled eggs

Place the eggs in a saucepan in a single layer and fill the pan with enough cold water to cover the eggs by about an inch. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Place the pan in the sink and run cold water over the eggs until the pan is lukewarm, about a minute or two; then drain. The eggs may feel slightly warm to the touch.

Why we like it: This old-school method requires no special tools: Eggs, water and a pot are all you need.
The downside: This was the process that resulted in the most cracked egg shells. The eggs were a bit more rubbery, with dryer yolks. Also, generally, the eggs were harder to peel.

Here are two straightforward ways to enjoy your hard-cooked eggs. Both are fundamental recipes that you can spice up to suit your taste.


Classic Egg Salad

This simple egg salad recipe is a perfect base for experimentation. It tastes great as is, or you can add additional flavor by stirring in 1/4 cup of crisp bacon or finely chopped scallions, a tablespoon of sweet pickles or, perhaps, another tablespoon of fresh dill.


Simple Deviled Eggs

The sky is the limit when it comes to what goes into this deviled egg recipe. They can be as simple as these, pictured. Or, you can doll them up with fancier ingredients, including rich additions, such as creme fraiche or caviar.

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Did you make either of these recipes? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.

More hard-cooked egg recipes from Voraciously:

Horseradish Deviled Eggs

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

Dill and Pickle Egg Salad Sandwich