Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Soft Hard Boiled Eggs – Cooking with Steam

As vaguely promised in the grilled shrimp Louie video, here is my foolproof method for doing hard-boiled eggs, when we want softer, creamier yolks. This style works very nicely for salads, and above and beyond the texture, we get pure egg flavor, without the sulfuric bitterness that over-boiled eggs suffer from.

Of course, there are variables. Large egg sizes can vary, as does the temperature of refrigerators, so your time to hard boiled egg nirvana may vary. For me, 6 to 7 minutes gives me a perfect runny yolk; 9 to 10 minutes gives me what you see in the video, or a “soft hard boiled egg,” if you prefer; and 11-12 gets you closer to the fully-cooked, classic yolk.

My suggestion is to get a dozen eggs, and do some tests. This steaming method is very precise, and repeatable, once you lock it in. By the way, there doesn’t seem to be a big difference whether you cook one egg or six, but I’ve never actually tried this with a whole dozen, so if you do, let me know the results. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
3 quart saucepan with lid
1 1/4 cup water
6 large eggs, straight from the refrigerator

39 comments:

Dan Kolan said...

Is there a reason you don't poke a hole in one end of the eggs to prevent them from expanding and cracking or exploding?

Lucas Locks said...

Looks like you wasted quite the amount of water using that technique. Could i somehow speed up the cooling process with some ice water and salt? Great video as alwayd chef.

tamtam said...

This actually looks pretty easy. No more vulcanized eggs! Thanks for sharing, Chef John. I enjoy watching the videos on your channel and learning new things to improve my cooking skills.

Micah Fukunaga said...

I apologize for going off topic, but what's the purpose of the grate thing in your sink? Another thing you never knew you wanted till you knew it existed? I like the way it makes the sink look though. Kinda want to get one to make myself seem more real chef like.

Kit Vitae said...

thank you!!!

literally all i have in the house right now is eggs, and then i got the email about this, which is perfect /and/ everything about this seems easier than the boiled egg technique i'd learned before.

plus, i've literally never been able to say to my partner "want to make this for lunch today?" before, because i always have to buy in some ingredient or another first.

Chase Saunders said...

First off, thanks for these techniques.

Second, can you explain the grid type thing in your sink?

ham said...

Marvellous!

I wondered how the eggs turned out so evenly cooked. Do they roll around while you steam them?

Emma Dupont said...

Hi Chef John. Would this 'soft hard boiled egg' method work well for pickled eggs?

Jim Spatz said...

Hi Chef John. What are your thoughts on placing the eggs in a steamer basket instead of sitting them on the bottom of the pan, in the water? Would the results be the same? Thanks.

eSabz said...

Exactly 9:30 later I have perfect hard soft boiled eggs. Thanks Chef!

Sandy said...

I'm always interested in a new method to make boiled eggs (I always have trouble peeling them), so I tried this today with three eggs -- they peeled perfectly! Nicely cooked inside too. Thank you Chef John for this method.

Chewy2 said...

You mention eggs "straight from the refrigerator", what about eggs "straight from the chicken"? I always have big trouble trying to peel our boiled eggs and have read it is because they are fresh. I am hoping your crack and soak method will work for me because I get so angry trying to peel our fresh boiled eggs!

Karen said...

Alas, there is no such thing as cold water from a faucet in Florida during the summertime. We will need to resort to an ice bath.

Chicau said...

LOVE steamed eggs. Usually use a vegetable steamer insert, but I guess I don't need it!

Struggled all my life peeling eggs until I found steaming. Anybody who doubts should try this. You'll LOVE it!

Unknown said...

Hi chef john,

I detest boiled eggs normally though I do eat them when in a curry, so I might use this method sometimes and then put them in a curry, thank you. I like t fry the eggs a bit after boiling, I don't like the slipperyness if it's only boiled. Yeah I am crazy I know. I'll try and soft boil the eggs according to your method then put them in my curry (the bit extra heat will probably hard-boil them then).

I have another question: could you do a video on seasoning a carbon steel frying pan? I just ordered two and will have to season them.

Paulina Kedzior said...

tried this method and worked like a charm. thank you chef John!

Michele Cryan said...

OMG - cracking the shells and putting back in the cold water.....you are a genius!

Reid Surrett said...

I made 8 of these, 4 soft boiled and 4 soft-hard boiled. I've never had a soft boiled egg before but I think I found my favorite way to make eggs in general (or at least until I get sick of them from the creamy addiction) and the soft hard boiled were made into the easiest and best tasting deviled eggs I've ever made. Thank you for posting this method!!

John Marquardt said...

Easiest way to make hard eggs is to bake them. 30 minutes on the rack in a 350 degree oven will give you perfect hard cooked eggs. I suppose if you wanted the softer version you could bake for only 25 minutes.

I've been doing this for over 2 years now and haven't had a problem -- they peel very easily also. The big plus is there are no dirty dishes -- nothing to clean up.

Salli Gillespie said...

I read about this technique about a year ago in an article by Kenji Lopez-Alt using a steamer basket on the Serious Eats website. I have been using it ever since. Perfect hard boiled eggs every time! Super easy to peel as well. I steam a dozen eggs for about 13 minutes using a steamer basket. Good job Chef John! Love your stuff!

Chef John said...

John,

I'm not sure if you're kidding, but how the heck is baking eggs in an oven for 30 minutes, easier than steaming for 9 minutes??

By the way, I had no clean-up either, unless you count the five seconds it took to rinse the pan.

I love tips, tricks, and ideas from readers, but I'm sorry, this method is way way way easier and more exact.

John Marquardt said...

Chef John .... 30 minutes in the oven is so easy and the results are consistently good. I suggest you try it before dismissing the idea.

Have you ever smoked tomatoes?

Have a great weekend.

naisha walton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Howard Bischof said...

I wish there was a like button or a damn you just made it easier button. the first time I made eggs with a creamy yolk! Just amazing!

Seer said...

I was never a big hard boiled egg fan... until now. I could never get them right. But, following your video they are fool proof... and I'm the fool to prove it. Thanks, Chef John.

Matt said...

I tried this for the first time. That was far too easy. It must have been sheer luck on my part.

By the way, the science behind steaming and water hearing is the extra energy required for the phase change of converting water to steam.

Bill & Kristie White said...

These are fantastic! So good, and not rubbery with perfectly done yolks. Made them twice already and I just watched the episode yesterday! Thank you :)

philogaia said...

Many techniques tried. Most fail due to my inattentiveness. This is so much the exception. Maybe you need to put a note on your previous video. I have been using that technique for years and seems there is something better. I quit trying to make soft-cooked eggs because I was too lame to get them right. And I can get distracted by the submerged version. No worries when I can stand over the pot for two minutes until the tweeny bit of water boils and the eggs go in. My boyfriend was hanging out with me and noticed my sacrilege. But he was appeased by the eggs I produced. I was doing deviled eggs so wanted more powdery yolks. I added a minute ( at near sea level.) Maybe 1.5 minute better? But the eggs were fabulous and no fuss. I am a convert. Oh yeah.

rotunder said...

Terrific technique!! Worked for me first time and they came out, I really appreciate the tip when you were cooling them and cracking them a little bit to help out when you peel.

As for everyone asking what the grate is in his sink, I assume its so that he can place a pot in there without it being right on the bottom and allowing for easier draining.

philogaia said...

Ran across this method on a day I was going to hard cook a lot of eggs for deviled eggs. I tried cooking them this way adding an extra minute to get the more powdery texture of yolk needed for deviled eggs. Came out perfect and it was so much quicker to do given I didn't have to wait for all that water to boil. Now I want to try doing soft-boiled eggs this way.

Karen Francis said...

This technique can be used without wasting all that precious water down the drain ! Well, it precious and expensive in my part of the world ie. Western Australia.
Just steam the eggs for 8 minutes, then remove and allow them to come to room temperature. The residual heat will cook them to perfection. Cheers.

Karen Francis said...

This technique can be used without pouring all that precious water down the drain. Well, it's precious and expensive in my part of the world ie. Western Australia.
Just steam the eggs for 8 minutes, remove and allow them to come to room temperature. The residual heat will cook them to 'hard boiled' perfection. Cheers.

trevorsg said...

This is a game changer! They came out absolutely perfect and were impossibly easy to peel. I'll be using this technique from now on. I can't believe the number of folks here that are worried about wasting a quart of water... I get that water conservation is a good thing, but come on folks, let's put our efforts into fighting the real water wasters: golf courses!

Adrian Lee said...

Came out great even with old eggs that cracked even i submerged them in the hot water

http://i.imgur.com/IHxifVu.jpg

Definitely want to try making soft boiled next

Tia Ray said...

Chef John, I need to thank you for this technique. I have tried this three times now, and they come out absolutely perfect every time. The texture of the yolks is amazing and delicious, and you're right, super hard to describe. This has completely changed the way I will hard-boil eggs from now on. I can't believe I've never seen this method before, because it's life changing. :)

Unknown said...

Tried it again using 7-8 minutes. Used leftover water from boiling an individual serving of noodles. Starch didn't seem to affect cooking time except for my pot lid jumping a bit so I had to turn the heat down a little. Came out great! Mom didn't believe that I'd gotten the time right :}.

http://i.imgur.com/Lf4oWi1.jpg

Kristi said...

Firstly thank you Chef John for posting this technique. I've always struggled with making the perfect, creamy hard boiled egg but never thought of steaming them. I've used this method a few times before and they're always perfect! This is now my go-to method for cooking hard boiled eggs.

Secondly, and I wish I had a picture to show it, I tried this with a DOZEN "jumbo" eggs. I cooked them with 1 and 1/2 cup water for 11 minutes due to their size and they're perfect. They came out just like the ones in the video. So if no one else has tested this I can verify this works for large batches of eggs too

Leigh said...

I have done this 4 times now. My favorite steam time is 8 minutes. I will never boil my eggs in a full pan of water again. Thank you.

Dolly Sundstrom said...

We have chickens and leave their eggs on the counter at room temperature for up to a week (yes this is safe! Unwashed eggs have a natural coating called "bloom" that is protective against bacteria), so I experimented and found that room temperature eggs need to be cooked 1 minute less than Chef John's times.

Thanks Chef John! My family always mocks me for my rock hard "soft boiled eggs"--but NO MORE!

P.S. Chef John, should we reduce our viewing of foodwishes.com videos when we start hearing your voice while cooking? Example: "...and some FRESH-ly ground black pepper.."