Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs, or Is the 5-5-5 Method a Myth?

Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs, or Is the 5-5-5 Method a Myth?

Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs

Have you done hard-boiled eggs in your Instant Pot? Are they easier to peel? What’s the normal process? Could a stove top pressure cooker be used?

email from Terry

I’m behind the trend on this one. Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs are all over the web – especially Facebook. People say they are quick, consistent, and easy to peel.

Now, I love eggs, but I have not tried pressure cooking. I overdosed on hard-boiled eggs during a low-carb diet a few years back, so I’ve been avoiding them. Also, I was playing with sous vide eggs, trying to get the perfect soft-boiled egg.

The other issue: hard-boiled eggs are easy to overcook, resulting in a green-ringed, rubbery yolk. I tried all sorts of stovetop methods, settling on one from Cooks Illustrated: start with cold water and eggs, bring to a boil, then finish off the heat with a 12-minute rest. It worked better than most, but it was still not consistent. Sometimes the eggs were not completely cooked. Years later, Kenji Alt explained why: the amount of water matters in this technique, because water acts as a thermal battery. A large pot of water cooks the eggs more than a small pot of water. I stuck with this method through my low-carb diet phase. (And I do mean stuck, the way the shells stuck to the eggs as I tried to peel them.)

Researching this recipe, I couldn’t find the articles from ten years ago explaining how to boil eggs. I missed the hard-boiled shift to steaming a few years back. Both Cooks Illustrated and Kenji now say that steaming eggs is the way to go. (That’s right, the best hard-boiled eggs are not boiled.) Why? Steam is gentle, consistent heat compared to boiling water. That was my “Aha!” moment – steam power makes a pressure cooker a good egg cooker. I use my pressure cooker as a pressure steamer all the time for Pressure Cooker Cheesecake. I’m in! Time for some internet research, let’s compare recipes and see how everyone pressure cooks their eggs.

Everyone uses the 5-5-5 method: 5 minutes pressure cooking, 5 minutes natural pressure release, 5 minutes in an ice water bath to chill. Done. That seems so easy, but I hear my mother saying “if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”

Undercooked (1-5-5), Just Right (5-5-5), Overcooked (5-15-5)

I test 5-5-5, and it does work – hard boiled eggs, easy to peel, just the way I like them. I try some variations – shorter times under pressure or quick releasing the pressure immediately undercook the eggs; longer cooking times or a full natural pressure release overcook the eggs. I should have trusted the wisdom of the internet: everyone uses 5-5-5 because it works, and works well. (Sorry Mom, everyone was right.) 1

Everyone was right about the easy peeling, too. After chilling, the shells don’t stick to the pressure cooker hard-boiled eggs, like they used to with my stovetop eggs. I’m a pressure cooker egg convert, and I think I’m ready for some more hard-boiled eggs.


What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Pressure Cooker New York Cheesecake
Pressure Cooker Penne with Sausage and Peppers
Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup with Rice (from Scratch)
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

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  1. I can’t help myself with the “is 5-5-5 A Myth?” headline. It’s my chance to share Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “No.” ↩

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