How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs 5 Different Ways

These easy techniques for how to boil eggs will make you an eggs-pert in no time. We'll also share tips on peeling hard-boiled eggs, storing eggs and more.

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Hard-boiled eggs are just about the best recipe around. Whether you’re making them for deviled eggs, a picnic-ready potato and egg 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.

Bonus: For something different, check out this trending penguin egg holder—it makes boiling eggs super easy and fun.

Before you dive in, read these tips from our Taste of Home 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. Learn how to wash fresh eggs purchased from a farm stand or farmers market.
  • 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 Boil Eggs, 5 Ways

Hard Boiled Eggs in a rowLaurie Ambrose/Getty Images


  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Ice


  • 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 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 they’re done sitting, rinse the 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 Boiled 6 minutes Runny Yolk
Medium Boiled 9 minutes Gel-Like Yolk
Firm Boiled 12 minutes Firm Yolk
Hard Boiled 15 minutes Hard Yolk

How to Boil Eggs in an Instant Pot

Pressure Cooker Boiled EggsTaste of Home

For a hands-off approach, our Instant Pot hard-boiled egg recipe is a great option.

  1. Using a 6-quart 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 Boil Eggs in the Oven

Baked Boiled EggsTaste of Home

Already have your oven on? Make some baked hard-boiled eggs while you’re at it. The method 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 to 30 minutes, then remove them from the oven.
  4. Rinse eggs in cold water and place in ice water until completely cooled.

How to Boil Eggs in a Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Boiled EggsTaste of Home

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

  1. Gently place 12 eggs in the bottom of a 6-quart 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 them in a bowl of ice water until completely cooled.

How to Boil Eggs in an Air Fryer

Air Fryer Boiled EggsTaste of Home

Yes, you can air-fry hard-boiled 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.

Tips for the Best Way to Boil Eggs

Hard boiled eggs with salt and pepperbudgaugh/Getty Images

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 and crack the eggshells. Egg whites might 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 you might be making with 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.

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. Find out how long hard-boiled eggs last in 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 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.

James Schend
Formerly Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, Culinary, James oversaw the Food Editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, and managed all food content for Trusted Media Brands. He has also worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and at Southern Living. An honor graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, James 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.