I know you have a go-to method of making hard boiled eggs – me too! For decades I used the same method that I grew up with – boil the dog-wallop out of them, then refrigerate. Anyone can make a hard-boiled egg, right? It was years before I learned that yolks should remain a bright yellow color and not turn olive green after boiling.
The perfect hard-cooked egg
Now my criteria for the perfect hard-cooked egg is:
- both the yolk and white should be cooked through, but not tough
- no green coating around the yolk!
- relatively easy cooking process
- cooked eggs should be easy to peel
In search of the best cooking method
For our high mountain elevations, I explored four methods for hard-cooked eggs at high altitude. In my analysis, the method that consistently produced outstanding hard cooked eggs was the steamed method from Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
What about using an Instant Pot?
I’m also a big fan of hard-cooked eggs in an Instant Pot. The eggs are perfect every time and all you have to do is:
- set them at high pressure for 5 minutes (don’t forget that you’ll have 10 minutes to get the pot up to pressure),
- 3-5 minutes of natural release, then
- 10 minutes in an ice bath.
Still…I prefer steaming for hard-cooked eggs because it takes about the same time and I don’t have to drag out my Instant Pot.
Food safety tips
Wearing my food safety hat…no matter what cooking techniques you use hard-cooked eggs should be stored in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. Yes, this means that hiding your colored, hard-cooked eggs for an Easter egg hunt can be unsafe. It would be better to let the kids hunt the plastic eggs instead of the real eggs. This also prevents you from the nasty surprise of finding a random undiscovered hard-cooked egg in your sofa next June.
Eat the hard-cooked eggs within a week and use an ice pack if you are packing them in a lunch box.
For the easiest egg peeling, use your oldest eggs. Eggs have a membrane inside the shell that forms an air pocket. As an egg ages, this air pocket expands making it easier to peel after hard-cooking.
Funny quick-peel video
My favorite way to hard-cook eggs in the Boat is to steam them for 17 minutes. Give this steam method a try and then leave a comment to let me know if it works at your altitude. I’d love to hear about your experience and exactly how long you steamed your eggs.
This recipe has been adapted from a method that first appeared in Cook’s Illustrated magazine. This recipe works for Steamboat Springs, Colorado, elevation 6,795 feet above sea level. In the Notes at the end of the recipe, I have included recommendations from friends and family at other elevations that you might find helpful.
- 6 large eggs
Pour one inch of water into a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Place an empty steamer basket over the water and turn heat to high until the water begins to boil.
Gently place the eggs in the steamer basket. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and continue steaming for 17 minutes. (Adjust this time to your elevation – see note below.)
While the eggs cook, prepare a large bowl with 2 cups of ice and 2 cups of water. Plunge the steamed eggs into the ice water for 10 minutes.
This recipe will also work for a dozen eggs when you place the steamer basket in a large stainless steel dutch oven with tight-fitting lid.
Steaming time recommendations from contributors across Colorado:
- Steam for 13 minutes at sea level (Cook’s Illustrated recommendation)
- Steam for 15 minutes at 5,000 feet above sea level – Longmont & Fort Collins, CO (Elisa & Lyndy’s recommendation)
- Steam for 17 minutes at 6,800 feet above sea level – Steamboat Springs, CO (Karen’s recommendation)
- Steam for 20 minutes at 10,000 feet above sea level – Leadville, CO (Elisa’s recommendation)