Stove-top steaming is hands down our favourite way to hard-cook eggs

Ann Maloney

THE WASHINGTON POST – 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.

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 favourite.

HOW TO MAKE STEAMED HARD-COOKED EGGS ON THE STOVE TOP

Add about one 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 five minutes. Peel immediately, if possible.

Classic Egg Salad. PHOTOS: THE WASHINGTON POST
Simple Deviled Eggs.

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.

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 one 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 four 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 five 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.

CLASSIC EGG SALAD

Four servings

This simple egg salad is a perfect base for experimentation. It tastes great as is, or you can add more flavour by stirring in any number of things, such as a quarter cup of crisp beef strips or finely chopped scallions, a tablespoon of sweet pickles or, perhaps, another tablespoon of fresh dill.

Make Ahead: You can cook and peel the eggs a few days before using them and store them in the refrigerator. They will be easiest to peel just after steaming.

Storage Notes: The salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

INGREDIENTS

Six large eggs

1/2 cup finely diced celery

One tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, chives, dill or another favourite tender herb

1/4 cup mayonnaise

One teaspoon coarse grain mustard

One teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

STEPS

Add about one inch of water to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the eggs in a steamer insert that fits in the pot and place the steamer in the pot. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cover. Steam the eggs for exactly 13 minutes.

Fill a medium bowl with ice and cold water. When the eggs are finished steaming, transfer them to the ice bath for five minutes.

While eggs are steaming, in a medium bowl, stir together the celery, herbs, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and salt.

Peel and coarsely chop the eggs. Or, if you prefer the eggs more finely chopped, run them through sieve or ricer. Transfer the chopped eggs to the bowl with the celery mixture. Stir to combine well. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as desired. Chill or serve warm on sandwich bread or lettuce leaves.

NUTRITION

Per serving – Calories: 190; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 290mg; Sodium: 302mg; Carbohydrates: 2g; Dietary Fibre: 1g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 10g.

SIMPLE DEVILED EGGS

Six servings

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

Make ahead: You can cook and peel the eggs a few days before using them and store them in the refrigerator. They will be easiest to peel just after steaming. Place the empty egg halves and the mashed yolks into separate airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to two days. Before filling the eggs, bring the filling to room temperature.

Storage notes: The eggs can be refrigerated for up to three days.

INGREDIENTS

Six large eggs

Three tablespoons mayonnaise

One and a half teaspoons white vinegar

3/4 teaspoon grainy mustard

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sprinkle of fresh herbs, such as chives, dill, parsley or another favourite tender herb (optional)

STEPS

Add about one inch of water to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the eggs in a steamer insert that fits in the pot and place the steamer in the pot. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cover. Steam the eggs for exactly 13 minutes.

Fill a medium bowl with ice and cold water. When the eggs are finished steaming, transfer them to the ice bath for five minutes.

Peel the eggs and slice each in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place them in a small bowl.

Arrange the whites on a deviled egg platter. If you don’t have one, use a smudge of the filling to stabilise the egg halves on a platter.

Mash the yolks with fork until no large lumps remain. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use a rubber spatula to mix, mashing the ingredients against the side of the bowl, until completely smooth.

Using a teaspoon, scoop up the yolk mixture and fill the cavity of each egg white to about a quarter inch above the flat surface of the whites. Or, for prettier eggs, fit a pastry bag with large open-star tip.

Fill bag with the yolk mixture, twisting the top to push the mixture toward the tip.

Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg white halves, mounding the filling about a quarter inch above the flat surface of the whites.

Sprinkle with your choice of fresh herbs, if desired. Serve slightly chilled, or at room temperature.

NUTRITION

Per serving – Calories: 73; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 167mg; Sodium: 135mg; Carbohydrates: 2g; Dietary Fibre: 0g; Sugars: 0g; Protein: 6g.