Egg

The No-Pot, No-Water Way to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs

Fire up the oven for the easiest big batch of hard-boiled eggs, ever.

March 15, 2021
Photo by Ty Mecham

Using hot water to cook eggs in their shells is just one way to produce hard-boiled eggs, and although it's the conventional method, you actually don't need any water at all—hot air works just as well. Don't believe it? Turn on your oven and take it for a spin. Whether you're making Easter eggs, deviled eggs, egg salad, or anything else that calls for a big batch of perfectly cooked eggs in the shell, your oven is an excellent tool to get the job done. Ready to learn how to make hard-boiled eggs in the oven?

Temperature

Conventional wisdom says that 325°F is the sweet spot for baking eggs with shells on. At that temperature, baking times should proceed more or less as follows:

  • 20 to 24 minutes: In this zone the white should be set, and the heat is beginning to take the yolk from runny to jammy.
  • 25 to 27 minutes: Now, the yolk is firming up. It's a deep golden color, still spreadable, but well on its way to pale yellow and crumbly.
  • 28 to 30 minutes: You have arrived. Here you will hit the classic firm (but not rubbery or chalky) hard-boiled egg texture that's ideal for egg salad and deviled eggs. And deviled egg salad.

If you notice that these times aren't lining up with your experience, it could be that your oven isn't calibrated properly (which is more common than you might think), or another factor is causing your eggs to cook in an unconventional way, like extra-fresh or extra-cold eggs. Don't worry, just adjust the temperature next time. If you aim at the timings above, you'll have the process down pat in no time.

grab a spatula & cook with us

How to Cook Them

While you could put the eggs directly on the oven rack, there are better ways of doing it. The easiest and most effective way to get your eggs into the oven is a muffin pan. Most muffin pans have 12 cups, perfect for cooking a full dozen eggs—plus the eggs can't roll anywhere, so you can take them in and out of the oven with ease.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The very simplest and foolproof way to make hardboiled eggs suitable for deviled eggs or egg salad is not original to me but here goes: bring water to boil in a pot, enough to cover the number of eggs you want to cook. Use a spoon to lower the eggs, straight from the fridge, one at a time into the boiling water. Reduce heat so the water is boiling gently and set the time for 10 minutes for "Large" size eggs. When the timer goes off, remove pot from stove, drain the water, then shake the pot up and down so the eggs bounce around and their shells crack all over. Cover with immediately with cold water and start peeling after 30 seconds or so. The shells generally slip right off once you get them started at the large end. It's easier to get the shells cracked if the number of eggs more or less covers the bottom of the pan in single layer and not much more. ”
— linda M.
Comment

If you don't have a muffin pan, you can use a baking sheet or other oven-safe pan.

What Are Those Brown Spots?

Eggs baked in the oven often develop brown spots on the outside of the shells. Usually, the spots will rinse away, but sometimes they'll remain, and even penetrate through the shell, leaving a brown spot on the egg white as well. This is most likely to happen in the places where the shell is in direct contact with hot metal, so if you're using a muffin pan you can also use paper muffin liners as a buffer.

Whether or not you take steps to avoid the brown spots, they're merely a cosmetic defect. It's completely fine to eat any eggs that are affected.

Cool in an Ice Bath

Just like when hard-boiling eggs with water, it's best to cool oven eggs quickly after removing them from the heat, and an ice water bath is the perfect way to stop the cooking process. This step will lock in the texture you're aiming for. An ice bath can also make your eggs easier to peel.

Fill a big bowl with water and a couple dozen ice cubes—the more the better. After removing the eggs from the oven, carefully transfer them to the ice bath. Let them rest there for about 10 minutes before peeling.

More Tips

  • Use older eggs if possible. We're not talking old old, but freshly laid eggs tend to cling much more tenaciously to their shells and can be excruciatingly difficult to peel. With time, this tendency is much reduced.
  • If you have to cook a lot of eggs, consider getting a mini muffin pan. These commonly have at least two dozen cups, each of which will fit an egg perfectly.
  • Before peeling, try gently rolling an egg on the counter to help detach the white from the shell, then peel the egg under cold running water.

What are your tips for making hard-boiled eggs in the oven? Let us know in the comments.


More Hard-Boiled Egg Tips

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • GigiR
    GigiR
  • Donamaya
    Donamaya
  • Melton McKinney
    Melton McKinney
  • Jillkn
    Jillkn
  • E Miller
    E Miller
Pete Scherer

Written by: Pete Scherer

27 Comments

GigiR April 5, 2021
I’m surprised that the Uber foodies among us haven’t suggested using a salt bed to cradle the eggs in the oven...
 
Jess K. April 5, 2021
That's a great idea too!
 
Donamaya April 5, 2021
I guess if the oven is already on but my foolproof method is cold eggs into cold water. Cover and heat on high for 14 minutes. Drain, shake pan to crush shells a bit and shock with running cold water or ice bath. Perfect bright set yolks without any grey color
 
Melton M. April 4, 2021
If this is true, which rack do you put them on and do you put them directly on the rack.
Lets have a little bit more information.
 
Jess K. April 5, 2021
Hello! Yes you can absolutely put them directly on the rack. Our tests didn't show much of a difference in result between which rack the eggs were placed on, but the middle rack is a good bet here.
 
Jillkn April 4, 2021
This seems time-consuming and much too complicated. (Tins, parchment, spots, oven temp.) I’ve been steaming my eggs every week for 2 years. Not once have I had trouble peeling: Bring water to a boil in a double boiler, add eggs cold from the refrigerator, cover and steam 15 minutes, and then straight into a bowl of ice water to cool/stop cooking. Truly foolproof. No guesswork.
 
E M. April 4, 2021
For all you concerned with using the energy: why not just keep this method in the back of your mind for when you already have the oven on for another task? I'll probably try this method next time I'm braising or roasting something else.
 
garnetwoman April 4, 2021
Here’s my method for foolproof hard boiled eggs. Steam them instead of boiling. The membrane will adhere to the shell instead of the egg white even if the eggs are 1 day old. Leave them in refrigerator until water is boiling. Ice bath as soon as they’re done. 13 minutes at under 1,000 feet. 16 minutes at 7,000 feet (Santa Fe, NM)
 
some1105 April 4, 2021
The best kitchen purchase I’ve made in the past five years was a thermometer to hang inside my oven to check temperature. I couldn’t figure out why previously foolproof recipes kept failing, only to find out the oven in my new apartment is 50-75 degrees off. It’s annoying to have to game my own appliance, setting it “too high” to get it up to temp and then adjusting the known down so it maintains, but with the help of the thermometer, at least the food is good again...
 
Chris O. April 4, 2021
This falls under the category of “yes, it can be done, but why?” Why heat an oven for an hour to “boil” eggs? A waste of energy and time. Food52 tested different methods of boiling an egg. I prefer #4 but most of these make more sense than baking them (possible exception of sous vide). https://food52.com/blog/24274-how-to-boil-eggs
 
Karen April 4, 2021
Thanks for the alternative method; I am trying it mow.. I can feel safe leaving the kitchen for a short time if oven is on - but not with the stove.
 
Lizzie April 4, 2021
Instant Pot - perfect every time. Less electricity. Less time.
 
Amy S. April 4, 2021
If you have an air fryer, 13 minutes at 250 degrees works great for half a dozen large eggs to get a gooey golden center. Add on a couple minutes for more well done. And follow with a ten minute ice bath as well. Perfect every time!
 
nancy S. April 4, 2021
The easiest way to hard boil an egg is to follow Kenji Lopez-Alt and steam them! Perfect every time. No muss, no fuss, and every egg peels perfectly. There is too much going on in the world to worry about how to hard boil an egg. Go with Kenji folks.
 
Robin April 4, 2021
My favorite aunt in MI was talking some years back about this egg cooker she had that I was clueless about. Claimed she got it as a wedding gift back in the late 40's, early 50's. Sunbeam I think. I hunted around and found one of my own, though needed to get a replacement cord. Basically the steam method and works quite well, though I like this oven idea if the oven is already on.
 
VTgoodlife2 March 31, 2021
Wow! People get a bit worked up about hard boiled eggs. Frankly, while I’m conscious of energy conservation and all-I’d be happy to just get hard boiled eggs that didn’t have gray yolks when I was done! Thanks for the tips.
 
Tania F. March 28, 2021
Thank you for this. We have recently moved countries & have limited kitchen equipment while we wait for our belongings to arrive. Great to have an alternative method when you’re without your usual equipment.
 
Jess K. March 29, 2021
You're so welcome! Good luck with the move (and check out our home content—we have lots of fun ways to help you settle in).
 
Mary March 28, 2021
Muffin pans, 20+ minutes AND liners to avoid brown spots on the eggs? Uhmm no thanks, I'll stick to boiling.
 
linda M. March 15, 2021
The very simplest and foolproof way to make hardboiled eggs suitable for deviled eggs or egg salad is not original to me but here goes: bring water to boil in a pot, enough to cover the number of eggs you want to cook. Use a spoon to lower the eggs, straight from the fridge, one at a time into the boiling water. Reduce heat so the water is boiling gently and set the time for 10 minutes for "Large" size eggs. When the timer goes off, remove pot from stove, drain the water, then shake the pot up and down so the eggs bounce around and their shells crack all over. Cover with immediately with cold water and start peeling after 30 seconds or so. The shells generally slip right off once you get them started at the large end. It's easier to get the shells cracked if the number of eggs more or less covers the bottom of the pan in single layer and not much more.
 
Kt4 March 28, 2021
Are you saying that you've tried it in the oven & it didn't work for you?
 
Bonny April 4, 2021
I use this method also, but I use room temperature eggs otherwise they crack upon hitting the water.
 
TXExpatInBKK April 5, 2021
Yes, the method you described (room temp into boiling water followed by an ice bath) is actually the method Food52 ultimately recommended in their article "The Absolute Best Way to Boil Eggs, According to So Many Tests". :-)
 
AntoniaJames March 15, 2021
Does this make sense from an environmental perspective? I'd be curious to see the energy consumption required (of course it would differ from oven to oven) compared to, e.g., simmered on the stove, steamed in a multi-cooker such as an Instant Pot, etc. ;o)
 
M March 15, 2021
That's what I was wondering. In a toaster oven, however, it might be a great way to cook large batches.
 
Brandon March 16, 2021
Good question. I would think a toaster oven, instant pot or air fryer may use less energy than a full size oven, but vs. boiling water for 10 minutes would be interesting to know if there was significant difference.
 
Lauren S. April 4, 2021
I think that whole old egg new egg thing is a bunch of BS. If you shock them @ 13 min. boiling they shouldn't give you any trouble. Pour the hot water out first then cold water and ice.