Perfectly cooked eggs seem like one of those goals the Instant Pot was designed to vanquish from the stove top forever, but the truth is that Instant Pot boiled eggs aren't always as consistent as we might hope. Every time I want to cook eggs in the Instant Pot — whether I'm aiming for hard-boiled, soft-boiled, or somewhere in that jammy borderland we call "medium-boiled," I have to look up the cooking time.
After skimming endless blog posts, all of which offer different instructions (low pressure or high pressure, natural release, quick release, or some combination of the two), I inevitably choose at random and end up with . . . hard-boiled eggs. Every single time. But since they're easier to peel, I'm rarely that upset.
Because of the sheer volume of variables involved — the number of eggs being cooked, the precise amount of water used, the exact texture of yolk desired, the temperature of the eggs when the Instant Pot is sealed—it can be a challenge to churn out uniform boiled eggs every time. Nobody likes to be surprised or disappointed when they slice into an egg and see its yolk.
So once and for all, here is a reliable, easy-to-remember order of operations that takes all the guesswork out of Instant Pot boiled eggs, whether you want them soupy on the inside (to float in congee or perch on asparagus salad) or just on the cusp of chalkiness to scoop and devil with ease.
Tips for instant pot boiled eggs
- Make as many eggs as you want (within reason). I've cooked a single soft-boiled egg in the Instant Pot (for the sake of experimentation), but you can cook up to a dozen, or as many will nestle comfortably on the steaming insert.
- Always add water. The eggs are actually steaming (not boiling) when they cook in the Instant Pot, and you'll need to pour in water to provide that steam heat. Pour in 1 to 2 cups of water before sealing the machine.
- Cook on low pressure. It might not be good for much, but the low pressure setting comes in handy here. High pressure will also cook your eggs, but the yolks are more likely to come out chalky if overcooked (and boiled eggs tend to overcook quickly). Low pressure is much more forgiving here.
- Use the quick release. Not only does using the quick release decrease your wait time, it gives you more precise control over the texture of your finished eggs. The eggs will continue to cook as the pressure naturally falls, since there's no way to remove them immediately to an ice bath, so consider than when determining total cook time. To keep your hands at a safe distance from the jets of steam, use the end of a wooden spoon to maneuver the nozzle into the release position. I also often drape a dish towel over the vent so as to avoid plunging the kitchen into humidity.
- Plunge the eggs into an ice bath. Once the pressure has been released, stop the residual cooking that will make all your eggs hard-boiled in just a few minutes by transferring them immediately to an ice bath. Plus, it's easiest to peel eggs under water.
- Prime for peeling The best way to get an Instant Pot egg primed to shed its peel? Tap it on the top, on the bottom, and firmly in the middle. This will help the shell slide right off.
Left to right: 4 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes.
How long to cook instant pot boiled eggs
- For soft-boiled eggs (runny yolks): Cook on low pressure for 4 minutes, then quick-release the machine, and plunge the eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool. I also tried cooking eggs for 3 minutes. They ended up being too soft to peel, with undercooked whites.
- For medium-boiled eggs (jammy yolks): Same process, but for 5 minutes.
- For hard-boiled eggs (cooked yolks with little knife residue): Same process, but for at least 7 minutes (you can, of course, go longer for very firm eggs).
Now that I've made this my usual routine when making boiled eggs (which I do very often), it's so easy to remember that even I won't have to look it up next time.
Use your boiled egg bounty