The no-pot, no-water way to make hard-boiled eggs

Fire up the oven for the easiest big batch of hard-boiled eggs of all time

By Pete Scherer
March 21, 2021 1:59PM (UTC)
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(Ty Mecham / Food52)

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

More hard-boiled egg tips:

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Pete Scherer

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Cooking Eggs Food Food52 Hard Boiled Eggs How-to