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Time to talk about cooking eggs in your steam oven. In particular, today I’m going to run your through one of the simplest steam oven cooking tricks you can have up your sleeve (well, in your kitchen): the humble boiled egg. I’ve visited the topic of steam oven scrambled eggs before, and I’ll visit the topic of steam oven poached and baked eggs one day soon, but today is a boiled egg masterclass, if you will.
A boiled egg can be used for so many things, even if (like me) you aren’t a big fan of just eating one straight out of its shell. Sliced or mashed with mayonnaise and nestled between two slices of soft supermarket bread; yolks carefully removed and creamed before being artfully piped back in for that 70’s classic, devilled eggs; quartered and used in a salad to provide heft and protein; wrapped in sausage meat, crumbed and fried for the artery-busting bomb which is a Scotch egg – I think we all get the idea. Eggs are handy, nutritious and relatively cheap (although please, PLEASE, I implore you to spend up a bit and buy free range for the welfare of your egg-producing birdies), and we’d be lost in the kitchen without them.
As with so many previously-tedious tasks, using a steam oven to boil eggs – or rather, to steam eggs – removes the annoyance of putting them in a pot of water which then needs draining, and also all but guarantees they’ll never crack while cooking and lose half their contents before you can blink.
So, onto the details. There are a few factors which will greatly affect how long you need to cook eggs for in a steam oven, so let’s talk about those for a minute:
Cooking temperature for boiled eggs in the steam oven:
I prefer to steam my eggs at 95⁰C (203⁰F) rather than 100⁰C (212⁰F). Though they’re regarded as quite robust, eggs can be sensitive little things and the slightly lower temperature means the difference between softly cooked whites and bouncy, slightly ‘chewy’ ones (but hey, if you love a bouncy egg white by all means up the temperature and drop a minute or two off your cooking time!).
Cooking vessels for boiled eggs in the steam oven:
Whatever you do, don’t use your thick ceramic or glass cooking vessels here. They’ll alter the cooking time of your eggs by up to 100%, and cook them unevenly too. I use the 1/3 size or 2/3 size stainless steel trays which came with my oven – they’re thin, light and conduct heat very quickly, which is so important for steaming foods which don’t take long to cook.
Freshness of eggs for boiled eggs:
I’d like to share something about the photos for today’s post here – when I tested all my timings to share with you, I used some glorious eggs from my local greengrocer. They cooked beautifully, peeled easily and were all around fabulous. So fabulous we used them all to make egg mayonnaise for lunch, and I had to cook more to photograph. Except this time around I used supermarket eggs (albeit the most expensive ‘happy chicken’ ones on the shelf). Bad idea. They were obviously old, and the whites, even on the longest cooked eggs which came out with chalky yolks, were thin, watery and impossible to peel. Boy was I annoyed about that after I’d set up my camera, backdrop, even the plate I planned to just pop the eggs on before clicking the shutter! Moral of the story? Freshness matters. Almost as much as when you make a poached egg, and I think we all know freshness is the key to a perfect ‘poachie’.
Egg temperature for perfect steam oven boiled eggs
This is a bit of a contentious issue for me. I like keeping my eggs in the fridge for freshness, so ideally I’d just pop them in the steam oven straight from the fridge and set my timer accordingly for the doneness I prefer. Except whenever I’ve done that, I’ve had really inconsistent cooking results. So I really recommend bringing your eggs to room temperature before you steam them. It will make your timings much more accurate.
Cooking time for perfect steam oven boiled eggs
Everyone likes their yolks cooked differently, so I’m going to give you a visual guide so you can get yours just right. Safe to say somewhere between 8 minutes and 12 minutes is generally the sweet spot for a 59g egg (which is the standard weight for an extra large egg in Australia and as best I can tell, the US, and equivalent to a large egg in the UK).
Whew! Who would think popping an egg in your steam oven could require so much information?! The thing is, it doesn’t really, once you’ve got the basics down. Fresh eggs, right vessel, right temperature, right time. Once you’ve got it nailed, you’ll be able to cook a dozen at a time with hardly a thought (and they’ll last a good 4-5 days in the fridge, ready to put in lunchboxes as you race out the door).
If you’re not boiling eggs in your steam oven, now you’ve got no excuse not to try it – I’d love to know how you get on.
Happy steam oven cooking, see you here again soon.
Steam Oven Boiled Eggs
Makes as many as you want to cook.
The timing for one egg or a dozen is the same, as long as you don’t have all the eggs touching when you’re cooking multiple ones in the same tray. It’s tempting to just put the whole carton in if you want to cook a lot, but don’t – the carboard acts as a thermal barrier and your eggs won’t cook properly. I separate mine using a scrunched up piece of paper towel.
Room temperature eggs. The times below are for 59g (extra large Aus/US or large UK)
Preheat your oven to 95⁰C/203⁰F on steam setting (100% humidity).
Put your eggs into a 1/3 size or 2/3 size stainless steel tray, depending on how many you plan to cook. Put the tray into the oven (be quick - leaving the door open for a long time will take the temperature right down!), setting the time as per the visual guide below to obtain yolks cooked to your desired hardness.
Let the eggs cool until you can handle them before peeling and using however you please (if you like, let them cool slightly then put them in the fridge, where they’ll keep for 4-5 days until you’re ready to peel and use them).
But I don’t have a steam/combi-steam oven! Er, I think we can all assume a pot full of water on the cooktop is going to be your best bet here, yes?
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After some other simple steam oven staples? My Steam Oven Scrambled Eggs are over here; a handy guide to Steam Oven Rice is here, or, if you’re about done on savoury options for today and consider chocolate cake a staple (if we’re all honest with ourselves, who doesn’t?), you can find my Simple Steam Oven Chocolate cake here.