This is the ideal hard boiled egg. You may not like it, but this is what peak yolk doneness looks like.Photo: Claire Lower
I haven’t done a formal study, but I would guess that I have written about eggs more than I have written about anything else (besides myself). Eggs are something of a miracle. They’re incredibly versatile, filling, and nourishing, and they respond to heat and chemical manipulation in a wide variety of exciting ways. I love them—especially the golden yolk—which is why the popularity of the “5-5-5" Instant Pot method has always irked me.
For those not familiar with the method, it’s pretty straightforward: You cook the eggs for five minutes under high pressure, then let them hang out in closed the Instant Pot for another five minutes, then chill them for another five. I have no qualms with the first and last five minutes—they can stay—but that middle five is a problem for me.
Society would have you believe this is acceptable, but society is wrong.Photo: Claire Lower
Instead of the “creamy, golden yolks” promised by so many recipe blogs, you get yolks that are on the edge of something terrible. The above egg yolk is fine when mashed with copious amounts of mayonnaise, but far too dry to eat with nothing more than a little salt, which is how you should be able to eat a hard boiled egg.
Eggs that hang out in the Instant Pot for five minutes after the cooking time has elapsed are always just on the edge of getting that sulfurous grey ring, which means all it takes is a mere minute of forgetfulness to summon it, but it also means that you’re missing out on the beauty of a just set, truly creamy yolk. Some might call these “medium boiled,” and I guess you can do that too, if you must, though I still maintain the yolk in the above photo is the hardest you should let your yolk get.
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Don’t sell yourself short, is what I’m saying. It comes down to preference, but my preference is correct. Though you’ve probably been told by countless cookbooks, blogs, and magazines that perfect hard boiled eggs look like the second egg photo in this blog, I urge you to challenge the old ways, and think about what tastes good. If you have to cook your yolks to a near powdery consistency to eat them, perhaps you don’t like egg yolks all that much! (The only time I’ll accept a harder yolk is if it is accompanied by a crispy, butter-fried white, but even that has limited applications.)
Reject the “5-5-5" and embrace the “5-5.” A quick five minutes of high pressure, followed by an immediate manual release and an ice bath (or rinse under cold water if you plan to eat them immediately) is all you need for hard boiled eggs that are so perfectly cooked, you won’t need to devil them to make them edible. (They’ll also make much better deviled eggs, which is a bonus.)