Recipe Review

I Tried Air Fryer Hard-Boiled Eggs — And the Results Were NOT What I Expected

updated May 11, 2021
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air fryer hard boiled eggs on a green plate with salt and pepper
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

By now I’ve made hard-boiled eggs just about every way imaginable. I’ve used the stovetop method, the oven, the slow cooker, and the Instant Pot. And while I have a go-to method (the 5-5-5 method), I’m always game to try something different — especially if it’s faster or easier, results in tastier eggs, or leaves me with eggs that are super easy to peel. So when I saw air fryer hard-boiled eggs popping up around the web, I knew I had to try them.

The air fryer is the secret to the crispiest tater tots, ultra-gooey grilled cheeses, quick and tender asparagus, and even chocolate chip cookies. Plus, Tools Editor Riddley recently voted the air fryer her favorite gadget for making hard-boiled eggs, and specifically loved that it didn’t require any water. I had a feeling this could become my new favorite method. Here’s what happened when I gave it a go.

Before actually trying this method myself, I scrolled through a ton of recipes. I noticed that while cook times and temperatures varied slightly between recipes, one thing remained consistent: Most recipes were developed with a basket air fryer in mind.

When I starting testing, I quickly learned that because of that, the cook time indicated in most recipes isn’t nearly long enough for a toaster oven-air fryer hybrid (the model I own), leaving me with very undercooked eggs. I think it’s both an issue of wattage variation between air fryer models, but also the total area inside the toaster oven hybrid is much greater than a traditional basket air fryer.

How to Make Air-Fryer Hard-Boiled Eggs

After a lot of trial and error, I finally nailed the timing for both the basket air fryer and the toaster oven air fryer.

Start by heating the air fryer to 275°F. Place one to 12 cold large eggs in the air fry basket or tray in a single layer.

  • If using a basket air fryer: Cook 16 minutes.
  • If using a toaster oven-air fryer hybrid: Cook 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with water and ice cubes. Use tongs to transfer the eggs to the ice bath. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove from the ice bath. If you plan to eat the eggs right away, peel the eggs immediately. For longer-term storage, refrigerate unpeeled in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

My Honest Review of Air Fryer Hard-Boiled Eggs

Unless I need to cook, say, two-dozen hard-boiled eggs at once, I won’t be using this method again. For the time it takes, the results simply don’t deliver. The texture of the eggs is similar to eggs that are “hard-boiled” in the oven, which is to say, they’re slightly chewy and rubbery rather than tender and creamy. The eggs are easy to peel, although not necessarily more so than when cooked on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot.

3 Times It’s Worth Making Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Air Fryer

I can think of three instances when it could makes sense to make air fryer hard-boiled eggs.

  1. Making a large batch. Air fryers can hold a lot of eggs: upwards of a dozen (sometimes more depending on the model) in a traditional air fryer with a basket and two dozen in a toaster oven-air fryer hybrid. Plus, cooking doesn’t require any water and cleanup is a breeze.
  2. During a kitchen renovation. If you happen to be renovating your kitchen, the air fryer makes a great alternative.
  3. Meal prep. If your stovetop and oven are filled up with meal prep, use your air fryer to cook up a batch of eggs at the same time.

Have you ever made hard-boiled eggs in the air fryer? Let us know in the comments!