Steamed Eggs – How to Make Them Smooth is No Secret | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Steamed Eggs – How to Make Them Smooth is No Secret

Steamed Eggs

I grew up eating Chinese steamed eggs with variations one after another. A good dish of steamed egg to me however does not necessarily need to come with seafoods or any pricey ingredients. I only demand it in smooth texture, appearing more or less like a piece of silken tofu.

I have no secret recipe for making a dish of silky, custard-looking steamed eggs. I simply do it with an appropriate mix of heat and timing. My experience is, both medium and low heat can do more or less the same. Difference is, cooking on a higher heat requires a very precise timing, or the steamed egg will easily be aged and end up with a honeycomb-like texture; yet, a lower heat is more forgiving.

Also on the less stringent side is the amount of water to be added. I usually in favor of a thinner consistency, therefore I have here a higher ratio of water to egg.

The simplest form of steamed eggs in Hong Kong is what we call Steamed Water Eggs (蒸水蛋) because only water is added to the beaten eggs, which is also the one you see here but may be less popular than those using stock nowadays.

Steamed Eggs

  • Ingredients
  • 2 eggs, bring to room temperature if chilled
  • 6 halved egg shells of boiled water
  • (water : egg = 1.5 : 1)
  • soy sauce to taste
  • sesame oil to taste

Halved Egg Shell
Straining Eggs
Lifting a dish with a lifter


Beat eggs, add cooled boiled water to egg and mix well. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a steam-proof dish. Or, you may remove the bubbles with a spoon. I’m less skillful in cleaning off the bubbles without discarding some egg juice at the same time. Therefore, using a sieve to me is more efficient.

Set up a rack with water in wok. You may need a higher rack that would suspend the dish above the water surface.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Place the dish with beaten eggs on a rack, then top the dish with a flat plate. Cover lid; turn to low heat and steam for 15 minutes (the egg mixture in my dish is about 1.5cm thick). Open and check if the eggs are coagulated by gently shaking the dish. Having a plate-lifter and a towel shall help move the dishes easily.

Top the steamed eggs with a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil (I haven’t included any seasonings in the egg mixture; if you have any, you may not need to add soy sauce). Serve hot.

Enjoy your variations with the additions of green onions, shrimps, scallops, meat …

In case you are new to steaming eggs, I believe a few notes below would also help.

Using halved egg shell for measurement
Doing such eliminates estimations as you don’t need to bother whether the eggs are small or large. Besides, it is also convenient. For every one egg, I measure water in its halved shell three times.

Using boiled water than tap water
I can’t offer a scientific explanation, but using cooled down boiled water helps make the egg custard smoother.

Suspending dish above water
This is to avoid having too much boiling water hitting the base of the dish, thus overheating the egg and creating some sponge-like texture inside. Perhaps in this case, I tend to become a perfectionist.

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  1. Ginger3


    Thanks for sharing recipes in details. Love your blog, my favorite recipe blog, am so glad to chance upon it.
    Tried the almond white fungus with papaya and was a hit in my house now!
    This steam egg is what we love to cook at home but your step by step guide and explanations make it more awesome!
    Love all your explanations on all ingredient a which solve lots of my queries all this years, for instance the different almonds and barleys *\(^o^)/*

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  5. someone

    For those lazy people out there, this can also be done in the microwave but this is extremely hard to control, my general rule of thumb is about 2 mins for every egg you use

  6. Cedarglen

    @someone: Funny/Strange that I have wondered about the ‘nuke’ myself. At this point, well into a rather simple dish, I don’t think I want to begin a new cooking method, or risk a batch of eggs and other ingredients to experiment. For those with serious microwave experience, it may be a great idea. I have one, know how to use it, but with so many years and trials invested in the basic method, I’m not about to change.

    And my apologies, again, to the THK blog owner for yet again hijacking this post. She is the expert and I ought to remain silent. Sorry, but this +/- simple dish is so much fun and sooo good, I just cannot resist. Next time someone comments, I’ll reply with thoughts and comments about some of the add-ins that I’ve tried over the years. Again, my original experience with the dish was in Geneva, about 1973, and included crab meat. Ming Ming and Charlie are long gone, but the memory of meals hosted by MM, for two or for 18, remains the driving force in my attempts at Asian cooking. CG

  7. Lz

    Thanks. Something to help me remember again my late grandmother.

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  9. lovestoeat

    Come here, you! I can kiss you to death for this post … been trying and failing at this childhood dish for years! and now… eggs steamed to silken perfection … I can cry!

  10. Cedarglen

    Well OK, go ahead and cry. That’s pretty close to what I did when I discovered this thread and then more-or-less hijacked it from the site’s owner, THK. I continue to believe that she deserves a major trophy and all kinds of warm and fuzzy stuff for sharing this method with us. CG

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  12. K.C.

    I was craving this dish randomly the other day, and searched google for a recipe. At the top of the suggestions, there was a link to your page. I followed your instructions with a few modifications, and it turned out amazingly delicious!! My boyfriend, who’s a chef, was also quite impressed with my “skills” 🙂 . Thank you for sharing your recipe!!!
    For those interested:
    I substituted water with a dashi mixture for an umami taste (1 strip of kombu, 1 whole onion, and 1 small package of bonito in small sauce pot of water (~16 oz) on slow simmer for about an hr. removed contents and finished with a dash of salt to taste, and splash of soy sauce for nice warm-golden color color).
    Separately, I sauteed some mushrooms (maitake & shimeji) w/ some butter, and added them to the egg mixture just before steaming.

    I made this dish twice, and the first time it came out perfectly; however, the second time it was a little underdone and curdled. So… I will certainly have to try again to get the hang of it. Heating variables seem to make a difference: 1) Wok appears to work better than a lg boiling pot. 2) covering the dish with something lighter than a plate during steaming seemed to work better for me.

    Good luck!! Thanks again for sharing your recipe!!! <3

  13. Games

    My ex used to cook this with these tiny small dried fishes, she was from guangdong. Now I know how to do it im happy because i love it too 🙂 thanks

  14. lance

    when putting in things like meat and stuffs, should these items be cooked prior to steaming?

  15. TasteHongKong

    Both works. For uncooked meat, which is usually ground, we would marinade it first and distribute it as a thin layer on the dish before pouring in the egg mixture. If using cooked ones, in most cases the meat will not be steamed together with the eggs, but is prepared separately (like this pork sauce) for topping the steamed eggs.
    There are steamed eggs with seafood too; I’m afraid it requires another post to elaborate.

  16. souplover

    Hi, thanks for sharing your methods and tips! 🙂 To be honest, i have tried to cook steamed eggs for several times but the results were unsuccesful (not fully coagulated) even though i have tried to steam it for a longer time – 30mins.

    Is it possible because i didnt add ‘cooled boiled’ water to the beaten eggs? I have always used cool filter water – as per instructed by my mum.

    And i just realised that i have place the bowl of egg mixture on the rack AFTER the water in the wok has boiled :C Oh boy. I have been doing it wrong from the start.

  17. souplover

    I have always put the bowl of egg mixture onto the rack in the wok first THEN i boiled the water. NEXT i turn the watts (i used induction cook btw) down to let it steamed for 15mins. It doesnt work that way, right? Please advise.

  18. lovestoeat

    Hey there, souplover! Some tips I have found useful for this dish …

    (1) eggs and water must be at room temperature, not straight out of fridge chilled;
    (2) water must be boiling before placing the covered bowl of egg mixture on the rack, then lower heat to gentle simmer, then set timer for 15 minutes.

    Wishing you success in your quest for the perfect steamed egg!

  19. souplover

    Many thanks for the tips, @lovestoeat!! (:
    I’ll try to do it that way the next time i cook steamed eggs. Hopefully a perfect one as a result ! (finger crossed)

  20. TasteHongKong

    Thank you and you are right! Not only the water but also the eggs have to be at room temperature. Excuse me if I had taken it for granted; a remark has just been added above.

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  22. Nellie Teo

    I love your recipe .I tried making it yesterday and I got it with flying colours . only at the age of 66 that I manage to get it right. Thank you so much my dear.

  23. Yuki Tan

    May I know how much soya sauce to be added for 2 eggs + 6 half shelf of water?

  24. Lisa Tong

    Thanks for your recipe. I got it right the first time. I never got it to work following other recipes before. Growing up I ate that a lot but even my parents could not make it smooth after making it for years. I am glad I can finally make water egg. I will try to add some meat to it next time. My parents used to put some meat into it sometimes.

  25. julianvb

    Thanks for a very good recipe.

  26. TasteHongKong

    Happy to hear you got it right the first time! Enjoy your variations!

  27. Nicole

    Thanks alot!
    It makes me feel so good to get an INDEED VERY SMOOTH steamed egg just on my first time of making steamed egg!
    Thank you!

  28. Joe

    I followed the recipe but my egg turns out holey… 🙁 where could I went wrong??

  29. beth

    Hi after cover the dish with flat plate do i need to cover my wok?

  30. beth

    @ tigerfish, I always find that little streaks of eggs sticking to the side of the bowl. Does not really bother me other than having to wash and scrape the sides of the bowl quite hard. 😛
    Just put 1 teaspoon of olive or sesame oil and wipe it all around the dish b4 u pour in egg mixture, VIOLA! u can turn the egg upside down to serve when ready and all u need is bit patience with a small spoon to loosen the sides! NO MORE sticky bits on sides of dish

  31. Jing Chen

    Great recipe. My hubby was so impressed. thank you!!

  32. Gerhard

    Great dish! I like it with cut-up salty egg and cut-up 1000-year egg, garnished with parsley.

  33. Peter

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My mother made this when I was a child and now I cook this for my children using your recipe. Great results with a plate over the top. Such a healthy dish.