Pickled Eggs

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you ever made pickled eggs? I had never even heard of them until a reader asked for a recipe, and when I mentioned them to my dad, he told me they were bar food. (“Since when do you go to bars, dad?” “Before I met your mother.” “So 50 years ago you could get them in bars, in Minnesota.” “Yes.”)

Bar culture aside, two of my favorite foods are pickles and hard boiled eggs, so why not pickle the eggs? Apparently a popular way to pickle them is in beet juice, so that the egg whites turn a pretty fuchsia pink.

A few weeks after I made my first batch I was served beet pickled eggs in a salad at a bar/restaurant in Gettysburg. They were pickled all the way through the yolk, turning the yolk slightly pink as well.

The longer you keep the eggs in the pickling liquid, the deeper it penetrates into the eggs. I’m guessing to pickle them all the way through you have to keep them in the liquid at least a couple of weeks.

Pickled Eggs

What follows is the result of several weeks of experimentation (and several dozens of eggs!) with different pickling mixtures. We have a beet pickled egg with cardamom and star anise, as well as a curried pickled egg with Indian spices, a jalapeño pickled egg with cumin and oregano, and a tarragon pickled egg with mustard seeds. Take your pick!

My favorite is the beet pickled eggs, because they’re so pretty and I love beets. The spice combinations are prime candidates for experimentation, play around with them and include your favorite spices or herbs for egg salad.

I did find that the pickling liquid needs to have vinegar diluted with water. Straight vinegar is just too acidic. I like adding sugar because it helps balance the acidity of the vinegar and I like a slightly sweet pickle.

These are refrigerator pickles. I don’t really know how long they’ll last in the refrigerator, but I’m guessing at least several weeks. If any of you are old hands at making pickled eggs, please feel free to share your expertise (or favorite recipe) in the comments.

Pickled Eggs Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 pickled eggs

Ingredients

Beet pickled eggs with cardamom and anise

  • 1 beet, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 to 2-inch sized pieces, cooked*
  • 1 cup beet juice*
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

*Simmer the chopped beets in a cup of water, covered, until tender, 30-40 minutes, or used canned beets. Use the beet juice from the cooking water, or the juice from canned beets.

Curried pickled eggs

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

Jalapeno pickled eggs

  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

Tarragon pickled eggs

  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

**Boil or steam the eggs until hard cooked. To steam the eggs, place in a steamer rack over boiling water, cover and steam for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water. To boil the eggs, cover with 2 inches of cold water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 12 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Hard boiling works best with eggs at least a week old, otherwise they may be difficult to peel. Steaming works great with fresh eggs.

Method

1 Peel the eggs and place in the bottom of a clean glass jar, quart sized.

2 In a medium saucepan, add the vinegar, water (or beet juice if using), the onion (and jalapeno if using), sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until the sugar has dissolved and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

3 Pour the vinegar onion mixture over the eggs in the jar, covering the eggs completely. If you are making the beet pickled eggs, place some or all of the cooked beets in with the eggs in the jar (this will help to bring color to the eggs, and you will have pickled beets as well.) Secure close the jar's cover. Refrigerate up to a month.

The pickled eggs will be ready to eat after a few days. The longer the eggs sit in the pickling juice, the more the pickling juice will penetrate the eggs.

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Showing 4 of 110 Comments

  • Npb

    Pickled eggs are a staple of the chippy but you don’t see them in pubs so much these days in England

    I pickle mine for a month in a kilner flip top jar and put them in the back of a dark cupboard, some times they have been there for 2 months. I never put them in the fridge because its not long before they are all gone.

    I’ve only had problems one because the seal on the jar was poor and it wasn’t sterilised properly.

    I usually use distilled malt vinegar as its cheap and I usually put hot chilli’s in this them. Brown malt vinegar make good eggs too, nice flavour and stains the eggs giving a traditional brown British pub egg.

  • Albert Wass de Czege

    I boil fresh eggs all the time and have no problem peeling them. I use just enough water to cover the eggs, pour copious amounts of salt in the water, and bring it to a boil BEFORE placing the eggs in. Once the water is at a rolling boil, I carefully place the eggs in (using a spoon helps), and boil for 10 minutes. After the timer goes off, immediately start cooling the eggs with tap water and once they are cool enough to handle, I peel them under running water. They practically jump out of their shells!

  • carla

    what if the water is cloudy? are they ruined? ? first time pickling eggs today! of course peeling the eggs did not go as easily as i hoped, isn’t it funny how every other time I’ve made hard boiled eggs i never worried about having the egg not peel right and then the one time that it matters ( pickling eggs) i can’t seem to peel the egh without chunking some of it out!!

  • Lin Bobson

    Red beet eggs; Try cracking egg shells w/o peeling off, put in jar of beet juice. Gives eggs a marbled look.

  • heather

    Does anyone know if you can still make red beet eggs with eggs that didn’t peel well and the yolk is exposed? My eggs were too fresh :(
    Thank you

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