Pickled Eggs

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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 95 Comments

  • 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

  • Charles

    Is the sugar needed? Could I do without the sugar or replace it with some amount of honey? I want hot spice more than sweet.

  • Roger H Smith

    Well…. I don’t have a lot to add to what others have said but I always get kosher dill pickles and even though that variety of pickle already has garlic in the brine, I add more chopped garlic to the jar after opening it. I buy the jars of chopped garlic at my local “Dollar Tree” store as it seems to be plenty strong and after all….. it’s just a buck!! Then when the jar is empty I fill the jar up with peeled hard boiled eggs and add yet another heaping spoon of the chopped garlic, replace the lid and give it a good shake and back into the ‘fridge it goes. In a couple of days I’ve got some tasty garlic-dill eggs!! Well that’s it. Like I said not too much to add.

  • David

    In Lebanon, we pickle Turnips in a similar fashion. A few beets are also added to this, mainly for the color.

  • Diane VanSlye

    I also place hard boiled eggs in the juice of finished off store bought pickles. I wait couple of days, then either make deviled eggs with them, or egg salad sandwiches or chop them up in a salad. Yummmmm! Been getting ooooh’s and ahhh’s for this for years!

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