How to Make Perfect Deviled Eggs
A Southerner shares her best tips and recipes for amazing deviled eggs, from classic flavors to the guacamole-inspired variations of your wildest deviled egg dreams.
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Bacon Deviled Eggs, Avocado Deviled Eggs, and Classic No-Pickle Deviled Eggs, with and without toppings. Article and featured recipes and photographs by Ashley Strickland Freeman.
As a girl from Savannah, Georgia, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of deviled eggs. At every Southern gathering, whether a baby shower, tailgate, brunch, or potluck, you’ll likely find a platter of these guys on the table. Easter deviled eggs are a thing: We always prepare a ton, making use of the dozen or two eggs we dyed to welcome the Easter bunny.
While I love eating deviled eggs, I haven’t always enjoyed preparing them. It used to seem like hours to hard-boil, peel, and fill them. And being the professional food stylist that I am, I was especially disappointed with the ones that didn't cooperate during peeling, where the shells stuck to the cooked egg white like glue.
Over the years I tried every trick in the book for easy-peel eggs: adding baking soda or vinegar to the water, starting with room temperature eggs, using eggs that were older….the list goes on. While I did find that older eggs peel more easily than fresh ones, the game changer has been an amazing solution I discovered in a Yummly article.
The trick? Steaming just-out-of-the-fridge eggs instead of hard-boiling them. Once I tried it, a lightbulb went off, and it’s been easy peeling ever since.
Now when I make deviled eggs I get to concentrate on the fun parts, stirring up creative fillings and decorating them to my heart's content (instead of spending time strategically covering up egg white booboos.)
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How to make deviled eggs step by step
As I mentioned, we’re going to start by steaming the eggs instead of boiling them. This ensures that the membrane and shell separate during cooking instead of fusing together.
1. Steam the eggs; don’t boil them
Pour an inch of water into a wide pot fitted with a steamer basket. Cover and bring the water to a boil. As soon as you see steam, carefully add cold large eggs. Cover the pot and return the water to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-high and steam the eggs 13-14 minutes.
2. Plunge the eggs into an ice water bath
As soon as the eggs are done steaming, transfer them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking and prevent a gray-green ring forming around the yolks.
3. Peel the hard-cooked eggs
Remove the eggs from the ice water and tap them lightly or roll them on a surface. Carefully peel the shells away from the egg whites.
4. Halve the eggs and mash the yolks
Using a sharp paring knife, cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Tap the cooked yolks into a bowl and mash them with a pastry blender or fork.
5. Make the filling, and pipe
Stir your favorite filling ingredients into the yolks. Spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Or use a large zip-top plastic bag and snip off the corner. Pipe the filling into the egg white halves and decorate them as you like.
Deviled egg Q & A
Here are my top tips to make you a deviled egg expert.
1. What are deviled eggs?
Eggs that are deviled are simply hard-cooked eggs cut in half, with the yolks mashed with tasty ingredients to create a filling.
2. What are the best deviled egg ingredients?
For basic deviled eggs, mayonnaise, salt, and black pepper are the most important ingredients, along with a sprinkle of paprika or smoked paprika. I also like a splash of vinegar and a little yellow mustard or Dijon mustard for a tangy flavor. From there, seasonings and toppings can run the gamut from classic (curry powder, capers, fresh chives, and green onion) to creative (Buffalo wing or kimchi).
3. Can deviled eggs be made without mayo?
Yes! Deviled eggs are great without mayonnaise. You can try deviled eggs with avocado, vegan mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or even hummus. Check out the recipes below for more ideas.
4. My deviled egg filling looks curdled. Is there any way to fix it?
This can happen. Just whisk in a little cold water to the egg yolk mixture and it should re-emusify and become creamy again.
5. Are old eggs easier to peel than fresh eggs?
Yes, it’s true that older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs. But if you forget to buy eggs in advance, hard-cooking them with steam instead of hard-boiling them makes them easier to peel.
6. How to store deviled eggs
To store deviled eggs, seal them in a plastic container or loosely wrap them in plastic wrap on a plate and refrigerate them up to 4 days.
7. How long do deviled eggs last?
As long as they’re stored in the refrigerator, deviled eggs will keep up to 4 days. If you want to keep them that long, add any leafy toppings about an hour before serving so they stay fresh.
8. Do you need a special holder to serve deviled eggs?
While I’ll admit I have a deviled eggs carrier and two deviled egg plates, you don’t need either of those to serve them. Use a regular platter or plate. To prevent them from sliding around, you can cut a little bit off of the egg white bottom to make a flat surface to stabilize the eggs.
9. What about deviled egg nutrition?
One serving, or two halves, of classic deviled eggs has 110 calories, 7g protein, and 8g fat.
3 best deviled egg recipes for every occasion
I know a thing or two about deviled eggs. I grew up eating them on every major occasion: Easter, Thanksgiving, the Beasley family reunion, the baby shower for my mom’s secretary’s sister (kidding, but maybe not.) These three recipes are my favorites for serving at any holiday get-together or other occasion. And, they serve as the perfect canvas for gussy-ing up with whatever toppings you love the most to make them your own.
I’m a purist when it comes to classic deviled eggs, so I don’t believe in putting in pickle relish. Plus, plain deviled eggs are more versatile. You can sprinkle them with good ‘ole paprika or garnish with something a little more fancy: pulled pork BBQ, smoked salmon and dill, sliced olives, or cocktail shrimp. If you’re in the other camp, feel free to add a tablespoon of sweet pickle relish or dill relish, or even a little pickle juice, to the filling.
Everything’s better with bacon, right? I mean, that’s my mantra. So deviled eggs with crumbled bacon are a no-brainer. I also like to stir in a little of the bacon drippings into the egg salad filling. When I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I add a slice of cherry tomato on top for color and that BLT inspiration.
Mexican flavors are a huge hit in our house, so I had to include a Tex-Mex-inspired deviled egg in the mix. This one is essentially guacamole stuffed into cooked egg whites with jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro on top to carry the theme. What could be better?
12 more favorite deviled egg recipes
Looking for even more easy deviled eggs recipes? Apply the steaming (hard-cooking) method to every deviled eggs recipe below, and you’ll have the best deviled eggs ever.
Crowd-pleasing deviled eggs
Expecting eggs-tra guests? These deviled eggs have familiar flavors to tempt everyone’s taste buds.
If you like Buffalo wings, then you’ll love the iconic hot sauce and blue cheese flavors in deviled egg form. Try these at your next tailgate and watch them fly off the platter.
Another crowd-pleasing favorite food is barbecue. This recipe is an iconic Southern deviled eggs recipe, topping the creamy yolk filling with smoky chicken or barbecue pork. Don’t forget the pickles!
If you want to impress dinner guests with a special deviled egg recipe, then this is it. You may have seen deviled eggs with shrimp — this is the same idea but using sweet crabmeat instead. Garnish with caviar and you’ve got yourself an elegant appetizer.
Healthy-ish deviled eggs
You may wonder if there are any healthy deviled eggs recipes out there, and the answer is yes!
If you’re after a recipe for deviled eggs without mayo, then this is the recipe for you. Store-bought hummus replaces the mayonnaise, adding a creamy texture and nutty flavor. Top off these easy deviled eggs with feta, olives, cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion and you’ll be transported to the Greek Isles.
For some of us parents, sneaking green vegetables into dishes can be tricky, but this deviled eggs recipe lets you do just that. Fresh spinach stirred into the egg yolk filling makes this appetizer or snack a wee bit healthier.
Sauerkraut, an ingredient that promotes gut health, is one of the secret deviled eggs ingredients in this scrumptious recipe. I love the tanginess and crunch it adds to the creamy filling.
Out-of-the-box deviled eggs
Try these next eggs if you’re looking to change things up.
If you’ve never had a fried deviled egg, well you’re in for a treat. These deviled eggs with relish filling are special because their egg whites are coated and fried. It’s the perfect contrast of flavors and textures to make them ultra craveable.
These unique deviled eggs are well worth the extra effort. Mirin, miso, soy sauce, kimchi, and kewpie mayo are the secret ingredients, and if you want something a little different, I highly recommend giving this deviled eggs recipe a go.
Similar to the Japanese deviled eggs in spirit, this fusion deviled eggs recipe includes the flavors of wasabi, pickled mustard greens, and rice vinegar.
Holiday deviled eggs
Enjoy these festive deviled egg recipes all year-round.
Easter and deviled eggs go hand-in-hand, but they don’t have to be just for the spring holiday. These pink-hued deviled eggs get their vibrant color from beets, making them great for Valentine’s Day, or anytime you want a pop of color.
Topped with olive spiders, this easy deviled eggs recipe is perfect for adding a bit of spookiness to your Halloween table.
Thinking about serving deviled eggs for Christmas? Learn how to make this deviled eggs recipe that’s sure to add a festive holiday feel to your table.
Keep exploring eggs
Looking for more ways to use hard-cooked eggs, or an easy-peel technique for cooking them in an Instant Pot? You’ll find lots more tips and recipes in these next articles.