Try These 4 Recipes For Delicious Pickled Eggs

If you raise laying hens, there is a good chance that you have an abundance of eggs at times. Pickled eggs are a delicious way to preserve the bounty.

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by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: images by Stephanie Thurow

When I find myself with several dozen eggs in the fridge, I preserve a few quarts by pickling them. Spicy pickled eggs are my absolute favorite kind of pickled egg, though I have to say, I’ve never met a pickled egg I didn’t like. 

They make great snacks straight from the jar, but I’ll warn you, it’s difficult to stop at just one. Sliced in half and placed on a charcuterie platter makes a creative and welcomed treat. Or pluck out the yolks and mash them with mayo, mustard and pickle relish and you’ll have some of the most unique deviled eggs you’ve ever tasted. I even add pickled eggs to my bloody Mary skewers, alongside my other homemade pickled goodies. 

Pickled eggs can be dated back to 16th century England, originally pickled as a method of preserving the eggs. They were popular in Germany in the mid-1700s. Since then, they’ve become a popular snack at pubs. Because pickled eggs are salty, they induce thirst, which makes people drink more. You can often find a jar of pickled eggs alongside a jar of pickled pigs feet at small town bars in Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

The recipes I’m sharing in this article are some of my favorite pickled egg recipes that I make on a regular basis and a couple of new ones that I developed just for this article. Ideally, you should let the eggs pickle for at least one week before eating. But I understand that it’s nearly impossible to wait that long.

So, just know that you can eat them at any point, but the longer you wait (one to two weeks), the better flavor they’ll have.

Oh Boil!

Before we get to pickling, we must hard boil the eggs. The fresher the egg is, the more difficult it will be to get the peel off smoothly. The reasoning behind this is because the membrane on the inside of the shell is firmly against the shell on fresh eggs. However, as the days pass, the egg shrinks and the space between the eggshell and membrane gets larger, which makes the eggs easier to peel. 

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It seems like everyone has their tried-and-true method for hard-boiling the perfect egg. My mom swears that adding a glug (technical term) of oil to the water before placing in the eggs helps the skin slide right off when peeling. My aunt and grandma swear by steaming eggs. They both have small egg steamers that truly do cook the eggs perfectly, with shells that seem to practically fall off the hard-boiled egg, regardless of the freshness of the egg. Though, when steaming, an extra step to pierce a small hole into the end of the egg prior to cooking is required.

The method that I stand by came printed on a refrigerator magnet I picked up at a conference 15 years ago from the American Egg Board. This is the method I’ve used to hard-boil eggs ever since, and I stand by it. Though, I do tend to use my week-old (or older) eggs whenever possible.

Hard Boiling Instructions

  1.  Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the eggs by at least 1 inch.
  2.  Bring eggs to a boil, and turn off heat. Cover the pot, and remove from the burner. Allow the eggs to stand in the hot water for 15 minutes, 12 minutes for medium eggs.
  3.  Drain the hot water from the eggs, and run cold water over eggs. Soak in an ice bath for 15 minutes, or until eggs are completely cooled.
  4.  Peel eggs by cracking shell and peeling from the large end. Hold egg under running cold water or dip in a bowl of water to ease off shell.

Making pickled eggs allows you to experiment with ingredients. If you have the ratio of at least 1:1 vinegar to water (up to 100 percent vinegar), you can add in whatever seasonings and herbs you desire. 

You can even use different vinegars, if they’re safe for pickling, such as apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar or wine vinegars. It’s fun to experiment with new flavor combos! But remember to be sure and always start with a clean workspace, sterilized jars and clean lids. 

Ye Olde English Style Pickled Eggs

pickled eggs

At the beginning of the new year, I read a book about the history of food preservation. In the book, it mentioned how in
16th century England, they’d pickle eggs to preserve them, using the ingredients I included in this recipe. The book didn’t provide an actual recipe, but I’ve developed one with the ingredients listed in the book.

Yield: 1 pint

Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

Brine

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt
Preparation

Add the peeled hard-boiled eggs and the remaining ingredients
to a clean pint jar.

Heat the brine ingredients to a simmer, and stir until the salt is dissolved.

Carefully pour the brine over the eggs until they are completely submerged. Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a dampened cloth to remove any spillage. 

Place the canning jar lid on the jar, and tightly screw on the ring. Transfer to the refrigerator. Allow to pickle at least one week before tasting.

Mustard Pickled Eggs

pickled eggs

This is another new recipe that I developed for this article. It has quickly risen to the top of the list as a new family favorite. 

Yield: 1 pint

Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons yellow onions, thinly sliced 

brine

  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt
Preparation

Add the peeled hard-boiled eggs and the remaining ingredients to a clean pint jar. Heat the brine ingredients to a simmer, and stir until the salt and sugar is dissolved.

Carefully pour the brine over the eggs until they’re completely submerged. Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a dampened cloth to remove any spillage. Place the canning jar lid on the jar and tightly screw on the ring. Transfer to the refrigerator. Allow to pickle at least one week before tasting. 

Spicy Pickled Eggs

pickled eggs

I make this recipe on a regular basis throughout the summer with our abundance of eggs. Friends are elated when I show up to a barbecue with a quart to share.

Yield: 1 pint

Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (or hotter pepper of choice), halved
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

brine

  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt
Preparation

Add the eggs and the rest of the ingredients to a clean pint jar.

Heat the brine ingredients to a simmer, and stir until the salt is dissolved.

Carefully pour the brine over the eggs until they’re completely submerged. Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a dampened cloth to remove any spillage. Place the canning jar lid on the rim of the jar, and tightly screw on the ring. Transfer to the refrigerator.

Quick Pickle Eggs with Brine Leftovers

pickled eggs

Each fall, I can 30 pints or more of sliced jalapeños (solely for my personal consumption). I love them and can’t get enough. I put jalapeño slices on nearly everything I eat. 

Once a jar is almost empty, I use the brine to make a quick-pickled spicy egg. The leftover jalapeño brine lends the perfect flavor to the eggs. I simply add hard-boiled eggs to the empty jar, make sure the brine totally covers the eggs and allow them to pickle for a week or two. Store-bought pickled peppers work just as well.

This exact same method can be used with homemade pickled beet brine, or store-bought as well. After just a few days in the pink beet brine, the egg white turns a vibrant pink color. If they’re pickled long enough, even the yolks will turn pink. Beet-brine pickled eggs take on a strong beet flavor after pickling. 


Additional Tips

Be sure to thoroughly clean your space and supplies before pickling (as when doing any food preservation). Sterilize jars, and wash lids. 

The longer eggs pickle in the vinegar solution, the “rubberier” the texture of the egg white will become. Therefore, eat pickled eggs within three months for best texture. 

Small or medium eggs are preferred for pickling, as they fit into the jar better. Pint jars fit five to six eggs while quart jars fit 10 to 12 eggs.

Use regular-mouth canning jars with shoulders (instead of wide-mouth jars) so that the shoulders help keep the eggs and other ingredients pushed down, underneath the brine.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of Chickens magazine.

 

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