Earlier this week I texted my mother asking for her deviled eggs recipe. Deviled eggs were not something I ate often as a child and definitely were not a mainstay of our Greek Easter table, but when they did make appearances, I remember loving them, especially on summer picnics, ice-cold and creamy, perfectly packaged refreshing little flavor bombs.
She wrote back saying she didn’t have a recipe, that she simply mashed hard-cooked egg yolks with mustard and mayonnaise, filled the hollowed whites, and sprinkled with paprika. Possibly, she said, it was from Fannie Farmer, but mostly she thinks she just watched her mother.
And this, I imagine, is the approach many people take when making deviled eggs: add a dash of this and a dash of that, and when it tastes just right, call it done.
I need more guidance. When I tried the easy-breezy assembly, my deviled eggs were good not great — the mixture was too wet, too mustardy, too creamy. I wanted herbs and more acidity. I wanted all the flavors of my favorite egg salad but in deviled egg form.
And so, with guidance from a few popular recipes — namely the New York Times and The Food Network — I took a more measured approach and found a formula I really love. As in the egg salad recipe, I use pickle juice for acidity, though you could use vinegar or lemon juice in its place. I add lots of chopped chives and a modest amount of mustard. For every two eggs, a tablespoon of mayonnaise is about right.
As with all recipes, adjust this one to taste. Or: just watch your mother.
Perfect, Easy-Peel Hard-Cooked Eggs
This recipe, as you know, begins with hard-cooked eggs. If you’ve been reading for a little bit now, you know I am a fan of the steaming method, which I learned from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt via my mother, for cooking eggs. Steaming eggs and shocking them in an ice bath ensures the shells will slip right off. Another way to steam eggs is in the Instant Pot. If you find yourself with a surplus of hard-cooked eggs, I highly recommen making this egg salad sandwich. It’s become a favorite.
Classic Deviled Eggs, Step by Step
First, steam your eggs for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, gather your ingredients: mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice (or lemon or vinegar), salt, pepper, chives.
Once your eggs are cooked, transfer them to an ice bath.
Then peel them.
Halve the eggs and …
… transfer the yolks to a large bowl.
Mash the yolks with the back of a fork.
Add the mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, chives, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir to combine; then taste and adjust flavor as needed.
If you wish, transfer the mixture to a quart-sized storage bag…
… then pipe into the hollowed eggs. You can, of course, simply use a spoon, but I actually find the piping bag to be easier.
Sprinkle with chives and paprika before serving. (I could have used a gentler hand with the paprika 🤣).
- Egg steaming method adapted from J. Kenji Lopez Alt’s The Food Lab. I steam my eggs for 12 minutes, and I find that to be perfect, but it may take some trial and error to get the timing right for you. If you like to use your Instant Pot, here is my Instant Pot hard-boiled egg recipe.
- Pickle Juice: This is a somewhat recent discovery and an underutilized ingredient in my kitchen. If you don’t have pickles on hand, you can use vinegar or fresh lemon juice in its place.
- To scale this recipe, I find that 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise for every 2 eggs is about right, and I like about 1 teaspoon of pickle juice for every 2 eggs as well, but I tend to like things on the acidic side, so as always, adjust to taste. I don’t like my deviled eggs too mustardy, so I find 1 teaspoon for 8 eggs to be about right, but, again, add more or less to taste.
- 8 eggs
- kosher salt or flaky sea salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 – 4 teaspoons pickle juice or vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- paprika, for finishing
- Cook the eggs. Place a steamer basket into a large pot. Fill pot with 1 inch of water. Cover and bring to a simmer over high heat. Remove the lid. Carefully place the eggs into the steamer basket. Cover the pot. Steam for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice and cover with water. After the 12 minutes, remove the lid, and carefully transfer the eggs to the ice bath.
- Peel and halve the eggs. Transfer the yolks to a large bowl. Transfer the halved, hollowed whites to a plate and transfer to the fridge.
- Mash the yolks with the back of a fork. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle juice starting with 1 – 2 teaspoons. Set aside a few teaspoons of the chives for garnish. Add the remaining chives to the yolks, and stir until you have a smooth mixture. Taste. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. If it’s too creamy, add more pickle juice (or vinegar or lemon) to taste. If it’s not creamy enough, add another spoonful of mayonnaise. If you want more mustard flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon or more to taste.
- When the mixture is seasoned to your liking, you can use a small spoon to fill the egg white cavities or you can transfer it to a quart-sized storage bag, snip off a corner, and pipe it into the whites.
- To finish, sprinkle with paprika and the reserved chives.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: classic, deviled eggs, pickle juice, chives