How to make pickled eggs plus most popular variations – spicy pickled eggs with balsamic, red beet pickled eggs, etc.
- Go directly to the Recipe Card or
- Read on for relevant information, step by step pictures and tips (3 mins).
What are Pickled Eggs?
Pickled eggs enjoy the status of a popular delicacy in Germany, other Northern European countries, Pennsylvania and several other American states.
Pickled means preserved – in brine or vinegar. In the case of pickled eggs the origins point to brine, but later on vinegar began to be added as an additional preservative and flavoring agent.
Pickled eggs require a strong saline solution (brine) and from there can be flavored with different vinegars, spices and other ingredients such as garlic, onions, chiles, red cabbage etc.
How to Make Pickled Eggs?
You can customize this basic recipe for pickled eggs to your own taste. Or consider the two popular variations we present below.
Step 1. Hard boil the eggs and peel them. Use the boiling method you believe to work best or refer to ours in the recipe card. If we may suggest – be sure to cool the cooked eggs immediately, if possible in an ice bath in order to make the peeling easier.
Step 2. Boil the water, salt, vinegar and other ingredients in order to dissolve the salt and bring the pickling liquid to temperature (must be used hot). Simmer for five minutes.
At a minimum use 1 1/2 tbsp kosher or sea salt (never iodized) to 2 cups of water (this yields about 5 % brine solution) and 2 cups of vinegar.
You can flavor the brine with whatever you’d like – from mustard seeds and peppercorns to garlic cloves, shallots and tarragon.
Step 3. Arrange the peeled hard boiled eggs in a large mason jar with a wide mouth (or a similar glass container with an air tight lid). Pour the hot pickling solution over them and immediately close the lid. Refrigerate.
The pickled eggs will be ready to enjoy after two to three days of marinating in the refrigerator.
Pickled Eggs and Beets (aka Red Beet Eggs)
In this very well loved variation both the eggs and the beets are pickled. This could mean an extra step – if using raw beets, you need to boil, peel and slice them. When we do this we add beet juice in the brine. Alternatively, you can use canned beets and use their liquid in lieu of beet juice.
Under this method the eggs take on a gorgeous deep pink color and the earthiness of the beets gets bright notes from the pickling liquid.
All you have to do is layer cooked beet slices and hard boiled, peeled eggs in a jar, then pour the hot pickling liquid over them. Just as seen in the image grid below.
Spicy Pickled Eggs
For heat you can use thinly sliced hot peppers such as Jalapenos or Serrano. Choose a compatible vinegar such as red or white wine. We love the combination of hot red pepper flakes, dark balsamic vinegar and shallots – their flavors complement each other really well.
The eggs take on a rich brown color from the balsamic (if space is tight in the jar the spots where the eggs touched the walls or each other will remain white).
To make these spicy pickled eggs arrange the peeled hard boiled eggs in a jar (you will be able to fit a couple of more relative to the version with beets). Boil the water, salt, vinegar, pepper flakes, thinly sliced shallots and spices, simmer them for five minutes and pour the hot liquid over the eggs.
How Long Do Pickled Eggs Last?
Refrigerated they can last for up to three, even four months.
How to Eat Pickled Eggs (and Twists)
There are so many ways to enjoy pickled eggs – from simply seasoning them with a bit of salt to slicing them in circles and assembling an open faced sandwich with some mayo and finely chopped green onions.
- You can take bites from a whole egg, with a side of remoulade or you can present the eggs sliced in half lengthwise and top them with capers or thinly sliced onions and drizzle them with oil and vinegar, like a salad.
- In the case of red beet eggs, serve the sliced eggs along with the beet slices. You can season with salt and pepper, perhaps a drizzle of olive oil.
- Use your favorite deviled eggs recipe and create pickled deviled eggs.
- Mustard complements pickled eggs quite well. You can either place a dab of mustard onto egg halves or use the method from the German Rhur region where they take an egg half, carefully scoop out the yolk and fill the egg white with spicy mustard, a bit of oil and vinegar. They then eat the egg yolk and quickly chase it with the filled white.
These ideas for twists on pickled eggs are worth considering:
- In Germany it is very much the norm to pickle the eggs with the crushed shells on. Individual eggs are later peeled, right before being consumed. This is the way of choice eight out of ten times – just browse German recipes for Soleier and you’ll be convinced. Depending on what other ingredients are used in the pickling liquid this method results in an irregular, webby appearance on the whites’ surface resulting from the colored liquid reaching the whites through the cracked shells.
- Add your favorite craft beer to the pickling liquid – similarly to these Beer Pickles. A balanced, citrusy IPA or a malty, sweet ale are suitable. Add the beer to the other ingredients of the pickling liquid before bringing them to boil. The alcohol and hops will help preserve the eggs. Use a 1:1:1 ratio of brine, vinegar and beer.
- Use caraway seeds and thinly sliced garlic cloves in the pickling liquid or your favorite pickling spice.
Pickled Eggs History
Similarly to other pickled foods hard boiled eggs were first preserved by necessity. In the old days in Europe, before there was refrigeration any time there was a surplus of eggs, people preserved them in brine. A strong saline solution could keep the eggs safe to eat without the need for cooling.
Later on they became very popular as bar food, usually offered on a complimentary basis. The dispute about which country originated the tradition remains unsettled. Among the main contenders are Great Britain, France, Germany…
Nowadays pickled eggs are very much alive as a delicacy and in good health as bar food. Most German Kneipen (pubs) and similar establishments in Britain and the Scandinavian countries offer them to bar patrons. A large jar full of them perched on a bar counter is a common sight.
Additionally the eggs are a great picnic food item and their profusion as such in Germany can be observed at most beer gardens with large grounds who allow patrons to bring their own packed picnic baskets. Pickled eggs (aka Soleier) are sold in many grocery stores and frequently made at home.
The hard boiled pickled egg idea was brought to the US by various immigrants from European countries. When they were first offered at American bars as a free bar snack many responded favorably and the idea took hold. There are many bars in contemporary America that pride themselves on being able to offer the snack to their customers.
Today, you can expect to find pickled eggs in many places around the world where beer is served.
- 10 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 4 tsp kosher or sea salt
For Beet Pickled Eggs
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 small beets (or 1 can canned beets, reserve liquid in lieu of next ingredient)
- 1/4 cup beet juice
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- cloves, black peppercorns to taste
For Spicy Pickled Eggs
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes (more if you want them to be really spicy)
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- cloves, black peppercorns to taste
- Place the eggs in a pot and add cold water until they are submerged. Cover with a lid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer eggs for 10 minutes.
- Place the cooked eggs in an ice bath (or very cold water) to cool them off. Remove the shells by starting at the flatter end.
For Beet Pickled Eggs
- Boil the beets until tender (about 40 mins). Cool off, peel and slice in bite-sized pieces. In a jar with wide mouth or similar container alternate layers of peeled eggs and beet slices.
- Alternatively, strain the beets from a can and reserve the liquid. Layer beets and eggs as described above.
- In a sauce pan bring water, salt, sugar, apple cider vinegar, beet juice (or reserved liquid from can), mustard seeds, cloves, peppercorns,bay leaf to boil. Simmer for five minutes.
- Pour the hot liquid over the eggs and beets, seal the jar and refrigerate.
For Spicy Pickled Eggs
- Arrange the cooked, peeled eggs in a mason jar or similar container with a wide mouth.
- In a sauce pan bring water, salt, balsamic vinegar, hot red pepper flakes, shallots, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf to boil. Simmer for five minutes.
- Pour the hot liquid and the shallots over the eggs, seal the jar and refrigerate.
Never use iodized table salt for pickling - it is not suited for the purpose.
The amount of pickling liquid in this recipe is calibrated for ten eggs. Depending on the size of the container you are using you may have a little bit of liquid leftover (discard) or may be able to fit and completely cover a dozen of boiled eggs.
Both versions of the recipe will give you richly colored outsides, the dark pink pigment from the beets will penetrate the whites all the way through the yolks.
Pickled eggs are ready to eat within two or three days after prepared and will last refrigerated for three to four months.
With time the texture of the whites which pleasantly firms up during the initial days will become more rubbery an take on more flavor.
Nutrition information is noted based on a the basic recipe, for two pickled eggs.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 137Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 1041mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 7g