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Pickled Eggs are sweet-tart hard boiled eggs that have been cured with vinegar, sugar, spices, and other flavors.
Pickled Eggs have an interesting history – and I’ve found that people either love them or hate them!
In the old days, pickling was a way to preserve an abundance of eggs in the summer season – with the long days of sunlight making hens their most productive. When days are shorter throughout the rest of the year, egg laying declines – so having pickled eggs on hand was one way to make up for the shortfall.
Other food historians mention pickled eggs as a “bar food” dating back to the 1800’s where French saloons were required to serve food with alcohol. In the decades that followed, even here in the United States, you could find a big jar of pickled eggs at the bar of some restaurants. (This practice mostly faded away as food safety practices became stricter.)
Today, some bars will offer pickled eggs to order – and you’ll find many people who say it’s the best side with a nice cool beer.
Chef’s Tip – Originally, eggs were pickled in straight vinegar and could sit on the counter – unrefrigerated – for days. Today’s recipes include other ingredients including water, sugar, fresh herbs, spices, and more. Because those extra ingredients can introduce bacteria to the mix, you’ll need to either refrigerate or can your pickled eggs for safe storage.
What do Pickled Eggs Taste Like?
The flavor of pickled eggs varies depending upon the recipe you follow – and some give the eggs a sweet-tart taste, while others are purely mouth-puckering tart. If you enjoy the intense flavors of salt and vinegar or pickle-flavored potato chips, chances are you’ll enjoy pickled eggs too!
We share two recipe variations below: Garlic-Dill Pickled Eggs and Beet Lemon Pickled Eggs. The ingredients vary, but the method to prepare is the same.
Why You’ll Love Pickled Eggs
- They are an easy way to cook with hard boiled eggs you have on hand after Easter. (Especially the recipe that includes beets.)
- You can vary the recipe – with different juices, herbs, and spices.
- Pickled eggs can be eaten whole, or chopped up and sprinkled over a salad or on tacos.
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Eggs – It doesn’t matter if you choose white or brown eggs or the size. Just select the freshest eggs you can find at the supermarket.
- Brine – White and cider vinegar are mixed with water and pickling spice for one recipe, while white vinegar, water and beet juice are included in the other.
- Vegetables and herbs – We used red onion, fresh garlic cloves, and fresh dill for the first recipe. Sweet onion and lemon peel were added to the other.
- Sugar – Added to soften the tartness a bit, you can use either granulated or brown sugar.
Chef’s Tip – You can easily change up the flavors of your pickled eggs with different vinegars, sugars, and juices. You can make as many or as few eggs as you’d like.
Special supplies needed
- Large pot, to cook the eggs
- Smaller saucepans. to make the brine
- Quart sized wide-mouth mason jars with lids, to store the finished pickled eggs
How do I make Pickled Eggs?
- Hard cook the eggs, peel and rinse (see how to make Perfect Boiled Eggs here)
- Make each brine and let sit* on the stove.
- Prepare the vegetables and herbs for each recipe.
- Layer peeled hard boiled eggs in the jars, intermingling them with the vegetables and herbs.
- Pour hot brine into each jar.
- Cover jars and let sit on the counter to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
- Let sit at least a week before opening to ensure pickling has permeated the eggs. (We waited ten days to get the full flavor.)
*The brine should still be hot but not boiling. After each brine recipe came to a boil and simmered five minutes, it sat for 15 minutes or so before being poured over the eggs.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I make Pickled Eggs ahead of time? Yes, these must be made ahead to allow the eggs to pickle. Refrigerate for at least a week before consuming.
How do I store leftovers? They must be refrigerated, and stored only in the refrigerator for three to four months.
Can I can my pickled eggs? Safe canning practices require knowledge of the exact acidity of foods to ensure proper canning techniques. We aren’t experts in canning, so suggesting that you keep your jars refrigerated.
Can I freeze? No – these won’t freeze well.
You might like these other egg recipes:
Garlic-Dill Pickled Eggs
18 whole eggs in shell
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups cider vinegar
4 cups water
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 medium red onion, sliced
8 whole medium garlic cloves, each sliced in half
4–8 sprigs fresh dill
Beet Lemon Pickled Eggs
18 whole eggs in shell
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups beet juice*
2 cups water
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 whole cloves
Peeled rind from two lemons
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
For either version, follow these instructions to hard boil the 18 eggs, increasing the size of the pot, water and vinegar to accommodate the larger quantity of eggs. The cook time remains the same. Set cooked peeled eggs aside.
For either version, bring all brine ingredients to a boil then simmer five minutes.
For either version, layer eggs and other ingredients intermingled in the jar, using six eggs per jar, 3 one-quart jars per recipe.
For either version, pour the hot brine over the eggs and other ingredients, cover and let sit on your counter until cool, then refrigerate.
Discard any leftover brine.
Let jars sit in the refrigerator for at least a week before eating.
Store in the refrigerator for up to four months.
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- Buy canned beets at the supermarket and strain the juice, or look for beet juice in the health food section at your local market. You can also order beet juice online – we used this brand.