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How To Pickle Eggs

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: April 3, 2020
How To Pickle Eggs

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A lot of people keep a few laying hens even if they are in town. It is the time of year when the hens are laying a lot of eggs and despite eating a lot of them and baking with them, there is an excess.

Our flock of chickens is hard at work. They have been laying better now that it is Spring. Hens seem to lay better when there is a rooster around too but maybe that is just a coincidence. My Dad raised a lot of chickens over the years and he told me that hens do better with a rooster around. What do you think?

In the past, I wrote an article about different methods of preserving eggs. Some of the methods described I have never had the need to do but being stuck at home due to this pandemic, we are trying out some different things to preserve what we can produce on the farm.

Please note that pickled eggs do need to be refrigerated for food safety reasons. They are best when consumed within 4 months of pickling according to the Institute For Home Canning. I think 4 months is pretty great personally. That gives you a lot more time to eat on those eggs rather than letting them go bad.

Dilled Pickled Eggs from our farm.


1/2 teaspoon dill weed
¼ teaspoon black pepper (Optional. I did not add this)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 tsp dried minced onion or 2 tsp fresh onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic or 1 peeled garlic clove

For the brine base.

1½ cups white or apple cider vinegar. I used apple cider vinegar for mine.
1 cup of water

This amount above was enough liquid for 2 quarts of pickled eggs or 2 dozen large eggs.

Other Recipes

While you need to use the water and vinegar base brine and at least 1.5 tsp of salt per quart, the rest of the spices are really up to you. There are a lot of pickled egg recipes out there when you start looking around online.

Sweet Pickled Eggs

These are made to have a flavor like bread and butter pickles. Here is a link to popular recipe online.

Why are some pickled eggs purple or red?

Some recipes use beet juice in the brine and the eggs pick up that color. Some of the pickled eggs that you see in stores or at taverns and bars have artificial coloring agents added.

Hey Sam, I tried pickled eggs from a tavern or gas station and they made me sick or tasted awful, why on earth would I want to pickle my own after that?

Plenty of people think they don’t like pickled eggs because they had a bad experience eating some after drinking a bit too much or eating some that had probably not been properly stored or had become contaminated by someone opening and closing them a lot with possibly dirty utensils.

Pickled eggs from home are not going to be like that if you store them properly.

Eggs that you use are going to be much higher quality than the eggs used to produce the pickled eggs for the masses found at taverns and gas stations.

A factory farm egg is not the same as an egg produced in your backyard or free-range. The quality of the egg you start our with is going to determine a lot about how good your finished pickled egg turns out. Also even if you get commercial eggs at the grocery store, I bet they are still going to be better than the commercial pickled eggs because you get to pick and choose the brine ingredients and spices.

Also, I have to point out that a lot of people’s experience with pickled eggs likely came at a time when they were eating a lot of different bar foods, gas station foods, or while they were drinking substantially more than usual. Pickled eggs made at home are worth giving a chance.

This is a picture of some chickens we previously had, not our current flock. Matt and I have decided to not keep any Buff Orpingtons in the future because they stand out so much. They always seem to get killed by a hawk. They are good chickens but the aerial predator issue makes them not practical for us.

How Long To Brine

While you can eat your eggs anytime, the longer you let them sit in the brine, the more flavor they will have. It takes some time for the brine to penetrate into the yolk. For large eggs, you should try to give it a week before you taste them. If they still don’t seem pickled enough then give them another 3-7 days. You may find that you like the taste better with a shorter or longer pickling time.

So what should I use them for?

A lot of people just eat pickled eggs whole as part of a meal or snack. They go well with picnic-style foods like cold cuts of meat, cheese, and crackers. You can also slice them up and put them on salads for a nice change of flavor. Since they keep so long in the refrigerator, they may be a lot easier for some to manage keeping on hand for quick snacks, meals, and salads.

Can I make them shelf-stable and store in the pantry?

For food safety reasons, the Home Canning Association has no recommended procedure for canning pickled eggs to make them entirely shelf-stable. This is due to the risk of botulism. At the same time, there are pickled eggs in the grocery store and farm stands that are just setting on the shelf in quart jars. If you find a recipe that is designed for home canning, proceed at your own risk.

Personally I am just going to keep mine in the refrigerator. It is recommended that you don’t allow pickled eggs to remain at a temperature above 40 F for more than a few hours. Of course, if it is really hot, you should refrigerate even more promptly.

Lid and Jar Options

I just used a standard quart mason jar and ring and lid. For more leak resistance, you can purchase the solid caps for mason jars.

There is also no reason why you cannot clean and reuse pickle jars and lids. I have even seen people reuse the vinegar brine that their dill pickles comes in to make some pickled eggs. Once the pickles are all gone, they just threw some hard-boiled and peeled eggs into the brine and allowed them to pickle in the fridge. You could, of course, add some more spices.

I have also seen my Dad buy pickled beets and eat them and then use the brine for eggs. Alternatively, he would just use beet juice and then making the brine.

Check out this recipe for beet pickled eggs courtesy of Simply Recipes.

Beet pickled eggs with cardamom and anise

  • 1 beet, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 to 2-inch sized pieces, cooked*
  • 1 cup beet juice*
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 hard-cooked eggs**, peeled

*Simmer the chopped beets in a cup of water, covered, until tender, 30-40 minutes, or used canned beets. Use the beet juice from the cooking water, or the juice from canned beets.

240-Year-Old Recipe For Pickled Eggs

I thought the video above was interesting because it shows how people pickled eggs a long time ago. I suppose they just kept them in an icebox or the coolest place possible and hoped for the best. It is notable that they use malt vinegar for their eggs. That would give an interesting flavor but I have to say that it would be a bit expensive to do in modern times.

I think I would skip the dye made from insect shells though. The rest sounds good to me!

Can you pickle other types of eggs?

Duck eggs often have a rubbery texture so I am not sure how good they would be pickled. Quail eggs might work ok but it would take a lot of them to even fill a pint jar. If you know someone that has picked quail eggs or have done it yourself, please share your experience in the comments below.

Deviled Pickled Eggs

While I have not tried this out myself, I plan on doing it soon.

To make deviled pickled eggs you just remove your eggs from the brine and carefully cut them in half. Scoop out the yolks, and place them in a bowl. Smash them with a fork or similar. Add mayonnaise and other spices and condiments to the filling as desired. Spoon yolk back into eggs that you have arranged on a plate and garnish with additional spices such as black pepper or paprika as desired.

How To Get Hardboiled Eggs To Peel Easily

One of the challenges of farm fresh eggs is that they do not peel easily when boiled right away. When people switch from using mass-produced commercial eggs they often discover that they boil up some of the great fresh eggs they got from the farm down the road only to find that the shell sticks to them and they peel a lot of egg away.

The reason for this is the store eggs are often much older. Farm eggs will peel more easily too if you let them get some age on them. After a week or two, the pH of the egg changes and that allows for easier boiling and peeling.

I do have to say that I have got eggs at the store that were a national brand that was humanely raised and free-range that were fresh enough to not peel properly. Some of the egg freshness at the store really depends on your area. If you are really close to commercial egg farms, you might still have the problem and just want to buy eggs and let them sit in the fridge for a week or so.

The alternative is to add a few things to the water you boil your eggs in. This is a neat trick that works and helps lessen the chance of boiling up a whole dozen eggs that you have to be very careful with to even make egg salad with. It is just really time-consuming to try to carefully peel a ton of eggs that don’t want to peel and it is wasteful because you often wind up with less egg.

I found this video after I boiled eggs my usual way. I add a few splashes of vinegar to the water and that seems to help. It didn’t work as well this time as it has for me in the past so I am going to try out the process in the video.

This fellow says to do the following:

1. Start out with an inch of hot water, not cold. Cold water gives it more time to adhere to the membrane.

2. Use a steamer basket. Don’t actually boil the eggs.

3. Steam for 13 minutes

4. Cool down in a cold water bath for 15 minutes.

5. Peel

While the process seems time-consuming, it is nothing compared to what it takes to try to peel something that doesn’t want to comply.

Other Tips For Pickled Eggs

Do not adjust the vinegar to water ratio. While it may be tempting to just use straight vinegar or you may assume that straight vinegar might preserve the eggs better, do not use more vinegar than recommended. The result will be eggs that are far too acidic to eat. Right now eggs can be hard to find so you sure don’t want to waste any.

What To Do With Eggs That Won’t Peel

I had a few eggs that just wouldn’t peel when I was doing this article. Luckily just because an egg looks a little rough doesn’t mean that you cannot use it for something else. I suggest using any eggs that are pitted or tore up from your peeling attempts for egg salad or slice them up for topping salads. If they are a real mess and you have peeled a lot of them away you can also add them to dog or cat food to supplement their diet. It just depends on how frugal you are trying to be.

Other Ways To Preserve Eggs

If pickled eggs turn out to be something you don’t like or if you want to explore other ways to preserve eggs, make sure to check out my article “6 Ways To Preserve Eggs”. There are many inexpensive and easy ways to make sure that you don’t waste any eggs and that you have eggs during the time of year when hens are not laying very much or at all.

Do you have any pickled egg recipes to share? How do you use your pickled eggs? Please share in the comments below!

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6 Responses to “How To Pickle Eggs”

  1. When I had chickens I preserved eggs for the winter by gently washing, leave the bloom on, and sanitizing in water slightly warmer than the egg with iodine, then allowed to air dry. Learned that from a hatchery owner. Then I coated the eggs with oil or lard and packed them in plain stock salt in plastic tubs and put in the celler. I had fresh eggs to use all winter.

  2. I’m not sure why you’d want to go to the work of pickling eggs that will only last 4 months in the frig, unless you just like them that way. They can be preserved for 6 months unrefrigerated if you oil each egg with mineral oil or coconut oil or any other oil. I’ve used mineral oil and stored them for 6 months in a cool place.

    The best way I’ve found to peel eggs is to chop them in half and then scoop out each half with a spoon that will fit the half-eggshell–usually a tablespoon. It’s fairly fast and doesn’t make a mess.

  3. The best way I have found to get peelable hard boiled eggs is to use an Instant Pot. Only takes 5 minutes and the egg peel comes off in one piece everytime no matter the age of the egg. Of course this won’t work in a grid down situation.

  4. I like black pepper, just not the red stuff. Turmic is good, I was wondering if adding small onions & fresh mushrooms would kick it up a notch. Maybe a slice of fresh home grown ginger or horseradish just so all twelve dozon would not taste the same.
    I am growing a substance garden after 45 year as an organic gardener, thought I would try something new. Maybe leave a garden for the kids. It will be mostly fruit,berries,nut trees & perennial vegetables,poultry, with annuals to spice things up. Maybe gourds,honeybees & mushrooms, herbs & edible flower for the tea garden to fit in a fancy spots.

  5. Its not a “how to” unless you actually tell HOW TO.
    You gave ingredients with no process. Do I put raw eggs in a jar and just cover them in the cold ingredients and stick them in the fridge?
    Because they are eggs do I need to use the canning method, or a hot water bath
    Come on, you know there a lot of VERY stupid people out there who are going to do the raw egg thing. I know how to pickle eggs. been doing it for years, you need to give the shelf stable version and the refrigerator version or you are going to make people sick. because you know they will figure “pickles are shelf stable so these must be too”. Be better.

  6. I have fought like the devil to find the ‘best’ way to hardboil eggs. Steaming works best regardless of the freshness of the eggs. That and an immediate ice bath. We don’t keep ice cubes, so I use the ‘freezer packs’ that DH uses to keep his work lunches cold. I start with cold eggs and cold water, start timing once the water starts to boil, about 22 minutes. I have never pickled eggs, but maybe this tip can help someone!

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