Pickled Eggs

These pickled eggs are steeped in an easy but not old-fashioned brine colored by beets and flavored with chile pepper, cinnamon, and coriander. Their magnificent magenta hue makes them as stunning as the accompanying honey mustard mayo.

Two Mason jars filled with pickled eggs in beat brine

Pickled eggs virgins, you’re in for something special. These magnificently magenta specimens are lightly spiced and stunning to behold and sorta like having dyed Easter eggs any time of year. Kindly note, they’re not traditionally served with honey-mustard mayo, as they are here, though we think they’re even better with the mayo. We find beer to be another admiral accompaniment. Originally published April 9, 2014.Renee Schettler Rossi


A plate of pink pickled eggs, cut in half and smeared with spiced mayonnaisePhoto: Jennifer May

Pickled Eggs

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 12 pickled eggs
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the pickled eggs
  • For the honey-mustard mayo (optional)


Make the pickled eggs

Wash and scrub the beet, trimming and discarding the ends. Slice the beet into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

Pour 3 cups cold water into a saucepan and add the beet, vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, chiles, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour the pickling liquid into a large storage container and refrigerate.

Place the eggs in a 2-quart saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the water to a gentle simmer, boil for 1 minute, remove from the heat, and leave the eggs in the water for 8 minutes. Drain the eggs. Gently crack the egg shells against the countertop and roll the eggs around a little to crack the shells all over. Then return the eggs in their cracked shells to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs and peel the eggs underwater, tossing the shells in your compost heap.

Transfer the eggs to a storage container and pour in the cold pickling liquid. You want the container to be sufficiently narrow so that the eggs will be completely submerged in the pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate the eggs, letting them steep in the pickling liquid at least overnight and up to 7 days. (The longer you leave the eggs submerged in the pickling liquid, the flashier the hot pink color and the more pervasive the color and flavor throughout the egg.)

Make the honey-mustard mayo (optional)

Pulverize the mustard seeds in a spice-devoted coffee grinder until finely ground but not powdery.

In a food processor, combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, and water, and buzz to combine. With the machine running, begin to add the canola oil, drop by drop, until an emulsion forms. Then slowly add the rest of the canola oil, followed by the olive oil, pouring in a very thin but steady stream. Season with 4 teaspoons ground mustard seeds, the honey, the Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Reserve the remaining pulverized mustard seeds for garnish. (Kindly note that the recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise, which is more than what you’ll need for this recipe. By way of explanation, it’s difficult to make a smaller batch in a food processor. Leftover honey-mustard mayo makes an amazing addition to potato salad or egg salad.)

Serve the pickled eggs

Blot the pickled eggs dry on paper towels, cut each one in half, and place them on a platter (a deviled egg platter can be charming, if you have one). Dollop a small spoonful honey-mustard mayonnaise, if using, over the yolk of each egg, and, if desired, sprinkle generously with the remaining hot mustard dust—that is, the finely ground mustard seeds.

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    *NOTE How To Make Shortcut Honey-Mustard Mayonnaise With Store-Bought Mayonnaise

    • If you don’t want to make homemade mayonnaise, you can simply doctor up about 1 1/2 cups store-bought mayo with the same amounts of honey and mustard.

    Recipe Testers Reviews

    These pickled eggs were little treasures! I'd never made pickled eggs before and these were a great beginning. They were slightly sweet with the homemade honey-mustard mayonnaise yet savory at the same time. A comforting twist on the normal deviled egg.

    I followed the boiled egg instructions and the timing was perfect as the yolks were perfectly cooked. I peeled the eggs underwater as stated, but couldn't see that it helped remove the shells any better. The eggs went into the pickling liquid and I put the beet slices on top to push the eggs completely into the liquid. We ate the eggs at 3 days and again at 6 days. The longer they stayed in the pickling liquid, the more intensely colored the whites were. I would add an additional 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard next time for that extra tang.

    These eggs would be perfect for an Easter buffet or for hors d'oeuvres with sausage and cheeses. I was delighted to have the extra honey-mustard mayonnaise for egg salad and potato salad.

    I've never had or made pickled eggs before, but the beautiful pink color in the photo intrigued me—and inspired me to try these out Right off the bat, I was impressed by how easy it was to peel the eggs. (I had never learned the trick about peeling them underwater--worked like a charm). Perfect hard-boiled eggs alone made this recipe a winner.

    I let my eggs pickle for 5 days. They are absolutely beautiful. I posted a picture of them on Facebook, and right away a friend who has made pickled eggs said that they were perfectly pickled.

    These eggs taste great. I love the honey mustard mayo on top, but they taste great without any topping. I'm thinking they'll make a great addition to my lunches this week. The only comment I have to make about the recipe is that the amount of salt, in my opinion, should be listed in the ingredients, because when I prepare a recipe, I go through and gather all the ingredients from that list. If it's not there, sometimes it throws me off. Otherwise, this one is perfection.

    Pickled eggs. I love ‘em. First exposure was the mysterious jar on the counters of gas stations. No fancy presentation there—ask for an egg, they fish one out and you take it and eat it whole in your truck. Then I started making them at home, but I didn’t color them with beet juice. They made for a nice addition to my workday lunch. This recipe is colored hot pink and dressed up by being halved and served with a homemade honey-mustard mayonnaise. Pickled eggs, you’ve come a long way, babies.

    The method for boiling the eggs works fine, although I prefer to steam the eggs for about 15 minutes and then shock them in ice water. Do peel them underwater (preferably cold water) as directed, but you might want to do this in a large bowl, rather than the pot with all the eggs in it, so you have room for your hands. Better yet, if you don’t live in a drought-stricken area, peel them under running water in the sink.

    The recipe instructs you to let the eggs pickle overnight or up to 7 days. I tasted the eggs at several points in the pickling process. I don’t think overnight or even 2 nights is enough to produce a true pickled egg. I would plan on 5 to 7 days in the brine, although the eggs can keep in the brine for much, much longer. Months, even. The brine will continue to penetrate the egg into the yolk.

    Because the brine is very low on salt and pretty low on sugar, the eggs come out a bit sour and incomplete tasting on their own. But add that honey-mustard mayo and they come to life. The recipe given here works very nicely and adds needed seasoning and richness to the eggs. The honey is low-key here, and the finished mayonnaise is not notably sweet. Mustard is an effective emulsifier, so I would suggest adding the Dijon mustard at the beginning of the process, but do save the ground mustard for the end. I neglected to reserve any of the ground mustard for sprinkling over the eggs before serving; I just added it all to the mayonnaise. I would do that again, as freshly ground mustard seeds don’t have that great a flavor. They need to sit and blend with other ingredients. I found 1 teaspoon kosher salt to be about right for seasoning. The flavor of the mayonnaise improves greatly after some time in the fridge, so I would suggest making the mayonnaise at least a day, preferably 2 days, before you serve the eggs.

    The eggs, pickled for at least 5 days and served with the mayo on top, were very nice. But I got to thinking and experimenting a bit. You can scoop the yolks out of the halved eggs, mash them up with about 2 teaspoons honey-mustard mayo per yolk, and then refill the eggs to have beet-pickled deviled eggs. This was even better, taste-wise, than the eggs with the mayonnaise blobbed on top.

    You can play around a lot with pickled eggs. For example, you could use golden beets instead of red. Or you could use fresh turmeric to color the eggs (and flavor them). Or annatto seeds. You could play around with the spices used, and the flavors in the mayonnaise. I could see adding a bit of tarragon to the mayonnaise, or the pickling brine. Lots of possibilities for these, but one thing is for sure: They aren’t your gas station’s pickled eggs. While I've never seen pickled eggs served with a spiced mayo before, in this case, I would say the mayo is NOT optional. The flavor of these eggs was not balanced for eating plain. They were intended to have the mayo on them, and they need it.

    This pickled eggs recipe had great flavor transfer and color. Peeling the eggs underwater did make it easier. They were very good served the way the recipe states, but I also liked them with some Greek yogurt that had been drained and had curry added.


    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


    1. Not a fan of eggs, but I love beet-pickled eggs! I add a few whole cloves to the pickling liquid, as well. My mother used to make pickled onions, using beets, they were delicious as well as pretty.

      1. Love hearing this, Mary! Funny how sometimes an ingredient we typically don’t care for takes on new appeal under certain circumstances! And I love the idea of using beets to lend some color to onions, many thanks for sharing that trick!

    2. Hello fellow pickled egg missionaries
      I was really interested to read your recipe and comments. Its always good to hear what other people are doing. Beetroot flavoured pickled eggs are one of the flavours that we include in our pickled egg range and are really popular – although the fruity balsamic flavoured ones seem to be the most popular with ‘pickled egg virgins’ that we meet. In the UK we dont tend to add any water to our pickling recipe which gives the eggs a full-on vinegar hit – its not for everyone but seems to be the preference here. One thing I have found with the beetroot ones is that leaving a few chunks of beetroot in the jar helps to make the pink colour last a little longer – ofcourse unless the eggs get eaten first!
      Happy pickling!

    3. Sooooo – I really wanted to like them. But both hubby and me agree that we like the German pickled eggs, pickled in a salty brine, much much better, mainly because the yolks undergo a magic transformation into creamy goodness. And because we both think that salt goes better with eggs than vinegar. But that’s just us.

      Side note: I used a golden beet, and it didn’t color very strongly. But I’ll put a red beet in my next batch of Grandma’s German pickled eggs for the pretty color!

        1. Yes, no worries, when life hands me pickled eggs I can always turn them into egg salad. Which will probably also be where the beets end up.

    4. I’ve never made pickled eggs but I’m going to try these just because the color is so gorgeous!

    5. I am making these as part of an Easter picnic, splitting a batch with red or chiogga beets and golden ones – they will make a fun alternative to traditional deep red eggs that we grew up with – and those red dye packets people used to get from the Greek church probably contain dye I don’t want to think about!

      Robin’s comment made we wonder about the PH of her water – since we have well water that is a bit on the alkaline side, and I notice some interesting colours with red cabbage. I am thinking it may be a factor and may use purified water that I use for the kettle and espresso machine instead of our ‘mineral rich’ well water.

      1. Irene, you MUST send pictures of the eggs. Dying to see how the golden beets work. And I think you may have something there about the well water. Perhaps Robin will drop in and comment.

    6. These pickled eggs are delicious! I made the recipe before the quantity for the salt was given in the recipe. I added a lot more than 3/4 tsp. I think I did about 1 to 1 1/2 tbsps. But they are fantastic. I haven’t made the honey-mustard mayo yet, just tried the eggs at 2 days. Mine are pretty, but more of a subdued rose color (intense, just not as bright a color) than the bright pink in the photo. I wonder why? Could it be the additional salt? Other than the salt, I followed the recipe exactly.

      1. Robin, so glad you liked them! The color can be due to so many things: the age of quality of the beets, how high your simmer is, how long they sat, etc. But if you make these again, let the the eggs sit in the pickling liquid, as the recipe suggests. That will surely help.

    7. My Dear Mr. Leite – When I was a child, my Indiana grandmother would present us with eggs pickled in the juice of a couple of cans of beets when we my mother would load us up for a two week visit over the summer. In my 70’s childhood naivete, I considered them exotic and strange and wonderful. It was only when I became an adult that my mother explained they were depression era preserving at its best and something my firmly middle class WASP father never comprehended that I understood why she never made them otherwise. These days I’ve had an itch to remake them for their earthy sweet flavor and that shocking fuschia color that would go so well with an Easter cocktail at a picnic while balancing an Easter bonnet on my head. Thank you for the inspiration.


      1. My Dearest Mr. KitchenBeard. a lovely, yet strangely sad, story. I’m so happy that I could be but a wee part of the inspiration for your to make these lovely ovo-jewels. Please send photos.

    8. David, looks like you too have become an Amy T fan. Her recipes are so down to earth & her tv show easy to watch. Gotta go pickle me some eggs! Or is it quickle?

    9. Hi…I can’t wait to try these pickled eggs! Several years ago I had a deviled egg at a church function and the egg was bright pink and I wondered how they did it – now I know! However, I do have a few questions before I begin my pickling: The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of water and the directions say to add 3 cups of water? The directions also say to add salt to the saucepan and I don’t see salt in the ingredient list. What is the correct quantity of water and salt? Thanks so much. I can’t wait to try these eggs for our Easter dinner!!!

      1. Jennifer, if you look closely, you’ll see the 1 tablespoon of water is for the mayo. The 3 cups of water is for the cooking of the beets. As far as the amount of salt, a hefty pinch is plenty. Let me know how the recipe turns out!

    10. We had these all the time growing up on the farm. Pennsylvania Dutch food. As my sister says, “Don’t forget the sugar, or it’s pucker city.” I’ve also used beet juice from pickled beets.

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