How to Make Deviled Eggs

By David Grimes

Deviled eggs originated in the South, and are made by boiling eggs until they are fully cooked. The yolks are then mashed and seasoned to make a creamy, mildly spiced filling for the egg white halves. Most frequently eaten as an appetizer, deviled eggs are also an easy way to make an otherwise light meal, such as a salad, more filling. While the classic deviled egg -- with spiced mayonnaise and cayenne -- is a standby, deviled eggs can be garnished or seasoned according to taste, and a personalized deviled egg recipe can be a great start to a casual meal with friends.

Deviled eggs background
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Top deviled eggs with minced herbs or vegetables for a colorful display.

Classics and Variations

The basic deviled egg recipe uses halved hard-boiled eggs, keeping the whites whole, mashing the yolks and mixing with mayonnaise or salad cream. Salt, pepper, mustard and either paprika or cayenne, depending on how spicy you like it, are common additions. Despite the name, deviled eggs are not traditionally very spicy, although they can be made so, with the addition of extra cayenne, hot sauce or minced hot peppers. Finely chopped onion, steak spice, relish and even crumbled bacon bits can be added to the basic mix. For a sweeter, richer deviled egg, do a Japanese-inspired version, using Japanese mayonnaise -- which is much sweeter and richer than mayonnaise -- and minced green onion, black pepper and bonito flakes.

Cooking the Eggs

Because they are the basis for all deviled eggs, a good hard-boiled egg -- well-cooked and easy to peel -- is key. Older eggs are easier to peel -- the thin membrane between the shell and the egg sticks less readily to the white of the egg. However, most eggs will peel easily and the membrane will not stick if you immediately dunk the freshly boiled eggs in ice cold water. You can also steam boil eggs. Cook them in a steamer basket until they are done, roughly 6 minutes per egg. As with boiled eggs, shock the eggs in ice cold water before peeling them.

Making Deviled Eggs

To make deviled eggs, slice a cooled, hard-boiled egg lengthwise in half. Remove the yolk, setting aside in a separate bowl, and place the egg white halves, hole side up, on a tray or plate. Mash the collected egg yolks with mayonnaise or salad cream, using 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of mustard -- yellow or Dijon -- per egg yolk. Add minced onion, sweet relish, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Pipe or scoop the mashed yolk into the holes in the whites. A pastry bag with a tip will make a pretty shaped filling, but using two teaspoons will also work. Mound the filling about 1/4 to 1/2 inch high, above the cut surface of the white. Cover and chill until ready to eat, or serve straight away.

Storing and Food Safety

If you are making the deviled eggs in advance, avoid garnishing them until just before serving, as the garnish can easily get mashed into the soft filling. Add a sprinkle of paprika -- try smoked paprika for a simple deviled egg variation -- or thinly sliced green onions. Microgreens, such as small basil or radish leaves, can also be placed on top of each filled egg. For something more luxurious, consider topping with a small amount of lumpfish caviar or salmon roe. Hard-boiled eggs, unpeeled and uncut, can be safely stored in the fridge for up to a week before they must be eaten. Cover prepared deviled eggs with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until one or two hours before they are to be eaten.