Deviled eggs are the ultimate party-starter. They’re easy, versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and so delicious.
As long as they’re well executed.
In the test kitchen, we have made thousands of these tasty, eggy goodies. And though they seem pretty simple, issues abound—the eggs can be hard to peel, the filling can be grainy, and the flavors can turn out flat.
After testing (and re-testing) multiple recipes, we’ve learned a lot about what takes a deviled egg from good to great.
Follow these tips for the best-ever deviled eggs.
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1. Steam the Eggs
For the best deviled eggs, start off by cooking the eggs properly. Cook's Illustrated's Andrea Geary developed a recipe for Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs that results in smooth, unblemished hard-cooked eggs. The secret? Don’t start them in cold water. Instead, steam them.
By placing cold eggs directly into hot steam, this rapidly denatures the outermost egg white proteins, causing them to form a solid gel that shrinks and pulls away from the membrane. The shell slips off easily when the eggs are cooked.
2. Wipe Your Knife
When it’s time to cut your hard-cooked eggs in half, wipe your knife between slices. Yolk is inevitably going to stick to your blade, so cleaning between cuts ensures your whites stay pristine and yolk-free.
3. Strain, Don’t Mash the Yolks
After scooping out the yolks, you’ll need to mash them together to create your filling. Press your cooked yolks through a fine-mesh strainer with a rubber spatula. This ensures your filling turns out supersmooth.
4. Use More Than Just Mayo
Mayo is the key for flavor. But adding another dairy product such as sour cream or yogurt into the mix will ensure your filling is as creamy as possible. It also gives your filling a pleasant tang, which helps to wake up all the other flavors.
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5. Wait to Fill Them
It’s best to fill the eggs as close to serving as possible. If filled too early, the eggs will start to discolor and get watery.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start. You can make the filling ahead of time, and store it separately from the whites. Wrap the peeled egg-white halves tightly with a double layer of plastic wrap and place the filling in a separate zipper-lock plastic bag (squeezing out all the air). Refrigerate until ready to fill and serve.
6. Experiment with New Flavors
Now that you’ve nailed the technique, it’s time to expand on flavor profiles. Deviled eggs are so versatile, you can do just about anything with them.