Let's Talk About Egg Salad

Our staffers share their favorite way to make this Southern staple.

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Southerners sure love them a salad. But what they may love more is using them as weapons of competition. Whether chicken, tuna, ham, or congealed, you can rest assured that someone within a 15 foot radius of you has a family member with an award-winning recipe for one that’s better than whatever community cookbook featured recipe your grandmother makes. You can rest assured that they have memorized the ingredient list as well.

In short, salads speak volumes about who you are as a person. So we asked our editors how they make one of the South’s more controversial salads: the polarizing picnic special known as egg salad. Done right, it can open a whole new world of egg-related dishes; done wrong, it can permanently scar its victim, perhaps for life.

We can all agree that Southern-style egg salad needs some basic building blocks: the best eggs you can find/afford; a viscous binding agent; and balanced textures. But beyond those basics, the personality of the salad maker is revealed.

In the past, our test kitchen has created some unorthodox techniques with egg salad. We’ve added chicken broth-boiled sundried tomatoes to it; we’ve smoked egg whites with applewood; we’ve even strayed from using Duke’s mayo. Now, we all agree simplicity (and Duke’s mayo) is the secret ingredient in the best egg salads.

Here are how our editors make their own versions.

Lisa Cericola, Senior Food Editor
“Egg salad needs something crunchy (finely chopped celery), something sharp (a little Dijon mustard), something green (chopped scallions or dill), and mayonnaise, of course. I stir in the mayo gradually. Egg salad should be more of a spread than a dip, so I start with a small amount of mayo, then add more until it’s the right not-too-runny consistency. I like egg salad on toasted bread with a little lettuce.”

Brennan Long, Social Media Manager
“My egg salad wouldn’t be complete without Duke’s or a few generous dashes of hot sauce. My current favorite is the Handcrafted Hot Sauce from Southern Art. Grainy bread and butter lettuce are also must-haves for my favorite lunchtime sandwich.
PSA: Does anyone else eat ham salad?”

Hannah Hayes, Associate Travel Editor
“Lately, I’ve been adding April Bloomfield’s lemon caper dressing to rustically chopped eggs, and then slowly adding equal amounts of Duke’s mayo and Atlanta Fresh Greek Yogurt. But I am certainly not going to hate on the basic eggs + mayo + mustard on white bread formula.
PSA: I love ham salad.”

Val Luesse, Senior Travel Editor
“I’ve always made the egg salad from a Secrets of the Test Kitchen special edition. It’s real basic, but real good.

Zoe Gowen, Senior Homes Editor
“My egg salad recipe: perfectly boiled eggs, Duke's mayonnaise, salt and pepper, a touch of garlic salt if i need it, and a bit of French's yellow mustard. But, I also love the egg salad at the Stone Hollow Farmstead Pantry here in Birmingham because it has thyme in it.”

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