The Secret To The Best Deviled Eggs

We're not yolking.

Muffuletta Deviled Eggs
This easy appetizer melds the flavors of olives, egg, and salty salami. Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

You can't have a covered dish luncheon, a church potluck, or an Easter brunch without them. Deviled eggs are the ever-humble staple of the Southern dinner table: They're always dependable, always delicious, and (no matter how many you started with) always gone by the end of the meal.

The ideal deviled egg in my book – and I'm well acquainted with the slippery snack – is piled high with a light, whipped mixture of hard-boiled egg yolk (duh), mayonnaise (Duke's, please), a little mustard, and a sprinkling of paprika.

But in order to craft a compliment-worthy deviled egg (and goodness knows your Aunt Martha isn't always quick to give those), before you even consider how to doctor up the filling, you must start with a solid foundation: a picture-perfect hard-boiled egg.

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While I usually don't care much about what a food looks like, so long as it tastes good, much of the deviled egg's charm comes from its sunny appearance—its creamy yellow yolk nestled towards the bottom of the egg and tucked smack dab in the center, so that the upper bit of the egg white looks like a crown perched right there on top.

If you don't boil your eggs properly, though, you could end up with lopsided deviled eggs—or worse, the yolk has slid so far to one side of the egg that you end up with holes.

So how to steer your yolks in the right direction? The trick is all in the boiling process. Put your eggs in a pot and cover them with water—about two inches higher than the tops of the eggs. As the water heats up, stir the eggs gently in a clockwise direction. After a couple minutes of stirring in one direction, switch directions. (It's the stirring that's the secret!) Let the water come to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and let the eggs sit for about 12 minutes. Finally, peel the eggs under cold water, and once peeled, prepare the deviled eggs your favorite way.

You'll have the prettiest platter of deviled eggs at the potluck!

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