Pickled Eggs

Serve them as an appetizer, side dish, or a quick and spicy snack.

Southern Living Pickled Eggs in the jar after pickling

Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Active Time:
20 mins
Chill Time:
1 day
Total Time:
1 day 1 hrs 20 mins

My first experience with pickled eggs came in fourth grade. During a field trip, one of my classmates brought out a bag of them during a two-hour bus ride to our destination. The pungent odor quickly filled the small space of the nearby seats, zipping our noses to attention.

Curious, I asked if he'd share one with me—and kindly, he did. The first bite was an instant, nearly overwhelming, surge of sour and tangy flavors. Couple that with the bouncy, chewy texture of a hard-boiled egg. I was hooked.

Fortunately, many of the gas stations in my small hometown served pickled eggs right out of a gallon-size jar beside the cash register. Pay 50 cents, and you could bob for an egg right from the murky waters of the pickling liquid.

My culinary training now tells me that eating unrefrigerated eggs from a hot gas station was a true recipe for disaster. But my nostalgic, romantic side yearns for another bite still.

Fortunately, this recipe for pickled eggs is every bit as nostalgic—but it's loads more appealing. Pickled peppers give the pickled eggs a nice heat and bite. Plus, they make for an excellent garnish on the egg halves.

Here, learn how to make homemade pickled eggs, and get a few ideas for variations you can make when you want a different kind of snack.

Southern Living Pickled Eggs halved on a plate to serve

Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

What Do Pickled Eggs Taste Like?

Pickled eggs are tart and tangy. They have a bite to them that's reminiscent of pickles or sauerkraut. These pickled eggs have the added layer of spicy chiles, too. Fresno chiles provide heat and a bit of peppery sweetness.

The egg helps balance each bite with its creamy yolk, bouncy white, and just-right hint of sweetness.

Ingredients for Pickled Eggs

When you're ready to make pickled eggs, grab these items from the fridge or pantry:

  • Large eggs: Regular chicken eggs are perfect for homemade pickled eggs. I know folks who pickle quail eggs, but we'll start with chicken eggs.
  • Distilled white vinegar: Vinegar and water are the liquids for the pickling brine. You do not want to use all vinegar as it can adversely affect the quality of the finished egg.
  • Water: You'll need some for boiling the eggs and more for making the pickling liquid.
  • Granulated sugar, kosher salt, and bay leaves: These ingredients flavor the brine.
  • Dill sprigs: This brine isn't a classic pickle brine, but we do have some of the same spices and herbs, like dill, which lends a bright freshness.
  • Red Fresno chile and jalapeño chile: Bring the spice with these peppers. If you don't like heat, you can leave them out entirely, or just don't serve the egg halves with a chile slice.
  • Sliced garlic, black peppercorns, and coriander seeds: Finish off the brine with these big-flavor ingredients.
Southern Living Pickled Eggs ingredients

Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

How To Make Pickled Eggs

The hardest part about making pickled eggs is waiting for 24 after you add the eggs to the pickling brine. Besides that, this is a straightforward and easy recipe. (Get the full instructions below.)

  1. Boil eggs: Put the eggs in a pan, and cover with water one inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat, and let sit 10 minutes. Drain, cool the eggs, peel, and set them aside.
  2. Make the brine: In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then let cool for about 30 minutes or until the brine is at room temperature.
  3. Add spices and herbs: In a quart-size jar, combine the eggs, brine, spices, and chiles. Close the jar, and let the eggs sit 20 minutes.
  4. Chill: Move the jar with eggs to the fridge. Let it sit for 24 hours at least before you eat the first egg.

How Long Before You Can Eat Pickled Eggs?

Give the eggs at least 24 hours in the pickling brine before you eat one. That way, the flavors have time to penetrate the egg. A few days is even better.

How To Serve Pickled Eggs

If you're not familiar with pickled eggs, you may not know all the ways you can serve them:

  • Eat them as they are as a snack.
  • Top with pepper rings for a snazzy appetizer.
  • Thinly slice and put on sandwiches. (The pepper rings will be great on sandwiches, too.)
  • Add to wraps for a bit of sour flavor.
  • Chop and serve on avocado toast
  • Sprinkl atop salads or grain bowls.
  • Use in place of regular hard-boiled eggs for deviled eggs.

Recipe Variations

If you like our classic pickled eggs, consider these two options next:

Both of these recipes have the added benefit of turning the egg whites lovely shades of ruby and chartreuse. That adds a layer of glamor to an appetizer presentation.

Can I make pickled eggs without the chiles?

Absolutely you can leave out the chiles. But know that the final product may not be as spectacular as you'd want. Here's what a Southern Living Test Kitchen pro said about making these without the chiles.

"I tested a version with the chiles and 6 eggs and a half recipe without the chiles. The batch without the chiles, while delicious, lacks a little something special that the recipe with the chiles has. The chiles lose a lot of their heat after sitting in the brine for 24 hours and are nicely tart, sweet, acidic, and just slightly spicy. The flavor of them goes so well with the lightly pickled egg."


  • 6 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup tap water, plus more for boiling

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt

  • 2 fresh bay leaves, divided

  • 2 (8-in.) dill sprigs

  • 2 red Fresno chiles, unseeded and sliced

  • 1 jalapeño chile, unseeded and sliced

  • 2 Tbsp. sliced garlic

  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns

  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds


  1. Boil the eggs:

    Place eggs in bottom of a medium saucepan; add water to pan, filling to a depth of 1 inch above eggs.

    Southern Living Pickled Eggs boiling the eggs in a saucepan

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Bring to a boil over medium-high. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, and run cool water over eggs. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Peel eggs, and set aside.

    Southern Living Pickled Eggs peeling the hard boiled eggs

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

  2. Make brine:

    In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and 1 of the bay leaves to a boil over medium-high, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool until about room temperature, about 30 minutes.

    Southern Living Pickled eggs making the brine

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

  3. Pickle the eggs:

    Place dill sprigs, Fresno chiles, jalapeño chile, garlic, peppercorns, coriander seeds, remaining bay leaf, and eggs in a quart-size jar.

    Southern Living pickled eggs packing the jar with the eggs and vegetables

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Pour vinegar mixture over egg mixture to cover. Seal jar with lid, and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

    Southern Living Pickled Eggs adding the brine to the jar

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Store in refrigerator at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.

    Southern Living Pickled Eggs in the jar after pickling

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do pickled eggs last?

    You should aim to eat these eggs within 1 week. While some people say pickled eggs are good up to 1 month (or more), these eggs aren't canned, so their food safety timeline is shorter.

  • Do you have to refrigerate pickled eggs?

    Yes, you should absolutely refrigerate pickled eggs. This can help prevent dangerous food borne illness.

Additional reporting by
Kimberly Holland
Kimberly Holland
Kimberly Holland is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in food, lifestyle, health, and nutrition content. She has been published in Southern Living, Real Simple, Allrecipes, EatingWell, Cooking Light, and other publications.
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