Deviled eggs can (and should!) be a year-round side dish or snack, but something about them feels especially spring-y. Maybe it’s the Easter egg connection, or maybe it’s simply the look of the pastel yellow filling topped with a few bright green herbs. Regardless, they often start popping up at family meals and seasonal restaurant menus sometime around late March.
Most recipes share some common elements. At its most basic, a deviled egg is a boiled egg white “cup” filled with a mixture made from mashed yolks, mayonnaise and mustard.
However, there are endless variations on the snack, and after spending the last few weeks taste-testing batches and batches, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best versions — from the updated classic with frizzled shallots to one with a hit of secret Sriracha.
This New York Times recipe is adapted from “U.S.A. Cookbook,” Sheila Lukins’ tribute to classic all-American dishes. It’s a simple deviled egg, built on a basic combination of egg yolk, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, a few freshly-snipped chives and a dash or two of Tabasco sauce. There’s a festive sprinkle of paprika, but not too many flourishes beyond that — making it an easy crowd-pleaser.
The Updated Classic
Frizzled shallots are the star of this updated deviled egg, and they’re flanked by a strong supporting cast of lemon juice, zest and chives. Bon Appetit’s Deviled Eggs with Crispy Shallot Gremolata has a few things that your typical deviled egg doesn’t have: textural contrast from the crispy shallots and a hit of freshness from the citrus. Dragging out a frying pan and zester may feel like an extra step too many, but that little extra effort is worth it in this case.
Eggs for a Crowd
If you’re making deviled eggs for a crowd, a mini-muffin tin is a really useful tool to have around. This Tasty recipe recommends spraying the tin with non-stick cooking spray and separating a dozen egg yolks and whites into each muffin tin hole. Before the tin hits the oven, you set it on top of a baking sheet that’s partially filled with boiling water. The egg yolks and whites steam until firm.
From there, you mash the yolks together with non-fat greek yogurt, relish, mustard and hot sauce and pipe the filling onto the egg white disks.
The Fully-Dressed Variety
So, let’s say you want a deviled egg with a little more heft — something that’s a tick closer to an appetizer than an hors d’oeuvre. Atlanta chef Ford Fry’s Deviled Eggs with Country Ham was first featured by Food and Wine in 2009, and in the years since, I’ve seen it copied on New Southern menus all across the country. The filling incorporates creamy goat cheese, minced shallot and chives, and the egg gets topped with a thin strip of country ham from Benton’s in Madisonville, Tenn.
I’m also partial to Mark Bittman’s Shrimp Deviled Eggs, which adds rough-chopped shrimp, chopped good olives, minced onion and Worcestershire sauce to the yolk filling.
The Eggs with a Kick
Chrissy Tiegen’s Spicy Deviled Eggs feature “a secret swoosh of Sriracha underneath the filling.” The filling, it should be noted, also contains finely-chopped bacon and sweet pickle relish, and the whole thing is topped with thin slices of pickled jalapeño peppers and/or gherkins. They really pack a welcome pucker and punch.
The Saucy-Approved Eggs
I write Saucy, Salon’s weekly condiment column, and as such, I’ve been finagling with how a couple of simple condiment swaps can make a basic deviled egg even better. I have two big takeaways:
The first is that Japanese mayo belongs in your deviled eggs. I’ve waxed poetic about Kewpie, the most recognizable brand of Japanese mayo, before. Unlike its American counterpart, Kewpie is made using just egg yolks, compared to the entire egg, which — when combined with a splash of rice vinegar and a hit of umami flavoring — you’re left with one of the most craveable condiments on the planet.
The second Saucy-approved tip is that you should seriously consider swapping plain yellow or Dijon mustard for Inglehoffer Creamy Dill Mustard with Capers (you can find it at many specialty markets or order it online). Why? Quite simply, it tastes like spring in a jar. It’s light and herby, and you get a little brininess from the capers. It’s the kind of condiment that makes me want to pack up a basket of sandwiches — smeared with this mustard — and go sit by the shore on a day that’s about 7 degrees too cool to be outside.
Just substitute the mayo and mustard called for in your favorite basic deviled egg recipe for Kewpie and Inglehoffer. If you’re feeling fancy, top with a fresh dill sprig.
Eggs and Toast
Finally, I really love this recipe from Food52 for Deviled Egg Salad on Toast. Creator Grant Melton says that “this egg salad tastes like a classic version of deviled eggs — only it’s easier to make and travels well.” It has a bunch of little tweaks that really amplify the flavor: a dash of sugar, a little white wine vinegar, celery seed and finely diced celery. In the end, it’s all smeared on toasted triangles of white bread.