One of the best and easiest appetizers or snacks to make is Simple Deviled Eggs. There are as many ways to make them as there are cooks. Some people add in pickle relish, jalapenos, or olives, but my favorite is a no-fuss version.
Choose the best eggs
When it comes to buying eggs, the labels can be quite confusing and even misleading.
- Cage-free sounds great until you learn that the chickens could be in a pen with no natural vegetation or access to the outdoors.
- Free-range requires the birds to be outdoors for a minimum of six hours a day, but the farmer is only required to provide two square feet of space for each bird and that might be open field or it might be a small patch of dirt.
- Certified organic is the only label regulated by the Department of Agriculture. It simply means that the chickens have outdoor access and are fed feed that is free of GMOs, antibiotics or animal byproducts. This doesn't necessarily make them safer or more healthy.
- The label "Vegetarian" cracks me up because chickens, by nature, are not vegetarian! They are omnivores, meaning they eat everything, meat, bugs, worms, vegetables ... pretty much anything you throw in their feed trough! Furthermore, much of the chicken feed on the market comes from crops that were heavily covered with pesticides.
- Farm fresh or pastured eggs are my choice ... from small local farms where I know what they are fed and if they have room to roam. Thankfully, my daughter is my current supplier!
How to boil eggs
There are probably as many ways to boil an egg as there are cooks!
- The traditional method of boiling them in a pot with plenty of water for 10 minutes is probably the most popular as it is something everyone can easily do.
- Steaming is another convenient method and seems to make them easier to peel. You can do this on the stove or in the InstantPot. You just put them in a steamer in a pot (or in the InstantPot), put 1-2 inches of water in the bottom, and bring to a boil. On the stove, leave them for 10 minutes. In the InstantPot, set it to manual for 5 minutes, and release the steam.
Ice water plunge
One of the most important things is to immediately plunge the eggs into ice water to cool them so that you can peel them quickly.
Peeling them quickly releases sulphur which keeps the yolks nice and yellow rather than turning grey.
Make the filling
I have always cut eggs for deviled eggs horizontally, but I've seen others cut the top third of the white off to create more of a little cup. I wouldn't want to waste that top bit of white so I'm going to stick with the horizontal cut.
Another tip ... that, according to the photo, I didn't adhere to ... is to store eggs with the pointed end down. There's a naturally-occurring air bubble inside each egg's rounded side, which helps keep the yolk more centered inside the egg. It will not only give you prettier deviled eggs, but it will also help your eggs stay fresh longer.
Mash the egg yolks with the tines of a fork, a ricer, or a really cool vintage pounder. I saw Nancy Fuller using one on her show Farmhouse Rules and I started keeping my eyes peeled in the antique shops. I use it for deviled eggs, obviously, and to pound garlic cloves, meat, and smashing small boiled potatoes for frying.
As I said before, these deviled eggs are quite simple. I just use a bit of mayonnaise, some yellow mustard, salt, and a smidge of pickle juice for the acidity and to smooth out the filling.
You can use Dijon mustard if you want, but I prefer the color of the yellow.
How to serve
A deviled egg tray is nice to have, but if you don't have one, lay some microgreens, green leaf, or butter lettuce leaves on a plate or platter and arrange the deviled eggs on them. So pretty. I like to garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika, some bacon crumbles, and chives. Dill is pretty as well.
There's hardly a wrong time to serve Deviled Eggs! They make a great appetizer or addition to a charcuterie board. A picnic is certainly made better when deviled eggs are in the basket. Barbecues and cookouts are definitely the time to whip up some Simple Deviled Eggs.
Simple Deviled Eggs
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1-2 teaspoons pickle juice or apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to season
- smoked paprika to sprinkle on top
- bacon crumbles 1-2 slices, cooked and cut
- 3-4 chive sprigs to garnish
- Place the eggs in a pot of water and allow the water to come to a boil. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes. Immediately drain the boiling water off and fill the pot with cold water and ice. Let the eggs cool for 5 minutes, then peel them. The sooner you can peel them, the better so that the yolks don't turn grey. See Notes for how to steam rather than boil.
- Slice the eggs in half horizontally. Put the yolks in a bowl and the egg whites on a deviled egg tray. If you don't have one, lay some microgreens, green leaf, or butter lettuce leaves on a plate or platter and arrange the deviled eggs on them. So pretty.
- Break the yolks up with a fork, a ricer, or a vintage pounder, then mix with the mayonnaise and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add enough pickle juice to loosen it up, but not so much as to make it runny. Using a teaspoon, spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves.
- Sprinkle the tops with smoked paprika, place some bacon crumbles on each egg, and top with chives sprigs.