Tea eggs are a traditional Chinese treat – and they’re easy to make on your own AND use up all those eggs your flock is laying!
Hard boiled eggs are great – don’t get me wrong. They’re easy to make and you can boil a dozen at a time and have an easy meal in minutes.
But after a while, they CAN get a bit boring. Especially for children, who appreciate more visually appealing food.
So why not try boiling eggs with your favorite tea and spices?
Tea eggs aren’t just edible – they can also be very beautiful, depending on the length of time eggs are steeped in the liquid.
The cracked shells allow only a portion of the spiced tea into the egg – which gives the final product a beautiful, marbled effect.
You can even dispense with the entire shell, and allow the egg alone to steep in the tea.
It won’t be a showstopper like a marbled egg, but contrasting dark and marbled eggs on your plate will still be lovely!
How to make Tea Eggs
To make tea eggs, hard boil eggs for 10 – 15 minutes. Be sure to use eggs that are at least 7 days old for the best experience removing the shell – if they’re half floating when you try the egg float test, they’re perfect.
In a separate pot, add 3 black tea bags to boiling water along with ¼ cup soy sauce and the spices.
Once the eggs are hard boiled, shock them in cold water, and crack the shell slightly when cool enough to touch – don’t remove it, just roll the egg back and forth under your palm or use the back of a spoon to crack it slightly.
Next, steep the cracked eggs in black tea and a variety of spices for at least 1 hour to create a savory snack. Keep the tea simmering while the eggs steep.
While any tea would work, black tea is dark enough to give the marbling effect.
You can steep the eggs for an hour or up to several hours – the longer, the darker and more flavor your eggs will soak up.
Star anise, cinnamon, and cloves are some traditional spices used, and you can even include some orange peels for additional flavor. Of course, you should experiment with YOUR favorite spices!
This will also work with duck eggs!
When we make tea eggs, we use cinnamon, cloves, which are very aromatic, and ground orange peel – easy to find, and the combination tastes great (and kids love it too!)
After steeping the eggs, remove from the tea mixture and allow to cool. You can shock them in cold water again to make removing the peels easier.
When the eggs are cool to the touch, remove the shells and enjoy! You can still feed the eggshells to your chickens – so they’ll get a treat, too!
- ¼ tsp each star anise, cinnamon, and cloves or other spices
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 bags black tea bags (any brand)
- 6-10 chicken and/or duck eggs
- Hard boil chicken eggs for 10 – 15 minutes.
- In a separate pot, add 3 black tea bags to boiling water along with the spices
- Once the eggs are hard boiled, crack the shell slightly by rolling the egg back and forth under your palm to crack it slightly.
- Steep the eggs for up to 4 hours, leaving the tea mixture to simmer
- After steeping eggs, remove from tea mixture and allow to cool.
- When the eggs are cool to the touch, remove the shells.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.