This classic egg salad recipe features foolproof hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and crunchy mix-ins. Perfect for light meals or sandwiches all year long.
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Egg salad is loaded with healthy protein from the rich yolks and various mix-ins. This recipe has a creamy sauce, but I add plenty of freshly chopped vegetables to provide a crunch to each bite. Egg salad is excellent for making sandwiches and meal-prepping or for those on a high protein, low carb diet like Keto.
If you struggle with hard boiling eggs, I use an easy method that yields easy-to-peel shells, making this recipe a cinch to prepare. Hot-starting the eggs, then a quick chill, is best to make a large batch. Then get ready to chop them up and grab a few hearty scoops to load between fluffy slices of bread or crisp lettuce leaves.
For this recipe, I use large eggs. If you use a different size, adjust the cooking time a few minutes up or down. You don’t need to temper them before cooking. Just grab the eggs straight from the refrigerator and boil. If they are all room temperature, check for doneness a few minutes earlier than specified.
Three ways to hard boil eggs
The salad base is primarily hard-boiled eggs, so it’s best to make them just right. To achieve sufficiently cooked, creamy yellow yolks and tender egg whites, I have three methods that you can try.
My stovetop eggs use the boiling method or the steaming method. Otherwise, my Instant Pot eggs are great if you want to pressure cook them. This recipe uses the boiling technique that I explain more below, but they’ll yield perfect hard-boiled eggs no matter what method you prefer.
Boiling the eggs
To efficiently cook the eggs while making them easier to peel, start them in hot water. Use a low boil, around 200°F (93°C), so that the proteins quickly coagulate together, with little to no breaking of the shell from the fast temperature change. The cool eggs will also slightly reduce the temperature of the water bath.
Boil for 30 seconds, then cover and reduce the heat to low. This process will trap the heat but gently finish cooking them. It takes about 12 minutes to get a fully cooked, bright yellow, crumbly yolk. Don’t overcook the eggs, or a green hue will appear on the yolk’s surface, adding a sulfurous taste to the egg salad.
Peel the eggs
When the eggs finish cooking, immediately plunge them into an ice-water bath and let them chill for 15 minutes. This technique quickly stops the cooking process and hardens the proteins in the eggs, making them easier to peel.
I find it easiest to crack the longest side of the egg, then use your fingertips to peel. You can also run the egg underwater to help remove and wash away any tiny pieces of shells.
Chop the eggs
Use a chef’s knife to chop the hard-boiled eggs into about ¼-inch dice for a rustic texture. You can also use an egg slicer, turning and slicing the egg lengthwise and crosswise. When marking a large batch, I’ve seen other chefs push the egg lengthwise through a wire rack and into a bowl.
For a creamy sauce, try my homemade mayonnaise for a completely made from scratch egg salad. Although if you’re in a pinch for time, store-bought mayonnaise will work well. What else gets mixed with the chopped eggs? Dijon mustard, chopped celery, red onion, lemon juice, chives, salt, and pepper. That’s it! Uncomplicated and delicious, a winning combination.
How to make an egg salad sandwich
This recipe yields 2 cups of egg salad, which is enough for two hearty sandwiches, multiple smaller tea party-sized sandwiches, or just served on the side for a satisfying meal. It works excellent for meal-prepping to portion out what you want for each occasion.
Serve this with
- Slices of wheat bread or white bread for a sandwich
- With a variety of crisp lettuce to make a low carb salad
- Slices of cucumber to make a crostini appetizer
Frequently asked questions
If you want to prepare hardboiled eggs in advance, they are suitable for 7 days stored in the refrigerator. It’s best to keep them peeled for the freshest taste and prevent any browning on the surface.
Try adding in other fresh herbs like chopped basil, tarragon, green onions, or dill to switch up the flavor. Some pesto would also make for an attractive green-colored salad. Add in a bit of sriracha or buffalo sauce for some heat.
In an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Avoid freezing the egg salad. The freezing and thawing process makes the eggs more tough and rubbery.
Always cook eggs at a high temperature
Over the years, I’ve learned my lesson to use a “hot start” and not a “cold start” for soft or hard boiling eggs. For easy-to-peel eggs, the moment they hit the hot water, it should make the proteins in the egg whites quickly bond together, but not to the membrane between the shell. The membrane causes pits and difficulty peeling eggs when cooked incorrectly.
- 8 large eggs, cold
- 4 cups cold water, plus more for boiling
- 4 cups ice cubes
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup celery, ¼" dice
- 1 tablespoon red onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Boil the Eggs – In a large pot, add enough water to cover the eggs by 1-inch. Bring water to a low boil, around 200°F (93°C). Carefully place the eggs in the hot water, and boil for 30 seconds. Place the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook on a low simmer for 12 minutes.
- Chill the Eggs – In a medium bowl, add 4 cups of water and ice to make an ice bath. Once the eggs are done cooking, immediately transfer them to the ice bath and chill for 15 minutes.
- Peel and Chop – Crack the shell and peel the cooled eggs. Use a chef’s knife to chop the hard-boiled eggs coarsely.
- Mix – In a medium bowl, combine chopped eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, celery, red onion, chives, salt, and pepper—season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Recipe Yield: About 2 cups
- Serving Size: About ½ cup
- Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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