Egg Salad

4.89 from 84 votes
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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.

Photo of egg salad in a blue bowl with a metal spoon.

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.

Pre-portioned ingredients on a table for a classic egg salad recipe.

Egg selection

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.

Recipe Resources

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.

Eggs, onions, celery, other ingredients in a bowl ready to be mixed.

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.

Add mix-ins

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.

Photo of homemade egg salad in a bowl.

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.

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Frequently asked questions

How long are boiled eggs good for?

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.

What can I add to egg salad?

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.

How long can egg salad last in the fridge?

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.

Photo of an egg salad sandwich split down the middle and stacked on top of each other.

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.

Egg Salad

Delicious classic egg salad recipe with hard-boiled eggs and simple mix-ins that's perfect for sandwiches or as a light side dish.
4.89 from 84 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time13 minutes
Total Time33 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad, Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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 Video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 2 cups
  • Serving Size: About ½ cup
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 322kcal (16%)Carbohydrates 2g (1%)Protein 13g (26%)Fat 30g (46%)Saturated Fat 5g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat 13gMonounsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 361mg (120%)Sodium 474mg (20%)Potassium 42mg (1%)Fiber 0.3g (1%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 700IU (14%)Vitamin C 2.5mg (3%)Calcium 50mg (5%)Iron 1.8mg (10%)

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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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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44 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Amy Rogers says

    I was kind of skeptical about this boiling egg part since its completely opposite of the normal boiling egg recipe. Unfortunately, I was right. Half of them busted open, I’m guessing from cold eggs into boiling water and half the eggs are floating outside of the shell in the water.

    We’ll see how the rest of the mixture turns out….and maybe boil some more eggs.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Amy- I appreciate you making the eggs and your feedback! I was playing around with the recipe, if you have thermometer try to get the water to a low boil at 200°F instead of a rapid boil at 212°F. This should help with the eggs breaking. Sometimes if the eggs are older, that may cause them to be more prone to breaking as well. Let me know how it goes! I also love the steaming method and don’t see breaks if you haven’t tried that before. I also have the technique on my website.

    • Faye Harrison says

      Ditto. Eggs brust as soon as they touch the simmering hot water, and they are fresh eggs. However, they were refrigerated so I suppose they should have been at room temperature. I’ll go back to my usual cold start method.

  2. Linda says

    For me too much stuff in the egg salad. I put the eggs in a sink full of warm water to temper them then lower the eggs into the boiling water with a spoon. Never had a cracked one yet. I mince the egg very fine with a fork, add some finely minced green onion and add a small amount of low fat Hellman’s. Just enough to bind the egg together. That’s it. It seems to me that adding all that other stuff detracts from tasting the egg, which has a quite delicate flavour. It’s more like vegetables and condiments with egg on the side.

  3. Barbara Fisher says

    120% cholesterol – is that the good or bad cholesterol?
    If you poke a hole with a pin in the bottom of the egg it will not crack when put in boiling water.

  4. Dawn says

    I used miracle whip because I didnt have mayo, but the next day, the egg salad was very watery. I let the eggs cool in cold water for awhile. Not sure why it was so watery the next day.

  5. Rosemary Vickers says

    I always prick my eggs before boiling and they never burst.
    I do this with a little plastic gadget my mother gave me many years ago
    Rosemary

  6. Raghav Palan says

    Your recipes are awesome. Show us more snacks and salads. And tell me about how to make different types of homemade sauces. Thank you for all your good recipes.

  7. Lynne Felciano says

    I started making my husband egg salad using your recipe . . . it’s delicious and he loves it! Thought you’d like to know you have a fan club in our house for many of your recipes.

    Thanks for keeping my cooking ideas fresh!

  8. Marti says

    First time I’ve ever had eggs that I didn’t have to pick, pick, pick the shells off of. WOW! What a neat concept. I didn’t bring the water to a FULL boil, just to the 200 degree and they were perfect. THANK YOU!

    And the salad was nice and creamy, not runny. Making more this weekend.

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