Kitchen Tip: My Easy, Cheap Appetizer = Deviled Eggs

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deviled eggs 3Did I say “cheap”? Whoops! I meant “frugal”. That’s much more politically correct.

I also mean to say, “Appetizer? Don’t make me bring an appetizer? I can never think of a good appetizer?”

As much as I do in the kitchen, for some reason grazing foods to feed a crowd aren’t my forte. Simple deviled eggs are my go-to when I have to bring a dish to pass. Here’s why I love ’em:

  1. They are recognizable without a label.
  2. Everyone loves them. Deviled eggs always get eaten.
  3. They’re cheap! (I mean, inexpensive.)
  4. Eggs are healthy, and I can make them healthier.
  5. I know how to make them.
  6. They use common ingredients.
  7. Did I mention you can make enough for a presentable dish to pass for about $1.50? Even if you choose pastured, organic eggs, you can get away with $3.50 for your whole party requirement. (My good eggs are $3.00/dozen. I imagine this varies widely.)

Three Tips for Savvy Deviled Egg Makers

1. Crack the eggs under water for easier peeling. Peeling the eggs is the most time-consuming part of deviled eggs, and if you can get water under the shell, you’re more likely to have luck speeding up the process. I cool the eggs in cold water and then crack them in a fresh batch of cold water and leave them immersed. Eggs peel best when they’re less fresh, which is why my farm eggs give me such a terrible time, one tiny piece of shell after another.  (Any ideas on how to cook easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs? I cook them 15 minutes after the boil. Is there a better way?) UPDATE:  My wonderful readers have tips! See the comments!

2. Mash the yolks easily. Either use a hand blender or just throw them all in a plastic bag and smush away!

3. Use a tool to fill the whites in an efficient way. If you mash the yolks in a baggie, snip off one corner and squeeze the contents into each individual egg white shell. No clean-up required! I like to use my Wilton Dessert Decorator with the wide tip to make the deviled eggs really pretty.
deviled eggs

Even Healthy-ER Deviled Eggs

Since you are (hopefully) trying to avoid industrial oils as much as possible, you’ll get squeamish when you read “soybean oil” on the ingredients list of most mayonnaise or Miracle Whip jars. Here’s how I “cleaned up” the basic deviled egg recipe:deviled eggs prep 4

How much mayo and mustard do you use? Trial and error:

deviled eggs prep 5First I use a plop of each, slightly more mayo than mustard (I love mustard; you may want less of that!).

deviled eggs prep 6That’s much too dry

deviled eggs prep 7Double the amounts

deviled eggs prep 8Still too dry, but closer

I added one more hefty dollop of each, along with about 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds pepper for a dozen eggs, and it was great. Finish with a spoon instead of the hand blender. You just have to taste and see!

Kid-Friendly Process!

One of the highlights of  my day today:deviled eggs helperMy dear 4-year-old asked to help like he did when he was little, and I was happy to work with him but a little nervous he’d get frustrated by the tough shells. He actually said, “This is fun!” and peeled four of my eggs for me.

He also loves pumping the cake decorator:deviled eggs helper 2This month I’m on the lookout for more go-to appetizers, preferably with “real food” and not processed stuff. Got any ideas for me?

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37 Bites of Conversation So Far

    • Katie says

      Ha ha ha! Yes, you’re right – he was still in his paint shirt from a craft! How funny that you recognized it!

  1. says

    I use farm eggs and I the shells would always give me fits! I discovered that if you put the eggs in the pot, bring it to a boil, turn off heat but leave on burner for 15 minutes, they boil up pretty (no green yolks). Then swirl the eggs around to crackle the shells and immediately dump them into a huge bowl filled with ice water. Leave in there for an hour (but I never wait that long). They should be much easier to peel under running water, even if they are fresh, country eggs.

    I found that fresh dill really enhances deviled eggs. I usually make these for Christmas eve, so I can’t wait to walk out into my own garden and snip some dill!
    .-= Paula´s last blog ..Poor, poor me: :p =-.

    • Lisa says

      I use Ina Garten’s method…. boil water, add eggs and boil for 5 minutes. Then take the pot off the heat and let the eggs sit in the pot for 12 minutes. Remove the eggs to cool. Eggs turn out perfect (yellow yolks) every time!

      I will have to try taking the hot eggs out, cracking them, and putting them in cold water to see if they peel better.

      • Katie says

        Thank you! I’m trying this and Paula’s method to see which one is easier! :) Katie

        PS – when I crack the eggs, I cool them in cold water first, then crack in another batch of cold water. I’ll update that in the post since it was unclear. Thanks!

  2. says

    Oh, I’m jealous of your Wilton decorator! I just use a ziploc bag to try to make them pretty. And I lightly dust the whole platter with paprika for a finishing touch.

    My recipe is similar (and I don’t measure either- probably a few Tbsp of each mayo and mustard), but I add a bit of apple cider vinegar. Gives it a bit more of a tang. Yum! These are my absolute favorite appie to bring to parties and I’ve got plans to make them next week for the Christmas party I’m hosting!
    .-= Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home´s last blog ..Celebrate with Joy: Week 1 =-.

  3. says

    I couldn’t tell at first that you were mashing the yolks in a clear glass bowl. I thought you were mashing them on your counter! Said to myself, “My, she’s a brave woman – having to endure all that cleanup.” LOL.

    Deviled eggs have become the traditional appetizer for one of our holidays. A family friend always makes them. We joke that we won’t let her in unless she bring them with her. :)
    .-= Jendeis´s last blog ..Made a Menu =-.

    • Katie says

      Ha! You know me and clean-up – will do anything to have fewer dishes…although not so far as to mash egg yolks on the counter! Hilarious!
      :) Katie

  4. Melissa says

    I thought the same exact thing! My mother in law told me add salt to the water before they boil, helps peel the shell off the egg. I always forget this step :(

    • Katie says


      I did add salt, and that also helps the egg stay together in case of a shell breaking in the pot while boiling. I’ll work on the “perfect peel!” :) Katie

  5. Annie says

    Those look great!
    I use farm eggs too, but have found that they only give me trouble peeling when I’ve overcooked them. Here’s the method I use:
    Put eggs in pot of cold water, bring to a boil.
    Cover, remove from heat, and let set for 10-12 minutes max.
    Run pot of eggs under cold water and peel as soon as your hands can stand it!

    • Katie says

      K – I’ve had great luck with Kelly’s recipe with both 1/2 regular sesame and 1/2 EVOO and 1/2 EVOO and 1/2 Virgin olive oil, less flavor. DEFinitely worth a try!! :) Katie

  6. says

    The perfect hard boiled eggs – no graying of the yolk – cover eggs with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, let sit covered for 12 minutes. Plunge into an ice bath. Works every time.

    Peeling the fresh eggs…my nemesis, too. I actually get them to peel better when they’re warm.

    Thanks for linking up!

    • Katie says

      Yes! I’m thrilled to have options to test out – peel when warm. This is a new one for me, but it sounds easy enough. 😉 Katie

  7. Ronnie says

    Hard boiled eggs are great diced into salmon salad. Like tuna salad, but use mercury-free, Omega-3 rich, canned wild Alaskan salmon.

    For a beautiful treat, stuff salmon salad into the egg-white “cups”, saving the hard cooked yolks for some other use.

    • Barbara says

      where do you find that salmon? Or what kind of brand would that be in grocery stores? How do you know if it’s mercury free & wild salmon? Does it specify it?

  8. Karen L says

    Wondering what your verdict was on the “best” method in which to hard boil farm fresh eggs…

    We’ve had farm fresh eggs for about 1.5 yrs and I grimace every time I have to HB them!!! I get downright ugly!

  9. Rebecca via Facebook says

    It all depends on where you get your eggs, and what you call “frugal.” If I made 3 dozen devilled eggs using my lacto-fermented mayo, that would cost….$15, if I had to make a batch of mayo especially for that. For an appetizer, that’s kind of expensive. And I usually use lacto fermented sweet relish and a dab of mustard. So that adds a bit more $.

  10. Kate via Facebook says

    I buy a bunch of peppers (like, a bushel…) and keep some of them whole, just cut off the top, core and seed, and freeze with the “lid.” Then whenever I have a party, I mix up goat cheese with whatever herbs and garlic I have on hand, bake it for 30 min, and serve with some cut bread. Easy and delicious, although it requires some forethought.

  11. Cassie via Facebook says

    I usually do deviled eggs or ham-pickle roll ups! (And the dog loves when I make ham roll ups because I sneak him ham when the hubby isn’t looking!)

  12. says

    Though I cringe when I think of how far they’ve traveled (I’m in MA), I love to take asparagus, blanch them, cut them in to bite sized pieces, then wrap a small sliver of prosciutto around them and mix up a quick balsamic dressing for dipping. Everyone loves them!

  13. Sheila via Facebook says

    5-layer dip: black beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and … usually lettuce, but it varies. The chips aren’t always that healthy, but they can be. And it’s great for when you’re starving at the beginning of a party.

  14. Karen says

    I know this is an old post, but just thought I should chime in on the best way to do boiled eggs. I read somewhere (I forget now, or I would link to it) that it works to steam them. I tried it and could hardly believe how well it worked! Steam them for twenty minutes for hard yolks. It doesn’t matter how fresh the eggs are, it still works. That’s how I do them all the time now. I do at least a dozen a week and I have never had trouble peeling them.

  15. says

    These have been at every family function I can remember! We love them! For easier shelling I was taught to add vinegar to the water and use old eggs. If you are using farm fresh the vinegar is even more important. It’s about 2tbsp vinegar to 3cups water (though I never measure so you may have to test that). I am a huge fan of mustard too, so good! We always add paprika to the top of the finished eggs too!

  16. Bill says

    I use my Mom’s recipe for deviled eggs, which inorporates dill pickle reish and a teaspoon of dll pickle juice in the filling. This has been a family favorite for 40 years.

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