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How to Make Deviled Eggs: A Cheap and Easy Appetizer

deviled eggs

Did 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 were never my forte, at least until I learned this spicy cheesy chicken dip and reverse engineered it to use all from-scratch ingredients.

Simple deviled eggs were always my go-to when I have to bring a dish to pass. Here’s why I still 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 $4.50 for your whole party requirement. (My good eggs are $4.00/dozen. I imagine this varies widely.)

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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.

There are some great ideas for different ways to make peeling hard-cooked eggs in the comments, and recently I’ve found that eggs cooked in the Instant Pot are a breeze to peel.

2. Mash the yolks easily.

Either use a hand blender or just throw them all in a plastic bag and smush away! This is a great job for a young child.

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.

Why The Instant Pot Is All 5 Of My New Years Resolutions

Even Healthier 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:

Homemade Mayo for deviled eggs makes them even healthier

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

deviled eggs prep 5

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

deviled eggs prep 6

That’s much too dry

deviled eggs prep 7

Double the amounts

deviled eggs prep 8

Still 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!

Deviled Eggs, Little Helper Style

My kids have been helping in the kitchen since long before we created Kids Cook Real Food, a video eCourse that teaches kids cooking skills and I was always intentional about it like I am in the Cooking Curriculum Map.

There are a few modifications you may have to make to your personal recipe (especially if you usually go free-style, like I do) in order for little ones to help:

  • The hard-boiled eggs need to be easy peelers.
    • This will happen, I understand, when the eggs are not as fresh. You can also crack the shells after they’re cold but still in cold water. This allows water to get under the shell and helps them – usually – to slide right off. My son had the patience of a saint and would pick off every little shell fragment when he was two. By the time he was three, he was done peeling eggs after he encountered one that wasn’t an “easy peeler”. Shucks.
  • Much like my posts, you need to really hold toddlers’ hands through detailed directions if you want them to do something correctly. To teach how to peel eggs:
  • Teach the process in great detail.
    1. Set up the child with a shallow bowl of water, a bowl or plate for the shells, and a bowl or plate for the peeled egg. Only give them one egg at a time.
    2. Demonstrate the entire process:
    3. Crack the egg all the way around.
    4. Dip in the water to loosen the shell.
    5. Show how to peel, using as much description as you can.
    6. Show the child exactly where to put the shells, telling them that the shells need to go into the garbage bowl right away. This will help the child learn order and precision.
    7. After peeling, show the child how to check for shell fragments and dip into the water to rinse off.
    8. Put the peeled egg into the bowl.
    9. The child is now ready to try the skill on his/her own.
  • NOW you can show them how to cut the eggs.
    • Again, make sure you have clear-cut areas for peeled eggs, cutting the eggs, and putting the pieces. Decide if you want them to cut the entire egg and then move the pieces to the bowl, or move each piece as they cut it into halves. Do it the same every time.
  • Watch the child do the work, especially the first time. Wait a moment before responding if you see a mistake. They may catch it themselves! Don’t forget to allow for little errors that won’t change the outcome of the dish

Here’s a picture I took many years ago of my son helping me make deviled eggs.

One of the highlights of my day today to work side-by-side with my son, making deviled eggs. It gave me a chance to praise him genuinely and teach the values of hard work and teamwork.

deviled eggs helper

My 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.

I hope all of you who have young children (or medium-sized children, for that matter!) can make a habit of inviting them into the kitchen and capitalizing on the teaching moments.

If you need more real food appetizers that will please a crowd, check out the many ideas I’ve collected.

What is your go-to dish to make when you need to bring a dish to pass?
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

37 thoughts on “How to Make Deviled Eggs: A Cheap and Easy Appetizer”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. Rebecca MacLary – at least one dozen eggs makes 2 dozen deviled eggs halves… But true, buying the “good” eggs ramps up the cost quickly.

  5. Jennifer via Facebook

    Read this post tonight and was inspired. Made deviled eggs and hummus both. Making pita tomorrow

  6. Garlic hummus and veggies… my recipes is on my recipe index on my site. I love anything with garlic in it! 🙂

  7. Sheila via Facebook

    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.

  8. Leah via Facebook

    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!

  9. Cassie via Facebook

    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!)

  10. Kate via Facebook

    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. Rebecca via Facebook

    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 $.

  12. 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!

    1. Karen,
      THIS ONE:

      I write in caps b/c it makes a huge difference! I just did it (correctly, finally) today and the peeling went soooo much easier. I also try to always HB the very oldest eggs, if I can. They peel easier.

      Good luck! 🙂 katie

  13. 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.

    1. 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?

  14. You can also peel hardboiled eggs by blowing the shell off! I saw a chef do it on TV once. Here’s one link I found.

  15. Pingback: Slightly Indulgent…Tuesday! : Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  16. 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!

    1. 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

  17. K @ Prudent and Practical

    I love deviled eggs but only eat them this time of year. I’ve tried homemade mayo but it tasted quite different – I’m afraid to try it in other recipes.

    I just checked out Kelly’s recipe for mayo and will give that a whirl. It sounds much better than the stuff I made which ended up tasting like thick olive oil.
    .-= K @ Prudent and Practical´s last blog ..The contrived tree rends a healthy workload. =-.

    1. 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

  18. 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!

  19. Devilled eggs are always my go to appetizer to bring to family events. I know my kids will eat them and they are so good for them. I add pickle relish and a touch of wasabi to give them a kick.
    .-= Christy´s last blog ..The flu bug hit hard =-.

  20. 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 🙁

    1. Melissa,

      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

  21. 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 =-.

    1. Jendeis,
      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

  22. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    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 =-.

  23. 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 =-.

    1. 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.

      1. Lisa,
        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!

  24. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker

    That shirt looks an awful lot like the class shirts from graduation :)!
    .-= Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker´s last blog ..December – Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions =-.

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

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