07/23/2024

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It’s the week after Easter and there are probably still hard-boiled eggs in the fridge. An easy and delicious option? Deviled eggs. That is, unless you hate them.

For the past 12 months, deviled egg variations have been the most searched-for recipes on the Internet. A quick online search for “deviled egg recipe” yields more than 24 million results.

Chef and Florida native Art Smith, a Southern food expert, is the owner of Walt Disney World Disney Springs Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, in addition to four other restaurants across the country. Smith told Yahoo Life that deviled eggs have been “on [his] table longer than [he] can remember.”

At Homecomin’, a restaurant that specializes in serving his family’s recipes, Smith’s take on the dish is known as the “Church Lady deviled eggs.” Since the restaurant opened in 2016, they’ve become so popular that they’ve been the most popular appetizer on the menu.

Where do deviled eggs come from?
Smith says deviled eggs are a staple of Southern cuisine. “Potlucks and church socials are a big part of Southern culture,” he explains. “For the most part, deviled eggs are the most portable dish and an inexpensive and entertaining one.”

The dish is said to have originated in ancient Rome, according to the North Carolina Egg Association. Smith said he has also heard of Romans associated with the classic hard-boiled egg dish. “The ancient Romans that I know of were the first to boil eggs in water and season them with a flavorful sauce,” he said. “People think deviled eggs are ordinary, but they actually have a very delicious and sublime history.”

In ancient Roman times, Smith said, the boiled egg dish was usually served at the beginning of a high-class banquet. Roman imperialism led to the dish becoming popular in other parts of Europe. In the 14th century, the Spanish pounded egg yolks with parsley, pepper, cilantro and onions, plus oil and salt, then stuffed the mixture back into the hollowed-out egg whites. By the 19th century, the New World had also fallen in love with deviled eggs. Some of the earliest American cookbooks share recipes for delicious egg snacks.

Evolution of the deviled egg
Originally introduced as a culinary term in the late 1700s, the word “deviled” was not only used for eggs. Devil’s crab, salmon, ham and chicken all referred to dishes seasoned with paprika, pepper or mustard or very spicy.

However, many early American Puritan recipes were labeled “stuffed eggs,” “seasoned eggs,” or “salad eggs” to avoid association with Satan, who was not usually invited to or welcomed at church social events. The connection with Prince has been dark for a long time: the famous reality TV family, the Duggars, who were devout Christians, called the dish “Yellow Pocket Angel Eggs” in their home.

Deviled eggs got an upgrade when an 1896 Boston Cooking School cookbook suggested mayonnaise as the binder for the yolk. Today, mayonnaise is still the main ingredient in the dish. And, as home entertaining became more popular in the mid-20th century, deviled eggs became popular as a fun, easy, and cost-effective finger food.


In the 1970s, Tupperware introduced the “Deviled Egg Taker,” a double tray compartment with an egg-shaped hollow to keep the eggs safe, plus a lid and handle for easy transport. These trays can easily be placed on party buffet tables without damaging the churned yolks and the beautiful star-shaped piping that adorns the top.

Deviled eggs have been out of fashion for decades, but they’ve regained popularity as a gastro pub staple and party table staple – at least in the United States.

Natascha Mirosch, a food writer and host of the podcast Extra Virgin: Epicurious for Food and Travel, who lives in Australia, says deviled eggs are only known as “retro food.

“Here, they’re considered so retro that most people under 40 will never eat one,” Mirosch said. “They’re something you’d only see at a retro-themed party, or in some sort of molecular makeover by a chef as a joke.”

Despite the prevalence of classic recipes, filling options are endless
Despite their popularity, deviled eggs remain very polarizing. Smith says it’s because of the challenge of fully cooking and peeling the eggs, so the whites stay intact.

“Fortunately,” he says, “grocery stores have taken away the fear of rubbery yolks and pockmarked whites by selling pre-cooked eggs that you can slice thinly, remove the yolk and fill with the flavor combination of your choice.” Sunny Applegate, who lives in Orlando, Florida, and raises chickens in her backyard, swears by using only fresh eggs for her deviled eggs. “While they are harder to peel, eating deviled eggs made from fresh eggs laid that day is a unique experience,” she says.

Smith said the choice of filling options can also disappoint some people. “Sweet or savory? Hot or mild? Pickles or no pickles? These are the questions people ask,” he says, “because deviled eggs are so versatile and adding unusual ingredients and flavors can sometimes be risky.”

The options for filling deviled eggs are endless: lemon zest and dill, smoked paprika and crunchy sea salt flakes, kimchi and seaweed salad and crispy crumbled bacon with chives are just a few of the popular ways to serve them. Sarah Freeman cites a restaurant in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C., called Seoul Food Meat Co. that serves one of her favorite kinds of deviled eggs. On the Seoul Food menu? Korean deviled eggs stuffed with eggs marinated in soy sauce. Still, the classic recipe – egg yolks mixed with mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper and then sprinkled with paprika – is Freeman’s go-to at her family’s Yom Kippur breakfast.

The keto and low-carb diet revolution has also done wonders for the reputation of deviled eggs. Smith began his own weight loss journey in the mid-2010s, embracing health and wellness, shedding 120 pounds to manage his diabetes and high blood pressure. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith lost another 70 pounds. He believes deviled eggs are an excellent low-carb way to provide your body with “protein, iron, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and disease-fighting nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin.

“Eggs are a strong player in menu planning,” he says.

To keep deviled eggs healthy enough to work in your weight loss plan, simply replace the mayonnaise in the recipe with protein- and probiotic-rich Greek yogurt, which will also add a savory flavor to the filling.

Smith likes the straightforward classic flavor of his deviled eggs. “I gravitate toward the smokiness of goat cheese, the freshest herbs and bacon,” he says. “My mom always added homemade pickles, but when it comes to seasonings, I like them, too. I like to use pickled onions, too.”

How to peel the perfect hard-boiled egg
The first step to the perfect hard-boiled egg is the way you boil the water. Placing the egg in cold water and heating it to a boil makes it harder to peel because the membrane sticks to the shell when the water is heated. This is how you get pockmarked egg whites.

Instead, once the water is boiling, slowly drop each egg into the water with a spoon and place the egg on the bottom of the pan. Be gentle.


While the eggs are in the water, set the timer for 11 to 13 minutes. An 11-minute yolk will be fuller, heartier and thicker, while a 13-minute yolk will be fluffier and more mousse-like.

When the timer goes off, drain the eggs and immediately place them in a bowl filled with ice water. This is called “shocking” the eggs, and it stops the cooking and prevents overcooking.

Do. Not. Peel. Right. Leave.

Let the eggs cool in water for 15 minutes or longer. You can also keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week. (If you peel them before putting them in the refrigerator, they will last up to five days.)

To peel the eggs, put cold water in the sink. Gently tap the hard-boiled eggs on the counter to create cracks along the hemispheres of the eggs. Then, under cold water, peel off the shells, which should come off easily.

Rinse each egg underwater to remove any remaining shell fragments and dry them, then cut each egg open and remove the yolk.

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