Chinese Tea Eggs

by Sarah on February 23, 2015

in Appetizers, Asian Dishes

Chinese-tea-eggs-2 Hello! Sorry for being MIA recently! I’m taking my medical boards soon, and am busy trying to finish as much of my research as possible before the dedicated boards time starts. No fear, though, I have still been making delicious things – just haven’t had time to write posts. In the next few months, I’ll be posting less frequently. My posts will come about once every two weeks instead of every week, as I begin to prepare for board exams.

Some of you may wonder what is this boards thing? It’s a medical licensing exam that medical students take at the end of their second year, before they start working in the hospital their third year. It helps us synthesize everything we’ve learned the first two years, and is a good reason for us to sit down and memorize facts before we start seeing patients our third year.

Anyways, onto TEA EGGS. Chinese New Year was last week, and to celebrate, I made some tea eggs! When I lived in China, I used to get these at the street-side shops, where the vendor would boil a big pot with dozens of tea eggs at a time. Simmering in a mixture of spices and tea, the eggs are full of flavor soaking through the egg whites. The cracked shells also give a beautiful pattern where the sauce seeped through.

Chinese-tea-eggs-3 My favorite way to eat tea eggs is with rice, or with porridge. The egg whites become salty after simmering in the tea and spice sauce, giving the eggs a delicious flavor that takes your regular boiled egg up a notch. I often take the yolk out when eating eggs, because the yolk has so much cholesterol. When I take the yolk out of a regular egg, the whites are bland so I roll it in a heavy dose of black pepper. With these eggs, the whites are already flavored so you can eat them straight!

Chinese-tea-eggs-1 To make these eggs, planning ahead is a good. The eggs are super easy to make, but you need to wait for about 3 hours as the egg simmers in the sauce at low heat. This helps the flavor get into the eggs. Then the eggs chill overnight in the fridge to further let the sauce seep through. The long simmer and overnight chill are essential to getting a strong flavor in the egg white, so you’ll want to make these eggs the day before you plan to eat them.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chinese Tea Eggs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Easy street-style tea eggs right in our own kitchen!
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 6 eggs
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (not light)
  • 2 teaspoons salt - 1 for boiling, 1 for the sauce (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 4 pieces of star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 strips dried orange/mandarin/tangerine peel
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
  1. Put all 6 eggs in a pot and cover with water about 1 inch above the eggs. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Heat and let boil for 2 minutes, then remove from stove. The salt will help the eggs crack easier.
  2. Remove eggs from boiling water using a slotted spoon, and place eggs in a bowl of cold water. Let cool 3 minutes.
  3. While eggs cool, add the rest of the ingredients to the hot water you were boiling eggs in. Stir and set aside.
  4. After eggs are cool enough to touch (about 3 minutes in the cold water), pick up an egg and hit it with the back of a spoon to crack the shell. Small pieces of flaked shell may fly off, that is okay.
  5. Repeat with the remainder of the eggs. Set eggs in the water with sauce after you finish tapping each one.
  6. Heat the pot of eggs and sauce on medium heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer (low heat) and simmer for 3 hours to let the flavor soak in through the cracks in the shell.
  7. Let eggs chill in the fridge overnight, sitting in the sauce they simmered in.
  8. Peel eggs and serve the next day!



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