Chinese Tea Eggs

by Sarah

in Appetizers, Asian Dishes

Chinese-tea-eggs-2Hello! 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-3My 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-1To 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 3 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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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Connie @ Sprig and Flours February 23, 2015 at 8:03 am

I love tea eggs! They look so beautiful, especially when the shells are removed. I also don’t eat the yolks, but for different reasons – I have a strong aversion to them! I *love* the spice combination you used for your tea eggs.

Good luck during this busy time!! Looking forward to brunch on Sunday (:


2 Sarah February 23, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Connie! Look forward to seeing you too!


3 mira February 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm

I love hard boiled eggs and these tea ones look so cool Sarah! Love them! Pinned and will try them!


4 Sarah February 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Thanks Mira!


5 Lynn | The Road to Honey February 24, 2015 at 4:26 am

Good luck on your medical boards Sarah. Things must really be stressful these days with this big event looming.

These eggs are awesome. They look so beautiful. I can’t wait to make them and pack them in my hubby’s lunch. They certainly will have all his coworkers oohing and aaahing. His lunches have earned quite the reputation and this won’t disappoint.


6 Sarah February 24, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Thanks Lynn! He’s so lucky to have you!


7 Oriana Romero February 24, 2015 at 11:38 am

Wow Sarah… These eggs look great! My boy is sitting next to me right now and he said: “mami those egg are super cool” hahaha. I am amazed with the beautiful pattern.


8 Sarah February 24, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Thanks so much Oriana!


9 Chineka @ Savor The Baking February 24, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Congratulations on your medical school accomplishments. I’ll be cheering you on in every post. The tea eggs are beautiful and have an artsy quality to them.


10 Sarah February 25, 2015 at 10:25 am

Thanks so much Chineka!


11 Joanne February 26, 2015 at 4:33 am

Ugh studying for Step One is like the LEAST FUN THING EVER. I think that was some of the most unhappy 6-8 weeks of my life…but it will feel SO GOOD once you are done! I don’t know if you have the Goljan’s audio files, but I found those SUPER helpful, especially since you can listening while exercising or walking!


12 Sarah February 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Thanks for the encouragement and tip Joanne! I heard post- Step-one is a happy time, and I’m looking forward to it. I may likely spend it making cakes upon cakes upon cakes upon cakes upon cakes…more cake. :)


13 Alessandra // the foodie teen February 27, 2015 at 8:11 am

These look absolutely amazing! I love those gorgeous cracks, and I love your creativity as well! Do you think you could ship some to me by any chance? 😉


14 Sarah February 27, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Alessandra! I’m so glad you like it!


15 Sonali- The Foodie Physician March 1, 2015 at 7:46 am

These look fantastic! When I was living in NYC, there was a little shop that I went to all the time that served tea eggs and bubble tea. This post brought back so many memories. Good luck with your research and board prep!


16 Sarah March 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Thanks Sonali! NYC has so many yummy shops, I’d like to eat my way through the entire city someday!


17 Amanda March 3, 2015 at 11:04 am

This is such a great recipe! So pretty!


18 Sarah March 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Thanks Amanda!


19 Maggie March 10, 2015 at 11:13 pm

These tea eggs are so beautiful and I love the pictures! It’s one of my favorite snack, and I could keep eating too many of them :) Sharing of course.
Wow, I didn’t know you’re completing a medical degree while blogging! That’s so stressful! Whenever I looked at the word hospital, I always thought about Grey’s Anatomy (I watched too many TV show…). It’s such a intense job. Good luck with the medical boards and take care :)


20 Sarah March 13, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Thanks so much Maggie! I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy too!


21 yush March 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

These photos are making my mouth water! Must try your recipe sometime :)


22 Sarah March 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Thank you Yush!


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