If you’re looking for an easy and delicious summertime meal to prepare, then you should definitely try out southern egg salad.
What Makes This Egg Salad Recipe Southern?
The primary ingredient in most versions of this classic American dish is mayo, which has been around since Victorian times when it was first introduced by chef Auguste Escoffier as part of his famous “3-star cookbook.”
The Mayo Company claims that its original recipe dates back to 1869.
Other ingredients often included in the mix are onions, celery, dill pickle slices, capers, relish (usually diced tomatoes), and spices such as salt, pepper, or paprika.
Some versions also include chopped fresh herbs like parsley or chives.
It’s no surprise that this egg salad recipe has become so popular throughout the country, especially during the holiday season, because it tastes great on crackers with cheese, bread, or toast, and can be eaten cold or warm.
It can even be served on top of a sandwich if you prefer!
But what about all those other items mentioned above—the ones that aren’t common in every region?
Well, there are two things that I think set this particular egg salad apart from others:
- Hard-Boiled Eggs – Most people who eat this dish probably have never had soft boiled eggs before, but they are actually quite tasty and very healthy. They contain essential nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin C, selenium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and potassium. Hard-boiling them doesn’t take much time at all and will only add 10 minutes to your overall cooking time. If you don’t want to boil them ahead of time, you can buy precooked eggs instead.
- Pickled Vegetables – Pickling vegetables adds flavor without adding any extra calories. You get plenty of crunchy texture and tanginess from these veggies that complement the sweetness of the egg yolks well. So why not use some of them in your next batch of homemade egg salad? Here’s how to make pickled cucumbers:
How Do You Make The Eggs For This Salad?
The first step to making this salad is preparing your eggs.
To get started with this process, crack your eggs into a large bowl or measuring cup and add cold water until they’re completely submerged by about 1/3 of their height.
Let them sit at room temperature overnight.
The next day, drain the eggs well and set aside.
Now it’s time to chop up some vegetables! Selecting the right ingredients depends on what kind of flavor profile you want to achieve.
In general, if you like more traditional flavors, such as celery, cucumber, and onion, go ahead and cut those veggies down into small cubes.
For more exotic tastes, however, leave these pieces larger so that you can enjoy more variety when eating your salad.
Next, select any other ingredients you’d like to include in your salad.
If you’d rather have something crunchy, choose nuts or croutons.
Some people prefer to use bacon instead of ham.
You could also consider adding olives or even sunflower seeds to create a nutty texture.
Once all of your ingredients are chopped up, mix everything together thoroughly before moving onto the next step.
What Type Of Mayonnaise Do You Use In This Recipe?
This recipe calls for Duke’s or Miracle Whip.
If you prefer another brand, you can use it instead.
The only caveat with using any store-bought version of mayo is how thick it is.
In order to add some thickness to your dressing, we recommend adding 1/4 cup of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) at the end of mixing.
Preparing the eggs for the salad
The key ingredient when making this dish is hard-cooked eggs.
While many recipes call for raw eggs, there are several reasons why you would want to cook them first.
Eggs cooked at high temperatures will be easier to peel than those boiled at lower temperatures.
More importantly though, cooking eggs before putting them into a salad helps prevent salmonella poisoning.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, follow these steps below.
First, put all eggs into a saucepan and cover them with water by about 2 inches.
Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and let sit until the whites turn opaque for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the stove and immediately transfer the eggs to cold water.
Once they have cooled down, peel them off their shells and set aside.
Now that you’ve prepared all the necessary components for the salad, it’s time to assemble it!
What Other Ingredients Do You Need For This Salad?
You will want to make sure that your store has good quality olive oil (or canola oil) on hand if you are using it as one of the main components in your salad.
The dressing itself requires some basic ingredients such as vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, Dijon mustard, celery seed, and paprika powder, among others.
You also have to add in a bit of water to thin down the mixture so that it coats all of your vegetables properly.
When it comes time to adding in the eggs, you don’t necessarily need to crack them yourself.
If you find that you prefer to do it yourself, feel free to go ahead and get cracking! But when it comes time to mix everything together, I highly recommend taking advantage of any pre-made hard boiled eggs that might be available at your local grocery store or deli counter.
For those who would rather not bother with the hassle of making their own hard boiled eggs, there are plenty of canned options readily available in almost every grocery store these days.
As long as they contain no preservatives whatsoever, they’ll work just fine here.
It is important to note that while the original Southern Egg Salad Recipe called for three whole hard-boiled eggs, modern versions tend to call for only half a dozen.
One reason why many people choose to reduce the amount of raw eggs used in their recipes is because of concerns over salmonella poisoning.
In fact, the FDA does not allow companies to sell anything containing more than 15 percent of raw eggs in commercial food products.
So even though you won’t be able to taste much trace amounts of eggs in this recipe, these regulations help keep you safe by reducing the risk associated with consuming large quantities of eggs.
How Do You Assemble The Salad?
You can make your own version of southern egg salad by adding whatever fruits or vegetables you have on hand to the basic mixture.
The most common additions include chopped celery, cucumber slices, olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, and shredded carrots.
The main ingredient in southern egg salad is always hard-boiled eggs.
You usually crack them open when they are still warm, so their yolks don’t break down too much.
However, if you prefer not to use raw eggs, simply boil some water with vinegar until it reaches its boiling point (approximately 180°F).
Then pour it into a container with cold water to cool it down quickly.
When it comes time to add the eggs to the bowl, be sure to drain off any excess liquid before using.
Once you’ve got all the different components assembled, you just mix everything together thoroughly.
If you want to get fancy, you can also add sliced black olives, capers, anchovies, or crumbled bacon bits to the salad.
Just be careful not to overdo it — these salty flavors tend to overpower more delicate ones like fresh herbs and dill.
How Long Will This Salad Keep?
You can make this recipe up to two days in advance of serving it.
You can also freeze it until needed by placing your prepared salad into a container or resealable plastic bag.
When you are ready to use it, just thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before assembling it for dinner.
This salad keeps well in the fridge for about four hours if left unopened.
Once opened, however, the dressing tends to separate from the vegetables, so be sure to stir everything together before eating.
To store the ingredients separately, place each ingredient on its own sheet pan and cover them loosely with aluminum foil.
Place the pans in the freezer and let them chill completely.
The next day, transfer the contents of one of the sheets pans to another bowl before mixing everything together in a large bowl.
The salad itself keeps in the fridge for three to five days.
It becomes mushy after that time though, so don’t forget to eat it while fresh! If you want to save some money, buy extra ingredients like chopped hard boiled eggs, celery, and pickled cucumbers.
Store these in zip lock bags and they will last much longer than individual pieces of lettuce.
What Do You Serve This Salad With?
This classic lunch or dinner side can be served on its own as a light appetizer or starter, but it also pairs well with sandwiches, burgers, grilled chicken, fish, and seafood.
The basic ingredients in this recipe are mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar, celery, garlic, onion, chopped fresh parsley, and hard boiled eggs.
The amount of each ingredient varies depending on your preference, so feel free to tweak these proportions to suit your liking.
What Are Some Variations Of This Recipe?
There are many different versions of southern egg salad recipes on the internet, but we’ll focus on a few main ones here.
The ingredients in most southern egg salads depend largely upon what region you live in or which restaurant serves the best version.
Some common ingredients include celery, cucumbers, green peppers, olives, tomatoes, onions, and pickled jalapeños (if you like spicy foods).
You can also use capers, dill weed, and horseradish sauce if you want your egg salad more interesting.
Celery vs. Celery Sticks
Some people prefer using whole celery stalks instead of just chopped pieces when they make their own egg salad.
They argue that it gives the salad better texture because it adds crunchiness to the salad.
Others say that chopping up celery makes it easier to eat while others simply add the raw chunks as a garnish.
Hard Boiling Eggs
You don’t need to boil eggs until soft before adding them into the mix.
Hard boiled eggs have a creamy consistency inside, so there’s no reason not to add them straight into the salad.
The classic way of making southern egg salad uses either homemade or store bought pickle relish.
Pickles give the salad its distinct tangy flavor.
If you prefer to go without pickles, you could always sub in other condiments such as ketchup, hot pepper jelly, or even cocktail sauce (but only after tasting it first!).
Can This Salad Be Made Ahead Of Time?
Yes! You can make this salad up to two days in advance, as long as it stays refrigerated.
It will keep for about three or four days if stored properly at room temperature.
However, we recommend storing it in the fridge so that your leftovers don’t get too soggy.
What Are Some Tips For Making This Salad?
You can make this salad with whatever vegetables you have in your fridge at home, but it works best if they all come straight from the garden or farmer’s market.
The key to getting the right texture here is adding the vinegar as soon as you start mixing everything together.
If you wait until later on when you add the oil, you run the risk of overworking the ingredients, which will result in mushy bits rather than nice bite-sized chunks.
To avoid having any leftovers, I recommend doubling up on the dressing so you won’t need much more than one serving per person.
- The bowl
- 6 large eggs boiled
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon of prepared yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup of chopped celery
- 1/4 cup of chopped onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of paprika
- Chop and peel the eggs. The eggs should be placed in a medium-sized basin.
- The remaining ingredients should be added and stirred thoroughly.
- Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. Offer chilled.