Whether you eat it as a side or a sandwich, egg salad is a simple dish that always delivers. It’s high in protein, accessible, and affordable, making it a staple that will never go out of style.
There is no debate that a good egg salad starts with quality eggs. The classic recipe is a simple mix of hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise, with a little mustard or vinegar for acid. The main way that the classic recipe varies is the texture. Some chefs prefer to keep the eggs chunky with only a few chops, and others prefer to blend all ingredients to make a smooth, creamy salad. In the HuffPost, chef Evan Hanczor explains that whether you chop or purée, the type of bread is a big part of the egg salad experience. He recommends a chunky chop for sturdy bread and softer bread for a purée. His best egg salad advice is to prepare it ahead of time to get the right texture and moisture balance on the bread.
Recently, egg salad has been getting a makeover, and creative chefs are finding ways to make it even better. From playing with spices to texture, home chefs are perking up the dish. If you love egg salad and are looking for a way to jazz it up and add more complexity and flavor, try these add-ins to your egg salad for a new take on the classic recipe.
A simple way to spice up an egg salad is to replace the mayonnaise with aioli. Aioli, the garlic-heavy, creamy white sauce, is similar to mayonnaise but has its own unique flavor. Both mayo and aioli are emulsions made with oil to create a yummy sandwich spread, but they differ in a few key areas. Mayo is made with eggs and any neutral flavored oil. While aioli, traditionally, is only made with garlic and olive oil, giving it a creamy, silky base (via Britannica). Modern chefs often add eggs to aioli, which act as a binder and give it a richer taste and color. Aioli is similar enough to mayonnaise in texture and creaminess that you can easily add it to egg salad. So if you love garlic, you should try aioli in your egg salad for a zesty kick.
If you are hesitant about adding garlic to your diet, you will be pleased to know that garlic has many health benefits. According to Healthline, garlic is full of antioxidants and can give a healthy boost to your immune system. So make a healthy swap and use aioli in your egg salad. Just don’t forget the breath mints because while garlic tastes great, it doesn’t smell that great.
Capers do not get enough credit in the culinary world. These little green gems are a powerhouse of flavor and add another dimension to a dish. There is a good reason that civilizations have been eating capers since 600 B.C. (via The Seattle Times). They are salty and add a pop of flavor to whatever you pair them with. You may be familiar with capers in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, from dishes like eggplant caponata or tartar sauce, but that’s just the beginning. Capers add a bright, briny flavor to pasta, poultry, fish, and, you guessed it, egg salad. Add a spoonful of capers to your creamy egg salad for a distinct briny punch.
Another reason capers should be in your kitchen is that little jar has a long shelf life; once opened and stored in your refrigerator, they can last for up to a year, which is plenty of time to find lots of delicious ways to add them to your weekly menu.
If you have ever made deviled eggs and sprinkled paprika on top, you know that smoky paprika and eggs are a great match. So if it works on deviled eggs, you know it will be good on egg salad.
Paprika comes from dried ground red peppers, and although it’s from the Capsicum annuum family, it doesn’t add too much extra heat like cayenne, only flavor. There are different types of paprika, some are sweeter, and others have a deep smoky flavor. For egg salad, the smoky paprika will work better than sweet paprika.
If your paprika has been hiding in the back of your spice cabinet too long, the flavor may have lost its pungency. According to PepperScale, you should replace paprika every six months to ensure it has the best flavor.
Avocados are an excellent addition to egg salad. They have a creamy texture and an earthy buttery taste that pairs well with hard-boiled eggs. Plus, they are a great way to add healthy fats to your diet. Adding avocados to your classic egg salad is a no-brainer; with the protein from the eggs and the essential vitamins and minerals that avocados bring to the table, your egg salad just became a balanced meal. According to Healthline, avocados are an excellent source of potassium, an important mineral commonly lacking in the American diet.
Avocados work not so much as a mayonnaise replacement but more as a flavor and texture enhancer. You can mix a few tablespoons of avocado with a bit of mayonnaise. Of course, you can completely replace the mayonnaise and take your egg salad up a notch in nutritional value since mayonnaise offers little in that department.
Have you ever thought of adding caviar to your egg salad? You might be surprised to know that adding caviar to your egg salad is a tasty and elegant twist on the classic salad. You probably think that caviar is only for the wealthy and celebrities. But in reality, there are many different types of caviar, and while some are extremely expensive, there are many affordable and tasty varieties.
Traditional caviar is expensive because it comes from the sturgeon fish, and it takes a female fish up to 20 years to have enough eggs to harvest, making it a time-consuming and costly endeavor (via Business Insider). But you can use less expensive caviar called roe to punch up the flavor of your egg salad. Roe is technically different from caviar because true caviar only comes from the sturgeon species, while roe comes from other fish like lumpfish and salmon. So whether you opt for the rarer, more expensive caviar or the more affordable roe, they will both enhance your egg salad with a bright, briny flavor.
Using Dijon mustard in egg salad is a great way to change up the classic dish while still staying true to the classic ingredients. Most traditional recipes incorporate a bit of mustard which provides a pleasant acidic taste to balance the creamy mayonnaise and mashed eggs. But adding Dijon gives a new flavor to egg salad without making it an entirely new dish.
The difference between Dijon mustard and the bright yellow classic mustard is that Dijon is made from black mustard seeds instead of yellow mustard seeds, giving them a different look. But they also have a distinct difference in their flavor because regular mustard gets its acid from vinegar, and Dijon uses white wine for acid. The addition of white wine is probably where the stereotype of Dijon mustard being more sophisticated originates from. So if you want a simple twist on your egg salad, get fancy and use Dijon mustard.
Sour cream is not just for tacos but also a great substitute for mayonnaise in egg salad. Creamy like mayonnaise, sour cream will keep the texture and smoothness that mayonnaise brings to egg salad but with more flavor and zip.
Both sour cream and mayo are high fat low-carb condiments and can be used in equal amounts. Aside from a brighter taste, sour cream has fewer calories than mayonnaise, with only 51 calories per 2 tablespoons (via Calorie King). Mayonnaise comes in at 170 calories for the same amount.
For something more decadent and less acidic, try Mexican crema. Mexican crema is a great way to replace mayonnaise in egg salad, and it has a buttery taste that pairs well will eggs. According to SPICEography, Mexican crema has a higher fat content than sour cream and is slightly less acidic. So if sour cream is too tart for you, choose Mexican crema to get the rich, smooth taste that makes the egg salad really pop.
If you don’t mind your egg salad having a different hue, try using Italian pesto to brighten up your egg salad. Pesto is made from a mix of basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil blended into a snappy green sauce. While commonly used on pasta and pizza, it’s so good that it’s no surprise that pesto also works in egg salad. The best way to add pesto to your egg salad is to replace a couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise with pesto. Replacing all of the mayonnaise with pesto is overkill and will dominate the egg salad too much. You don’t want to overshadow the star of the show, the eggs.
Pick up a jar of pesto in any supermarket or even make your own. Traditionally pesto was made with a mortar and pestle, but you can get the same result with a food processor or blender.
Get inspired by Mediterranean cuisine and use tzatziki in your egg salad. Tzatziki (pronounced tsah-see-key) is a Greek yogurt dip made with cucumbers, garlic, and herbs and is an excellent substitute for mayo in egg salad. It has a richer flavor than plain mayo and is a healthier option. Greek yogurt is a high-protein yogurt with only 120 calories and 4 grams of protein per 100 grams (via My Fitness Pal). You can swap it for mayonnaise and use it in equal amounts. You might notice the texture of the egg salad is a little thicker, as Greek yogurt is denser than mayonnaise, but it is still creamy enough to please your tastebuds.
Tzatziki may sound like a specialty food, but it’s available in most supermarkets. If you have any left after adding it to your egg salad, you can use it as a dip on a crudité platter or spread it on a burger bun.
Do you like a little color in your egg salad? Try adding sun-dried tomatoes. Their tart taste with sweet undertones is the perfect contrast to the creaminess of egg salad. If you are new to using sun-dried tomatoes, you can find them sold packed in oil in little jars or pantry-stable plastic bags. The sun-dried tomatoes in jars are easy to use; just open the jar and chop them up to add to the egg salad. However, if you get the pantry bags of sun-dried tomatoes, which are a great choice if you are on a budget, they need to be rehydrated before you can use them (via LA Times).
As much as we love to eat fresh tomatoes, especially in season, fresh tomatoes are not a good fit for egg salad. They are too watery; even after removing the seeds and membrane, they can overwhelm the eggy flavor. So save your fresh tomatoes for a Caprese salad and reach for the sun-dried tomatoes and let their tangy, concentrated flavor perk up your egg salad.
Take your egg salad on a tasty little trip to India by adding curry powder, the quintessential Indian spice mix. A sprinkle of curry powder in your egg salad will add a deep smoky sweetness to a bland egg salad without adding any unwanted heat. While curry powder is a popular seasoning in spicy hot dishes, it doesn’t necessarily have to be hot.
There are many different types of curry powder, and not all of them bring the heat. Curry powder is an interesting spice mix because it is a unique blend of sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves mixed with savory spices like cumin and bay leaves that keep it from being dominated by any ingredients. And, of course, that yellowish rust color comes from turmeric, which not only brightens up the taste but also the color.
According to SPICEography, the best way to add curry into recipes is to mix it with wet ingredients first. So add curry powder to your mayonnaise base and mix before adding in the eggs and other ingredients to ensure the curry is evenly distributed. Curry powder is great, but a mouthful of dry curry powder isn’t.
Every breakfast diner in the U.S. has a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the table to spice up scrambled eggs and hash browns, but Tabasco isn’t the only sauce that pairs well with eggs. Sriracha sauce, sometimes called Rooster Sauce because of the rooster on the bottle, is excellent on everything eggy, from omelets and frittatas to egg salad. And sriracha sauce doesn’t just bring the heat — it’s also packed with flavor.
If you are new to sriracha, use a teaspoon to get started, but if you are a veteran heat seeker, a tablespoon or two should do the trick to amp up your egg salad.
With a bit of sriracha, your protein-packed egg salad gets a healthy dose of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat. Capsaicin is connected to several health benefits, making your egg salad even healthier (via Healthline).
Smoked salmon and eggs are a great match. You may have tried smoked salmon on a eggs Benedict or whipped it into an omelet. This pink smoked fish has an earthy, salty flavor that complements egg dishes, so it’s no surprise that it would be great in egg salad. Adding high protein, low-fat smoked salmon to your egg salad turns it into a hearty, healthy meal.
Smoked salmon is one of the healthiest proteins you can eat. According to Healthline, it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of vitamin B12. Just make sure to remove the skin before breaking the salmon into smaller pieces to add to the egg salad.
Despite its many health benefits, smoked salmon is high in sodium, so keep that in mind and don’t add any extra salt to the egg salad (via WebMD). Between the salmon and the eggs, your egg salad will have the right amount of salt.
Green goddess dressing
Green goddess dressing is a zesty salad dressing made with a base of avocado, egg yolk, olive oil, and fresh green herbs balanced with acid from either white wine or lemon juice. It boasts a bright color and taste and makes an excellent addition to egg salad.
The key to using this fresh-tasting salad dressing in egg salad is to mix it with your other base, whether classic mayonnaise or another mayonnaise substitute, before mixing in the eggs and other ingredients. Green goddess dressing has a slightly sharp flavor that complements the soft creamy eggs, but it does have the potential to be a little overpowering. So mixing it before the other ingredients gives you a chance to taste as you go to ensure the ratio of creaminess to tanginess suits your tastebuds.
If you haven’t tried Kewpie mayonnaise, you are in for a treat. This Japanese mayonnaise is taking the culinary world by storm. It has a rich buttery texture and tangy-sweet taste that is more intense than regular mayonnaise and can punch up egg salad to perfection.
It’s no surprise that Kewpie mayonnaise complements egg salad since it is made with only egg yolks, giving it its signature texture and umami flavor. This creamy base is then transformed by a mix of different kinds of vinegar that provide the unique tanginess that sets it apart from regular mayo. It’s the perfect way to add a new dimension to egg salad. Just replace regular mayonnaise with Kewpie in equal amounts to make the best egg salad you have ever had.