There’s frankly a wild number of methods to use and cook eggs, from mixing them into cakes to frying them until they’re crisp and golden, it’s hard to pick a favorite way to eat them — but egg salad is up there. One of the ultimate lunch foods, egg salad is as reliable as dishes come. Whether you’re piling it into a sandwich, scooping it with crackers, or enjoying it on a bed of lettuce, it’s delicious, nutritious, and filling.

But there’s no denying that in its base form, egg salad is a pretty simple meal. While most of us have a go-to method for making it, it’s easy to get a little bored with it from time to time, and that’s why it’s sometimes helpful to spice things up. Egg salad doesn’t have to be drab, and with the addition of these easily-obtainable seasonings, you can make a lunch that blows your mind. Let’s take a look at the best seasonings to spice up your egg salad.

1. Dill

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In the herb world, dill can sometimes take a backseat to arguably more widely-used herbal seasonings like parsley and basil. But it’s a good idea to keep some handy for your egg salad. Despite looking delicate, dill (also known as dill weed) has a distinctive, robust taste with anise-like notes. As with many herbs, fresh dill will give you a crisper, fresher taste, whereas dried dill tends to be a little stronger.

So, what’s the "dill" with using it in egg salad? It’s best to opt for fresh dill over dried and avoid adding it alongside too many other flavors to let it shine. For each serving, assuming two eggs per portion, you should use roughly half a tablespoon of fresh dill. Chop it up well, and mix it in with your mayonnaise. Using spring onions with dill can add a sharpness that accompanies the mellower tones of the herb. If you only have dried dill on hand, you can use that instead of fresh. However, keep the potency of dried dill in mind when you’re adding it, and do so sparingly. You can always add a few more dashes after you taste it.

2. Dijon mustard

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If you’ve only been making your egg salad with mayonnaise up until this point, you’ve been doing it wrong. And when you’re thinking about additional seasonings, the one you need to reach for first is Dijon mustard. This condiment is one of the first to appear in the ingredients list for classic egg salad recipes, and for good reason. It supplies your eggs with a tangy, slightly sour note that compliments the protein well, along with a gentle nose-tickling heat.

The main thing to remember with Dijon mustard is that overdoing it can quickly leave you with an egg salad that’s too overpowering in taste. As such, remember that a little goes a long way. For a recipe that uses eight eggs, you should add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, along with the rest of your ingredients. Bear in mind that certain mustards can be stronger than others, so add a touch less if you know the type you’re using is especially fierce. If you’re worried about going overboard, it’s best to add slightly less mustard at first, and then taste your egg mixture. Or, if you’re a big mustard lover, smear an extra layer on the bread before making your egg salad sandwich.

3. Curry powder


Life ain’t worth living without a little bit of spice, and with curry powder, you can have all the spice you desire. Adding curry powder is an excellent way to enhance your egg salad with a twist. The heat and complexity provided by the mix of spices, usually a combination of turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, coriander, and others, gives your food a unique flavor profile.

Importantly, curry powders can come in a variety of blends, and with wide-ranging heat levels. Some will be mild, whereas others can blow your socks off. Make sure you’re picking one which is to your comfort level. For every cup of mayo you use in your egg salad, you should use just over a tablespoon of curry powder, mixing it in at the same time as your other seasonings. If you’re new to using curry powder in food, start with a smaller amount and add more as you go. Crucially, too, remember that some curry powder blends may have salt added to them, so adding it may make your egg salad higher in sodium. If that’s the case, ensure that you add less salt elsewhere.

4. Sriracha

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As hot sauces go, the iconic rooster sauce is hard to beat. Sriracha is named after the town Si Racha in Thailand, where it originated. The condiment has a cult following and a bold spicy flavor that goes perfectly with eggs. Sriracha also typically includes garlic and sugar in its blends, which gives your egg salad an additional depth of flavor and sweetness.

Due to its natural sharpness, sriracha goes best when paired with creamier elements. Although your eggs and mayo will provide this in abundance, it also goes brilliantly with avocados. This makes the zingy sauce a perfect addition to avocado egg salad. Try using roughly a tablespoon of sriracha per person eating if you’re making your egg salad with two eggs for each person. Sriracha can get pretty spicy, and specific brands can really amp up the heat. So if you’re particularly sensitive to heat, it’s worth trying to find a less-spicy brand, or simply use less.

5. Garlic powder

If you’re one of those cooks that believe that garlic makes everything better, this one is for you. Adding garlic powder to egg salad is a quick and easy way to give it a jolt of flavor. And the good news is, you likely already have some sitting in your pantry. With garlic powder, a little can go a long way, so start by adding around a teaspoon for every two people you’re cooking for. The taste of garlic goes with pretty much anything, but in egg salad, it’s especially good with herbal elements, like dill or chives. Simply toss it in with the rest of your ingredients, mix well, pop it in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors blend, and then serve.

Remember, too, that while you might think that granulated garlic is the same as garlic powder, the two have slightly different uses. Granulated garlic is slightly coarser than garlic powder, so it’s better used in liquid-based meals. Using it in egg salad may leave you with a slightly gritty, unpleasant texture. Garlic powder is also generally stronger than granulated garlic so a little goes a long way.

6. Parsley

It’s hard to overstate the contribution that a small amount of parsley can give a meal. With just a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley, the herb can bring a fresh, vibrant taste to all manner of dishes. With egg salad’s creamy texture, parsley works particularly well to provide contrast to the richer taste. It gives the salad a balanced brightness that varies slightly from acidic additions like lemon juice or vinegar.

Parsley has somewhat of a reputation as a milder herb, but it can deliver a pretty bold flavor when you use too much, so add it sparingly. You’ll want about a half tablespoon of chopped parsley per serving. Ensure that you’re chopping it finely, so that it spreads through your egg salad well, giving just a touch of taste in each bite. While some cooks opt to throw away their parsley stems, if you chop them up finely enough, they shouldn’t pose too much of a problem in egg salad. And given that parsley stems often taste even stronger than the leaves, leave them in if you’re looking for a stronger herbal flavor.

7. Capers


Capers bring a distinct taste to all kinds of meals. These sharp, zingy morsels give far more flavor than their size lets on. When put in egg salad, they deliver a vinegary tang while also adding some additional texture. Capers are especially good to season egg salad as their tanginess offers a counterpoint to the richness of the meal. As a bonus, they also amp up the salt content, so you don’t need to add as much sodium in other forms.

The key with capers is not to underestimate them. Their flavor can be pretty overwhelming if you pack too many of them into a dish. For each serving, add roughly a quarter tablespoon of chopped capers. Although they’re pretty small, you’ll still want to chop them up smaller, to distribute their flavor through the dish properly. If your egg salad needs thinning out, you can also add in some of the caper brine. Again, use this sparingly, and reduce the amount of vinegar you’re putting in elsewhere, as it’ll provide a similar flavor.

8. Paprika


The primary two ingredients in egg salad, eggs and mayo, mean it can get pretty dense and creamy. That’s why skilled chefs seek to balance these flavors with contrasting notes so the dish has layers of taste. Although this is often done with acidity and sweetness, it can also be done with spice, and paprika is a terrific choice for this. Commonly used to make deviled eggs, paprika can be utilized to make a deviled egg salad. Its gentle heat and slightly smokey flavor underpin the eggs and mayo and it provides a pleasing red color, making your dish pop visually.

Keep in mind, paprika comes in a few distinct styles, each with different flavor profiles. Regular paprika tends to have a light sweetness, whereas its sibling smoked paprika generally provides a much bolder — and, as you might expect, smokier — flavor. Smoked paprika, therefore, might give your egg salad a punchier taste. Additionally, paprika can vary in its heat levels. While mild paprika may not give much heat at all, hot paprika and Hungarian paprika can be pretty fiery. The best thing to do is try a tiny amount before you dash it into your food, to make sure you’re not going to blow your guest’s heads off with heat.

9. Saffron


Sometimes meals are just better and feel more special when they’re a little luxurious. This ethos extends to some of the most fundamental kitchen staples like egg salad. So, next time you’re whipping up a bowl for lunch, try taking things to the next level with some saffron. Although it might seem like a strange herb to put in egg salad, these earthy, fragrant, ruby-red strands give the meal a serious depth and a dash of exuberant color.

However, saffron is far from an everyday ingredient. Given that it can be more expensive than gold when the two are measured gram-by-gram, you’ll want to use it sparingly. Try using a pinch of saffron for every two or three portions of egg salad that you’re making. The herb can also be a little stringy sometimes, so you might want to pulse it in a food processor with your other ingredients, as in this French-style egg salad. Combine eggs with the aforementioned saffron, as well as saffron aioli, spicy shallots, and zingy horseradish mustard. Then, enjoy your elevated and sophisticated take on the classic picnic fare.

10. Cayenne pepper

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Sometimes, in life, you just have to heat things up. And in the case of egg salad, cayenne pepper’s the perfect way to do it. The bold heat of cayenne pepper can elevate your egg salad, providing a fiery and unexpected note to the meal. Although cayenne has a slightly earthy taste, it’s generally a little more neutral in flavor than other chilis, so it’s best for use when you’re seeking a hit of pure spice.

Be warned, though: It’s all too easy to overdo it on cayenne pepper and end up with an egg salad that’s inedible. So, even if you fancy yourself as a bit of a heat-head, only use a tiny bit at first. For four servings of a spicy egg salad, an ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne should provide enough heat. If you’d like some more, add it dash by dash until you get to your desired spice level. As with many other chili powders, cayenne pepper can vary in intensity, so if you’re using a new brand, be cautious at first.

11. Cider vinegar

Making egg salad without vinegar, or some other acidic element, can leave you wanting more. A little astringency cuts through the eggs and dressing and gives the egg salad a little zip. The big question is, which acid do you use? Well, apple cider vinegar’s delightful flavors make it one of the top choices. Cider vinegar has a slightly mellower taste than other acids like lemon juice or white vinegar, and as a result, gives your egg salad a bit more depth. The acid also pairs particularly well with the flavors of Dijon mustard and dill, as in this Cucumber and Dill Egg Salad. The inclusion of Greek yogurt also provides a bit of tang while chopped cucumber adds a satisfying crunch. For every four servings of egg salad you’re making, you should start with two teaspoons of cider vinegar.

Perhaps the biggest bonus to using vinegar, though, is the nutritional boost you’ll get from adding it. Apple cider vinegar is renowned for its potential health benefits and may have a positive effect on your blood sugar and cholesterol. Importantly, it comes in both filtered and unfiltered forms. If using the unfiltered version, be aware that it might taste a bit more like apples than the filtered version.

12. Chives

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Few things go as well with eggs as chives. The gentle onion taste that this delicate herb delivers can elevate eggs in all forms, and the same is true when it comes to egg salad. While you can use chives alone, it’s also possible to use them with a bolder onion flavor, as this Healthy Egg Salad recipe does, combining chives and red onion. The best part, too, is that if you chop too many, you can sprinkle them on top of your egg salad as an eye-pleasing garnish. And you may even have some growing in your backyard!

One drawback of chives, however, is that while they’re commonly used, not everyone has them in their fridge at all times. Luckily, though, if you have a bunch of scallions sitting in your vegetable drawer, you can sub these in and get a similar taste. Just remember that scallions have a slightly stronger flavor than chives, so you should use slightly less than you normally would. And, only use the green ends of the scallions, as the white end can have a more pronounced, oniony taste.

13. Tarragon

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When was the last time you used tarragon? It’s not exactly on heavy rotation in most kitchens, and it tends to be used for specific dishes like tarragon chicken. This may mean that bunch of tarragon you bought for that dinner party is now slowly wilting at the back of your fridge.

But, if you’re close to throwing it out, throw it in your egg salad instead. This citrusy, floral herb can elevate egg dishes and stop them from becoming drab. Tarragon is unique for its gentle anise notes that make your meal more interesting without overpowering it. For the best results, use fresh tarragon, as dried tarragon tends to have a more concentrated taste that’s better for cooking into soups, stews, and sauces. It’s also a little more brittle and chewy when uncooked, which is the last thing you want when you’re biting through a creamy egg salad. As with other herbs, tarragon can come in a few different forms. French tarragon, the most common, is usually more flavorful than other types like Russian or Mexican tarragon.

14. Pesto

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Egg salad is one of those recipes that can become a little redundant. Sometimes, just throwing in a bit of black pepper or some additional salt isn’t enough to change it up. So, if you want to really throw caution to the wind, try mixing in some pesto. Pesto and eggs are born companions, and given that parsley and basil are great additions to egg salad on their own, adding pesto simply gives a richer version of the same herbal hit.

Regular pestos often contain nuts and cheese, which give your egg salad a bit of extra texture and protein. To use it in egg salad, try putting in a teaspoon or so of pesto for each serving, then taste it, and see if you require any more. While standard pestos that you’ll find in a jar are usually made with basil and pine nuts, they can also be produced with a variety of different herbs and nuts. More artisanal products may contain parsley, cilantro, almonds, and even leafy greens like kale or arugula. Whatever you opt for, you can be sure that pesto will make your egg salad sing.