Tea Leaf Eggs

Chinese tea leaf eggs are one of my favorite ways to eat eggs. They have a pretty appearance and they taste good. Like hard boiled eggs but with flavor.

I recently flew home for a weekend visit.  My mom almost always makes tea leaf eggs when I’m home. Tea leaf eggs aren’t too hard to make (recipe below), but it is time consuming and I don’t have the patience to make them myself. So I love coming home to a batch of tea leaf eggs.

Eggs are first hard boiled. Then the egg shell is cracked and stewed in a tea leaf sauce. The tea leaves, soy sauce and spices in the sauce give the eggs flavor and also create the pretty cracked pattern on the eggs because the dark color seeps through the cracks on the egg shells.

These eggs are perfect for breakfast, a snack, or to take to a party.

Print Print Recipe

Tea Leaf Eggs


6-8 eggs
2 red or black tea bags
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons salt
1 chinese spice bag (or use chinese five spice powder)


1. Boil eggs until thoroughly cooked (hard boiled). Then set eggs aside and let cool.

2. Once eggs are cooled, crack shells of eggs, but do not let the shell come off the eggs. I usually gently crack them against the counter. And then I use a meat tenderizer mallet to make additional cracks. Make sure to make cracks all around for a prettier cracked egg shell look. You want the cracks to be deep enough to penetrate to the inside of the egg, but not too deep that the egg shell will fall off the egg.

3. Place eggs in a medium pot. Fill water to about one inch above eggs. You can always add extra water if your water level begins to get too low.

4. Bring to boil the water with two tea bags, soy sauce, salt, and onec hinese spice bag. You can usually find the spice bag at a chinese grocery store. If you can’t find this at your local asian grocery store, you can use about 1 tbsp of chinese five spice powder.

5. Cook the eggs with the tea mixture on a low simmer for about 2 hours. Keep lid on to keep water mixture from evaporating.

6. Let the eggs, submerged in the water mixture sit in pot overnight (about 8 hours), to allow the eggs to absorb the flavors.

7. Bring the water mixture to a boil, and cook at a low boil for an additional 1-2 hours. Eggs can be served hot or cold.

You can store eggs in the fridge, leaving shell on. This will allow the eggs to store longer. Refrigerated eggs last about 3-4 days.


10 Responses to “Tea Leaf Eggs”

  1. Matt @ FaveDiets — November 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

    What an interesting idea! I don’t hard boil eggs often, but I will definitely have to try out this idea next time I do.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 9th, 2011 @ 9:32 am

      It’s a pretty healthy alternative way to eat eggs rather than just plain old hard boiled. It adds taste but without adding oil, etc. And it looks really cool. It’s a pretty common chinese dish and it’s often served at chinese cafes serving up snacks.

  2. caninecologne — November 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    hi kirbie- i’ve never had eggs this way before. it looks quite striking. i’d like to try making this for a future dinner party.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 9th, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

      Hi CC- You should definitely try it for a dinner party. I love how they look and taste. It’s a really common chinese dish. In fact, when I was in Taiwan, all the 7-11s had precooked ones you could buy. You could double the sauce ingredients to make a large batch for a party.

  3. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — November 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

    These are gorgeous–I’ve heard of tea leaf eggs, but never tried them before. I’m very intrigued!

    Beautiful photographs too :)

    • Kirbie replied: — November 10th, 2011 @ 9:32 am

      You should definitely try them out! I really like them and they aren’t too hard to make.

  4. Ruby — November 10, 2011 at 9:22 am

    in my experience, tea bags did not give you enough flavor of tea, I prefer regular tea leaves, you can choose from varity of
    flavors like Woo-long…..etc, that gives you much stronger tea flavor. You might want to give it a try.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 10th, 2011 @ 9:32 am

      I usually don’t have any loose tea leaves on hand. I will try next time though.

  5. Alyssa — November 13, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I love it when my mom (and grandma) makes special treats in anticipation of my arrival! It’s very sweet. If my mom made these eggs whenever I visited, I would be seeing her very often!

    • Kirbie replied: — November 13th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

      My mom always has a lot of food prepared. It’s always a ton of eating. =)

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