Kirbie's Cravings

Chinese Tea Eggs

Chinese tea eggs are hard-boiled eggs steeped in tea leaves, star anise, and other spices creating a savory flavor and a beautiful marbled look to the eggs.

photo of three Chinese Tea Eggs in a bowl

Tea eggs are one of my favorite ways to cook eggs. Not only do they make an amazing presentation, but they taste good, too.

My brother went home for the weekend recently. This means only one thing when he came back: lots of food from mom, including Chinese tea eggs.

I know how to make the eggs myself and have made them before, but most of the time I’m lazy. It’s not hard to make, but it does require a lot of waiting while the eggs stew to develop flavor.

Tea leaves, anise, and other spices are boiled with the eggs creating a savory hard-boiled egg. Eggs are first hard-boiled. Then the shell is cracked in several places before the eggs stew in a pot of tea leaves, five-spice powder, soy sauce, salt.

As the eggs stew, the tea sauce seeps through, staining the white of the eggs. Because of the cracks in the shells, it creates this beautiful marbled pattern when you eventually peel off the shell.

Chinese Tea Eggs

Because they take so long to make, it’s best to make a large pot. They usually last close to a week in the fridge. I love them as a snack, appetizer, or side dish with meals.

We recently discovered that if you keep the eggs in their shell and in an egg carton in the fridge they somehow last longer. I don’t know the explanation. I just know it works.

We used to keep them in containers together but they would go bad within a few days. But for some reason placing them in the original egg cartons works.

When I make them, I always use my mom’s recipe. If you have some time, it’s worth making a batch because the instructions are easy and most of the time is spent steeping them, which doesn’t require any work.
close up of chinese tea eggs in a bowl

Ingredients

  • Large eggs
  • Black tea bags or ;loose tea leaves
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Chinese spice bagor  you can use Chinese five-spice powder

How to Make Tea Eggs

Boil eggs until they are soft boiled. You can boil them on the stove in a saucepan or I like to cook eggs in an Instant Pot.

Once they are boiled, place the cooked eggs in an ice bath to prevent them from cooking further.

Once the eggs are cooled, crack the shells, 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 eggshell look. You want the cracks to be deep enough to penetrate to the inside of the egg, but not too deep that the eggshell will fall off the egg.

Place the eggs in a medium pot. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by one inch. You can always add extra water if your water level begins to get too low.

Add two tea bags, soy sauce, salt, and a Chinese spice bag. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer for about 20 minutes. Simmer the eggs in the tea mixture and keep the pan covered so the water doesn’t evaporate.

After 20 minutes, take the pan off the heat. Refrigerate the eggs, still in the liquid in the pot, for 24 hours. During this time, the eggs will absorb all of the flavors from the tea and spice liquid.

Once they’ve steeped for 24 hours, you can take them out of the pot and keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to peel and eat them.

You can store eggs in the fridge, leaving shell on. This will allow the eggs to keep longer.

Three chinese tea eggs

Storage Tips

Peeled tea eggs will keep for up to a week in an airtight container. To extend this time, store the eggs with their shells on, they will keep longer.

More Chinese Egg Recipes

Chinese Tea Eggs

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Chinese tea eggs are just hard-boiled eggs that steep in tea leaves, anise and other spices creating a savory flavor and a beautiful marbled look to the eggs.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 eggs
  • 2 black tea bags or 2 tbsp loose tea leaves
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 chinese spice bag or use 1 tbsp chinese five spice powder

Instructions

  • Boil eggs until they are soft boiled. Place cooked eggs in an ice bath to prevent them from cooking further.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bring to boil the water with two tea bags, soy sauce, salt, and one Chinese 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.
  • Cook the eggs with the tea mixture on a low simmer (don't let it bubble) for about 20 minutes. Keep the lid on to keep tea mixture from evaporating.
  • Place eggs, still submerged in the tea mixture into the fridge for 24 hours to allow the eggs to absorb the flavors.
  • You can store eggs in the fridge, leaving shell on. This will allow the eggs to keep longer.

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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15 comments on “Chinese Tea Eggs”

  1. Would it be possible to use green tea instead of the black? I bet it would be pretty.

    • You can swap for other teas, but I don’t think you’ll get a green color from using green tea. Green tea brews up a light yellow and once you add in the soy sauce and spices, it will become brown. If you use green tea you’ll likely have a lighter brown color

  2. hi. i got to try these when i was in shanghai! it was the first time i had seen something like that made from chinese tea
    Thanks for posting the recipe so now i can make them at home too!

  3. I’ve been wanting to do these forever, thanks for the reminder.

    You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  4. Is there any particular tea that works best for this?

    • I like to use strong chinese teas like oolong. Sometimes I used Lipton though if I don’t have oolong leaves handy.

  5. Those eggs look weird and beautiful at the same time. Never seen one before this post! Is it hard to cook though?

  6. I never knew what (those star things were) anise was until I started baking/cooking myself. I always thought they were just another weird Chinese herb that my mom and grandmothers used. XD

  7. can you still make the yolks soft like you can with preserved eggs?

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