Deviled Eggs: A Southern Staple - Cooking with Paula Deen

Deviled Eggs: A Southern Staple

Phyllis Lifestyle 40 Comments

There’s nothing quite like a Sunday in the South. Some of my favorite memories from childhood Sundays are covered-dish lunches at my grandmother’s house. Our table would be covered with a variety of delicious recipes, each in its own colorful dish. I remember as a little girl being especially intrigued by the deviled egg plates. These plates have always caught my eye, and I’m constantly on the lookout for unique styles when I’m in my local antique store. I love the oval shaped cups in the plate that hold the eggs. Why in the South, no household can run properly without egg plates. I think I have at least two in my cabinet!

While deviled egg plates are unique to the United States, deviled eggs originated in ancient Rome. In the fourth and fifth centuries, the Romans served boiled eggs with spices as a first course, while the first instances of stuffed eggs occurred in Spain in the 13th century. Early recipes instructed women to pound the boiled egg yolks with spices and then stuff the mixture back into the egg whites.

Although deviled eggs have been around for centuries, the term “devil” was not coined until the late 1700s. British cookbooks used the word “devil” to refer to spicy dishes or dishes that were broiled or fried. The term may be British in origin, but we Southerners have made deviled eggs completely our own. This is especially evident through the uniqueness of deviled egg plates.

The classic deviled egg plate, as we know it today, peaked in popularity during the 1950s. Many Southern families pass these plates down as family heirlooms. The women in my family always had a deviled egg plate for every holiday or occasion. Every time I make deviled eggs, I’m transported back to my childhood Sundays and the simple joys of meals with the people I love.

Here is my recipe for Deviled Eggs. This is written giving much freedom in the ingredients. I don’t put onions in mine, and that might violate a southern rule, who knows.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Deviled Eggs
Makes 12 servings
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tsp. Mustard, you just need a small taste
  • 1 heaping spoonful Pickle Relish (Sweet or Dill, your choice)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Paprika
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring eggs and cold water to cover to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain saucepan, and fill with ice and cold water. Let stand until eggs are cool. Tap eggs firmly on counter until shell is cracked all over. Gently peel under cool running water. Halve eggs lengthwise, separating yolks and whites. In a medium bowl mash the yolks (I use a fork), mayonnaise, mustard, and salt until smooth and creamy. Spoon egg yolk mixture into egg white halves, and sprinkle with paprika. Chill and serve.
  3. You can also add finely chopped onions, chives, or anything you like. Make it your own. Your family will love these.

Do you have a treasured deviled egg plate?

Comments 40

  1. Not an egg lover-could never understand vinegar, mustard or pickles in the recipe! However, when a small boy asked for deviled eggs, of course ,Mom had to find a way to make and eat. Many in my area now make them this way: salt, white pepper, dill weed,onion powder, garlic powder, and mixed with equal amounts of Hellman’s mayo and sour cream. I sprinkle dill weed or chives on top-and if time permits or for a change, nice sized pieces of bacon strips stuck in the filling. I can eat these and they are delicious!

  2. My mother always said the devil got too much credit and attention and I grew up knowing them as “dressed ” eggs!

  3. Wonderful topic!! I have several deviled egg plates in various; but, the most prized ones of course are the two used by Mother & Grandmother. I also inherited Mother’s harvest gold Tupperware set. I wonder how many thousands of dozens she took to assorted events in her 89 years! {Must admit, I can rarely bypass a vintage egg plate – or occasionally a new unique one.}
    The recipe in my childhood was always Miracle Whip, Apple Cider Vinegar, salt n’ pepper dusted with paprika; but, in later years much experimentation occurred. One of our favorites included pimento cheese .
    Once went to a Bible Study salad luncheon where there were three plates of eggs – three different plate styles; three different recipes – all lovely presentations, all delicious. We still speak fondly of that meal!!
    Thank you again, Phyllis & Ribbon Family, for helping me to recall especially sweet memories.

  4. I don’t have any egg plates except 4 Tupperware carriers. I use mayonnaise, a touch of mustard, splash of Worcestershire, a dash of ketchup & duck sauce, pickle relish and Bread & Butter pickle juice. Parsley flakes.
    I “mash” the yolks in a food processor until the consistency of sand. Mix all ingredients to taste, more pickle juice than mayonnaise.
    Garnish with either paprika or Parsley. They always disappear!

  5. My deviled egg plate was a gift, from my sister and she bought it in an antique’s store. It is a blue-gray opaque glass, with a heavy gold edge. It is scalloped on its edges, around where the eggs are placed and it has a fluted type design on the underneath side, with fluting going up to each egg cup. It isn’t embossed with any sort of a label. I would be interested to know its history!

  6. Phyllis,
    I have one exactly like yours that Mother left me. She also left me one she used at Easter that has soft pastels where the eggs rest. It is simply lovely. Then my best friend gave me a Fitz and Floyd (Courtyard) butterfly that is unbelievable. Precious to me and my husband loves deviled eggs.

  7. I love deviled eggs.My mother made the best.We lost her on Christmas Eve sevweal years ago.I know how you feel Becky.Now my nephew makes them for holidays and get to gathers.

  8. at Christmas I will put a small piece
    of shrimp on top of some and small pitted black or green olive on top of others and some jarred heads of asparagus spears on others cut down to size and
    rotate the variety on my egg plate. I have several egg platters some crystal and others funny and whimsical for pot luck gatherings. I like to cook just three eggs sometimes and ( makes 6) do
    deviled eggs on the side of an afternoon sandwich for my husband and he feels like really getting a treat! It the little treats in life I guess…..Carmel

  9. I use all the mentioned articles for making my deviled eggs; at Christmas I will put a small piece
    of shrimp on top of some and small pitted black or green olive on top of others and some jarred heads of asparagus spears on others cut down to size and
    rotate the variety on my egg plate. I have several egg platters some crystal and others funny and whimsical for pot luck gatherings. I like to cook just three eggs sometimes and ( makes 6) do
    deviled eggs on the side of an afternoon sandwich for my husband and he feels like really getting a treat! It the little treats in life I guess…..Carmel

  10. My precious daughter has always been the one who always made the best deviled eggs at all our family get togethers! I lost my precious daughter 2yrs ago on Christmas Eve and now we take turns trying to preserve her memory by making the deviled eggs she always did! Our eggs will never be as good as as hers but maybe she is looking down on us and smiling.

  11. Your deviled egg plate is so pretty. Your recipe and mine are pretty much the same but as we all like olives I use chopped ones instead of sweet pickle relish occasionally. I think Dijon mustard is good with the mayonnaise and dill pickle relish. Mixing in some dried parsley flakes adds some variety without the paprika.
    The most delicious deviled egg I ever ate were at an After Rehearsal Party in Livingston, Alabama one summer’s evening. We were eating in the beautiful back yard in the semi-dark and I went back for deviled as urged by the hostess. Delicious! When I went into the kitchen I found the secret- a little topping of caviar. Oh my!
    I think classic deviled eggs are a great example of southerns’ knack for making something really tasty and festive out of relatively inexpensive ingredients.

  12. I’m not sure how many egg plates I have! Probably at least four. My favorite is a yellow one-it compliments the yolk filling. I only add mayo, salt and pepper and a bit of pickle juice to the mashed yolks. Finishing touch is a dusting of paprika on half and a sprinkle of dried dill weed on the rest. I have placed a sprig of parsley on them. I think most families have that “one” supplier! In my late husband’s family it was the oldest of his three younger sisters. She always adds a little sugar, which I really don’t much care for. In my family it’s my adult niece. And yes, they are a staple at every family get-together even though we live above the Mason-Dixon line!!

  13. Deviled eggs have always had a place of honor on our table. I’m a Southerner but my husband is from South Dakota. When I make them I have to watch that he doesn’t eat all of them. I use red onion finely chopped and paprika and also anchovies if I have it as when mashed up with the mayo mixture you are not aware it is there but gives quite a lovely taste. Also pickle relish is no no for me as I perfer gherkins. The taste is much sweeter.

  14. Our family loves deviled eggs. Especially at Easter. We peel the eggs then dye in an assortment of colors before stuffing. Makes for a very festive plate of eggs!

  15. Love that platter! I have one just like it, plus a couple more and one for carrying. For years I have been the deviled egg “go to” for our family dinners on holidays, special occasions, etc. I don’t use pickles or onions either … just mayo, mustard, lemon juice, and S&P. I squeeze the stuffing through a cake decorator tip into the egg halves, then garnish with a sprinkle of paprika. To spiffy them up a bit, I place a bowl of green olives in a small bowl in the center of the platter or just place a thin slice of an olive on every other egg on the platter since not everyone likes olives. I love ’em! Also, to make your platter extra pretty for Easter, you could clip a few heads of daisies and place on the platter. Plastic ones from a craft store will work if you don’t have real ones. Very pretty!

  16. I personally don” care for deviled eggs, but have found myself collection the plates. I probably have about 20, including a Christmas wreath one.

  17. Hi, I have a carnival glass deviled egg plate given to me by Mom when I married and left home. I also have one of those chicken shaped deviled egg plates and the requisite Tupperware version for potlucks. Dear daughter received a deviled egg plate when she married and left home. We are Southerners also and deviled eggs are a requisite dish on major holidays.

  18. I have about 10 devil egg plates. I have Christmas, Easter, one matching my china, the original Tupperware carrier, a pewter one and I still look for them when shopping. My most beautiful is a blue and white, given to me by a 92 year old friend who received it
    from her mother. Needless to say, I always do eggs for our dinners!

  19. My “recipe” although I’ve never used one is the same as yours except I add a sprinkle of dill weed as the last stir in before putting back into the whites. My son thinks we can’t have a family meal be it holiday or not without my deviled eggs. His wife is “our token Yankee” we lovingly call her but she wants no part of them. LOL

  20. No onion or pickle in ours, but we add bacon, too, or country ham, and I add a slice of jalapeno or some chipotle pepper to some, for those who love a little heat . Some get a slice of green olive. (Our large family has many different tastes!) I finish them all off with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

    I have several plates, most are glass, but I do have a few made of china, and of course the Tupperware type for when we’re taking a few dozen for potluck.

    What a fun post, thank you!

      1. Helen’s Deviled Eggs

        Yolks from a dozen eggs, finely mashed with a fork
        1 healthy dollop of mayonnaise (Hellman’s)
        1/2 – 3/4 stick of butter, softened at room temperature ( no substitutes)
        3-4 Tbls. sugar
        a splash of cider vinegar
        a dash of nutmeg – plus sprinkle on top of eggs after they are filled
        Mix all together and fill the eggs.
        This is a grand recipe – direct from Jumet, Belgium

  21. I have yet to purchase a deviled egg plate, I’m looking for a small’ish one. I don’t use onions or relish anymore, my secret ingredient (via a family friend from KY) some liquid from a jar of sweet pickles. My friend also used to drag a fork over the finished eggs to give them a unique look.

  22. My mom had a deviled egg plate, too.
    Deviled eggs are popular in another south–the south of France. I have had them at many gatherings, almost always with anchovies added to the yolks, though sometimes it’s tuna or crab. The name is “oeufs mimosa.”

  23. Lovely egg plate, and deviled eggs… I too do not add onion, and a times not even the relish. But I do add a dash or so of apple cider vinegar to the yolk mixture, it was a secret ingredient my Mother-in-laws family always did, and now I am doing….And I absolutely love the taste in the devil!

  24. Oh, yes! The ubiquitous deviled egg plate! Usually made of transparent clear glass, with scalloped edges to accommodate the oval indentations for the halved, stuffed eggs!

    I have had my share of egg plates, including a rectangular Tupperware carrier, with two inserts, for transporting to a casual meal, perhaps outdoors.

    Once I heard a Christian lady say, half in jest, “I call them ‘Angel eggs’, because the Bible says, ‘Give no place to the devil.'” Now I often will call them “stuffed eggs”, remembering her words so long ago. Whatever we call them, they don’t stay around long enough for it to matter!

  25. I love deviled eggs. I have 2 dishes – one from my Mother and the other I found that I like. My “recipe” is like yours.

  26. I have more than you I do believe. I have a white porcelain one in the shape of a chicken with a red border. Then a pewter one and at least two plastic ones with lids for carrying to work or church for our potluck lunches. I use the same recipe you have. You can sprinkle with red paprika for a new look. I am well known for my deviled eggs! I live in Louisiana so I am from the south.

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