Skip to main content

Marbled Tea Eggs Recipe

Marbled Tea Egg 01
Tea Eggs

I've not been able to eat soft-boiled eggs recently, so I've been trying to find ways to pimp hard-boiled ones to make them more interesting.

One of my favourite methods is to turn them into Tea Eggs (aka Marble Eggs and Tea Leaf Eggs) - a classic snack throughout Asia which probably originated in China, where eggs are hard-boiled, cracked gently, and then simmered in a mix of tea, soy and spices to achieve a beautiful crazy paving effect all over - and a flavourful kick.

Tea eggs are easy to make and it's incredibly satisfying to see the cobweb patterns appear.

Marbled Tea Egg 03
Cinnamon, Star Anise, Tea Leaves

Marbled Tea Eggs
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp black tea leaves or two black tea bags - I like Lapsang Souchong for smoky flavour, though Pu-Ehr is more usual
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar 
  • 4 star anise 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp of cracked black peppercorns

Hard boil the eggs in a saucepan of water that's just big enough to fit them, and then drain. As soon as the eggs are cool enough to touch, crack them gently all over. Make sure their shells stay on.

Return the eggs to the saucepan you boiled them in, and add all the other ingredients plus enough cold water to cover the eggs. Simmer gently for an hour, topping up the water as necessary to ensure the eggs remain submerged.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and then allow the eggs to steep in the tea mixture for another hour (and at least till completely cool).

Tip the tea mixture away, and then rinse the eggs briefly. Remove the egg shells carefully, and then marvel at how mad the eggs look. Serve the tea eggs as a snack, or use to decorate a noodle or rice dish. Great for picnics too.


Soy sauce & eggs. Pretty much my two favourite things! Definitely going to try these.
Oliver S said…
This looks fun, might try for breakfast tomorrow :)
BribedwithFood said…
Do you think this would work with decaf tea?... I want to make them :(
meemalee said…
Sure, try it! The tea's just for the colour and a little flavour.
meemalee said…
You need to start early though :)
meemalee said…
I have a lot of love for those ingredients too!
Matthew said…
Mad and brilliant. I'm immediately looking around for other things that could be used to colour/flavour eggs like this. Ooo... the water from soaking dried porcini mushrooms is dark brown, isn't it? And tastes of porcini. Ooooooo...

meemalee said…
That's a REALLY good idea! Let me know how it goes! *starts pondering a Marmite egg*
Unknown said…
Wow, those look like some really fancy eggs. They would look even more beautiful sitting on top of my antique silver egg holders to be served to my guests for any occasion whatsoever. They are also surprisingly easy to make, though a little time-consuming. However, nice things need effort and a little bit more of your time to achieve as compared to other simpler things.
Anonymous said…
We add ginger and scallions to ours. Also a lot more dark soy sauce. The lines come out really bold.