Amish Pickled Eggs and Beets

This recipe for homemade pickled eggs draws on an old Pennsylvania Dutch tradition to make beautiful beet-colored eggs.

By Yankee Magazine

Jun 28 2018


Pickled eggs, almost fully dyed after a week in the brine.

Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

Pickled eggs are a bar snack fixture, a running Simpsons gag, and a tasty, protein-packed snack. They once served a practical purpose — pickling was a means to preserve eggs for the cold-weather months, when hens stopped laying — but now their appeal is purely culinary (they pair beautifully with beer) and, in the case of this recipe, visual.

While almost every cuisine boasts some variation on preserved eggs, from Chinese “century eggs” to German pickled eggs called soleier, this beet-infused recipe is inspired by the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of adding beets to the brine, which gives these eggs a gorgeous magenta hue and lending sweetness to balance the vinegar’s acidity. As with all beet-dyed foods, the longer you keep the eggs in the brine the more they’ll change color. Be sure to use a milder vinegar, such as rice or white wine: In our tests, plain distilled white vinegar was much too harsh and acidic.


12 eggs


Cold water for cooking and chilling the eggs
12 large eggs
2 cups rice or white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 large beet (uncooked), peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 to 1/2 serrano or jalapeno chili, thinly sliced (optional)
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths


Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

Set a steamer basket in the bottom of a 3- or 4-quart pot and fill the pot with enough water to come up to the base of the basket. Set over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, gently add the eggs to the basket, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for exactly 11 minutes. Remove the eggs from the basket and transfer immediately to the ice water to cool.

Meanwhile, make the brine: In a small pot, combine the vinegar, 1 cup water, beet slices, brown sugar, spices, chili (if using), and scallions. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to steep.

When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel off their shells and divide them among three sterile pint-sized canning jars. Pour the brine over the eggs, covering them completely, then distribute the beet slices, spices, and other ingredients evenly among the jars. Cover the jars tightly and refrigerate at least six hours and up to a month.