Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe


What you’ll learn:

  • What Chinese Tea Eggs symbolize
  • How to gently crack the eggshell and still keep it intact
  • How to create intricate marble designs on the egg
  • How to create the perfect Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs

I know it’s a bit early to start thinking about Chinese New Year, but I wanted to start a week ahead and post several recipes that would make perfect dishes for the upcoming Chinese New Year, such as this Chinese Marbled Tea Egg recipe.

Isn’t the shell of the Tea Egg absolutely gorgeous? The best part (other than eating) is to peel back the egg shell to see what kind of marbled design you end up with!

We generally eat these at room temperature or just slightly warm. In Northern China, Chinese Tea Eggs symbolize golden nuggets for the Chinese New Year feast – so if you’re lookin’ for a little more prosperity this coming year of the Ox update: it’s the Year of the Tiger this year! my Mama says you’d better make this recipe!

My friend Diana, author of Appetite For China recently was vacationing here in Tampa, Florida and I got to meet her! (yeah – we got a pic together too! at the end of the post.) She includes dried orange peel in her recipe and I’m sure she’ll be enjoying Chinese Tea Eggs with her parents in China.

Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

For Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs, you’ll want to hard boil eggs first, and after they cool off, use a back of a teaspoon to gently crack the eggshell all over. Keep the eggshell intact, but the more you crack, the more intricate the design of the marble will be. Make those crack pretty deep, as that is how the tea/soy mixture will seep into the egg.

Chinese Marbled Tea Egg RecipeChinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

I was gentle at first, but after seeing that the eggshell stayed intact, I cracked the next egg a bit harder…and what a difference that made!

Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe


Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

Servings: 6 eggs Prep Time: Cook Time:


6 eggs
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 star anise
2 tablespoons black tea (or 2 tea bags)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
2 strips dried tangerine or mandarin orange peel (optional)


Gently place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1-inch. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and let cool under running cool water. Using the back of the teaspoon, gently tap the eggshell to crack the shell all over. The more you tap, the more intricate the design. Do this with a delicate hand to keep the shell intact. To the same pot with the boiling water, return the eggs and add in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately turn the heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes, cover with lid and let eggs steep for a few hours to overnight. The longer you steep, the more flavorful and deeply marbled the tea eggs will be. In the photos above, I steeped for 5 hours. Mom likes to steep overnight.

And as I promised, here is the lovely Diana!


Chinese New Year book for kids

If you want to teach your kids about Chinese New Year, this book called Dragon Dance is great  !


More Recipes to Explore:

Chinese New Year Recipes: What to eat if you want a raise! (Steamy Kitchen)

What to eat for Chinese New Year Infographic (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese New Year Recipes + Superstitions (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Egg Drop Soup (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs (All Recipes)

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Comments 81

  1. Kati

    tea eggs are so delicious!!!!! i dont eat the yolk because i think its yucky, but i could literally eat 50 million of them all at once. sooo gooood

  2. Holly

    I tried making these eggs twice this past weekend and I just can’t figure out how to get the eggshell cracked enough to allow the soy mixture to seep in. Both times I *thought* it would be enough (my eggs looked just like yours in the second picture) and I allowed them to soak overnight. Only one looked right, the rest had barely anything. Any ideas on what I can do differently? As an aside, they did taste good. 😉

      1. Mandy

        Add vinegar to the water you boil the eggs in but do the tea part in a fresh batch of water. The vinegar breaks down the membrane between the shell and egg.

  3. Ann Marie

    Hi! These look wonderful and I would like to try them. I’m wondering, though, do you leave them to steep out in room temp or can you store them in the fridge?

  4. Gigi

    Do you hard-boil the eggs and THEN heat them again and follow the steps? Or does this include hard-boiling the eggs?

  5. Miki

    But doesn’t so much cooking or simmering make the yolks get really overcooked and greyish? The grey yolk tastes more bitter than a yellow yolk. How is the yolk supposed to look when you do it properly? thanks.

  6. Matt

    I made these for my fiancee as she and I ate way too many while in Fujian last summer and had a bit of withdrawal. The recipe is simple and delicious, though we needed to let them sit an extra day (or cook a bit longer) to get the stronger taste we’re used to. She said they reminded her of her hometown so that’s always a good sign. Thanks!

  7. Anqi

    Being chinese, I eat this ALL of the time, but I never bothered to learn how to make one! I always bought it from stores. Can’t wait to try actually making one!

  8. shag66

    Hi, I press down and roll them on the counter, it always works for me…I didn’t have luck with the spoon cracking method the first time I made them and I was making them for a large group so that takes too long. I hope that hint helps. Off to prepare our New Years Feast!

  9. Dave Alexander

    It’s not Soya that colours the egg, it is a mixture of strong tea (Cha)e.g Olong is pretty good but any Dark Tea will do,as for how to get the cracks, when you’ve boiled them for say 20 in ordinary water,cool them under a running tap (cold water)put them one at a time in your Palm, and gently with the back of a Teaspoon tap the shell all over several times, taking care so as not to break it too much and place them back in the Pan but this time with all the ingredients and boil for say an hour,take them out allow them to cool, and follow the rest of the Recipe.
    Have a G’day Day.

  10. Sandra

    Hi! I would love to try this ! But it says soy sauce … Would that be the dark or light soy sauce …? As for the cinnamon stick I have none but I do have cinnamon powder … How much would you recommend I use ? Thanks

    1. SteamyKitchen

      I used regular soy sauce (most people can’t find the dark soy sauce – which is a different product and is thicker/sweeter). Use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder!

  11. Hank

    If you simmer the eggs for longer than 2 hours the fluid mixture evaporates. To simmer longer do you just add more plain water or do you make up another mixture of the ingediants to add to the pot?

    1. Post

      You can simmer longer – or just turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the mixture. Add more of the mixture to pot, not just water (which would dilute and not product as strong of flavor and color)




  13. J

    If you worry about the yolk becoming over cooked, simply make sure that you make a soft boiled egg at first and make up for the remainder of hard boiling time when you heat the eggs back up. You’ll get a feel for it after awhile.

    1. Post
  14. M.

    so before my boyfriend and I actually lived in the same area he heavily suggested I try tea eggs, but no one around here sold them… So I looked for a recipe online and tried many. Then I found this one, and decided to try one more time and they tasted the best out of all of them ( some ingredients varied and cook times, but practice could have something to do with it too)

    So he came to visit me before I moved yknow meet my mom and stuff, and he was bummed that they didn’t sell them anywhere near me. And was about to make them I told him where everything was, when he opened the fridge he was super excited to see I had some beautifully arranged on the top shelf along with some other things I’ve found on your blog or using a recipe he sent me.. (:

    So thanks for sharing this ^.^

  15. M.

    P.S. ThIs was about a year ago but I just stumbled on this post again and wanted to share (:


    I made this and cooked the eggs about 20- 30 minutes. I let the eggs completely cool then put all the eggs and the mixture in the container ( put the eggs in the jar and measure the water before boiling. I use 1 cup of soy sauce + water for 10 eggs.) Leave them in the fridge for another 10 – 15 days or until you want to eat it. It was seasoned and does not go bad. Thanks for the recipe. It came out awesome. I always make a Tea Eggs jar available in the house as a side dish. This tea eggs goes well with Korean Instant dry noodle or add it to Chinese Dim Sum steam bun in the filling.

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