This Marbled Tea Egg recipe serves up eggs with a beautiful marbled surface. They are simmered in a savory liquid with star anise, cinnamon sticks, Sichuan peppercorns, and black tea until soaked with the flavors of the spices and a refreshing tea fragrance. They look beautiful and taste divine!
Why this Chinese Marbled Tea Recipe Works:
- The steeping liquid actually infuses the egg whites, giving it a subtle sweet and salty flavor.
- The longer steeping not only allows for a stronger flavor, but also for a darker design.
- When you crack your eggs delicately, but confidently, you obtain a beautiful, intricate design.
- Soy sauce
- Star anise
- Black tea
- Cinnamon stick
- Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
- Mandarin orange peel (optional)
How To Make This Marbled Tea Egg Recipe – Step By Step
- 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.
- 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.
Marbled Tea Eggs
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 – 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.
Creating A Marbled Effect
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.
What To Serve With This Tea Egg Recipe
You can batch-cook tea eggs and store them for later. They make a perfect breakfast, noodle topping, and between-meal snack!
Top Tips For This 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!
- I use a quart bag to marinate the eggs so I can use a minimal amount of marianting liquid to soak the eggs. If you plan to use a container instead of a quart bag, you should double the amount of marinade so you have enough to cover all the eggs.
- The tea egg marinating liquid, if stored properly, can be used more than once. If you plan to do so, make sure to use a clean spoon to remove the eggs from the liquid. And you should boil the liquid and let it cool again the next time you use it.
Check Out These Other Delicious Egg Dishes
- Chinese Egg Drop Soup
- Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups
- Green Eggs and Ham Sushi
- Asparagus with Fried Egg and Parmesan Cheese
Have you tried this Marbled Tea Egg recipe? Feel free to leave a star rating and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe
- 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
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil, enough to cover the eggs by an inch..
- Remove eggs from the fridge to bring down in temperature a bit while the water comes to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, gently and slowly lower the eggs into the water. Set a timer for 10 minutes for a medium-hard boil.
- Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and let cool under running water.
- Using the back of a 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 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.
- I like to steep for 5 hours, but my mom prefers 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)
Gonna try Thai seafood curry this weekend. Fingers crossed.
Was surprised to hear you owned a Basenji. We had one when I was a teenager. He was a rescue and was kept chained in a garage before he came to us.. Won’t bore you with the details on
how he ended up with us. His immediately decided my Mother was his and he loved and guarded her until the day he died. Only problem with him, he HATED other male dogs. All breeds and sizes. So before he was allowed out the door, we called the neighbors to ask if their males were in or out. Could not believe what I saw when he cleared a 5 foot fence to get at the male next door, and me & my Dad were 5 steps behind him going over the fence .Was an exhausting day…
you mentioned black tea in the recipe. Are those Chinese tea or western tea?
Acquired chooks (chickens) a few months ago and I have been wondering what to do with all the eggs besides giving them away and making egg pies. You solved my problem. I let them set overnight and what a bloody rippa (great) result. Will most definitely be doing this again and might even take some up the pub for a snack.
Hi Kozmo, I miss our chickens so much! We moved to the city, and no chickens allowed here 🙂 jaden
Just a quick story Jaden,
I lived in Sydney city most of my life and owned a Basinji named Bazil (terrific dog). One day he disappeared and finally arrived home with a chook in his mouth. We buried it and next day he came home once more with another one. Seems he found the Mayor’s chook pen and by the time they realized he was my pet he had eradicated all their chooks. Cost me a bundle to replace them and I reckon this is why they finally banned home chooks in cities.
What a great story! I bet Bazil just thought he was being a good boy and bringing you presents! LOL jaden
Do you have a tea egg recipe for Instant Pot?? I have an Instant Pot and I think it might speed up the process. I love your recipes. I am also a blogger.
Hi Jacqueline – great to meet you – I haven’t tried Tea Egg in the Instant Pot. If you do, let me know your link and I’ll post 🙂
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.
P.S. ThIs was about a year ago but I just stumbled on this post again and wanted to share (:
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 ^.^
How long can these eggs be kept refrigerated?
Usually 3-4 days. As long as you’d normally keep hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator!
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.
I HAVE A CHINESE FRIEND THAT USED TO MAKE THESE ALL THE TIME. I LOVED THEM. I ACTUALLY HAVE CRAVED THEM. WELL, I MOVED, SHE MOVED AND WE LIVE IN DIFFERENT STATES NOW. I TRIED YOUR RECIPE FOR THE EGGS THIS WEEK AND THEY TASTED JUST AS I REMEMBER. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS PERFECT RECIPE.
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?
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)
I know those Eggs called “茶叶蛋” in Chinese,
It’s a great snack.
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
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!
Very nice! Will definitely try it very soon
I hope you don’t mind me linking this article to my Teabuddy blog. Please check it out here.
I have credited Steamy Kitchen and added your URL for my followers to your recipe. If you have any objections please let me know and I will remove it immediately.
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.
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!
Remember to use only free range eggs! Torture-free, and better for you.
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!
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!
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.
Do you hard-boil the eggs and THEN heat them again and follow the steps? Or does this include hard-boiling the eggs?
No, this recipe already includes the step of cooking the eggs.
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?
In refrig if you are steeping for more than a couple of hours.
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. 😉
hmmmm…..that’s weird that one worked but the others didn’t! I’m stumped!
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.
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
There’s a little tea place by my house that sells these, and I absolutely needed to know how to make them. Turns out, like you’ve detailed here, I can easily recreate them in my kitchen (with a bit of time).
Thank you so much for the comprehensive recipe! Now I make these all the time!
you made wonderful marbled eggs.
I love these eggs! Can anyone tell me how long I can store them in the frig?
I don’t think that I’ll be able to wait until Chinese New Year’s before making these! Also, I love the idea of using the broth as a sauce. I will have to get some star anise first, though…
a great and brilliant recipe…best to eat with Congee…
We made these for Chinese New Year (I know – I waited a long time to mention it!) and they were great! But what was really good also was using the broth, that the eggs soaked in, in place of soy sauce for fried rice! Oh my goodness, it was soooo goood! I loved the spice in the background from the anise and black tea… it just gave the fried rice a special kick and everyone loved it!
I tried these eggs and I really made a lot of cracks in the shell but I was disappointed because the cracks didn’t go through the inner film. The shell was beautifuly collored but the eggs themselves just had a couple of splotches without any of the beautiful filigre. What did I do wrong? Please help and thanks in advance.
Hmm…usually it’s because the cracks weren’t deep enough. But it could be that the type of egg you buy may have a thicker film? Next time, try soaking overnight.
Yours was the only recipe I could find for “Lucky Eggs” as described in Amy Tan’s book, The Bonesetter’s Daughter. I plan to try these tomorrow. Thanks.
Been awhile. I’ve been taking a little sabbatical from blogs. Aye, love these tea eggs. I often will eat them for breakfast when traveling. When going by train, I can sometimes poke my head out the window when the train stops at a station and buy some from the ayi’s selling them. Usually a couple for 1 kuai.
Good to visit you again. “Man zou!”
I’m a subscriber to your newsy-letter…..BUT…I also saw your Tea Eggs in my weekly best-ever computer tips newsletter…Cloudeight InfoAve’s …..Wow..my 2 fav newsletter collided!
Amazing idea. Loved it.
These marbled eggs look fantastic!
I featured this recipe on my blog. Good stuff!
I made this on my web video show, Gardenfork.tv , easy to make, good for kids to make and eat.
I’m not nearly as exciting as Jaden, but if you’d consider checking out the episode:
Steamy Kitchen on Gardenfork.tv
Those marbled eggs look really good!
Thanks for the recipe. I have tried it but my eggs were not as beautiful as yours.
EDJ- The longer the soak time the better! How long does your recipe say to simmer or soak for?
I have made tea eggs lots of times, but my recipe was different–no sugar or orange peel. I’m excited to try this variation. And your eggs are soo beautiful! Mine are never quite that lovely.
I made these once, and they were as beautiful and impressive as they were delicious. You have reminded me of a great dish that I need to reprise!
Lovely eggs! I will try to make these tomorrow. We never have them here in Indonesia. Now I am trying to think why not?
lovely egg! looks like a Fabergé mini! hope ur well, as we haven’t spoken in ages. I’m sorry we never connected before you left to DR, but I know you had a blast!
Thanks! I was racking my brain over what to make this year for the family; my grandma used to make these, along with the best seafood jook ever. I think I’ll drop the orange peel and let them sit overnight, just like grandma did. Thanks for the recipe!
beautiful! I love Chinese New Year, mostly for the food. Is that wrong? I can’t wait!
Hi Jayden…I just found your site while looking for Chinese New Year info. And, now, I think I’ll have a dinner on Sunday with this menu! Check out your work on our exotic plants blog…Jeannie
These egg shells look amazing…
These are beautiful, Jaden. What a fun project this would be to do with the MEM, they would love it for Chinese New Year! The book is a great little read for them, too! Thanks!
I have never made these tea eggs until the outsides get as dark as yours. I will have to try your recipe next time! Also, thanks so much for always sharing amazing Chinese recipes with the blogging world. I agree with Diana that you look incredible.
Jaden, those eggs are just beautiful. I used to live near Clement Street in San Francisco (little China town), and have always wanted to try these. Have you ever made them with quail eggs? I am thinking they would be lovely for an appetizer. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything in miniature. 😉
Made these yesterday using Vanilla Infused Tea (I’m a sucker for anything made with tea)… turned out excellently, really tasty and a more complex flavour than your normal 3 minute egg.
I discovered these eggs with a friend from Taiwan and I liked it a lot !
Great shot of these chinese tea eggs !
I love these things, both making and eating them. So flavorful but subtle.
Jaden you look so gorgeous, even without the flash. I’ve always wanted to make marbled tea eggs. Tonight I watched Mike gather ostrich eggs on Dirty Jobs and decided to add them to my list of things to cook that I haven’t yet. Now I’m thinking they’d be amazing looking cooked this way!
We have some dinner guests coming over this coming Sunday… You just gave me the recipe that I needed for canapé’s. Absolutely exquisite.
Ooh, neat! I’ve always wanted to know how to make these, but I was too lazy or forgetful to search for a recipe 😛 Now I can try this out, instead of hitting up a local cafe/shop that sells them for $.75 a egg.
beautiful – thank you for sharing the spice proportions and process
That is so cool! My kids will be excited to help me make these.
too beautiful to eat!
It’s like a more elegant version of an Easter egg. I have always loved tea eggs. They are like little jewels. And as with cupcakes, you don’t have to share. 😉
Wow – I’ve seen these eggs before but never tried them. Still, I don’t remember them looking this beautiful and I’m sure mine wouldn’t turn out the same!
Perhaps something to try at Easter, though.
So pretty! I love how cool they look. At Halloween this last year, I made spiderweb eggs with blueberries used as the staining agent. Basically the same thing but with gray spiderwebby looking lines. The kiddo loved having them in his lunch.
I love tea eggs–so yummy!
Hey, we have the Dragon Dance book, too! My friend gave it to us–her aunt was the illustrator. Pretty cool, huh?
Hi, My name is Debbie Belson, I won your Kobe Burger Prize. I can’t wait to try them. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Debbie
JH: These are gorgeous! But you know me I always have questions… I assume you eat the eggs after admiring them. Do they pick up much flavor from the steeping? Do you traditionally serve them any particular way, ie with further seasonings or condiments available?
They are flavorful! Usually, I eat the eggs as a snack. Even 1 egg is very fulfilling. You can dip in some hot chili sauce if you like – or my favorite a little more sprinkle of soy or Maggi sauce. ~jaden
Can’t wait to try these. What a beautiful presentation they make.
They are real peace of art!
this is very neat, i think this will make a good Gardenfork show. be good for kids, easy to do and gets them in the kitchen eating healthy food.
wow they look amazing! Love the marbling effect. Didn’t know it’s done this way. Thanks!
It’s a good time to start thinking about what to cook for Chinese New Year. We’ve got only a week left for preparation and there’re so many things to buy and get prepared.
Your Chinese Tea Eggs look gorgeous. Love them very much. They would be on my Chinese New Year’s menu for welcoming my guests.
Jaden, these tea eggs are gorgeous! You should do a photo study just on the shell patterns – so beautiful!!
Those Chinese Tea Eggs are gorgeous! Hey, I took a 3 month exercise/ weight loss challenge with my moms exercise group, “Stroller Strides”- I will be using many of your recipes the next 3 months! I may tweak some a bit to fit into the dietary guidelines, but yours were the ones that looked most divine and best to tweak (if even necessary on some)! Thanks for having such an awesome blog!!
Oh my gosh, these chinese tea eggs are the most amazing things ever!
These are just stunning! I’m excited to try these with some quail eggs. Thanks for the recipe & technique!
You’re sooooo lucky to have met Diana! Very cute picture too from your new toy!