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This simple, classic Egg Salad recipe makes the best sandwiches. It uses perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs, tangy mayonnaise, a bit of mustard, and some optional fresh dill for an inexpensive, protein-packed lunch that’s good all year round! You can gussy it up, or keep it plain and simple. No matter how you serve it, this is one quick and easy meal that always satisfies!
When you are in a lunch rut, I’ve got plenty of delicious ideas for you to try! Some of our other favorites are Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas or BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad, which is another great way to use up leftover hard-boiled eggs!
Egg Salad Sandwiches Rule
When I was a kid, it was so not cool to take egg salad sandwiches in your lunch. But did I care? Not a bit. It was ALWAYS my top choice for a sack lunch, probably because I never have been a big fan of PB&J. Did I get made fun of for the way my lunch smelled? Oh yeah I did. But I definitely did not care.
Food has always been my top priority over being cool. What can I say?
So trust me when I tell you that this egg salad is legit delicious. It’s a teensy bit above basic with the addition of fresh smoked paprika and fresh dill, but honestly, you can leave them out and you still have basically the easiest, best thing to do with your leftover hard-boiled Easter eggs.
Egg salad is protein packed, filling, and inexpensive, with the added bonus of being ridiculously easy. And yet, somehow, I have had way too much blah egg salad in my life. Trust me that if you want good egg salad, you really need to make it yourself. That way, if you want to add crunchies like finely chopped celery, red onion, or chives, you can add them! If you want it more creamy, you can add more mayo! More or less chunky? It’s up to you how much you chop or even mash your hard-boiled eggs.
This is how I make egg salad, and I’m going to go ahead and say it’s the best, especially if you go the extra mile and pile it on buttery croissants. And if you decide to pack egg salad and take it to the park or on the plane or at work or any other place where people might give you dirty looks for what you are eating, just know that I’ve got your back.
What you’ll need
At its most basic, egg salad only has five ingredients, including salt & pepper. Which is how I grew up eating it and still make it today when I don’t happen to have my two favorite flavor boosters on hand. It’s ultimately a convenience meal anyway, so don’t feel like you can’t make egg salad just because you don’t have smoked paprika in your pantry.
- Hard-boiled eggs: I mean, we’re talking egg salad here, so this is really a no-brainer, right? You can steam, bake, boil, or cook your eggs in the instant pot. What’s your preferred approach? I have used the 12-minute method for years, but recently switched to making my hard boiled eggs in the instant pot because the eggs are always so much easier to peel that way!
- Mayonnaise: This is the other main component of egg salad so I recommend you use the real deal, full-fat kind instead of reduced fat or Miracle Whip. It will make a big difference.
- Mustard: You can really use dijon or yellow mustard in your egg salad. The dijon has a little more kick, so it’s my personal preference, but plain yellow mustard will work just fine.
- Salt & pepper: These two work together to keep things from being boring and bland.
Two optional players:
- Smoked paprika: This is my secret weapon in so many recipes! Smoked paprika has a wonderful flavor that just adds dimension. Totally okay to just leave it out if it’s not something you have on hand, but if it’s in your spice cupboard go ahead and give it a try!
- Fresh dill: Another optional ingredient but it’s so delicious and gives a great, fresh taste to the egg salad. Most of the time I don’t have it on hand, so trust me when I say your egg salad will still be delicious without it, but it’s a wonderful addition, especially when you are planning ahead and can pick some up at the store or are growing it in your garden. You could also use a little bit of dried dill, but it’s more potent than fresh so you will need less. About 1/4 teaspoon will do the trick.
How to Make the Best Egg Salad
This recipe is a total no-brainer so I’m skipping steps today and tell you that all you really need to do is put everything in a bowl and mix it all together!
You can chop or mash the hard-boiled eggs as much as you like, depending on whether you prefer your egg salad more chunky or more creamy.
How to cook hard-boiled eggs for egg salad
There are so many approaches and everybody has their favorite one. I’ve tried them all at some point or other, I think! These days, the instant pot is my best friend when it comes to making hard-boiled eggs, but not everybody has one, so here are my favorite methods. Pick whichever works best for you!
We are going to for solid, pale yellow yolks that are cooked through but not overcooked, which you can always tell by an unsightly greenish-grey ring around the outside of the yolk. Overcooked hard-boiled eggs are stinkier and not as nice texture-wise in egg salad. Or anything, for that matter. Any of these methods takes the guess work out of how long to cook your eggs.
I use the classic 5-5-5 method where you add the eggs (as many as you want! you can even stack them) and 1 cup of water to the instant pot. Just set the eggs on the wire rack that comes with your pressure cooker – you don’t need a special holder or anything. Seal and select high pressure for 5 minutes.
Once the eggs have cooked for 5 minutes, let it do a 5 minute natural release (basically, don’t open the sealing valve to vent any pressure just yet). Get a large bowl of cold water and ice ready so that once the 5 minutes is up, you can force release the rest of the pressure by switching the valve to “vent” and then use tongs to transfer the hot eggs to the ice water bath for 5 minutes.
This is my favorite method because the eggs peel perfectly every time! Gone are the days of struggling with peels that just won’t come up and butchering your hard-boiled eggs! Even my super fresh, laid-that-day from our backyard chickens’ eggs peel perfectly. I totally didn’t believe it until I tried it, but I’m definitely converted.
You’re going to need a steamer basket for this one and are limited to how many eggs fit in it, which is why this isn’t my favorite method. But all you need to do is fill a saucepan with 1-2 inches of water, then bring that to a boil over medium-high heat. Add your eggs to the steamer basket and set it in the pan over the water, covering the pan immediately with a tight-fitting lid. Set a timer for 12 minutes and that’s it!
Again, as soon as the timer goes off, transfer the eggs (use tongs and be careful! they are super hot!) to an ice water bath so stop the cooking process. Once they are cool enough to handle you can peel and proceed with the recipe or just stick them in the fridge for later.
These also peel easily, which is why it’s a great method, but I don’t get as consistent of results as I do with the instant pot. Also, note the limitations above on needing a steamer basket and only being able to cook so many eggs at one time. If you are doing 1-2 DOZEN eggs, this method might not be right for you.
Similar to the steaming approach, my previous favorite way to cook hard-boiled eggs was to place them in a pot and cover them all the way with water. Bring them to a boil over medium-high to high heat, then once the water starts boiling, immediately cover with a lid and turn the heat completely off. Set a timer for 12 minutes and get your ice water bath ready. Once the timer goes off, move the hard-boiled eggs to the cold water bath (or even just pour off the hot water and run cold tap water over the eggs to stop the cooking process).
This is the easiest approach that doesn’t require any special equipment and it works like a charm every time. But the shells don’t always come off as easily. Sure there are tricks that people claim will work better like using eggs that aren’t as fresh or adding baking soda to the pot, but I have tried them and don’t think I totally buy into any of them, to be honest.
More Egg-centric Recipes
- Deviled Egg Potato Salad
- Bacon Green Onion Deviled Eggs
- Garlic Rice with Fried Egg
- Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs
- Green Chili Egg Casserole
- Peppery Scrambled Macaroni & Eggs
Classic Egg Salad Recipe
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Hard boil the eggs either in the Instant Pot, a steamer, or by boiling them. See post for instructions on each of these methods.
- Peel the eggs and chop or mash them as much as you like. For chunkier egg salad, just do a rough chop. For a smoother, creamier egg salad, mash the hard boiled eggs with a fork in a large bowl.
- Add the mayonnaise, mustard, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and dill. Stir to combine then serve on your favorite bread or croissants.
- Storage: If you have leftover egg salad, it will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.