Deviled Eggs History: From Rome to Your Home - NC Egg Association (2024)

For National Deviled Egg Day, we’re taking it back to Ancient Rome….

where serving deviled eggs was often referred to as “ab ova usque ad mala.”

Ancient Rome

The deviled egg we know today can be traced back to ancient Rome, where boiled eggs were seasoned with spicy sauces and served as the starter of a fancy meal usually made for guests. Serving eggs while entertaining guests was so common for wealthy Romans that they even had a saying for it, “ab ova usque ad mala” meaning “from eggs to apples”, or from the beginning of a meal to the end.

13th Century

Stuffed eggs began popping up in the region we now know as Spain. They would pound boiled egg yolks with cilantro, pepper, coriander, and onion juice, then beat with murri (a sauce made of fermented barley or fish), oil and salt. The mixture was then stuffed into the hollowed-out egg whites, and the two halves of the egg were fastened back together with a small stick and topped with pepper.

15th Century

Stuffed eggs grew in popularity across Europe. Recipes for boiled eggs filled with raisins, cheese, and herbs (such as parsley and mint), then fried and topped with a sauce or powdered sugar were commonly found in medieval cookbooks.

Mid-19th Century

Stuffed eggs found their way to the United States and into cookbooks across the nation.


The word “devil” as a culinary word appeared in Great Britain in writing for the first time, referencing heavily spiced, hot, fried and/or broiled dishes.


“Deviling” became a verb to describe the process of making food spicy. In other places, many continued using the terms “mimosa eggs,” “stuffed eggs,” “dressed eggs,” or “salad eggs” to describe the dish to avoid any association with Satan.


Fannie Farmer’s “Boston Cooking-School Cookbook” suggested using mayonnaise in the filling of their deviled egg recipe to serve as a glue, and they were one of the first to do so.


Use of mayonnaise in deviled eggs finally became popularly featured in recipes.


There are many ways to make the classic deviled egg recipe, but the most common method includes a mixture of mayonnaise, mustard and paprika. Get the recipe here!

Craving Deviled Eggs after reading this?

Try out some of our favorite recipeshere.


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Deviled Eggs History: From Rome to Your Home - NC Egg Association (2024)


Deviled Eggs History: From Rome to Your Home - NC Egg Association? ›

Deviled egg dishes have evolved over the centuries and the North Carolina Egg Association found that the dish dates all the way back to ancient Rome. In those days, boiled eggs were seasoned with spicy sauces and commonly served at the beginning of meals.

What country did deviled eggs originate from? ›

According to The History Channel, deviled eggs go all the way back to ancient Rome, where eggs were boiled, seasoned with spicy sauces, and then served at the beginning of meals. In the 13th century, stuffed eggs began to appear in the southern, Andalusian regions of Spain.

What did the Romans call deviled eggs? ›

For National Deviled Egg Day, we're taking it back to Ancient Rome…. where serving deviled eggs was often referred to as “ab ova usque ad mala.”

What state is known for deviled eggs? ›

The earliest known American recipe for deviled eggs was printed in the Montgomery Advertiser, a local news publication in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1877.

What do Christians call deviled eggs? ›

In some regions of the South and the Midwest, deviled eggs are also called salad or dressed eggs when they are served at a church function, to avoid the term "deviled." Deviled eggs have been a popular picnic offering as well as being a standard item in what has become known, especially in the South, as "funeral food."

What is a fun fact about deviled eggs? ›

If we rewind time, we find deviled eggs in ancient Rome, where boiled eggs flavored with spicy sauces were so commonly served as an appetizer that a Roman saying, “ab ovo usque ad mala,” meaning “from egg to apples,” referred to the expected bookends of a meal.

Are deviled eggs a southern thing? ›

Deviled eggs are a Southern tradition. Just what is it that makes deviled eggs Southern? Some insist it's the addition of sweet pickle relish. Other's point to the mayo—Duke's, specifically—the only choice for proper Southern cooks who like that hallmark creaminess and satisfying tang.

What is a Roman egg? ›

A three-dimensional scan of a 1,700-year-old egg discovered at a Roman site in England reveals that, eggs-traordinarily, it still has the remains of a yolk and egg white inside. It's thought to be the only time a centuries-old chicken egg found with its insides preserved.

What is a true deviled egg? ›

Deviled eggs are hard-boiled eggs that have been peeled, cut in half, then stuffed with a paste made from the yolk and other ingredients. Basic deviled egg filling is made with egg yolks, mayonnaise, relish, mustard, salt, and pepper. The eggs are often seasoned with spices like paprika or cayenne pepper.

How did the Romans eat eggs? ›

In ancient Rome, eggs were usually served as appetizers. The best way to taste this dish is with honeyed wine (mulsum) and other ancient Roman starters, as a salad with garum and vinegar (oxygarum), cheese dressed with reduced must, and a few olives.

What are church lady deviled eggs? ›

Each half of an egg is filled pretty high with a smooth and creamy egg yolk mixture. Each deviled egg is then topped with a piece of bacon, smoked paprika, and chives. It's definitely a rich appetizer, but it's so good.

What country puts mustard on eggs? ›

with dill and these felt like deviled eggs...with a twist.

What pairs well with deviled eggs? ›

It pairs well with crunchy fresh veggies, pretzels, crackers, or toasted pita or naan for dipping. It also works great as a spread on crackers or toast. My five-year-old daughter who loves deviled eggs has been dipping everything in it, though she asked me to make it without the “green things” (chives) next time.

What is so devilish about deviled eggs? ›

"Deviled" goes back to the late 18th century as a way to refer to something that's spicy or grilled with spice. Deviled eggs are "deviled" because they're generally made with paprika and black pepper. We can also thank "deviled" for other mouth-watering dishes like deviled kidney and deviled bones.

What are holy eggs? ›

The church prohibited the eating of eggs during Holy Week, but chickens continued to lay eggs during that week, and the notion of specially identifying those as Holy Week eggs brought about their decoration. The egg itself became a symbol of the Resurrection.

What ethnicity is deviled eggs? ›

Some believe that deviled eggs may have originated in ancient Rome, where eggs were often boiled and served with a spicy mustard sauce. Others think that deviled eggs may have originated in medieval Europe, where they were considered a luxurious and decadent snack.

What country did boiled egg originate? ›

This likely evolved into egg boiling around 5000 B.C., thanks to the invention of pottery. And more recently than that, boiled eggs are thought to have cropped up in Ancient Rome, where wealthy patricians served them as an appetizer course called gustatio.

What's the difference between deviled eggs and stuffed eggs? ›

Deviled eggs are the same thing as stuffed eggs or dressed eggs. It's essentially eggs that have been hard-boiled, peeled, cut in half, and stuffed with a classic mixture of the cooked yolks mashed together with mayo, mustard, and spices (typically paprika).

Where did egg mayo originate? ›

Mayonnaise is a French cuisine appellation that seems to have appeared for the first time in 1806. The hypotheses invoked over time as to the origin(s) of mayonnaise have been numerous and contradictory. Most hypotheses do however agree on the geographical origin of the sauce, Mahón, in Menorca, Spain.

Why do they call it deviled ham? ›

Far from evil, the word “deviled” is a culinary term that means “adding spices” — usually hot ones like cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard, or chopped chili peppers — to foods like ham, eggs, turkey, or even lobster.

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