Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (2024)

They’re not red. They don’t carry a pitchfork. They don’t have an arrowhead-shaped tail. So why do we call them deviled eggs?

The answer, of course, is language and history.

Over the course of time and in multiple languages and cuisines, there’s a tradition of referring to hot, peppery, or spicy foods as being mean or associated with the underworld.

In Italian, for example, the hot tomato sauce calledArrabbiata is made with dried red chili peppers, and the name literally translates to “angry” in Italian. With eggs, especially spicy and zesty eggs made with mustard, pepper, or other ingredients like paprika stuffed into the empty yolk cavity of half an egg, they are called “deviled,” though in some places they’re also referred to as stuffed eggs, dressed eggs, or even Russian eggs.

The term deviled egg comes from an 18th-century culinary term that the Oxford English Dictionary originally used to describe a fried or boiled dish that was highly seasoned. and this was eventually used to also include spicy, condiment-filled dishes, as well. It was eventually used to describe eggs.

So where do deviled eggs come from?

According toThe 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. A cookbook from this era, for example, suggests grinding boiled egg yolks with cilantro, onion juice, pepper, and coriander with a fermented fish sauce, and two centuries later, similar recipes were widely available across much of Medieval Europe.

Not until the late 19th century, though, did we start to see deviled eggs that resemble what we would call deviled eggs. An 1896 cookbook was one of the first to suggest using mayonnaise as a way to bind ground egg yolks together, which leads to today’s classic recipe that calls for mayo, mustard, and paprika.

Looking for great variations?

Consider things like bacon, sriracha, kimchi, crab meat, dill, or pickles as a way to make your deviled eggs stand out from all the rest.

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Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (1)

Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (2024)


Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? ›

So why do we call them deviled eggs? The answer, of course, is language and history. Over the course of time and in multiple languages and cuisines, there's a tradition of referring to hot, peppery, or spicy foods as being mean or associated with the underworld.

Why are they called deviled eggs? ›

In the 19th century, the adjective "deviled" came to be used most often with spicy or zesty food, including eggs prepared with mustard, pepper, or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity. Similar uses of "devil" for spiced foods include deviled ham and fra diavolo sauce (from the Italian word for "devil").

Why are foods called deviled? ›

According to The Oxford Companion to Food, "devil" is a culinary term that first appeared in the 18th century as a noun and then in the early 19th century as a verb, "meaning to cook something with fiery hot spices or condiments." The hot spices or condiments most often referred to the addition of mustard and cayenne ...

What does "deviled" mean? ›

Britannica Dictionary definition of DEVILED. always used before a noun. : spicy or highly seasoned.

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.

What did Katy Perry call deviled eggs? ›

“Deviled eggs were called 'angeled' eggs. I wasn't allowed to eat Lucky Charms, but I think that was the sugar.

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.

Who invented deviled eggs? ›

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.

Is it OK to eat deviled eggs? ›

They're delicious, filling, and easy to make.

Why are deviled eggs wet? ›

When eggs are cooked too quickly, over high heat, the protein seizes as it cools and water leeches out. To prevent this error, it is best to allow the eggs to cook slowly, shock them in ice water to stop the cooking process abruptly, and then allow them to cool completely before moving on to the next preparation step.

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."

Are deviled eggs stinky? ›

The best deviled eggs start with well-cooked hard-boiled eggs. When they're overcooked, the yolks not only have a gray-ish hue around the outside, but they also have a sulfuric odor that can be powerful and sometimes stinky.

Why are deviled eggs so good? ›

Because deviled eggs are simply hard-cooked eggs in which the yolk is removed, mixed with mayonnaise and seasoning, and stuffed back into the halves of whites, they are easy to personalize. They are soft and creamy in texture, piquant in flavor, often a little sweet, and are a blank canvas when it comes to garnishing.

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.

Why do deviled eggs give you gas? ›

Contrary to popular belief, eggs don't make most of us fart. But they do contain sulphur-packed methionine. So if you don't want smelly farts, don't eat eggs alongside fart-causing foods such as beans or fatty meats. If eggs make you bloated and give you wind, you may be intolerant to them or have an allergy.

Why do deviled eggs make me nauseous? ›

Egg intolerance

This may be caused by a lack of enzymes, or sensitivity to ingredients like additives or naturally existing chemicals. An egg intolerance won't produce antibodies, but it may create digestive symptoms like nausea, vomiting, cramping, pain, and diarrhea.

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 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.

What is the difference between angel eggs and deviled eggs? ›

A simple and delicious appetizer, this angel eggs recipe is everything you love from the classic with a nicer name. The only difference between angel eggs and deviled eggs is the name! The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, making it the perfect finger food option for parties, potlucks, and BBQs.

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