The Secret Ingredient You Should Be Using In Your Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are one of summer's favorite picnic and potluck foods — and also, according to Rachael Ray, one of the best possible foods to kick off the spring season. They also, surprisingly, have quite an ancient lineage, as they trace their origins back to a dish of spiced, boiled eggs that was popular back in the days of the Roman Empire. And, despite what Katy Perry's mom may think, the name actually doesn't refer to any occult practices — the term "deviled" dates back to the late 18th/early 19th century, and simply referred to a dish that was highly spiced or seasoned.

While deviled eggs as we know them today may or may not be particularly spicy (perhaps unintentionally so, should you mistake the paprika for cayenne), they are deliciously versatile, and can be dressed up in a number of different ways — even in a Halloween costume! Heck, you can even dress them up to look like actual devils, should you be in the mood for something evil (yet adorable). While there are numerous recipes for deviled eggs with special ingredients ranging from horseradish to Greek yogurt to avocado (for a mayo-free, paleo/Whole30 version), there's one ingredient which works its magic in stealthier ways. Not only does it add a delightfully rich and creamy texture, but it also corrects the main flaw with deviled eggs as a party food: No matter how pretty they look on the platter at first, the filling does tend to get a bit weepy after a while.

The secret deviled egg ingredient revealed

So what is that secret ingredient that can exorcise your deviled eggs' demons and cheer up their weepiness? Why, it's our old friend butter! This deviled egg hack is endorsed by none other than super chef Julia Child (via The Takeout), and also by domestic diva Martha Stewart. Although the deviled egg recipe published on Martha's own website and attributed to chef Virginia Willis is described as a traditional southern dish, oddly enough, the queen of southern cooking and "everything's better with butter" does not use butter in her own deviled egg recipe. Poor Paula Deen! Obviously she doesn't know what she's missing, since her recipe, while yummy, would actually be quite a bit better with butter.

If you're in need of a new deviled egg recipe, you can certainly use Julia's own original one (via Food Network), which is a great excuse to break out that jar of piccalilli you've surely got lurking at the back of a cabinet. If you're more of a traditionalist, Martha's recipe will do nicely, especially if you've got an ample supply of fresh-grown tarragon or chervil. Should you already have your own go-to deviled egg recipe, though, you can still improve upon its near-perfection with the addition of a little butter. The result? Your deviled egg filling will have a smoother, almost velvety texture, and it will also hold its shape longer than a filling made of mashed yolks and mayo alone.

How to use this secret ingredient to improve your deviled eggs

According to Taste of Home, you'll need to add about two tablespoons of butter to each batch of deviled egg filling. And yes, it has to be real butter — no margarine or any other similar "can't-believe-it's-not" substitute. Flavor aside, no vegetable oil spread is going to have the necessary texture to help the filling hold up. What's more, you really do need to let the butter soften before mixing it into the egg yolks, mayonnaise, and seasonings. Once your butter is soft (but not melted), combine all the filling ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is light and creamy. You then spoon (or pipe, if you want to get all fancy) the filling into the egg whites. Garnish your eggs with paprika, parsley, pepper, pimentos, pickles, or perhaps even things that don't start with the letter "p."

Deviled eggs are great at any time of year, of course — a fast-approaching Easter holiday is not required for you to make and enjoy deviled eggs. You'll definitely want to whip up a batch on November 2, though, for your new favorite holiday — may we be the first to wish you an early, but happy, National Deviled Egg Day!