14 Amazing Ways To Upgrade Your Egg Salad

Egg salad has been around since ancient times, when it was made with oil, wine, or broth, as opposed to mayonnaise, which hadn't yet been invented. Of course, mayonnaise is essentially just eggs, oil, and vinegar or lemon juice, so in a way, egg salad hasn't really changed all that much in the past thousand or so years. Even before mayonnaise became commercially available in 1912 (via The New York Times), the classic cookbook recipe for egg salad called for those same basic ingredients: eggs, oil, and vinegar (via Bartleby).

That being said, it's hard to imagine a food more versatile than egg salad, which in its wonderful simplicity forms a blank epicurean slate onto which virtually anything can be projected. No ethnic theme is out of bounds, nor any flavor, texture, or add-in, off-limits. Sure, egg salad preferences are personal, but the only real way you can go wrong when making egg salad is by not taking advantage of the infinite possibilities it offers. So before you whip up another hum-drum batch, consider these amazingly simple ways to upgrade your egg salad.

Upgrade your egg salad by using Miracle Whip instead of mayo

At its most basic, and arguably, most classic, egg salad is nothing more than hard-cooked eggs mashed with mayonnaise. Mayonnaise, itself, is really just egg yolks emulsified with vegetable oil and a hint of an acid such as lemon or vinegar (although commercially made mayo such as Hellman's may add salt and sugar). If you're a fan of classic egg salad, we applaud you because there can be great beauty in simplicity. However, there's still a way to retain that beautiful simplicity while lending your egg salad a more intense flavor profile – just by replacing the mayonnaise with Miracle Whip. 

As much as Miracle Whip may look like mayonnaise, the two are fundamentally different. However, for purposes of upgrading your egg salad, suffice it to say that in addition to mayo's egg yolks, oil, and acid, Miracle Whip also contains garlic, paprika, mustard, and high fructose corn syrup. With the exception of the high fructose corn syrup, those other ingredients are what is called for in most classic recipes for deviled eggs, which are in the same vein as egg salad, but altogether spicier.

Get next-level umami flavor with Kewpie Mayonnaise

Invented in Japan in 1925, Kewpie Mayonnaise is made with double the egg yolks of other mayo recipes, offering an even creamier taste and mouthfeel (via Kewpie). And it contains monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, which had been discovered less than two decades earlier by the Japanese chemist who coined the term "umami" as a way of describing that certain savory flavor that, until then, had defied classification (via Britannica). 

What we now understand is that umami flavor, which occurs naturally in many foods such as parmesan cheese, anchovies, and shiitake mushrooms, can also be lent to other foods in the form of MSG. And so it is with Kewpie Mayonnaise, which is rich with umami flavor notes — as long as you buy the Japanese version. The American version contains no MSG. However, the Japanese version is not only available throughout the U.S., but it's so popular right now that its sales have jumped 153 percent in just the last year (via Instacart). So go ahead and get some, and see if you don't find yourself becoming mildly addicted to your umami-upgraded egg salad. 

Transform your egg salad into a Japanese tamago sando

Have you heard? Many of Japan's convenience stores are now the purveyors of a fine food known throughout the world as something along the lines of "the best egg salad sandwich ever" and variations on that theme. In Japan, the sandwich is known as "tamago sando," which translates to English as "egg sandwich" (via i am a food blog). The sando's egg salad is made with nothing but hard-cooked eggs and mayonnaise (presumably the MSG-laden Kewpie). However, what apparently takes it into the stratosphere, to the point where Anthony Bourdain once sang its praises on Twitter, is the fact that the eggs and mayo are whipped together into a light and creamy, almost cloud-like consistency. 

You can create your own tamago sando easily at home. Simply add Kewpie mayonnaise to your hard-cooked eggs and give the mixture a good whirr in the food processor. Serve it on fluffy, soft white bread, and be sure to cut off the crusts as they often do in Japan.

For a flavorful French egg salad twist, stir in aïoli

Many people believe mayonnaise was invented in France in 1756. Others believe it came from Spain (via Slate). Our theory is that the truth falls somewhere in between. And by that, we meant that what Spain came up with wasn't actually "mayo," but rather "aïoli," which is also an emulsion and might look somewhat like mayo, but traditionally contains no eggs and no acid. Rather, it was made from olive oil, mashed garlic, and salt.  

Once the French got their hands on aïoli, they added egg yolks to the emulsion, which gave it a silkier and more familiar consistency for those familiar with today's mayo. Aïoli is widely available in retail stores, and if you're looking to upgrade your egg salad, it does wonders to egg salad by adding it to mayo or using it instead of mayo. If you want to crank up the French-ness of your egg salad, serve it "frisee lardon" style by placing a scoop atop a frisee salad (via The New York Times). Sprinkle with warm, thick chunks of freshly roasted bacon. Top with a poached egg and serve with vinaigrette. Et voila!

Upgade your egg salad by offering it a taste of Greek culture

Tzatziki, which hails from Greece and the Middle East, is a sauce made from yogurt, garlic, herbs, and diced cucumber (via Greek on Wheels). Once you've upgraded your egg salad with some good, strong aïoli, how much of a stretch is it to switch from that to tzatziki? By replacing egg salad's standard mayonnaise with an equal amount of tzatziki, you're getting the same flavors you would if you were upgrading with aïoli, except you're adding the tang of yogurt (which also lends the acidity you would normally find in mayonnaise), the brightness of dill, and the cool, crisp, but subtle crunch of cucumber. 

By lending some Greek culture to your egg salad, you're not only gently boosting the sour notes of the classic egg salad flavor profile, but you're also giving yourself a break from some of the fat and calories you'll find in classic egg salad. In addition, Greek yogurt is rich in protein, so made in this way, your egg salad is now transformed into a real protein-delivery machine. 

Draw on Jewish cuisine with onions and schmaltz in egg salad

Eighty percent of the Jewish people in the world today can trace their ancestry back to Eastern Europe by way of France and the Rhineland valley (via Brittanica). This group, widely known as the Ashkenazim, also have their own recipe for egg salad. Known as "eggs and onions" or simply, "Jewish eggs," according to Tablet, this version of egg salad can also be given a new twist with rendered chicken fat as opposed to mayonnaise. Jewish people often call this rich and flavorful fat "schmaltz," which you can make yourself by melting chicken skin in a pan and then straining the brown bits out of the mixture (via The Taste of Kosher). 

The mixture of eggs mashed with schmaltz can be topped with sweet, vaguely crunchy caramelized onions and is traditionally served on matzoh or challah bread. If dietary or religious restrictions aren't part of your meals, you can also feel free to use flatbread instead of matzoh and brioche instead of challah.

Switch out these ingredients for a slightly healthier egg salad

If you like the idea of caramelized onions with your egg salad, but you're thinking maybe schmaltz is a tad indulgent, here's another alternative. It's definitely an upgrade, but it won't make quite as much of an impact on your cholesterol as eggs and schmaltz. Instead of the schmaltz, use extra virgin olive oil. Instead of serving on sweet rich bread like challah or brioche, consider serving on a bed of romaine, or if you're feeling adventurous, a mix of baby arugula and watercress, both of which will lend your egg salad a peppery brightness. 

For another variation, you might want to consider using freshly diced red onions, rather than caramelized onions and mixing them right into the egg salad. And if you like the idea of mixing the onions directly into the egg salad, but you still prefer the idea of caramelized onions, then go right ahead and mix those caramelized onions into the eggs, too.

Take your egg salad on a trip to the Mediterranean

Back in the early aughts, when restaurant Le Pain Quotidien was right smack in the middle of its heyday, you could sit at a common table and order wonderful open-faced sandwiches known as "tartines" (via Le Pain Quotidien) But the most wonderful of all, hands down, was the egg salad tartine, which was made with diced eggs, blended with extra virgin olive oil, and studded with capers and anchovies, as per a reviewer on Tripadvisor

Adorned with fresh parsley, thin-sliced black olives, and thinly sliced cucumbers, the egg salad tartine had a distinctly Mediterranean vibe. To make your own, you'll need the patience to finely dice those hard-cooked eggs, but you'll be rewarded when they hold up nicely to the thickly glistening extra-virgin olive oil. Gently mix in capers and chopped anchovies to taste, sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper, and serve each tartine adorned with roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley, a whole anchovy, and a sprinkling of thin-sliced olives.

Make your egg salad Bob Cobb style

The Cobb salad was born one night in 1937 out of a midnight snack attack on the part of restaurateur Bob Cobb, who was then the owner of Hollywood's famed Brown Derby restaurant, according to the Institute of Culinary Education. Foraging through the restaurant's refrigerator, Cobb was able to find some leftover lettuce, hard-cooked eggs, cheese, tomatoes, chives, and avocado, all of which he laid out as a deconstructed salad before realizing how what his creation really needed was bacon. Well, of course, it did. In fact, bacon is probably the single stroke of genius that made Cobb salad the American favorite that it has since become. 

You can recreate that genius combination by making your egg salad "Bob Cobb style" by mixing diced tomatoes, chopped bacon, shredded cheese, chopped chives, and diced avocado into your classic egg salad. Once that's done, serve on a bed of crispy lettuce. 

Consider adding an avocado to your egg salad

Let's face it, Cobb salad isn't much of a "salad," if by salad you mean a tossed bowl of crunchy veggies with at least some pretension to health. In fact, if you think about it, it's essentially a club sandwich served without the bread. But whereas you can't really make Cobb salad healthier without taking away from its charm, you can definitely make yourself a healthier version of Cobb salad-inspired egg salad. All you'll really need, apart from the egg salad essentials, is an avocado.

Find the ripest avocado you can, and mash it until it's smooth. Feel free to use an immersion blender or food processor to make it easier. Then use the avocado in place of whatever mayonnaise or similar mix-in you would normally use to bind your mashed eggs together to make the final egg salad. Toss in some diced grilled chicken and top with diced tomatoes, onions, and a sprinkling of bacon. Serve perched atop a salad.

Upgrade your egg salad to first class with Beluga caviar

Fifteen years after it was first banned in the U.S., Beluga caviar is legal once again for purchase and consumption. It's not cheap, though, as a mere half-ounce will run you $420 dollars. But Beluga is far from the only caviar worth eating. And if you know how to serve and eat caviar, then you'll probably recognize that adding any sort of caviar to egg salad is, perhaps, one of the most logical leaps imaginable. 

Caviar is traditionally served with blini or toast points, creme fraiche, finely chopped eggs, crumbled hard-cooked eggs, diced red onions, and capers, according to Caviar Centre, although caviar connoisseurs turn their noses up at adding anything that might detract from the taste of the tiny, briny fish eggs. At the same time, true lovers of caviar have been known to sprinkle some caviar powder on their scrambled eggs, according to Town & Country. So, we propose the following egg salad upgrade: stir some into your egg salad, along with some capers and onions, and finish with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.

Make the creamiest egg salad ever with this ingredient

Creme fraiche is a cultured version of cream, meaning that it literally contains live bacterial cultures. Adding it to your egg salad introduces a gently sour tang to this dish. But, perhaps your taste preferences are a bit more simple. Or perhaps you're just in the mood for the creamiest egg salad in the history of ever. If so, all you need to do is substitute cream cheese for whatever you would otherwise have used to bind those mashed up eggs together.

Using cream cheese instead of the more traditional mayonnaise in your egg salad makes for an utterly decadent treat. If that seems a bit too rich, you can basically get to the same flavor and mouthfeel just by substituting some of the mayonnaise for cream cheese. And if you want to take this upgrade further up into the epicurean stratosphere, then give it a few pulses in your food processor before serving on a rich, buttery bread such as brioche or a croissant. 

Deviled egg salad is an upgrade anyone can relate to

Culinarily speaking, deviled eggs and egg salad are so closely related that the two can easily be confused with one another. That's what happened, for example, in the first published recipe for egg salad in American history, which called for hard-cooked egg yolks to be mashed with an oil-and-egg-based salad dressing and then stuffed back into the hard-cooked egg whites (via Bartleby). In fact, although the said dressing contained no paprika, it did contain a sprinkling of cayenne and a small dollop of mustard. In other words, while Fannie Farmer called her recipe "egg salad," it was, in reality, much closer to deviled eggs. 

So, in that spirit, why not whip up a batch of egg salad that is, in reality, much closer to deviled eggs? Simply start with your favorite basic egg salad recipe and toss in the same ingredients you would use to make deviled eggs. Usually, this includes at least mustard and paprika, but there is a wide berth here for extreme deviled-eggs creativity. If you want to upgrade to otherworldly, then make sure to add another secret deviled-eggs ingredient to really up your game.

Start your egg salad with fried eggs

Upgrading your egg salad with fried eggs, rather than the customary hard-cooked boiled eggs, can be a significant flavor upgrade if you're partial to runny yolk. But there's a secret benefit that no one seems to talk about when it comes to the meeting of fried eggs and classic egg salad, at least not until now. When you make your egg salad with fried eggs, you can be eating the finished meal within several minutes. The other way, you have to wait quite a while for the hard-boiling process, from getting the water to boil, to waiting for the eggs to cook, and then waiting again for the eggs to come back down to room temperature. That's to say nothing of the labor involved with peeling those cooled eggs, too.

So, perhaps give the fried-eggs egg salad upgrade a try one day when you just can't be bothered to take the time to your hard-cook your eggs. What you'll find is an egg salad, through and through, only one that's warm, silken, and comforting in a new way.