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chinese tea eggs

Chinese Tea Eggs are a traditional Chinese treat that you can easily make at home.

chinese tea eggs

chinese tea eggsYes, they’re edible and no, they aren’t diseased.

How cool do these look?! It might only be me but I think they look like art or something intricately handmade. The marbling/spider web effect is so awesome. I almost didn’t want to even eat them because they’re just so neat to stare at haha

These cool looking eggs are Chinese tea eggs. Chinese tea eggs are a traditional Chinese treat commonly sold by street vendors or at night markets. I personally have never had them like this before, I’ve only just had it after the egg has been steeped with the ro-zao.

The process of making these is fairly easy but requires a bit of time. You don’t have to physically do anything because it’s mostly letting the egg sit in the tea and five spice mixture, but you still have to baby it and watch over it to make sure it doesn’t boil over, etc. It takes a bit of time because you want it to develop flavor. The longer it sits in the tea mixture, the more it allows the spiced fluid to seep into the cracks and marinate the eggs inside their shells.

What do they taste like? They have a savory taste to them. It’s actually very hard to describe unless you’ve tasted one before (sorry — you’ll just have to make some ;)). It has both flavors of the tea and five spice. The tea is subtle, but it also depends on which tea (the type and strength) and the variety of spices used. Five-spice powder adds a savory, slightly salty tone to the white, and the tea should bring out the yolk’s flavor.

chinese tea eggs
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 eggs
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. black tea leaves
  • 2 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  1. In a large pot, cover your eggs with cold water and bring the water to a boil then let simmer for 12 minutes.
  2. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon but keep the cooking water.
  3. With a spoon, tap the eggs all around until it's covered in cracks.
  4. In the same pot with the cooking water, add in the tea leaves, five spice powder and salt and return the eggs to the water.
  5. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer and let steep for 1 hour.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat after 1 hour and let the eggs cool down with the liquid for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the eggs from the liquid and put them in a bowl and run them under cold water just enough so you can handle them.
  8. Gently peel off the egg shells and stare in awe at your creation :)
  9. To serve, you can either slice the egg in half or in quarters or just take bites out of the whole egg. It's best served chilled, but if you can't wait that long, it's okay to eat it warm too.



  1. 11/17/2011 at 12:33 pm

    These are amazing!

  2. 11/17/2011 at 5:11 pm

    These look so cool…I am so intrigued to know what they taste like!

  3. 11/17/2011 at 5:28 pm

    Wow these are so impressive looking! Great photos. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Lee
    11/17/2011 at 10:52 pm

    I’ve made these a couple of times, but I added star anise to the recipe. Absolutely incredible.

  5. They are so pretty! I think I’d want to like, put them on my mantle or something, but due to my undying love of eggs, they’d never have a chance as decor.

    • 11/18/2011 at 9:04 am

      Haha, I know what you mean — I didn’t want to eat them cause they looked so pretty!

  6. 11/20/2011 at 9:32 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Chines eggs- these are beautiful! Fabulous!

  7. 11/25/2011 at 1:00 pm

    Really gorgeous. I would think that cooking them for that amount of time would make them taste super sulphurous. Does the tea and five spice mask that?

    Ryan Velilla

    • 11/25/2011 at 3:48 pm

      Doesn’t taste sulfurous at all.The five spice is the majority of the taste, although it’s subtle so it’s not too powerful.

  8. 08/14/2013 at 11:37 pm

    this is great! i have been looking for an recipe for tea egg!
    when i serve them i like to make a spicy sasue for it.
    combine soy sauce paste, couple drop of chilly oil, minced garlic, drops of seaseme oil, and the chopped green tips of the green onions, and have that with the egg!

  9. sara
    09/16/2013 at 11:38 pm

    I really want to make these! May I know what Chinese Five Spice Powder you use and if I could use tea bags instead of leaves?

    Thank you!

    • 09/17/2013 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Sara, I don’t remember the brand that I used. I just got it at the Asian grocery store. You can use tea bags instead of leaves, although the flavor might not be as strong.


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