Pickled Eggs - Include Sugar & Salt?

I’m want to make some “old fashioned” pickled eggs. What sounds good to me is just white wine vinegar, some beets, red onions, and peppercorns. I’ll heat all of that up together on the stove, and then pour it on top of the peeled and boiled eggs, in a sanitized jar.

What I’m wondering is, a lot of pickled egg recipes also call for salt and/or sugar. I don’t want them to be sweet, though. So, should I include any salt and/or sugar, or am I ok with just the ingredients that I described? I like sour a lot, so I’m not too concerned about them being too sour/vinegary, but I also don’t want them to come out so sour that you can’t eat them…

Also, if anyone has a very good recipe for pickled eggs that includes the ingredients that I mentioned, please let me know. As of now, I’m having to piece together a few different recipes to achieve what it is that I am trying to make.



My initial reflex is “pickled anything without salt doesn’t seem to make sense”. But that may just show that I have too narrow a view of what pickling is supposed to mean.

I don’t think sugar is normally considered an essential ingredient for pickling purposes, but is likely there to improve the taste, so my guess is that sugar in pickled anything ought to be optional depending on your preference. Beets have considerable sugar for a vegetable, so if you’re adding beets they may provide enough anyway.

Just watch, someone will come and show why I’m wrong.

Many of the recipes I’ve seen do not call for salt. With the vinegar, I don’t think it is REQUIRED. Might add some flavor, though.

As for the sugar, good point regarding the beets. Maybe I’ll be good only using those. It does only take a few slices though, and you simmer the beets in the vinegar before letting it cook, and then use a cheese cloth or sieve to pour the mixture into the jar, on top of the hard boiled and shelled eggs.

My quick and lazy look on Wikipedia led to a question that I suspect might turn your search in a better direction. There are several distinct styles of pickled eggs; once you figure out which style you’re really trying to make, I expect you’ll be able to intelligently narrow down the recipes by eliminating the ones that are for the other styles.

ETA: Even if it turns out your desired style is “a little of this plus a little of that”, knowing it will probably steer you in the right direction.

My grandmother made pink pickled eggs…my grandfather loved pickled beets, so she would buy a jar of pickled beets and use the brine from the beets to pickle the eggs.

Theres no heating…just out the hardboiled eggs into the jar, too up with white vinegar as needed, and let them sit in the fridge for a few days.

Ok, great. I’ll go with no salt or sugar then. Thanks everyone.

With a process this simple, you can afford to make an “Artisan Master Pickler’s Small-Batch Gourmet” jar with 2 eggs :grin:

That way you can perfect your recipe before making a lot.

My mother’s recipe for pink pickled eggs calls for both salt and sugar, but not a lot of either - just enough to take the edge off the vinegar. However, it also calls for fresh beets that then pickle along with the eggs, not canned pickled beets. If you use canned pickled beets, the pickling liquid will already contain salt and sugar, so you probably won’t need more.

We make lots of pickled beets using the Ball Blue Book recipe. The vinegar is diluted & we reduce the sugar quite a bit. No salt. I hard boil eggs, peel them &:put them in a container & add enough pickled beets to cover. After a day or two in the fridge they are classic Red-Beet Eggs. The salt & sugar are not essential to the pickling process & can be adjusted or eliminated to suit your taste.