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Chinese Salty Eggs

Salty Yolk1 E1450814758887

Chinese Salty Eggs

To make traditional Chinese Mooncakes with egg yolks in the center, you need salty eggs.

To make salty eggs, you need 30 days.

Homemade mooncakes are so much better than processed store-bought mooncakes. I am not sure they are really even in the same category. We will talk “mooncakes” again soon.

Salty eggs are EASY! You need only eggs, salt, and patience. Salty eggs are used for much more than mooncakes, of course. They are boiled and chopped up to be added to rice dishes, including congee, as well as other foods… any place where you desire richness and a hit of salt.

After the 30-day brine, the yolk shrinks up a bit and becomes a beautiful bright golden orangy color. In a mooncake, this is, of course, the moon. The yolk begins to solidify, making it easy to transfer from the white. It should still be handled with care so that it does not crumble. It is a beautiful thing.

salty yolk2

On the left: salty eggs. On the right: a fresh egg.

brined vs not brined1

The white of the egg becomes more cloudy. And when hard boiled, it is silky and custardy, and of course, salty.chinesesaltyeggs2

Here’s How!

Chinese Salty Eggs


  • sea salt – use about one cup of salt for every 4 cups of water
  • water
  • 12 eggs, I am using chicken eggs, but duck eggs are commonly used and prized


In a sauce pot, heat water and salt until boiling. Reduce to simmer. Cook for about 5-10 minutes to help the salt to dissolve. It will not completely dissolve. That is okay. Remove salt water from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Wash fresh eggs with cool water and gently towel dry them. Place eggs into a container. Pour salted water over them. The eggs should be completely submerged. Place an appropriate-sized plate over the top to help the eggs sink under the water. Cover and seal the eggs. Place them somewhere out of the way, preferably in a cool tp room temp, dark place. Forget about them for 30 days.

If you want to peek, you can crack one open after 2 weeks to see how it is progressing. Go ahead and cook it up any way you like, and enjoy it with rice.

At the end of 30 days, gently rinse your salty eggs, discarding the salt water, and store them in the fridge.  Best if used within a couple of weeks.

You can boil the eggs whole, or you can remove the yolks for mooncakes.


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