The Best Classic Egg Salad, Thick and Not Runny
It just wouldn’t be spring without recipes that focus on eggs plus so many other cold salads made from fresh-grown ingredients! From potato salad to cucumber salad, to pasta salad . . . they’re all so delicious and easy to prepare. Added to that list is what we believe is the Best Classic Egg Salad ever. This is nothing fancy, and you don’t want a classic recipe to be fancy. You want it to consist of the essential key ingredients allowing them to shine together without being overcast by other unnecessary ingredients.
Oh yes, I’ve got some great variations on this classic recipe and I’ll list them at the end. But for now, this egg salad recipe is the real deal and a reader favorite too!
So back to summer days of blue skies, lazy afternoons, picnics with blankets under the canopy of a shady tree . . . got the picture? Maybe even hanging out in a boat gently lapping in the cool water of a lake. Now you’re talking!
There’s only one more thing to add . . . a picnic basket. With this classic egg salad tucked inside! You’ll want to whip up this salad all summer long in fact!
The SECRETS on How to Prevent Egg Salad from Getting Runny and Liquid-y:
So many people make egg salad and end up with a watered-down, soupy version of what is supposed to be thick and creamy. After years of preparing this delicious classic salad, I’ve figured it out and I’m here to share with you!
Use more eggs than the recipe calls for because it is the egg yolks that act as a thickening agent.
Just before cutting/chopping your eggs, take a few clean paper towels and gently dry the eggs.
Add 3 Tbsp. of barely-softened cream cheese to your liquid dressing ingredients (the mayo, mustard, etc.).
When adding the dressing to the eggs, onions, celery, etc. use ½ of the dressing first . . . check on the thickness and consistency. If you want it thicker, add more dressing. This is done like this, because if you add to much liquidy dressing, you can’t take it back out.
Refrigerating egg salad also thickens it up a little bit, but it’s the first 3 tips that will help you the most.
Some people recommend adding a teaspoon or so, but we don’t prefer that texture in egg salad. It’s up to you.
Tips for Making the Best Classic Egg Salad
- We prefer egg salad that has large chunks of chopped-up hard-boiled eggs. This gives your salad more texture as you bite into it. The same goes for the celery and green onions.
- We highly recommend using Hellmann’s mayonnaise, but we’re big fans of Miracle Whip that we use on occasion when we want that extra tang that Miracle Whip has.
- Mix all of the wet ingredients together for the dressing and then add everything together while the eggs are still a little warm to help the flavors marry together better.
- Egg salad is at its best flavor when served cold, so place it in the refrigerator as soon as you have everything mixed together. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Get ahead of your dining event and boil your eggs up to 2 days before!
- If your egg salad is too runny, just add more chopped hard-boiled eggs. You can also put the egg salad back into the refrigerator as the cold can help firm up the mayonnaise, and stir before serving.
2 Ways To Avoid Getting a Green Ring in Hard-Boiled Eggs:
You definitely want to avoid this very unsightly result when boiling eggs!
The Green Ring!
When you chop your eggs in this condition, this is what they look like (below) that carries over into your egg salad!
Very unappealing to say the least, wouldn’t you say?
#1 (but not the best way)
- Place eggs in a medium to large saucepan and cover with water having 1 – 2″ of water above the eggs.
- Turn on the stove to “high”.
- When the water comes to a point where the boiling begins . . . Turn the stove burner off.
- REMOVE the pan from the stove
- Cover with a lid (a must).
- Allow the eggs to cook in this state for 10 minutes.
- Under cold running water, peel the shell off of the eggs.
- Chill until ready to use/serve.
#2 (I swear this is the best way)
- Fill a medium to large saucepan with water, up to half or 2/3rds full.
- Turn on the stove to “high” and bring the water to a rolling boil.
- With a spider strainer or large slotted spoon, gently place the eggs in the boiling water without dropping them in the pot.
- Turn the stove heat down so that the water is still boiling, but not so hot that it boils over the pot onto the stovetop.
- Boil the eggs for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot of eggs; take to the sink with cold running water pouring into the pot until the hot water becomes cold.
- Under the cold running water, take one egg at a time and gently crack against a hard surface. With your fingertip or clean fingernail, get under the clear sheathy film that lies between the egg white and the egg shell. Once you’ve found that filmy layer, use your thumb and index finger to gently peel off the shell.
- Chill until ready to use/serve.
This classic egg salad recipe is the perfect no-fuss recipe for packing for lunch too.
But as I said, you can get as creative as you want with seasonings and mixed-in ingredients, all using this perfect base recipe.
Ways You Can Be Creative with Egg Salad:
- add pickle relish, or crunchy chopped up pickles themselves,
- chopped cherry tomatoes
- add chopped cucumbers
- add chopped bell peppers (red, green, or yellow)
- add chopped bacon
- add chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
- add chunks of avocado
- add a bit of horseradish and/or radishes for a peppery bite
- use assorted herbs and seasonings such as tarragon, chives, parsley, cilantro, cayenne, cumin, curry, and of course, our fave: garlic powder
- use whole grain mustard instead
- you can even substitute a plain full-fat Greek yogurt for mayonnaise if you prefer.
How Long Does Egg Salad Keep?
Store classic egg salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no longer than 2 days.
How Much Egg Salad Should You Make Per Person?
Your guests will appreciate being served one cup of egg salad on a bed of lettuce. In a sandwich, a half cup is better so that the salad doesn’t completely fall out of the bread. I really enjoy serving egg salad with croissants. Always tuck some crisp leafy lettuce leaves inside an egg salad sandwich for some extra crunch. Whether you toast your bread or not is entirely up to you. Untoasted, the bread could possibly get soggy, but no one ever eats these sammies slowly enough for the dressing to water down over time. They disappear in a flash!
The great thing about a classic egg salad is how versatile it is beyond summer potlucks and picnics!
- Cut a sandwich into quarters, remove the crust, and you’ve got some delicious tea sandwiches for a luncheon or brunch!
- Dolloped on top of round crackers, and you’ve got a great appetizer!
- Served with celery and carrot sticks. *
- Served inside cherry tomatoes or mini-peppers! *
* both for lower-carb options instead of bread
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- 8 whole eggs in shell + 4 more for a thicker egg salad
- 4 quarts of water
- 4 stalks celery, sliced thin lengthwise and then chopped into 1/4” pieces
- 1 cup sliced green onion, including the green stems
- 1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise, (for more tang, use Miracle Whip)
- 3 Tbsp. slightly softened cream cheese
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp regular mustard
- 1 Tbsp minced celery seed
- 1/3 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- optional: 1/8 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- optional: a few pinches of pepper (white or black)
- Fill a tall pot with water about ⅔ rds full and bring to a boil.
- With a slotted spoon or a spider whisk, gently place the eggs on the bottom of the pot in the boiling water. Do not drop the eggs in the water, to avoid cracking them.
- Bring the water back to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
- While the eggs are boiling, prepare the dressing: Combine the mayonnaise, cream cheese, both mustards, celery seed, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and (optional) lemon juice, together with a whisk, and set aside.
- With a slotted spoon or spider whisk, remove the eggs and place in a bowl in the sink with running cold water.
- One egg at a time, under the cold running water, gently tap the egg against the side of a clean sink and remove the shell. See Tip below **
- Allow the peeled eggs to cool in the bowl of cold water.
- Slice the eggs in 1/4″ slices and then slice in the opposite directions into 3rds.
- Add the chopped eggs to the chopped onions and chopped celery. Gently mix together.
- Gently fold dressing into the egg mixture until well blended. Use about ½ of the dressing first, check for the consistency/thickness of the egg salad that you desire. Add more if it is too thick for your preference.
- Taste, adjust your seasonings to your preferences, and then taste again.
- Serve either on top of a bed of fresh lettuce or in a sandwich with crisp lettuce.
- GARNISH (optional): Ground paprika, chopped green onion stems, minced parsley.
- Enjoy this delicious egg salad!
- TIP: There is a tiny clear membrane between the shell and the cooked egg white. Gently tug at that and the eggshell will slip right off. If that clear membrane/film is left on, you’ll tug and tug and rip up the entire egg.
- This egg salad can be made ahead and chilled in the fridge, but don’t allow it to sit for more than an hour or so since the dressing will get weepy and the consistency will no longer be creamy.
- Add the dressing mixture a little at a time to achieve your desired level of creaminess vs. dryness of the amount of dressing. If you like it more creamy, use more of the dressing. But if you like it more thick, use more of the dressing mixture.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 165
- Sugar: 0
- Sodium: 135
- Fat: 15
- Saturated Fat: 3
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 0
- Fiber: 0
- Protein: 5
- Cholesterol: 169
Keywords: egg salad, egg, salad
This recipe originally appeared on La Bella Vita Cucina in 2009
photo from the original post on La Bella Vita Cucina in 2009; updated in 2023