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How to Make Marbled Tea Eggs

Close up photo of marbled tea egg showing brown lines along cracked area

I recently discovered something incredible: marbled tea eggs. I absolutely adore eggs, but transforming them into marbled tea eggs takes them to a completely different level. Tea eggs are a traditional food throughout China, commonly sold by street vendors. There are many variations since each family makes their tea egg recipe a little bit differently, but they all contain black tea, soy sauce, and spices.

Not only are these eggs stunning to look at, but their slightly spicy and sweet flavor will convert any hard boiled egg cynic into a loyal fan. The sweetness of the licorice draws you in, and the light spice of the cinnamon and black pepper entice your taste buds to come back for more. I brought a batch into the office, and they were gone in mere moments!

I’m already dreaming of all the potlucks that I’ll be taking these to this summer, and have been envisioning ways to make them into the prettiest and tastiest deviled eggs ever. They are delicious when enjoyed alone, and would be a perfect addition to salads, ramen or miso soup, or rice dishes. They would also be such a gorgeous accompaniment to any meal, celebration, or herbal egg decoration party!

Adding spoonful of herbs and tea to a teapot on the burner near ingredients for marbled tea eggs

I based my recipe on the several I found online, but couldn’t resist the temptation to add some adaptogenic licorice and eleuthero rootsAs the marinade simmered away, an intoxicating aroma filled the house and several curious noses wandered in and could not believe I was cooking eggs. Feel free to play around with the spices to create your own version of this delectable treat. The inside of each tea egg is different. Carefully crack them open to reveal their unique design!

Marbled tea eggs laying out on napkins with shells semi-cracked

Marbled Tea Egg Recipe



  1. Place eggs in sauce pan.
  2. Cover completely with cold water, submerging eggs by at least 1 inch.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the eggs and rinse in cold water.
  6. Once eggs are cool enough to handle, gently crack eggshells using the back of a teaspoon.
  7. Return cracked eggs to the pot, cover completely with water.
  8. Add remaining ingredients.
  9. Bring to a boil.
  10. Lower heat and simmer for an hour.
  11. Periodically turn eggs over.
  12. Add more water if necessary to ensure eggs are always submerged.
  13. Remove pot from heat.
  14. Cover with lid.
  15. Place pot in refrigerator.
  16. Leave eggs to steep overnight or longer in marinade.
  17. Carefully remove shells to reveal each egg's unique design.
  18. Will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Pro Tips

  • During step six the more you crack, the more intricate the design will be. Make sure to crack the entire perimeter of the egg while being careful not to break the shell completely off.
  • In step ten, the longer your eggs simmer and marinate, the more intense the tea staining and savory flavor will be. The eggs in these photos were simmered for an hour and marinated for 24 hours.


Looking for more ways to beautify your spring eggs?

Learn How to Color Eggs with Herbs!

Hand holding spoon using utensil to crack marbled tea egg in palm of hand

This blog was originally published in 2012. Because it's so popular, we decided to update it for you. Enjoy! 

Topics: Culinary, Recipes


Written by Irene on March 13, 2018

Irene, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, supervises the daily operations of all our customer-facing activities at Mountain Rose Herbs. Her extensive experience with herbal products and DIY recipes goes back to 1997, and since 2012 she’s owned her own skincare business where she specializes in botanical-based facial care products. Irene’s recipes have been featured in local and national publications including the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) Journal, Amaze Magazine, Willow and Sage magazine, MaryJanesFarm Magazine and Newsletter, Earth First Journal, Farming Magazine, Eugene Magazine, and the Eugene Weekly. Irene also served as a member of the Board of Directors for nonprofit Cascadia Wildands from 2013-2016. When she isn’t ensuring your experience aligns with the goals and mission of our company, she can be found taking care of her adorable twin boys, harvesting wild plants, and gardening.

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