Kitchen Tips

How to Make Chinese Tea Eggs

Tea eggs, also known as marble eggs, are typical Chinese savoury dishes mostly sold as a snack. A pre-boiled egg is cracked, and then boiled again in tea, sauce or spices. Tea eggs can be found in most Asian restaurants, although they were more commonly known to be sold by street vendors in night markets in Chinese communities.

Fragrant and packed with flavour, Chinese tea eggs are easy to make at home. They require a bit of waiting while the eggs stew to develop flavour, but aside from making a great presentation, they taste great.

The original recipe uses spices, soy sauce, and black tea leaves. But the real punch comes from the Chinese five-spice powder available in Asian markets.

The speciality of tea eggs is the wonderful patterns which form when the cracks allow the tea to seep through them, and present a beautiful pattern when you peel off the shell. The flavour depends on the type and strength of the tea, but usually, it is sweet and mild, challenging the salty tone of the five-spice powder.

Make Your Own: Chinese Tea Eggs

Chinese tea eggs

Image Courtesy: asiansupper used under the Creative Commons Licence

Chinese Tea Eggs: Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (1 tea bag) black tea leaves
  • 3 to 4 pieces of star anise
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 strips dried orange, mandarin, or tangerine peel
  • 1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Chinese Tea Eggs: Method

  • Place eggs in a pot and cover with about an inch of cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Rinse the eggs with cold water. Take each egg and tap them gently with the blunt end of a knife or the back of a spoon until the entire surface is cracked.
  • Return the eggs to the pot and refill with water, about one inch above the eggs.
  • Add soy sauce, salt, tea, star anise, cinnamon, orange peel, pepper, and sugar. Stir the mixture.
  • Bring the mixture back to boil, then reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Add more water as it simmers.
  • After simmering, steep the eggs in the tea broth overnight for a stronger flavour.

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