Five-Spice Tea Eggs (五香茶葉蛋)


Tea eggs have long been a popular savory snack in China. The secret lies in the cracking of the egg shells and the steeping of the eggs in a soy sauce and black tea mixture with five-spice powder. You can purchase five-spice power from an Asian grocery store, online or make your own.

Prep Time:  15 min     Cook Time: 30 min      

Marinate Time: 6 hours


  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoon black tea leaves or 4 tea bags
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon five-spice powder (including star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and peppercorns)
  • 2 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorn
  • 2 teaspoon sugar


  • Cover eggs with water in a pot, and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat to medium low and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Remove eggs using a slotted spoon, but keep the boiling water in the pot.
  • Rinse the eggs with cold water.
  • Once cooled, tap gently the egg shells with the back of a spoon until it is covered by cracks . (The more cracks, the richer the chestnut coloring and the more the marbling patterns the egg will have.)
  • Return the cracked eggs to the pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients into the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let steep for at least 6 hours.
  • Eat as a whole as snack or cut into smaller pieces as side dishes.

Chinese tea eggs cut


  • Sichuan peppercorn is available in Chinese grocery stores or online spice specialty stores.
    It has a very unique flavor and is difficult to substitute. For each tablespoon of Szechuan peppercorns, you can try 2 teaspoon black peppercorns plus 1 teaspoon finely granted lemon zest for substitution.
  • Black tea is typically used for tea eggs, although you can explore any teas with flavors you like.



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