Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs

Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs


"One of my favorite dishes when I head back home; it combines hard-boiled eggs with the subtle flavor of anise and the deep brown hues of black tea and soy. The cracked patterns from the broken shells make these quite attractive! I eat these sliced in quarters and chilled as a side dish, appetizer, or snack. Recipe courtesy of Mom."

Ingredients 11 h 20 m {{adjustedServings}} servings 76 cals

Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 8 servings



Amount per serving ({{servings}} total)

  • Calories:
  • 76 kcal
  • 4%
  • Fat:
  • 5 g
  • 8%
  • Carbs:
  • 1.2g
  • < 1%
  • Protein:
  • 6.6 g
  • 13%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 186 mg
  • 62%
  • Sodium:
  • 659 mg
  • 26%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. In a large saucepan, combine eggs and 1 teaspoon salt; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and cool. When cool, tap eggs with the back of a spoon to crack shells (do not remove shells).
  2. In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups water, soy sauce, black soy sauce, salt, tea leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick, and tangerine zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Remove from heat, add eggs, and let steep for at least 8 hours.
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  • Notes
  • Eggs can steep up to 1 1/2 days for richer flavor. Store eggs unpeeled and tightly sealed in refrigerator. They will keep 4 to 5 days.
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Reviews 27

  1. 30 Ratings


Please note that the Chinese "dark/black" soy sauce is VERY different than the "light/regular" one. The dark soy has a sweeter flavor, while giving the color to the egg. It's not salty at all. So the "regular" soy sauce is actually the wrong one to use.


I fudged a bit and only used water, soy, Wort. sauce and tea leaves. Make sure the cracks in the eggs break the thin membrane between the shell and the egg otherwise you won't get the marbling.


This is one of those suprising recipes. You read it and think it just can't taste good, but it turns out remarkably well. I ommitted the black soy sauce since I don't know the difference. I let the eggs soak at least overnight in the refrigerator. I peel, slice lengthwise and place yolk side down on my most elegant glass platter. The appearance is of delicate marble eggs. Even kids love the taste. I call them 1000 year old eggs after the traditional Chinese dish...not the same at all, but they look antique!