Virginia Willis Blog

Most Delicious Deviled Eggs

Spring Flowers

I took the above photograph a few weeks ago at the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market. It was a rainy Saturday morning, overcast and cool. The light can be so nice on days like that. I just love this photo, but I can’t claim too much credit. At this farmer’s market, like many, there was not much to do. Just point and shoot! I would really like to take photography classes. (In my spare time! Ok – maybe a reward for when I complete my second book proposal.)

These deviled eggs are amazing. It’s very important to puree the yolk mixture completely, and really I prefer using a sieve or tamis. This prevents lumps and makes the mixture so much smoother as well as prettier. This is another one of those recipes that there are very few ingredients which makes the technique is so important.

I made these once for a political fundraiser at my friend Melita Easter’s house, attended by the governor of Georgia, who stood there and practically ate the whole plate. The secret is butter, a tip I picked up in culinary school that takes this Southern staple from delicious to sublime and renders people unable to use the sense God gave a cat to stop eating.

If you don’t have a specially designed plate for serving deviled eggs, with cuplike indentations to keep the eggs from rolling, simply trim off a sliver from the bottom of the cooked white before you fill the eggs with the yolk mixture. Garnish the platter with leaves of butter lettuce or herbs and nestle the filled eggs in the greenery.

This won’t help you on Sunday afternoon or Monday, but know for the future that very fresh eggs are difficult to peel. Buy and refrigerate eggs about seven days in advance of cooking. This allows the eggs to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shells.

Happy Easter and best wishes for a lovely weekend.

Bon Appétit, Y’all!



Deviled Eggs

Yield: makes 2 dozen


12 large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, chives, or chervil, plus leaves for garnish


  1. To hard-cook the eggs, place the eggs in a saucepan and add water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat (you will see bubbles around the sides of the pot). Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain the eggs and rinse them under cold running water. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. To peel the eggs, once the eggs have cooked and cooled, remove the shells by tapping each egg gently on the counter or sink all over to crackle it. Roll an egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Peel, starting at the large end, while holding the egg under running cold water; this facilitates peeling and also removes any stray shell fragments.
  3. To prepare the filling, halve the peeled eggs lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks. Set the whites aside. Pass the yolks through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or place them in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Blend the yolks, mayonnaise, butter, mustard, and cayenne, and mix until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Add the finely chopped tarragon.
  4. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, or use a medium sealable plastic bag with one of the corner tips snipped off.
  5. To assemble the eggs, when ready to serve, pipe the yolk mixture into the whites. Garnish with additional herbs and serve immediately.
  6. making ahead: Unpeeled hard-cooked eggs can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Or prepare the eggs, but don’t assemble, up to 8 hours in advance of serving; refrigerate the whites covered with a damp towel in an airtight plastic container. Store the egg-yolk mixture in the piping bag with the tip also covered in a damp paper towel. Knead the yolk mixture slightly to soften before filling the yolks. The eggs may also be assembled and stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Any longer and the yolk mixture starts to form a crust.

Bon Appétit Y’all © 2009

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20 Responses to “Most Delicious Deviled Eggs”

  1. Excited to try these out in the near future! Next time you’re in Charleston, stop by for a quick photography lesson (I’m a photographer!). You’re on the right track!

  2. Becky Catrett

    Tried these for my husband and he said they were the best. It is funny as I always dread making them since they are not one of my favorites. Easy and I will make them for him again. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Hey Virginia,
    Congratulations on the new blog. I am looking forward to reading more…will have to give the butter a try in my next batch of devilled eggs.

  4. Good Easter Monday morning Miss VA!

    Am so excited for all the good stuff that is comin’ your way. Loved the foto also. Are you local now? xo

  5. Hi Virginia,
    Nice Blog! I agree with you about adding the butter. This morning I got up early to please my daughter’s request for Deviled eggs and it was nice to read about a recipe I just made today. I also like to sprinkle them with Paprika.

  6. Lawrence Hyde

    Can’t wait to try them. If Miss V says add the butter — then I’m up for it. Happy Easter

  7. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about deviled eggs, but thanks to you I now know more. The slicing off a little bit to keep them from rolling (I have a deviled egg plate but can’t always find it); the “stored eggs are best” note; the 2 hour time window, and the butter. Good to know, and because V. Willis wrote it, i laughed out loud while learning — the cat reference, of course. Blog on, you’re a wonderful read.

  8. Looks just delicious. Just finished an olive oil tasting at Savor and am off to my sister’s for Easter fun. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Give a call sometime. Beverly

  9. Ray Overton

    Great blog! Of course, I would not expect anything less coming from you. You truly have a unique culinary voice and style of writing. And the secret ingredient: unsalted butter, I am going to do that tomorrow. Happiest of Easters and the best of Spring. I cannot wait to come and take a class from you! xox :0) RO

  10. Lynda Sanders

    Great Southern Secret!! I’ve used butter in my recipe for years. I have another little “secret” for mine….sugar! When anyone hears what’s in my recipe they usually say “yuck….butter….sugar…” however, there is NEVER a deviled egg left!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe…..some “secrets” are best shared!
    Happ EASTER!

  11. Loved the picture also. Thanks for the recipes. Glad you are now blogging. I look forward to more. Thanks again.


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