Purpley-pink, protein-packed, and perfectly precious, these Beet Pickled Quail Eggs are an utter delight. Made with just about 10 minutes of active cook time and only 6 ingredients, these tiny little stunners are sure to add big flavor to any meal.
About This Recipe
Have you ever come across adorably tiny quail eggs before? They are sometimes for sale at my local farmer’s market, food co-op, or even Whole Foods, and whenever I pass them, I simply can’t help but buy a pack. They’re just so tiny and cute!
Oh, and in case you were wondering? Quail’s eggs taste a lot like regular chicken eggs. Anything normal eggs can do, quail eggs can do smaller. So with my most recent batch of mottled cream and brown babies, I couldn’t resist making one of my favorite snacks: pickled beet eggs.
A single chicken egg is roughly equivalent to 3-5 quail eggs, so these little guys are much less of a commitment than a whole pickled egg. (That said, I love pickled eggs, so the size has never been much of a deterrent for me!)
Because they’re so tiny, cooking quail eggs goes a lot faster than regular eggs. In fact, boiling quail eggs to a perfect hard boiled, pale yellow yolk takes just 5 minutes. By comparison, a soft boiled, runny yolked chicken egg takes 6 minutes.
As if that weren’t enough to love, peeling quail eggs is also way easier than chicken eggs! They have a much thicker membrane between the shell and the ovum, so everything peels off like a charm with almost zero dimpling or pockmarks.
So are you ready to dive into my briny pickled quail eggs recipe? I promise you’ll be satisfied with the tasty result.
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, you don’t need much for making my pickled quail egg recipe. Here’s your whole list:
- Quail Eggs - These dainty, delicate little eggs are perfectly adorable. Feel free to swap in larger chicken eggs if you prefer; just be sure to adjust your cook times accordingly.
- Water and Ice for Ice Bath - Not technically an ingredient, per se, but ice cold water is a very important to stop the eggs from overcooking. Make sure you have ample ice to get the water shockingly cold.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - I love the sweet, sour, vinegary bite of ACV. Feel free to swap in other acids like white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar instead.
- Champagne Vinegar - Delicate, fruity, and floral, champagne vinegar is one of my favorite bottles in the pantry. Again, feel free to experiment with other acids like white or rice wine vinegar instead.
- Beet Juice - Sweet, earthy, and impossibly red, beet juice gives these hot pink pickled eggs their vibrant hue. For more of a turmeric shade with a similar sweet and earthy profile, try swapping in carrot juice instead.
- Cardamom Pods & Peppercorns - For herbal warmth and a bit of a spicy kick. You’re welcome to experiment with other spices as you see fit! Read on under the “Optional Variations” tab below for some ideas to get you started.
Pickling quail eggs is a pretty simple endeavor that doesn’t require very much equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Saucepan - Make sure it’s big enough to fit your eggs and enough water to cover them by about 2 inches. Using a lid will help it come to a boil faster!
- Mixing Bowl - You’ll want one that is large enough to fit an ice bath that has space for all of your boiled quail eggs.
- Airtight Container - A mason jar is an obvious choice, but any airtight container will do.
How To Pickle Quail Eggs
Step 1: Hard Boil Quail Eggs. Place eggs in a small saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Shock Quail Eggs. Remove the cooked eggs with a slotted spoon and place them in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
Step 3: Peel eggs and place them in an airtight, glass container or glass jar.
Step 4: Add Brine (Pickling Liquid). Pour vinegars and beet juice over the quail eggs, then finish with cardamom pods and peppercorns.
Step 5: Marinate. Allow the eggs to pickle for about 8 hours before enjoying!
While I love these beet pickled quail egg recipe just the way it is, there are plenty of ways to tweak it to your liking. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Make them jammy. If you like your yolks soft, follow the chart below for instructions on how to soft- or medium-boil the eggs.
- Swap in different liquids. Different vinegars can be traded in for different flavors. Beet juice can be replaced by other veggie juice for different colors. You can also swap in dry wine for one of the liquids if you’d like!
- Try a different spice blend. Adding whole garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, or other whole spices is an easy way to tweak the flavor of these tiny beet pickled eggs.
- Make them big. Can’t find quail eggs? This recipe will totally work for full-sized chicken eggs, too! Just be sure to adjust the cooking time to match their much larger size.
Because they’re so tiny, it’s kind of hard to gauge how long to boil quail eggs. As such, I thought it’d be helpful to give you a quick rundown:
For soft-boiled quail eggs, boil for 2 minutes before removing to an ice bath.
For medium-boiled quail eggs, boil for 3-3.5 minutes before removing to an ice bath.
For hard-boiled quail eggs, boil for 5 minutes before removing to an ice bath.
How long will pickled quail eggs last? These miniature bites of goodness can last for about 3-4 months in the refrigerator. That said, I think they are at their best within the first 2 months.
Do you have to refrigerate pickled quail eggs? Yes! Unless you’re very familiar with canning, I suggest you avoid trying to make these quail eggs shelf-stable. Besides, you can start eating them just 8 hours after you place them in the brine, and once a jar of pickled eggs is open, it should be refrigerated anyway.
Why are my pickled eggs rubbery? When egg proteins come into contact with a highly acidic brine for too long, they’ll start to get kind of tough. As a result, I like to make my pickling solution with beet juice to both add a gorgeous color to the eggs, but also to increase the pH of the juice so the eggs don’t get rubbery.
Frequently Asked Questions
They are the small, edible eggs of any type of quail, which are tiny, edible birds.
Bobwhite quail eggs or button quail eggs are the most widely available varieties, but any type should work equally well. Please note that many quail eggs are not pasteurized, so they should either be cooked until fully hard boiled (where the yolks are completely set) or should be avoided by pregnant people, small children, and the immunocompromised.
By volume, quail eggs are actually more nutrient dense than chicken eggs. They provide a healthy dose of vitamin B12, selenium, riboflavin, choline and iron, among other nutrients. They’re also a great source of protein!
They sure can! And they can also eat the shells you peel off after hard-boiling; they’re an egg-celent source of calcium.
More Appetizer Recipes
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Pickled Quail Eggs
- Mixing Bowl
- Airtight Container
- 12-15 Quail Eggs
- Water and Ice for Ice Bath
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Champagne VInegar
- ⅓ cup Beet Juice
- 8 Cardamom pods
- 1 Tablespoon Peppercorns
- Place quail eggs in a saucepan and add water, filling so that the water is 2 inches higher than the quail eggs.12-15 Quail Eggs
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Place cooked eggs in an ice bath (cold water & ice in a bowl) to stop them from cooking further.Water and Ice for Ice Bath
- Peel quail eggs and place them in an airtight container.
- Pour apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar and beet juice over the quail eggs finishing with cardamom pods and peppercorns!2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Champagne VInegar, ⅓ cup Beet Juice, 8 Cardamom pods, 1 Tablespoon Peppercorns
- Allow the eggs to pickle for about 8 hours before enjoying!
- How long will pickled quail eggs last? These miniature bites of goodness can last for about 3-4 months in the refrigerator. That said, I think they are at their best within the first 2 months.
- Do you have to refrigerate pickled quail eggs? Yes! Unless you’re very familiar with canning, I suggest you avoid trying to make these quail eggs shelf-stable. Besides, you can start eating them just 8 hours after you place them in the brine, and once a jar of pickled eggs is open, it should be refrigerated anyway.
- Why are my pickled eggs rubbery? When egg proteins come into contact with a highly acidic brine for too long, they’ll start to get kind of tough. As a result, I like to make my pickling solution with beet juice to both add a gorgeous color to the eggs, but also to increase the pH of the juice so the eggs don’t get rubbery.