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Pickled Quails’ Eggs

This recipe was handed down to me from my grandmother and is a favourite in our house when we have a glut of quails eggs.

Pickled chickens eggs are very common in fish and chip shops in the UK but pickled quails eggs are much tastier! The chillies, cayenne pepper, mustard seeds and garlic in this recipe gives the eggs a bit of a kick too.


I find quails’ eggs difficult to peel but if you soak them in vinegar first for half an hour or so, they become much easier.


4 dozen quails’ eggs
750ml of White Wine Vinegar for the recipe and enough left over to soak the shells to help with peeling.
2 chillies
3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
10 whole allspice
4 teaspoons of salt
8 peeled garlic cloves
4 cloves
12 peppercorns

Boil all of the ingredients except the quail’s eggs in a saucepan then turn off the heat and allow them to cool. You should now leave this to stand for a few hours.

Boil the quails’ eggs for 3 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water, then transfer them immediately into a bowl of cold water to stop them from continuing to cook. Once they have cooled, drain the water and cover them with some white wine vinegar so that the shells can soften. This usually takes a couple of hours and the speckles will come off the egg shells. This doesn’t hurt the finished product though and my grandmother used to say wait until the freckles had come off before trying to peel them. When peeling the eggs, give them a squeeze and start at the broad end – this is the easiest way I have found.

Once peeled, place the quails’ eggs into jars – you must sterilise these first. My gran used to wash them with soapy water, rinse then heat them in the oven for 15 minutes, I find it easier to use the sterilizing powder from my home-brew kit before giving them a quick rinse. Fill the jars with the liquid (after it has stood for a couple of hours). Make sure all of the eggs are covered.

Wipe the jars, including the rims and seal with the lid. Your quails’ eggs will be ready to eat in about 3 weeks. They keep for about a year in the fridge or cool pantry providing the eggs are all covered by the liquid.


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