13 Spices That Will Elevate Your Egg Salad Sandwich

Who says eggs are just for breakfast? Savory quiches, rich shakshuka and biryani, and creamy frittatas are all incredible ways to enjoy eggs throughout the day. So, too, is something as simple and classic as a majestic egg salad. The dish is typically made with around six eggs that have been hard-boiled, peeled, and finely chopped. The chunks of egg are then mixed with ¼ cup of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Egg salad is great on its own but can also be used in sandwiches, as a filling for wraps or lettuce rolls, or even spread on crackers or toast. From its simple base, this delicious treat can also be customized and made crunchier, spicier, or even zestier with a variety of add-ins. You might stir some diced avocado or celery into your egg salad. Or, you could fold in chunks of ham or even luxurious smoked salmon. Capers and sun-dried tomatoes also make "eggcellent" egg salad additions.

And to really elevate your egg salad, don't forget the power of spices. You can stir ¼ to ½ teaspoon — or more — of dried spice into any egg salad as you make it, dramatically changing its flavor profile and texture in a matter of seconds. While an almost infinite number of spices pair well with eggs, here are a dozen of our favorite suggestions to help get you started. Say goodbye to that basic and rustic "beginner" egg salad, and hello to a scrumptious and magnificent egg-forward meal.


From pasta salad to egg salad to chicken and tuna salad, relish is an incredibly popular addition to almost all types of mayo-based salad recipes. Those chunks of diced, pickled cucumber, onion, and sweet peppers pair perfectly with the tart creaminess of mayonnaise. But with egg salad in particular, a luscious relish also has some drawbacks as an additive. It can bring in too much moisture, turning your salad into a runny mush. Relish is also often filled with sugar and can introduce added sweetness to an egg salad — a quality that may not always be the flavor you are looking to create.

That's why dried dill is such a good alternative. It brings the fragrant herb's unique earthy, crisp, and grassy taste to egg salad without any unwanted moisture or sugar. Dried dill also lets you more precisely control just how much dill flavor you want in your egg salad without otherwise altering the sweetness or texture of the dish. Start with ½ a teaspoon, mix it into your egg salad and taste. Then, if you want more dill goodness, keep adding as needed until you strike just the right flavorful balance.

Celery seed

When it comes to adding flavor to egg salad, celery seed is another wonderful option. These tiny brown seeds are packed with celery's unique and distinctive flavor but in a more concentrated and slightly more palatable form. They don't have the bite or aftertaste you sometimes get from eating fresh celery. Plus, they're a phenomenal way to add a light and mild crunch to egg salad instead of the watery (and uber-crunchy) texture you get from even the finest diced fresh celery. Let's be honest: there's no way to add fresh celery to egg salad without creating a dramatically different dish — those crunchy chunks are simply inescapable. But celery seed gives you that celery flavor goodness without dramatically altering the texture of your egg and mayo mixture.

With your celery seed added to your egg salad, and the dish now slightly more zesty, bitter, and complex, use it as a fantastic addition to green salad. Spoon some over a bed of mixed greens and diced tomatoes, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Or, if you have company coming over or are hosting a dinner, try putting dollops of the egg salad on slices of zucchini and cucumber for a light and elegant appetizer that's sure to impress friends and family. And of course, it's also the essential ingredient for egg salad sammies. Pair it with a tangy, sour rye or molasses-infused pumpernickel, and let the rich, delicious flavors wash over you.


Turmeric is known for its historic culinary roots — it's a spice favorite dating back centuries in both Chinese and Indian cuisine. It's also highly regarded as one of the healthiest spices around. But the real reason you should consider adding a dash or two of turmeric to your egg salad is just because it tastes so darn good.

For starters, turmeric is a beautiful addition to the dish visually. It imbues egg salad with a rich, vibrant yellow-gold color. As for taste, egg salad with a teaspoon or 2 of added turmeric possesses hints of woodiness and earthy, warming spice. You might notice undertones of pepper and tang, but neither of those flavors will overpower the egg. Instead, they help to balance it out, making those whites and yolks seem even sweeter and creamier.

For an even richer and more robust "turmeric-infused" egg salad, consider toasting your turmeric before you add it to the salad. The toasting process is quick and easy. Put a dry skillet on the stove with no oil added and let it warm over medium heat. Then, add your turmeric powder. Spread it in a thin layer to ensure even toasting, and let cook for two to three minutes or until you notice a distinct change in the spice's color or aroma. Once toasted, let the turmeric cool, and then add it to your egg salad, mixing it in like normal.

Curry powder

Turmeric and curry powder are close relatives that share a long culinary lineage. But while turmeric is an individual spice that comes from the root of one specific plant (the Curcuma longa), curry is a blend of a variety of different spices — turmeric plus other tasty favorites like coriander, cumin, red chili powder, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and more. Try a few curry varieties as you pick your go-to option. Recipes can vary widely, and one curry may taste nothing like another.

As a spice, the medley of ingredients in curry powder is used to add body, heat, and a touch of umami flavor to foods. You'll notice hints of sweetness and heat, along with deep, robust earthiness and savoriness as well. And those varied and unique flavors all shine bright when curry powder is added to any egg salad. You'll end up with a fusion of flavors that's warm and comforting on the tongue, that wraps your body in gentle heat as you eat, and that fills the house with the bold aroma of pepper and spice. In many ways, curry powder is more than just a spice. It's a journey. And it's something that can only make your egg salad —and all those egg salad sandwiches you make with it — better and even more delicious.

Smoked paprika

Like turmeric and curry powder, paprika may possess a deep, rich color that's beautiful to look at. But that's really where the similarities between these potent spices end. After all, paprika has Spanish and Latin American roots. It has a very different origin story than either curry or turmeric. And it tastes completely different. Made from peppers that are dried and ground — and sometimes smoked, depending on the type of paprika you buy — the spice is ideal for adding rich, earthy tones to egg salad. You get the bold, hearty essence of peppers, without the heat that can leave you scrambling for a glass of milk to cool down your scorched tongue.

Stirred into egg salad as you make it or sprinkled on top of the salad before it's served, paprika gives the dish nuance and a bit of woodsy complexity, almost as if it had been in front of a roaring campfire. To truly celebrate those marvelous, savory flavors, serve your paprika egg salad on a tapas platter surrounded with chorizo, olives, and manchego cheese. Use it as a dip for crispy, freshly toasted pita chips. Or, stir some diced chicken into your paprika egg salad mixture and then fold that filling into a wrap made with some lettuce and your favorite flour tortilla, and you've got one incredible, portable lunch to go.


For something altogether different than paprika, look no further than saffron — another peerless spice that is perfect for elevating foods of all types, including egg salads. Made from the "stigmas" or the vibrant inner "strands" that poke out of the middle of the lilac-colored saffron crocus flower, saffron is one of the rarest and most expensive spices in the world. It's harvested by hand in a highly labor-intensive process, and each flower only produces a few stigmas, so it takes thousands of blooms to get even a pound of the spice.

But all that work is worth it. Saffron brings lovely floral and honey-like notes to any food it touches, including egg salad. Stirring even a tiny amount of spice into egg salad as you make it can turn a potential "good" dish into something extraordinary. Saffron brings hints of sweetness but also bitterness along with that floral profile, balancing eggs and making their flavor brighter and even more enticing. Think of an egg salad with the warm glow of honey and just the slightest hint of floral depth — definitely a winner and something everybody should try at least once.

Mustard powder

Prepared mustard (or mustard in condiment form) is already a common ingredient in many traditional egg salads, so why consider adding even more dried or ground mustard to your egg salad? The reason is simple: more mustard flavor.

Prepared mustard has the same problem as relish that we mentioned earlier. It brings other flavors and ingredients into your dish that you may not be looking for. That's because prepared mustard is typically mixed with things like vinegar, turmeric, and sometimes even sugar, food coloring, and more. Mustard spice, in contrast, is 100% pure ground mustard seeds. So, if you want to pack your egg salad with the wonderful tang and bite of mustard, opting for the ground spice and not the stuff in the jar is definitely the route to take.

You can use 1 or more teaspoons of ground mustard to start as you are making your egg salad. Or try a blend of prepared mustard plus added ground mustard to taste. That way, you get the best of both ingredients in your egg salad — that tartness and acidic bite of the prepared mustard plus even more fire, spice, and mustard-forward heat from the ground mustard. Yum.


Cumin is an unusual spice. It pops up in all types of different recipes, from roast chicken to tacos and fajitas — even hearty old-school chili con carne. But despite its prevalence in so many varied meals that are all over the culinary map, it can be hard to explain precisely what cumin brings to food. Some have described it as a "warm spice blanket" that wraps food in comfort. Others swear by the earthy, slightly citrusy, slightly nutty flavor it imparts. However you describe it, there's no debating the valuable impact cumin can have on the flavor of any dish, egg salad included.

Stirring 1 to 2 teaspoons of cumin into egg salad is an outstanding way to bring depth and hints of pepper, smoke, and mild bitterness to egg salad. Despite its bland, "boring" brown appearance, cumin is a relative of parsley — the seeds of the plant are harvested and ground into a fine powder — so thinking about that relationship (and the overall versatility of parsley) can help to cue you into all the varied ways the spice can be used.

Try egg salad made with cumin as a filling for pita pockets, wraps, or sandwiches made with light, crunchy bread like toasted multigrain or even ciabatta or sourdough. It's also perfect in a tortilla shell for a breakfast egg salad taco. Or, spoon some of the salad into a halved avocado or a hollowed-out tomato for a colorful and flavorful side that's ideal for any meal.


If saffron is a way to bring a floral essence to your egg salad, then lavender can help you bring a whole bouquet of flavor to the dish. But never fear. Even if you haven't used this purple wonder spice much in cooking before, a dish like egg salad is a perfect place to get started.

More than just a scent for stress-reducing candles and bath bombs, lavender makes a beautiful addition to a wide variety of foods. You can use it in teas, baked goods like cookies and cakes, and even salads and sauces. It can form a superb base for ice cream and is delightful as a flavoring for honey and syrup — your toast and pancakes will never be the same.

Lavender is also ideal for adding freshness and sophistication to any bowl of egg salad. It provides a petal-soft, silky floral essence to the dish, leaving a subtle and lingering sweetness. And unlike the flavor of rose, which can be way too intense and cloying in some foods, lavender is never overwhelming when added with care. It elevates and captivates with unique and subtle hints of flavor, but won't leave your egg salad sandwich tasting like a bar of lavender flavored soap. And nobody wants that.


Few herbs smell as wondrous as fresh basil. Its amazing, citrus-kissed scent can fill a room like nothing else. Dried basil brings that same sunny, leafy green, Mediterranean bouquet to egg salad. Whether you opt for freshly diced basil leaves from your windowsill or dried basil from the spice rack, basil is yet another sublime way to elevate any bowl of egg salad into an out-of-this-world sandwich filling.

Start with 1 or 2 teaspoons of the herb mixed into your egg and mayo mixture as you assemble your egg salad. Give the mixture a taste, and then add more if you'd like. Basil brings an almost mint-like freshness to food. It invigorates its flavor, cleansing the palate while also supplying warmth and brightness. It makes your eggs more fragrant and enticing, enhancing the overall sensory experience you get from eating the egg salad.

Basil pairs well with all sorts of other garden flavors, so consider stirring diced cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or avocado into your egg salad as well. Bacon bites, pine nuts, and feta cheese are also all splendid potential additions. Once your egg salad is ready, spread it over herb-infused focaccia or use it as filling in an earthy spinach wrap to complement those rich, fresh flavors even more.

Lemon pepper

With its robust blend of ground black pepper and potent lemon zest, lemon pepper spice is a natural choice for seasoning poultry, fish, and seafood dishes of all types. But don't let your use of this fiery citrus blend stop there. Lemon pepper also makes an exciting addition to egg salad. Start with 1 teaspoon — a little goes a long way — and add more depending on just how much kick you want your salad to harbor.

In addition to the zest and heat it provides, lemon pepper also adds a bit of crunch and texture to egg salad as well as pops of vibrant color. It gives the egg and mayo mixture a more complex flavor profile, helping the dish seem more interesting and multi-dimensional — the definition of elevated dining. To complement those flavors even more, you could also add chunks of diced ham, toasted almonds, or even finely chopped radishes to your egg salad. Then, once prepared, serve your egg salad creation in a pica pocket, spread over whole grain crackers, or in hearty spoonfuls on thick, warm baguette slices for an incredibly satisfying open-faced sandwich.

Dried ginger

Like turmeric, dried ginger is another popular spice with a long and storied history in Southeast Asia. Along with that shared geography, the two have other similarities as well. They're both made from plant roots that are dried and then ground down into a fine powder. And they both also pack some heat and a bit of a bite. Ginger, in particular, is famous for its ability to bring a warm and mildly spicy kick to foods of all types, including egg salads.

When combined with eggs and mayo, dried ginger gives the egg salad a subtle heat that intensifies the longer you eat the dish. You might notice unfolding waves of tang and a mild pepperiness resonating throughout the egg salad. Ginger also makes your egg salad livelier and more invigorating. It can make a salad that others might consider "meh" into something you can't wait for a second helping of.

To compliment that ginger flavor even further, consider adding a splash of soy sauce to your egg salad or stir in some sesame seeds or chili flakes. The salad itself can serve as a beautiful addition to a sandwich made with your favorite crusty bread. But it also would be fabulous spooned over cold, cooked sesame noodles or as the main ingredient in a hearty quinoa salad. Ginger egg salad is also a natural choice for Asian-style lettuce wraps or even as the filling for a light and refreshing homemade spring roll.


Last but certainly not least, when it comes to spices that can really elevate a bowl of egg salad, nothing compares to the beauty of chives. With a lighter and more delicate flavor than whole onion, chives are an ideal way to bring the taste of spring and mild, balanced herbaceousness to egg salad. You get hints of pepper, spice, and garden freshness, all of which help egg salad taste more vibrant and alive. Chives also add a gentle aroma and the tiniest bit of added texture to egg salad, making it even more delicious either on its own or as the filling for a sandwich. For an egg salad made with six eggs, stir in 1 or more tablespoons of chives, depending on just how much you like that onion-lite flavor.

While egg salad made with chives is excellent on any bread, it tastes especially good on denser loaves packed with rich butter flavors, like brioche, a piece of crusty French baguette, or even a bagel or English muffin. Flatbread and naan are also great options. Pile the chive-infused egg salad thick, add freshly ground black pepper, and dig in.