The Pantry Ingredient That Will Remedy Runny Deviled Egg Filling

If you're looking for a fast and easy appetizer to bring to your next holiday or event, deviled eggs are sure to please any crowd you're feeding. Traditionally made with a short list of ingredients, this dish can be elevated and customized in numerous ways to suit your preferences. While the main goal in the kitchen is always to ensure your food tastes great, it's also imperative to nail the consistency of your deviled egg filling.

Made by combining hard-boiled egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, white vinegar, and a handful of seasonings, you want to create a creamy mixture that is stiff enough to be piped decoratively back into the egg whites and delicately dusted with paprika. However, adding too much mustard or vinegar can make it too thin — but a bit of instant mashed potatoes is all you need to correct it. 

Though often dismissed as a synthetic or overly processed product, instant mashed potatoes are made similarly to fresh potatoes, except for the dehydration step at the end. So, if you've inadvertently added too much liquid to achieve the deviled eggs of your dreams, don't panic. The solution is likely already in your pantry.

Using instant mashed potatoes to fix runny deviled eggs

Instant mashed potatoes have been a staple convenience food since the 1950s. While the product has streamlined the process of preparing a hot meal for decades — and is often used as a one-ingredient hack for instantly thickening homemade mashed potatoes — it is also perfect for kitchen dilemmas like this one. When mixed into overly moist deviled egg filling, the dehydrated potatoes absorb excess moisture, become soft, and help you achieve the ideal texture without masking the flavor or imparting their own, unlike some thickening agents.

Depending on the brand, this product can come in various forms: flakes, powder, and granules are all common. Although any of these options will work, the size is a crucial variable in determining how much to add — you don't want to overcorrect and end up with a filling that's too dry. To avoid this, add instant mashed potatoes gradually, allowing them time to rehydrate, and stirring intermittently to assess if more is needed. Depending on the size of the potato pieces, you might also want to give them a quick blitz in the blender or mash them with a fork to prevent any lumps. If the pieces are small, consider placing the filling in a zip-top bag, massaging out any larger bits, then snipping off a corner of the bag to pipe it directly into your egg whites.

Other additions that will take your deviled eggs to the next level

Once you master the filling for deviled eggs and can confidently course-correct when they become too runny, why not experiment with other flavorful additions? There's a reason everyone and their grandma has their own spin on this iconic dish — with a single swap or addition, this well-loved classic feels brand new.

Before setting out to establish your unique take on the recipe, consider consulting others' work for inspiration. Chef Alex Guarnaschilli unconventionally adds dried ginger to her deviled eggs to give them an unexpected kick. Alternatively, you could try adding a bit of zest by swapping mayo for tart sour cream, or incorporating a bit of tangy ranch seasoning into your deviled egg filling. And, if you want to elevate the dish for a special occasion, Ina Garten gets bougie by topping off her deviled eggs with a bit of salmon roe. No matter what you're craving, there's a deviled egg variation ready to rise to the occasion.