13 Ingredients Celebrity Chefs Use To Amp Up Egg Salad

Used in breakfast dishes, baked goods, and even for an afternoon snack, eggs are extremely versatile. Packed with protein and low on calories, eggs also contain healthy nutrients and vitamins proven to fight an array of diseases. Adding eggs to any diet is easy, and one of the most common ways to eat them is hardboiled either on its own or in a sandwich.

Founded sometime in the late 1800s, the egg salad sandwich is a staple among classic sandwich recipes all over the world. It started simple — a mixture of hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and some spices — but has since grown to include a range of ingredients from healthy to crunchy and even the exotic. Now, it seems everyone has a very specific way they like to eat egg salad. And for decades, chefs have created and crafted their own versions of the classic mixture. Here are 13 celebrity chefs' secret ingredients to make the most delicious and memorable egg salads. 

1. Avocados: Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart is an accomplished chef with more than 90 cookbooks. On an episode of the "Martha Stewart Show," the seasoned chef showed actor Harry Hamlin how to make a few tweaks to classic egg salad to make it healthier. The main ingredient in Stewart's egg salad is avocados. High in nutrients, avocados make her egg salad substantial without adding unhealthy fat and calories. 

To make Stewart's healthier egg salad, she first chops up the eggs, she does not mash them, saying, "I like chunky salads. Same with tuna salad. I just don't like mushed up stuff."  Her recipe calls for 10 hardboiled eggs, but only two egg yolks. But don't waste those egg yolks; you can use them to make baked goods taste even better. Then she adds in one avocado, which "adds the creaminess and nutrition to the egg salad." In order to keep the chunky consistency, Stewart mashes up only half of the avocado and cuts the other half into chunks.  For the dressing, Stewart uses light mayonnaise because it has fewer calories than regular mayonnaise.

To serve, Stewart dishes out a generous portion onto a piece of toast, but not too thick. "I do very thin slices of toast because that's another way to get rid of excess calories," Stewart explains.

2. Dry Mustard: Emeril Lagasse

Most egg salad recipes include some mustard, but it's usually a variation of prepared mustard, like spicy, stone, or regular. Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse ditches prepared mustard and instead opts to use dry mustard for his egg salad recipe, Egg Salad Supreme. The difference between prepared mustard and dry mustard is how it's prepared. Dry mustard is a spice made from ground mustard seed and it can come in different variations just like prepared mustard, with yellow (or white) mustard seeds being the mildest. 

Lagasse's use of dry mustard gives his egg salad a tangier flavor. Since dry mustard is made directly from the seed and does not have any other ingredients added in, it can be spicier and have more flavor than prepared mustard. The acidity of the dry mustard pairs well with the rich creaminess of the mayonnaise. 

If you have another favorite recipe that calls for prepared mustard, you can switch it out to dry mustard by using 1 teaspoon of dry mustard for each tablespoon of prepared called for in your recipe. This ratio will add tanginess without being overbearing.

3. Anchovies: Tom Colicchio

Who says egg salad is only for the lunch crowd? Adding in some adventurous ingredients can elevate the classic salad to a sophisticated appetizer worthy of a spot at any dinner party. Celebrity chef and host of "Top Chef" Tom Colicchio does just that with his egg salad crostini recipe. The secret ingredient? Anchovies.

Anchovies are a versatile cooking item and before you immediately discount this recipe, seasoned chefs would like you to give them a second chance. While they do have a distinct "fishy" taste that can turn some people off, anchovies also have a very rare "fifth taste." The elusive taste is called Umami and it's best described as savory, but it stays on your taste buds for a while and is very satisfying. 

In Colicchio's recipe, he makes a simple egg salad with chive, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, then puts it on toasted baguette pieces. Top the salad with slow-cooked onions and an anchovy filet and suddenly you have a simple, yet elegant appetizer. 

4. Pickles: Paula Deen

Pickle lovers rejoice! Paula Deen's secret ingredient for her egg salad recipe doubles up on the pickles. The southern cooking master uses both chopped sweet pickles and pickle juice to spice up egg salad with a sweet crunch. Toss the pickles and hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise to create a southern twist on a classic egg salad recipe. Don't like sweet pickles? Just swap them out for dill pickles or try your hand at making your own pickles

Deen serves her egg salad in what she calls "toast cups" made in a muffin tin. Just take white sandwich bread, brush melted unsalted butter on it, then place one slice in each muffin hole. Pop the muffin tin in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about seven minutes. Once the cups are cool, spoon in the egg salad mixture and you will have an easy-to-eat snack or lunch. 

5. Gorgonzola cheese: Giada DeLaurentiis

Giada DeLaurentiis adds a very strong ingredient to her egg salad: gorgonzola cheese. Her recipe calls for 4 ounces of the pungent cheese, and that's for three hardboiled eggs. She mixes the gorgonzola with mayonnaise, lemon zest, and chives to make her version of egg salad, then tops it with crispy pancetta before placing it between two slices of bread. 

The reviews on this recipe are mixed with fans either loving it or hating it. One person writes, "This is my new obsession." Another raves, "WOW! This recipe took the ordinary egg salad sandwich to a new level. The flavor combination was amazing and mysterious." On the flip side, some reviewers say the gorgonzola is too overwhelming, with one writing, "The cheese totally overpowered everything else and I only put a few TBS in there... I won't make this again but glad I tried it." Another reviewer wants to change this recipe's name: "The egg salad became more of a creamy vehicle for the gorgonzola and I would be more likely to call it a gorgonzola salad sandwich." If you're going to give DeLaurentiis' recipe a try, perhaps start with a small amount of gorgonzola and go up from there to make sure the taste is to your liking. 

6. Homemade chive mayonnaise: Carla Hall

Homemade chive mayonnaise is the star of this egg salad created by celebrity chef Carla Hall. Hall won over millions with her fresh take on cooking while competing on "Top Chef" and "Top Chef: All Stars." As a co-host on the long-running talk show "The Chew," Hall was able to spread her joy of cooking to at-home chefs across the country. 

For Hall's egg salad recipe, she makes a simple yet flavorful chive mayonnaise to toss with hardboiled eggs. Make it by mixing pantry staples like lemon juice, white vinegar, and Dijon mustard, before slowly adding in vegetable oil. Once you have that base, mix in chives to give the homemade mayonnaise a light onion taste. Chives are far milder than regular onions, so they won't overwhelm the mixture. 

If you're heading to the store to buy them, don't accidentally buy green onions, as those have a more aggressive taste. Though they look similar, chives are herbs and are skinnier and longer than green onions, which are vegetables.

7. Yuzu mayonnaise: Geoffrey Zakaria

Celebrity chef, author, and restauranteur Geoffrey Zakaria is well-known for his fine dining establishments in Manhattan, as well as his cookbooks and appearance on "Iron Chef." Among all that fine dining, Zakaria says on his Instagram page that eggs are his favorite food, so it would seem only natural that he has an egg salad recipe as part of his repertoire — and it features yuzu mayonnaise. Zakaria reveals, "The secret to making a great egg salad is yuzu mayonnaise, salt, cracked black pepper, and a touch of Dijon mustard!!" 

Yuzu mayonnaise is commonly used in Japanese cooking and is made using a lot of eggs and yuzu fruit. Yuzu fruit looks like an orange about the size of a tennis ball with bumpy skin. It grows throughout East Asia, most often in the wild, as it is very resistant to cold weather. The taste of yuzu fruit is described as a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. While it is a staple in Japanese cooking, it may be a bit harder to find in the United States. Your best bet is to look in the international aisle at your favorite grocery store.

8. Dill and smoked salmon: Ina Garten

Beloved television host and author, Ina Garten reaches for fresh herbs for her take on egg salad. In her recipe, Garten calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh dill mixed with mayonnaise and whole-grain mustard. Dill works well because it has a citrus taste and gives the egg salad a fresher taste profile. The "Barefoot Contessa" star serves egg salad on top of toasted bread, favoring 7-grain bread or a round baguette.

To amp up the recipe even more, Garten pairs the egg salad with the perfect accompaniment for dill: salmon. In her recipe, Garten opts for smoked salmon, carefully placing the slices on top of the egg salad, then topping the entire dish with a sprig of fresh dill, just to give it some more dill flavor. You can serve the egg salad like this, open-faced, to present as a hearty appetizer, or you can add another slice of bread for an upscale lunch. 

9. Grated onion: Racheal Ray

Rachael Ray combines two fan favorites for her egg salad. "Get the taste of deviled eggs with the simplicity of egg salad!" exclaims the celebrity chef. "The secret is grated onion, grated right over the bowl." In her deviled egg recipe, the host of "The Rachael Ray Show" says to first chop the eggs, then grate an onion over the bowl to capture all the onion juice. Throw in some garlic, relish, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, and your favorite mustard, then mix it all together to form a devilishly-good tasting egg salad. 

As with most of Ray's recipes, she offers a number of variations to make the dish your own. She suggests adding in a dash or two of hot sauce to create some spice or top the egg salad with chopped bacon, prosciutto, or green olives. Serve the egg salad on toasted bread for a pop-in-your-mouth appetizer perfect for holiday gatherings. 

10. Crab meat and poppy seeds: Bobby Flay

Egg salad gets a sophisticated upgrade with the addition of crab meat in a recipe by famed celebrity chef Bobby Flay. The reality television star and restauranteur's recipe calls for a whopping 6 ounces of jumbo lump crab meat. Add the meat and eggs to a mixture of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, white vinegar, dill, and paprika for an easy yet delicious and hearty dish. 

Since the crab meat and egg have similar textures, Flay adds in another secret ingredient to give the recipe a little crunch. He does this by sprinkling on poppy seeds at the end. Poppy seeds have a nutty flavor profile and have numerous health benefits; they contain calcium, which is good for bone health, and fiber, which can aid with digestion. Flay serves his crab and poppy seed egg salad on top of buttered and toasted pumpernickel bread slices.

11. Bell peppers and olives: Curtis Aikens

Hailed as one of the first celebrity chefs from the early days of the Food Network, Curtis Aikens has since gone on to publish cookbooks and give cooking tips on national morning talk shows. His take on egg salad delivers a crunch not typical of your classic recipes by including bell pepper. It also adds a hint of sweetness. He suggests mixing sweet red bell pepper with mayonnaise, eggs, and relish, but you can use any color of bell pepper you like. 

The television chef also tosses in some green olives to add some texture and brininess to the egg salad. The reviews of this crunchy egg salad concoction are mostly positive, due to its simplicity both in preparation and ingredients. One reviewer says, "Finally found an easy, simple, quick egg salad recipe that didn't need any exotic ingredients. Why mess with simple egg salad?"

12. Bacon: Alton Brown

Bacon and eggs are a breakfast staple, so why not put them together for lunch (or dinner), as well? Celebrity chef Alton Brown does just that in his breakfast egg salad recipe. The television show personality and author combines mayonnaise, mustard, red onion, and a bit of hot sauce, with parsley and chives, then tops the mixture with crumbled bacon. Serve it up open-faced style on a piece of your favorite toast and you've got a hearty sandwich worthy of breakfast and lunch status. 

There's one other secret to make this recipe stand out: After cooking the bacon in the pan, reserve 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat and add it to the egg salad mixture. Doing this will add extra flavor to the recipe by pulling out the bacon flavor profile. This may not be the healthiest egg salad, but it's sure to be one of the tastiest.

13. Japanese staples: Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery

You may not recognize the names of these two chefs at first, but they are responsible for an egg salad sandwich that went viral on the internet. Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery are the viral chef masterminds behind popular Los Angeles sandwich shop Knobi and their Japanese-style egg salad sandwich featuring Kewpie mayonnaise. Kewpie mayonnaise is a Japanese-style mayonnaise made with only egg yolks, giving it a richer flavor than regular American-made mayonnaise.

Sadly, Knobi closed its doors, but you might be able to imitate the beloved sandwich with recipes like this one by food blogger Catherine Zhang. She says there are several secrets to making a tamago sando (Japanese for egg salad). In addition to using Kewpie mayonnaise, she says to also use milk bread because it's lighter than traditional sandwich bread. And finally, make the egg salad with hardboiled eggs and soft-boiled eggs. Chop up the hardboiled eggs to make the salad, then place the soft-boiled eggs in the middle of the sandwich for the classic Japanese take on the egg salad.