Homemade Century Eggs

First of all, century egg or thousand-year old eggs 皮蛋 as they are sometimes called are not one hundred years old. They are simply eggs that have been treated in a basic solution that dramatically transforms them into a striking accompaniment to jok or savory rice gruel. My first attempt at homemade century eggs was an epic failure, so victory this round was especially sweet.

A century egg cut in half.

100 Year-Old Quail Eggs

Here's how you can create century eggs at home.
4.11 from 49 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Curing Time 47 days
Total Time 47 days 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 24
Calories 14 kcal


  • glass container
  • large ceramic or Pyrex mixing bowl
  • rubber gloves
  • safety glasses
  • kitchen scale


  • 24 quail eggs
  • 330 g. water
  • 1 g. pu-erh tea
  • 16 g. Kosher salt
  • 14 g. food-grade sodium hydroxide lye
  • 0.7 g. food-grade zinc oxide


  • In a small saucepan, bring half of the water to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and add pu-erh tea. Allow to steep for 20 minutes.
  • Transfer the tea to a medium-sized ceramic or glass bowl. Wear gloves and safety glasses. Add the salt, lye, and zinc, then stir to dissolve. Add the remaining water. Cover and let sit overnight.
  • The next day, wearing gloves, gently add the eggs to the brine. Cover the jar and soak the eggs for 12 days.
  • Remove the eggs from the brine and briefly rinse off the shells with water. Allow the eggs to dry for 1 hour.
  • Place the eggs into a zippered bag. Place the sealed eggs into a light-proof container. Store in a cool, dry, dark place for 5 weeks.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice cubes and water.
  • Place a few eggs at a time into rapidly boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Do not place too many eggs in at once.
  • Remove the eggs from the boiling water and cool in the ice bath.
  • Peel and serve in a bowl of jok (rice porridge).


This recipe is adapted from Corey Lee’s recipe in Science and Cooking by Michael Brenner, Pia Sorenson, and David Weitz. 
Food-grade sodium hydroxide (Amazon affiliate link).
Food-grade zinc oxide (Amazon affiliate link).


Calories: 14kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 13mgPotassium: 12mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 49IUCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Keyword 100-year old egg, 1000-year old egg, century egg, egg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

26 thoughts on “Homemade Century Eggs”

  1. The ingredient list doesn’t include salt, but the instructions say to mix salt and other ingredients into the water to dissolve. How much salt??

  2. I love how joyous you are at finally being able to create these eggs. Congratulations Emmy! I love watching your videos. You have the best way of describing how different foods taste, I almost feel like I can taste them. ❤️

  3. left the 16 grams of kosher salt off the recipe….. but it’s in the video. Watch the vid!

  4. 5 stars
    The video and your success had me jumping for joy! Wonderful for the recipe! How long would the diffusion take for the chicken and duck eggs respectively? Regarding the pu-erh tea, can any black tea work?
    Stay safe and fantastic Emmy!

  5. YAY!!! I’m so glad you loved it too. 😀 I would imagine black tea would work, but as far as diffusion time, I think that would be a matter of trial and error.

  6. So sad. Have of my eggs didn’t survive the soak. 🙁 Onward with the other half into the dark cabinet! Wish me luck!

  7. I’ve been curious about eating/making these for a long time. I just ordered the ingredients but have to wait until I’m back from vacation to make them. Can’t wait!

  8. Hi Emmy!
    I don’t have access to quail eggs, can i use chicken eggs?
    Because chicken eggs are larger than quail eggs, how long should i soak and rest store the eggs?
    Thank youu!

  9. I just made these and they turned out great! I haven’t seen any pineflowers yet but otherwise they look perfect. The flavor is much more mild than I anticipated. My big question is how to store my century quail eggs now that I have them. I have a feeling they won’t last long!

  10. Hi Emmy,
    I wonder why you have to boil the century eggs, I’ve always eaten it just as it is. Something I’ve always want to try my hands on. Now if only i can buy food grade sodium hydroxide and zinc oxide. The latter was not used in another recipe i saw before this.

  11. 5 stars
    Hi Emmy, Thanks for sharing this recipe. Just made this, I hope it turns out well! Wondering what I do with the brine after I remove the quail eggs-can I reusue the brine for another recipe? If not how should I dispose of it?

  12. 5 stars
    Appreciate the recipe and video, trying it out now. I found that arranging the eggs in a mason jar and then pouring the brine over them was a lot easier than placing the eggs into it. I’m also curious if I can use the brine more than once.

  13. 5 stars
    The temperature seems to be critical. Where I live the temperature is never so low so I am trying a longer time in the refrigerator. Will post my results.

4.11 from 49 votes (42 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


free email series

What Food Can Teach Us

Get it...here!