Mayak eggs
Mayak eggs are marinated soft-boiled eggs that take on a ton of flavor from sauces and vegetables. In Korean cooking, they are traditionally eaten as a side dish over rice.

I have made a lot of dishes over the years that are extremely recognizable to many Midwesterners.

From cornbread and biscuits to casseroles and pies, I haven’t made too many recipes that scared folks off.

This week, though, I’m afraid that I may have upped the fear factor for some of you who aren’t overly adventurous with your palates.

Honestly, I was pretty unsure of trying this recipe when I first found it, too. While this is a very popular Korean side dish of marinated eggs, it conjured visions of grocery store shelves with jars of pickled orbs, floating in mysterious pink liquid, to my mind, and I was a little scared.

I didn’t need to be, though. These, while definitely different than any egg preparation I have ever tried, were pretty darn good. The name of the recipe in Korean is “Mayak Gyeran,” which translates to “drug eggs.” The good news is, there’s nothing addicting outside of the flavor, though.

This comes from the blog “What Great Grandma Ate” by Jean Choi. You can find the original post at I added extra garlic in my version and did not follow the original recipe’s way of making this soy and gluten free. See her blog post for those ingredients.

Mayak Eggs

Mayak eggs are marinated soft-boiled eggs that take on a ton of flavor from sauces and vegetables. In Korean cooking, they are traditionally eaten as a side dish over rice.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: chile peppers, drug eggs, green onions, honey, jammy eggs, marinated eggs, Mayak eggs, Mayak Gyeran, minced garlic, sesame seeds, soft-boiled eggs, soy sauce


  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 chili peppers red or green, chopped (I used serranos)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Fill a saucepan large enough to fit all of your eggs about three-quarters full with water. Add in the vinegar and salt. Bring the water to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, carefully add the eggs and let the water continue to boil for six minutes.
  • While the eggs boil, prepare a large bowl with cold water and lots of ice. After the six minutes, carefully transfer the eggs from the boiling water to the ice bath, and let them cool for at least five minutes. Carefully peel the eggs and return them to the ice bath while you prepare the marinade.
  • Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add in the sesame seeds, stirring them regularly, until they are lightly browned. Remove them from the heat.
  • Choose a container (with a lid) that will fit all the eggs and let them be fully submerged in the marinade. In that container, combine the toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, water, honey, onions, garlic, chili peppers and salt. Stir well to combine and add the eggs.
  • Seal the container and refrigerate at least eight hours.
  • These can be eaten on their own, if you desire, or more commonly, over rice, along with some of the marinade as a sauce.

We ate these in two ways: once by themselves and once on top of some toast, slathered in fresh avocado. Both were good, and I think we’ll make these again to eat over rice or added to some garlic ramen.

It’s tough to explain the flavor of these eggs. The soy sauce ends up taking on a less strong flavor, thanks to the other additions, and despite the spicy peppers, there was no heat to these at all. Also, because you only boil the eggs for six minutes, you end up with a soft-boiled, jammy egg that adds a nice texture.

This might cause a few folks in your household to raise an eyebrow when they open the fridge, but if you can convince them to give it a try, they might stop thinking you’re crazy and start thinking you’re a genius. At least, that’s always the hope.

This piece first appeared in print on June 8, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.