How to Make Salted eggs, Itlog na Pula

Salted eggs are very common to us Filipinos especially to class C and D families.  I usually buy itlog na pula as my ulam. It is affordable and easy to prepare. Cut the egg to halves, scoop it with spoon and voila! Instant and lazy.

If you want to make your own salted eggs, you can do it for sure! The steps are easy. Go to nearest duck farm and buy some eggs. Chicken eggs will do but duck’s is more delicious and preferred.

salted eggs

Clay Method. Prepare one is to one mixture of clay and salt. Add water gradually until it becomes very sticky.  Coat eggs with the sticky mixture and arrange in clay jar or any suitable container.

Department of Agriculture has method  – clay and salt mixture is sterilized  before use.  Sterilization parameters were not disclosed.

Brine Method. Prepare two is to one mixture of  water and salt. Submerge eggs in solution. Prevent floating by placing bag of water on top.

Regardless of the method used . Let eggs stand for 12 days before trying. Wait longer if saltier eggs are desired.  Coat with food grade red dye.

Flavored salted eggs can be achieved by adding wine, herbs, pepper and other flavorings to clay or brine mixture.

If planning to mass produce, an instrument called salinometer will be of great help. It is for testing salt levels.

How to Dye a Salted Egg, Red Grana and Sudan

By the time of writing this article, I only have 337 posts and my current Google page rank is 1. I typed “salted eggs” on google search engine and there are 312 thousand competing documents. I looked for my post ” How to Make Salted Eggs” and I found it on bottom of the 8th page.

Usually, looking up to three pages is enough and only few person will bother looking further. But still, one of my top keywords is “salted eggs”. Many visitors arrived on my page because they are looking for “How to dye a salted egg”. Or they are looking for a dye suitable for the red salted eggs.

Filipino instinct. It is not a salted egg if its not RED and very few will buy a white salted egg. This reasoning is now changing. We, now appreciate properly labeled white salted eggs. I first saw it as Department of Agriculture Project. Then a Laguna based entrepreneur popularized “Itlog ni Kuya“.

salted egg halves

For the benefits of those who are still looking. One of them is the Sudan Red G. A yellowish red lysochrome azo dye. An odorless reddish-orange powder. Soluble in fats and used for coloring of fats, oils, and WAXES, including the waxes used in turpentine-based polishes. It is also used in polystyrene, cellulose, and synthetic LACQUERS.

According to reports, Sudan Red is a cancer inducing substance. Its use was prohibited by most countries.

The second is the Red Grana, also known as Acid Fuchsine. It is Magenta dye used in coloring textile, in staining bacteria and sometimes a disinfectant. It is a color indicator in some food analysis. No known issue about its safety.

Another way to color salted egg without the messy dye stuffs is this.

improved salted egg

It is packaging technology developed by Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit I (DA-RFU I), Ilocos Integrated Agricultural Research Center (ILIARC). I think it is excellent gift item but not for daily Juan use. A small sticker label suits well as alternative.

Luyang Dilaw Salted Eggs has updated method of dying. It is quite easy to do.

Chicken Salted Eggs and Duck Salted Eggs Comparison

For the past few months, I noticed some eggs taste different from others. I was not talking about the saltiness because it really vary. Some salted eggs also cost less than others. I used to prefer the cheaper and often opted not to buy when the cost was higher.

Recently, my uncle told me that cheaper salted eggs were from chicken and the more expensive came from ducks. I know that salted eggs were duck eggs but I never know that some individuals started to make a cheaper version.

I asked her to buy both for comparison. The duck version cost 10 pesos each while the chicken version cost only 7 pesos, a 3 pesos difference. For 30 pesos, I can buy only three pieces of duck eggs but can acquire 4 pieces of chicken eggs for the price of 28 pesos. The price difference was deceiving.

The picture below shows the picture of duck salted eggs(left) and chicken salted(right). Notice that left was more elongated and the right was more round. The chicken salted egg exhibits a lighter red color. I am not sure if it was a coloring fault or the chicken eggshell was a poor color absorber.

The right egg in the picture exhibiting lighter color might be due to two things.  First, the maker purposely used a lighter shade. Second, no salt was added to color mixture. Salt helps bind dye to eggshell effectively.

chicken and duck salted eggs

The yolk of duck egg(left) was orange and watery while the yolk of chicken egg(right) was pale yellow and dry. The color and appearance may vary every batch.

itlog na pula maalat

When it comes to taste, duck salted egg was more delicious. I still prefer the more expensive and delectable duck eggs.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

0 Replies to “How to Make Salted eggs, Itlog na Pula”


  2. what is the exact measurement or mixture of red grana for salted egg coloring? and how to do it? it should be boil with water or just mixed with warm water? pleased advised.

    1. I have never tried iodized salt yet. I don’t think it would be much of a difference if you use it except for the possible aftertaste imparts by iodine.

      Try using the same ratio using small number of eggs. Then adjust it gradually to suit your preference.

      Any ordinary salt will do. If only iodized salt is available in your area. Then you have no choice but to experiment with it.

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