If you ever tried Chinese steamed eggs (egg custard), it will amaze you with its super smooth, savory fresh taste and heavenly soft texture. It is a childhood food from memory. We will know how to make the super smooth steamed egg with options to twist common steamed eggs into something really interesting and more nutritious.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Simple but Super great

Perfect Chinese steamed egg. Soft, smooth, and tender steamed egg (蒸鸡蛋) is a comforting food for lots of Chinese children and a time-saving dish for house cooks. We love to make steam a small bowl of eggs and serve it as a side dish or make a large bowl and share it with the whole family.

Only with super common ingredients, those steamed egg is a must for daily cooking especially if you get old or younger eater in the family. Why? Because the steamed egg is easier to absorb and does not need too much chew. I love steamed eggs so much recently because I get my wisdom tooth removed.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

A successful steamed egg

The process of making a Chinese steamed egg is super easy, crack the egg, add water, steam, and add seasonings. Seems quite simple, right? But there are some tips you need to pay attention to make it perfect.

The successful steamed egg should be smooth both on the surface and inside with a very soft and silky texture.  No layer difference. You can see from the following picture, the egg custard is quite uniform in texture. It not only has a super smooth texture and also the inside part is quite smooth too.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

This version is a basic Chinese steamed egg recipe, then followed along with some lovely ideas to turn it into something more interesting for example adding minced pork sauce, add seafood. You can also add tofu. ed with vegetables and mushrooms.

Egg and Water Ratio

The perfect egg and water ratio might be slightly different based on your preference and whether you need to add some extra ingredients on top. The perfect ratio can range from 1.5 times to 2 times (water VS egg in volume). Too much egg makes a hard and non-melt curd while too much water will prevent the curd to form.

  • If you prefer a super soft texture, use a 2:1 ratio (water vs egg in volume).
  • If you need to add some extra toppings like shrimp or meat sauce, use a 1.5:1 ratio (water vs egg in volume).
  • You can range from the scope to find the best balance.

Water quality and temperature

Warm water is the key point to getting a smooth texture. Sometimes you find that your egg custard is almost perfect, but there are very small bubbles inside. Boil your water first and then let it cool for a while around (40 degrees C). Raw water contains lots of impurities and can cause small bubbles. Small bubbles are different from the honeycomb texture which is caused by over-strong fire.  They will not puff up on the surface, but they cause small holes in the inside of the steamed egg.

Why salt is necessary for the egg liquid

Adding salt is a key point to speed up the firming process as it can work as an electrolyte. Short-time firming process help to create a tender texture. In addition, salt can also add a basic flavor and remove the raw taste of the egg.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Strain the liquid to remove the impurities

After mixing with the egg liquid, strain with a fine strainer to remove the impurities of the egg. Those impurities will cause bumps in the steamed egg.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Cover the container

The steaming bowls or pan must be covered so there will be no vapor drops and spoil the surface. 

  • You can simply cover the container with a plate.
  • Or you can cover the container with foil paper.
Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Count the time after the water boils

Boil the water first before setting up the steamer so we can calculate the time actually (I usually steam with cold water after I know the rule of my fire and pot). Then slow down the fire to the middle or slow the fire to steam the egg liquid. The yolk and white mixture becomes together at around 165 degrees F (73 degrees C). If the temperature is too high, the out section loses water quickly and forms a honeycomb texture.

Hong long to steam

How much time should I steam for the ideal texture? There are lots of factors that may influence the steaming time for perfect steamed egg custard. Basically, it depends on the volume of the egg custard, especially the height. If you use a shallow deep pan, then 9 minutes is enough. If your steamer is taller and the egg custard is thicker, 10 to 12 minutes can be a better option. In most cases, I will suggest starting from 9 minutes.

Let it stand for 5 minutes

When the steaming time is up, turn off the fire and let the steamed egg stand for 5 minutes before transferring it out.

Ways to steam

We always have options for steaming in our kitchen.

  1. Steam with a bamboo steamer or steamer pot, this is the most ideal way of making the steamed egg custard. Comparing with the wok and rack, the vapor and temperature will be more stable.
  2. Steam with a steam rack + wok. Under this mod, you need to pay attention to the fire carefully because the container is very close to the water, and the temperature will easily go overhigh and thus slow down the fire once the container is placed in after the water boils.

Choose the container

You either choose a larger pan to make a large 3 or 4 servings. Or you can divide the egg liquid into smaller containers for single servings.

What are the reasons cause failure?

  1. Egg liquid firms but with lots of bubbles and a honeycomb texture — fire is too strong. Large bubbles are caused by the strong movement of the liquid. So further slow down your fire. 
  2. Egg liquid does not firm at all — too much water added or lack of steaming time
  3. Egg liquid firms and gets up and downs on the surface — vapor drops in and spoils the surface
  4. Everything looks perfect judging from the appearance but there are very small bubbles inside — fine bubbles usually are bought by the water or stock you use. If raw water is used, it may contain some fine bubbles and leave the bubble in the egg liquid. Next time, use boiled water (set aside and cool down) or stock.

Ingredients for steamed egg

  • Egg – organic fresh eggs create the best flavors and taste. Use room temperature egg.
  • Salt- salt can speed up the curling process and give the egg mixture a basic flavor
  • Warm water – 40 degrees C warm water can decrease the movement of the egg liquid and thus create more smooth inside texture.
  • Light soy sauce – adding on the well-steamed egg custard to give the dish a more appealing looking and a savory and fresh taste.
  • Sesame oil – enhances the flavor of steamed egg custard.
  • Chopped scallion – add some green color and freshness.


Add salt to the egg and gently whisk eggs. And then pour in warm water. Combine well.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Strain the egg liquid.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Transfer the strained egg liquid into small bowls. Remove any bubbles on the surface if there are any. If you are using a large plate, then simply strain the egg liquid to the plate.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Set up the steamer, bring the water to a boil, and slow down the fire to simmer for 9 to 12 minutes depending on your container.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Remove from the fire and wait for 5 minutes to cool down a little bit. Transfer the containers out. Drizzle some sesame oil and light soy sauce and garnish with chopped spring onion on top.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Chinese Steamed Egg

Perfect Chinese Steamed egg is also known as Chinese steamed egg custard. Only with egg, water, salt and some sesame oil, you can make this super smooth custard at home. This is a basic version.
5 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: egg, steamed
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 164kcal
Author: Elaine


For each serving, you can simple make larger batches by ratio

  • 2 middle size eggs
  • 1 cup of warm water , recommend using warmed boiled water , or milk or stock
  • 1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. light soy sauce
  • chopped scallion , optional


  • Gently whisk eggs with pinch of salt and water.
  • Strain the egg liquid and transfer to the container. Remove any bubbles on surface.
  • Set up the steamer, bring the water to a boiling and slow down the fire to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes depending on your container. For the time, please see note 1.
  • Remove from the fire and wait for 5 minutes to cool down a little bit.
  • Transfer the containers out. Drizzle some sesame oil and light soy sauce and garnish chopped spring onion on top.
  • Serve warm.



Note 1: the steamed time of the egg custard should be adjusted according to your container-the height of the custard. For example if you are using a wide deep plate, then only 7 to 8 minutes are needed.
Note 2: You can add replace some water with milk to make milk steamed egg if you like.


Calories: 164kcal | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 334mg | Sodium: 1297mg | Potassium: 124mg | Vitamin A: 485IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Turn the steamed egg into something more interesting

If you want to add some extra flavor, texture, or rich nutrition, you can add toppings to the egg custard or some other ingredients.

Add ingredients in the egg liquid – you can add tofu, vegetables, or seafood like clams in the serving container.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Or you can add a meat sauce as a topping. Steamed egg with ground meat is a very popular main dish for family with children.

Ingredients for the meat sauce

  • 150g ground meat
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 thumb ginger
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 5 tablespoon water


Heat oil in wok and fry ginger until aromatic. Then add minced pork to fry until golden brown, add pepper, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce. Then pour in starch water. Simmer for a while until the sauce thickened. Spread the meat sauce over the steamed egg.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Sometimes shrimp can also be added on top of the steam egg. But the method is slightly different. We need to steam the egg custard for around 7 to 8 minutes until the surface hardened. Then place peeled shrimp on top.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

Then continue heating for 2 minutes. The shrimp on the egg custard can be super tender.

Chinese steamed egg|chinasichuanfood.com

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  1. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe. Easy to do. Smooth as silk! I will probably add some of the green onions to the egg before steaming next time.

  2. 5 stars
    I have made these with different toppings a few times this week now. I still need to adjust the timing and the temperature to get it perfect, but it still turns out very delicious each time. My custards used to turn out bubbly or curdle, but it has not happened when I follow this recipe. It is very smooth. Thank you so much!

    For those wanting a sweet custard, I replaced half the water with milk, added 1/4 cup sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I sprinkled some freshly ground nutmeg on top, cinnamon would be good too. I am from the southwestern U.S., and flan is a very popular custard dish here. They add caramel sauces, coconut, and fresh fruits to the custard. This recipe is very easy to follow and modify to your tastes. The savory version is lovely too. Thank you again!

  3. 5 stars
    Perfect! I also (like someone else mentioned) put in the top steamer tray of my rice cooker. Smooth as silk! I lived in Yichang Hubei for 8 years and here on your site I can find just about everything I ate and enjoyed but miss now I’m back in Australia. So very grateful to you and enjoying the challenge of creating this wonderful food. Thanks so much.

    1. I use that method too. Steam the egg when making steamed rice. It is quite simple and easy to handle. Thanks for much for your lovely comment. Keep returned and hope to read your comment soon.

  4. 5 stars
    Childhood memories!!! I really hate eggs but this is delicious. When I go to China, we will always order this in the restaurant. My grandmothers doesn’t know how to do this but since I know I will be happy to make this.

  5. 5 stars
    Great recipe, saw the meat sauce and had to try it. I do think it’s worth mentioning that clams should be steamed first and the extra liquid accounted for. I ate this growing up so the first time I attempted to add clams I thought I could successfully wing it, and the dish ended up being overcooked and undercooked at the same time.