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Isabel Krull

Brynn Nelson
What Came First, the Chicken or the Deviled Egg?
Investigating the Ideal Deviled Egg Recipe through Emulsion Factors

The motivation behind this lab was to discover the ideal ratio of mayonnaise to sour
cream in a deviled egg, and to gain a deeper understanding of how the two ingredients will react
with each other to create the desired taste. To determine the ideal ratio, we evaluated three
components of the mixture: density, viscosity, and overall taste through both qualitative and
quantitative data. We compared three different recipes through a blind taste test and a survey, and
measured the density of each mixture using a scale. Our methodology included having five
controlled variables in each recipe, and varying only the amount of sour cream and mayonnaise
as not to confuse the results.
Dating back to the 13 century,
stuffed eggs have been a popular dish in
Rome, Spain, and throughout Europe. These
recipes included boiled eggs served with oil,
wine, or broth. Spain began to make the
filling with boiled egg yolks and various
seasonings, but the use of mayonnaise in
deviled eggs did not become the most
common ingredient until 1896, when the
United States started vastly distributing it.
Today, the classic version of a deviled egg is
considered to be a mixture of mayonnaise,
mustard and paprika. However, chefs have
experimented with deviled egg recipes for
decades, and today, we will investigate
which ingredient is the best emulsifying
agent. Our quest: to determine the ideal ratio
of sour cream and mayonnaise.

For the filling, we will use three

simple recipes with varying ratios of sour
cream to mayonnaise, each adding up to
eight tablespoons in total. Each filling will
also each have four cooked egg yolks, and
teaspoon of salt. Two shakes of pepper and
three shakes of paprika will also be added
into the mixture. In this investigation, there
will only be one independent variable: the

ratio of sour cream to mayonnaise. This is

crucial to having accurate results portraying
what is responsible for the changes
exemplified from recipe to recipe.
In this investigation, three
components will be evaluated. The first test
will be the qualitative analysis. In this test, a
survey will be completed by taste testers
judging the overall taste, while noting the
richness and texture of the filling.
Quantitative data will be recorded by
measuring the density of the filling. This
will be measured by weighing the filling on
a scale and determining which one is
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of egg
yolk and vegetable oil. It is made by slowly
adding oil to egg yolk, continually being
mixed to disperse the oil evenly. The oil and
water create a base for the emulsion, while
the lecithin and the protein from the yolk
serve as the emulsifier. Emulsion is the
process of mixing two substances together
that are typically unmixable, and acts as a
mixing agent which makes it possible for the
two to congeal together.

Sour cream is cream that has

undergone a progressive lactic acid
fermentation. This is the process of glucose
and other six carbon sugars converting into
cellular energy and metabolite lactate. This
is when the bacteria in the cream breaks
down the lactose.
Due to the fact that mayonnaise has a
heavier consistency, we anticipate that the
recipe with the most mayonnaise will be the
densest and have the most solid consistency.
Sour cream, while much healthier, has a
much stronger taste. Therefore, we predict
that the recipe with the most sour cream will
taste the lightest, and least like a typical
deviled egg, thus not being favored for
overall taste and consistency. Our
motivation stems from this predicament:
Which recipe will make the deviled egg
taste the best, while being a healthy
alternative to a solely mayonnaise filling?
In this investigation, we analyzed our
dependent variables of the viscosity, density,
and taste by using qualitative and
quantitative data. We did this by
experimenting by using the emulsion factor
as our independent variable. We made three
batches of deviled eggs, altering the ratio
between sour cream and mayonnaise in each
To begin this experiment, we hard
boiled twelve eggs. While the eggs were
boiling, we measured the sour cream and
mayonnaise for our 3 recipes. In one bowl,
we added 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and
6 tablespoons of sour cream. In the second,
we added 4 tablespoons of both mayonnaise
and sour cream, and in the last one, we
added 6 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 2
tablespoons of sour cream.

After our independent variables were

measured, we took the eggs out of the water
and cut them each in half and removed the
egg yolks. We then added four egg yolks
into each of the three bowls, added a
teaspoon of salt, two shakes of pepper, and
three shakes of paprika to the yolks, and
mixed them together along with the sour
cream and mayonnaise. After measuring the
final mass of each mixture, we spooned
approximately a tablespoon of mixtures 1, 2,
and 3 into the sixteen egg halves.
To record our data, we will calculate
our quantitative data, (density,) by using the
mass of each substance that was recorded,
divided by the volume of the three
substances. For our qualitative data, we
asked our friends and family to participate in
a blind taste test of all three eggs and fill out
a survey asking about taste and texture of
the fillings.
To ensure that no systematic errors
were made, we kept the bowls that we made
each mixture in labeled and separated to
avoid confusion. We boiled all of the eggs at
once to make sure that different textures of
eggs didnt affect our results, and each egg
was from the same brand. We were also
careful to keep all of the measurements the
same, and use the same scale to weigh each
substance. After the deviled eggs were
made, we kept all 3 batches at the same
temperature and gave them to our testers at
the same time. We used the same amounts
and kind of all other ingredients not being
evaluated, and were sure to use the same
methods in mixing, filling, and measuring
all of our ingredients from batch to batch.
For our quantitative measurement,
we calculated the density of each filling by
dividing the mass of each mixture by the
volume of it. For our two qualitative factors,
we looked at viscosity and overall taste by

having our taste testers fill out a survey

asking about with egg had the best taste in
general, and which one had the best
consistency by rating each egg on a scale of
1-5. We decided that viscosity would be the
best way to determine which emulsion factor
was better because its main job is to solidify
the substance, which viscosity measures.
Overall taste was evaluated simply to
determine if sour cream could provide as a
viable and tasty alternative to mayonnaise.
To complete these measurements, a
scale was used to measure the mass of each
substance. To use the scale, we would put an
empty measuring cup on the scale and zero
it out. After it was zeroed out, one
tablespoon of sour cream was weighed and
recorded. This step was then repeated with a
tablespoon of mayonnaise. Once the sour
cream and mayonnaise were placed in the
bowls, (without the other ingredients added,)
we weighed the mixture on the scale and
calculated its density using the formula


Graph 1: Consistency, Thickness, and Taste

of Mixtures 1, 2, and 3 (1-5)

Graph 2: Average densities for mixtures 1, 2,

and 3

Graph 3: Average values for consistency,

density, and taste based on all 4 blind taste
testers (1-5)

mixture three showed higher ratings for

thickness and consistency as shown in graph
1 and table 1. Mixture 1. While having the
lowest qualitative data, had the highest
density as shown in graph 2.

Table 1: Quantitative data for all three

Recipe 1

Recipe 2

Recipe 3

Mass of 5.75 oz

5.5 oz

5.25 oz


4 tbsp
4 tbsp

6 tbsp
2 tbsp



2 tbsp
6 tbsp

Density 0.71

Mixture 2, 4 tablespoons of both

mayonnaise and sour cream was the deviled
egg recipe that had the highest ratings for
overall taste. Based on the averaged for the
qualitative data we gathered from the blind
taste test using a scale of 1-5, 5 being the
best, 1 being the worst, mixture two got an
average rate of 4 as seen in graph 3. Mixture
3, made of 6 tablespoons of mayonnaise and
2 tablespoons of sour cream, got the second
highest with 3.87. Mixture one received the
worst rate of 3.
We also noticed that while mixture
two had the highest numbers for taste,

The significance of our data is that

we were able to configure the best recipe for
deviled eggs, while learning about sour
cream and mayonnaise as foods and how
they react with each other. In each mixture,
there were four egg yolks, salt, two
shakes of pepper, and three shakes of
paprika. The mixtures ranged from having
two tablespoons of sour cream to having six,
and the mayonnaise also ranged from two
tablespoons to six tablespoons.
Our initial expectations aligned with
our final results. After researching what
mayonnaise and sour cream are composed
of, we were able to form a hypothesis based
off of what we learned, and what we
previously knew about peoples preferences
to deviled eggs.
We expected that Mixture 3,
(primarily mayonnaise) would have the
favored consistency and thickness because
with a deviled egg, the filling needs to be
buoyant, yet dense.
We also predicted that Mixture 2
would be the favorite for overall taste. This
is because with mayonnaise, the salty taste
can be excessive, and we predicted that an
equal amount of the creamy, dense
mayonnaise and light, tart sour cream would
be the best concoction.
Uncertainties with this experiment
do include personal preference, however.
Mixture 2 and Mixture 3 tied with overall
taste, which in turn, cannot determine the

preferred egg. This is because since each

person is different, there is no way to ever
secure the perfect recipe, unless we choose
to side with the majority. Potential errors in
this experiment include the possible
inaccurate measurements throughout the
cooking process. Since mayonnaise and sour
cream are thick condiments, they stick to the
sides of our measuring spoon, and so each
time the condiment was transferred, a
portion of the volume was lost. This could
make a difference with our calculation of the
final density, because the mass of each
condiment may have varied.
Improvements that could be made to this
experiment would be to try refrigerating the
mixtures to improve consistency. The main
complaint with Mixture 2 was that it still
was not as creamy as Mixture 3. However,

we served the deviled eggs at room

temperature, which may have affected the
texture. Another improvement could have
been testing the ratios even further. For
example, with Mixture 2, we could have five
tablespoons of mayonnaise and only three of
sour cream, which could give the perfect
balance of taste and consistency.