Egg and Onion: Perfect for Passover

Egg and Onion: A Monday Morning Cooking Club essential

It’s hard to believe it is already this time of the year! I quite like it when both Easter and Passover occur simultaneously – doesn’t happen that often but when it does it really highlights the cultural diversity in Australia.

As the entire nation is feasting on Easter eggs (in every shape, size, composition and quality) as well as hot cross buns from the (ordinary) now-choc-chip-filled supermarket varieties in neat half-dozen plastic bags to the irresistible spice-scented glazed sourdough version at the local organic baker – it is hard to resist. And we’ve even decorated our celebration chocolate cake with tiny candied Easter eggs!

At the same time, members of the Jewish community are buying up boxes of matzo (unleavened bread), matzo meal, matzo flour, matzo cakes (I could go on) and many many MANY dozens of eggs. Everyone links Easter with the egg, but really Passover should be called the FESTIVAL OF THE EGG.

I think for my mum’s Passover Seder (the traditional meal on the eve of Passover), she must go through at least 10 dozen. Eggs are the main ingredient in matzo balls and flourless egg ‘noodles’ for soup, boiled eggs with salt water are served as part of the Seder to represent the hardened hearts and salty sweat and tears of the Jewish slaves.

Eggs are essential in most Passover cakes which, containing no flour or rising agents, require stiffly whisked egg whites to give them volume and substance. Macaroons are made with egg whites and nuts to give a luscious chewy Passover biscuit. A favourite Passover breakfast is ‘Matzo-brai’, a dish somewhere between French toast (using matzo instead of bread) and scrambled eggs.

So at least we know why we are all talking about the egg!

Without a doubt, my favourite egg recipe is the simplest one I have, and probably the oldest one I know. It’s known as ‘Egg and Onion’, or ‘E & O’ if you have been eating it for over 40 years, as I have!

egg and onion shabbat starter


Egg and Onion has been part of my parents’ Shabbat (Friday night) dinner for as long as I can remember and it is now part of mine. I serve it in bowls on the table so everyone can help themselves. It makes me smile to think of my mum who always serves each person at the table one whole scoop of egg and onion (using an ice-cream scoop!) on a piece of lettuce on each individual plate.

The recipe originated from my Buba (grandmother) Shendel in Poland in the 1920s. She taught it to her daughters, but not to her son (my father), who in turn taught it to their wonderful housekeeper, Pat. When Pat started helping my mother in the kitchen on Friday afternoons, she passed it on (or rather, back) to my mother and eventually to me. It won’t be long before my kids will be making it.

One of my best food memories from my years at school was walking in on a Friday afternoon to the aroma of frying onions and being allowed to help Pat and Mum season (and of course taste!!) this wonderful dish.

Check out our new recipe video for the #UltimateShabbatLunch which of course includes egg and onion!

If you’re looking for more Passover recipes, check out our guides for Monday Morning Cooking Club and The Feast Goes On.

Egg and Onion

Course Sides and Starters
Cuisine European, Jewish
Servings 12


  • 4 onions (brown) chopped
  • 185 ml vegetable oil ¾ cup
  • 12 eggs


  • Put the onions and oil in a large frying pan and fry for about 20 minutes on a medium to high heat, until golden brown and very soft. Meanwhile, boil the eggs for 8 minutes until hard-boiled. Remove the pan from the heat, drain and then cover the eggs with cold water. When just cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and grate into a large bowl using the coarse side of a grater.
  • Spoon the onions onto the egg, leaving most of the oil in the pan. You may need this oil so don’t discard yet. Season generously with salt and pepper, and combine the onions and egg with your hands or a wooden spoon, tasting as you go. If too dry, add a little oil from the pan. The mixture should stick together if pressed with your hand, but should not be overly oily.
  • Until ready to serve, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the egg and onion so it doesn’t dry out. Keep at room temperature and serve with challah or bagels. It is also delicious eaten on crackers or matzo at Passover time.
  • Serves 12 as a starter. I use the guide of 1 egg per person for a shared first course.


  1. Adrienne Bogatie

    My family love the egg and onion, I often make it for Shabbath, we will be having it for second night with chopped liver. We are having Danish Herring, chopped herring and gefilte fish as our starters for first night

  2. Jan

    I know this is an old post but just came across it. My grandma made her egg salad this way. She cooked the onions in schmaltz, then put the egg and onion through the hand crank meat grinder that clamped on to the kitchen table.

    This was always served alongside chopped liver. As a little kid I dubbed them “chocolate liver and vanilla liver”. Happy memories.

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Jan, yes I imagine my grandmother also used a grinder to make them. I still do my chopped liver in the grinder (we call it a mincer), I love the texture it creates. Thanks for your message, Cheers,

  3. Stephen

    Hello. First off I’d like to say, thank you for the article. Unfortunately, we do not have “brown” onions here in the U.S. and I’d really like to make this recipe. Could you please clarify something; by “brown” are you referring to yellow onions ( or shallots ( I already purchased shallots thinking that’s what you were talking about since yellow onions usually do not have a brown covering on them here in the grocery stores. Can shallots be used instead?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      hi Stephen, thanks for your question. Yes, brown onions are the same as yellow onions. You could use shallots instead, but they do tend to ‘dissolve’ a little more when cooked and it will take longer to peel and chop as they are more fiddly. Maybe save your shallots to throw in with your next batch of roasted veggies (beets, carrots, fennel) or a roast chicken? Please let me know how you go. Cheers, Lisa

  4. Dr Imad ud Deen azhar

    I love it i am medical student and my favorite breakfast is that since 3 year…. Love from Pakistan

  5. Jordan

    Wonderful recipe. So simple. So good.

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Thanks so much Jordan, we’re thrilled you like it 🙂

  6. Emily

    Hi Lisa, this sounds like a fantastic recipe! Through some poor shopping planning I’ve found myself with an extra carton of eggs, so it seems fated that I should make this. But, since I’m a solo apartment dweller, I can’t eat this all in one go. (Or rather, “shouldn’t”) Do you think this would keep in the fridge for a week? (I know the recipe says to keep at room temperature but it’s rather toasty here at the moment)

    1. Barri

      Mymoms recipe calls for chopped raw onions instead of frying them. We love it ice cold with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes with matzah. I’ve never had it with fried onions. I’ll try it the next batch I made. Can you freeze it the way my mom makes it? Raw chopped onions instead of fried onions?

      1. Lisa Goldberg

        Hi Barri,
        Yes, so many people use raw instead of fried and mayo instead of oil…but we love it with deep golden fried onions! It makes sense that you serve it cold, ours is definitely best at room temperature or just above. It loses its flavour when served cold and I don’t think it would be suitable to freeze, although I have never tried to. Lovely to hear from you,

  7. Diana A Cover

    Lisa hi! I learned this recipe when I was working as an Aupair years ago in Paris with Jewish family and I remember they combined this with peppers with onions and garlic, do have This recipe too? I would love to do it.

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Diana – that sounds interesting! No, we don’t have a recipe like that – sorry!

  8. Sara Sturtz

    It was such a pleasure to read this post. I prepared what we call Eggs and Onions this morning but the eggs were scrambled. I found your post after I Googled “Are Eggs and Onions a European Dish.” The scrambled eggs version was my favorite childhood dish that my Eastern European father called his own. I hadn’t thought of it with hard boiled eggs, but why not? I wanted to mention that I prepare hard boiled eggs in my IP (Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.) If I’m making a bunch that will go into a cold egg salad of some sort and will be chopped, I DO NOT place the eggs in whole and then peel. I use the IP, break the shells into a dish and discard them. All the “insides” go in together. Sounds like a mess, but it’s not. All the eggs cook properly and when you take the “loaf” out and it cools, it’s a snap to then mince, grind or otherwise chop the eggs. No peeling! With shell on, I can prepare a large amount of hard boiled eggs for Seder in the IP. Not one comes out less than perfect.

  9. Carla L

    Hello! I have been meaning to try this recipe as I’ve heard rave reviews. Do you know if it works with a light olive oil or would that be too heavy? Or any other healthier oil rather than vegetable? Thank you!

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Carla. Light olive oil will be perfect for this recipe. I use Grape Seed oil which works well, but any oil will be fine as long as it isn’t the most peppery E/V olive oil. Cheers

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