A Fail Safe Formula for Traditional Egg Salad

Homemade Egg Salad is classic on the Canadian Prairies

1 Homemade Eggsalad on a homemade bun

And omnipresent at every funeral you will attend on the prairies. Usually in white bread sandwiches, quartered. Funeral food is never tasty. It sustains. The egg salad can be the best bite at a typical funeral, depending upon how it is made. Dad wanted “really good food” at his “funeral” – which will be called a celebration of his life from this point on. The egg salad was an after thought, but an important addition to the celebratory fare we prepared to fulfill his request to feed his guests “really good food”.

2 Homemade Eggsalad scooped on a bun

My father died on January 27th on that early Monday morning. Though he had been ill and I anticipated a few other days may have been his last, we did not expect it to be this one. Even though I have no guilt, no regrets, and lifetimes of happy wonderful love filled memories of my life with my dad and of the tender moments of caring for him through his last days, it was still a shock.

3 Homemade Eggsalad on a homemade bun half

He didn’t want a traditional funeral. He wanted a luncheon upstairs in the beautiful party room of the condo he and mom lived in. He asked me to be the MC and keep the ceremony short. “Say a few words. Anyone who wants to can say something, then just serve some really good food and let the crowd visit.”

4 Homemade Eggsalad close up on bun

I don’t want a traditional church funeral or any of that religious stuff, but your sister can say a prayer. Would you like a song, dad? “How Great Thou Art”. That’s a pretty religious song for a fellow that doesn’t want any of that religious stuff. My nephew played the guitar my dad had given him, sang the song and moved us all to tears.

So, dad… we made some really good food. Garlic stuffed prime rib on homemade buns… turkey with cranberries on homemade buns… and we couldn’t resist the homemade egg salad. We know how much you loved it, too.

5 peeled hard boiled eggs

In our family, we chop the eggs very finely.

6 finely chopped hard boiled eggs

We mince the onion.

7 minced onion

We dice the celery very finely, as well.

8 finely chopped celery

I actually used 6 dozen eggs for the amount I made for the celebration. There was only one cup left. People love egg salad – especially at funerals.

9 egg onion and celery in bowl10 egg onion celery salt pepper in bowl

Don’t skimp on the pepper. Only a teaspoon of salt for 2 dozen eggs, but a lot of freshly ground pepper is very important.

11 egg onion celery salt pepper and mayonnaise in bowl

One cup of mayonnaise for 2 dozen eggs is plenty. Perfect, actually. We found that 2 dozen finely diced hard boiled eggs produced 10 cups of diced eggs.

12 Homemade Eggsalad in bowl

Be gentle. Fold the ingredients together, but the texture of the egg salad is important to me. I like the pieces to be of similar size so the mouth feel is pleasant upon the palate.

13 Homemade Eggsalad scopped on a  bun

One large ice cream scoop on half of one of mom’s homemade buns. Yes, my 83 year old mother made about 180 buns for dad’s celebration. It kept her busy. She likes to be kept busy and oh, how dad loved mom’s buns!

14 Homemade Eggsalad on a homemade bun

I will have to have her make them with me one day as she uses a very old traditional prairie recipe that I have had only around these parts. They are yeasty and soft, not crusty… but absolutely scrumptious. Especially with turkey, or prime rib, or egg salad.

15 Homemade Eggsalad on a homemade bun

I must add that the day before dad’s celebration I had to do the prime rib and the egg salad. Thank God for dear friends. Luciana came over and kept me company the entire day. That is why the eggs are chopped so perfectly. Thank you, Luciana! You made this day such a pleasure and a sweet memory for me.

16 Homemade Eggsalad on a homemade bun halved17 Homemade Eggsalad on a homemade bun halved

 And, as I said. It was a hit! Though there was succulent warm garlic stuffed prime rib as well as turkey, local cheeses and a myriad of condiments, the egg salad disappeared. There was just enough with only a cup left over, but can you imagine a funeral without it? I cannot.

A Fail Safe Formula for Traditional Egg Salad

Love ya, dad.

5.0 from 1 reviews
A Fail Safe Formula for Traditional Egg Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 20
  • 2 dozen eggs, hard boiled, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1½ cup onion, minced
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients, folding together lightly with a spatula
  2. Seal tightly in a container in the fridge until ready to use; best to use immediately as the egg salad will go watery
  3. Good for 3-4 days
Formula: 10: 1.5: 1: 1
10 cups (or 2 dozen) finely chopped hard boiled eggs
1½ cup onion, minced
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
If you use this formula, it will work every time
For example:
6 eggs, 1/ cup onion, ¼ cup celery, ¼ cup mayo OR 2.5: 0.375 : 0.25: 0.25

A Fail Safe Formula for Traditional Egg Salad




  1. Tara says

    Aw, I’m so sorry about your dad. Very sad. I hope you are doing alright. Though I must say you’ve just made me crave an egg salad sandwich big time! I’m pregnant and have been craving eggs like crazy. It’s 5am and I feel like making one stat! BTW, I’m a prairies girl, too, but living in England. I’m thrilled I found your site last week when I was searching for good Bolognese! You give me a touch of home. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

  2. says

    So sorry for your loss but it sounds like a great send off- good food and lots of people to share it with. Egg mayo is one of my favourites- just needs lots of crisps (sorry can’t adjust to the Canadian of calling them chips just yet!) added to the sandwich for some salty crunch!

  3. Mara E. says

    Thinking of you, Valerie. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post! It definitely brought a tear to my eye and made me think of many memories….I didn’t grow up on the Canadian prairies, but my childhood was spent in many a Minnesota Lutheran church basement for weddings, anniversary parties, and celebrations of life. Egg salad on white bread (or delicious home-made buns) may not be gourmet, but sometimes it simply can’t be beat. Thanks again for sharing this.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Thank you so much, Mara…. there will be more to come. Grieving is a process and I so appreciate your kind and loving words. Minnesota, eh? Egg salad would be a church luncheon standard probably everywhere.

  4. Lorraine says

    I am so sorry to hear of your Dads passing. I have followed you almost since your first post and feel connected to you! You have a very special family. May God wrap his loving arms around you and ease your aching heart.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      How deeply touching to hear from a regular reader…. thank you so much for sharing in my love for food and family and for offering up your sweet hug to me at this tender time.
      Tight squeeze back,

  5. says

    I think your father would have loved all the good food at this send-off. I hadn’t thought of egg salad as being a funeral food, but you’re right. I’m trying to remember when I’ve seen it at other occasions and other than my mom serving it to use up all those dyed Easter Eggs, it’s definitely a niche food. And very popular.

    I can only imaging how difficult a time this is for you and your family. My thoughts are with you.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Thank you for your sweet and kind words, Charmian…
      Canadian funeral food is another whole niche that is really not discussed or written about too much – but, when you think about it, it is very specific. At least on the prairies: sandwiches (egg salad, tuna salad, assorted – but the old fashioned funeral food is of the salad sandwich variety… chicken salad, etc), pickles (dill and yum-yums and beets) and maybe a few raw vegetables, and squares. Coffee and Tea.

  6. says

    What a lovely meal as a tribute to your dad, Valerie. From what you say of him, I think you did him proud. Egg salad is definitely one of those prairie comfort foods, and always the first thing I choose at any potluck or gathering. I love that you have such happy memories of your dad. He will live on in your heart. Loving thoughts to you.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Thank you so much, Margaret,
      Deeply felt and I know we have a lot more to share…
      So interesting that an egg salad can offer that “quiet place to fall” in the midst of a huge crowd, but if it is “wrong” it is just “so wrong”, right? That is the funny thing about an egg salad.

  7. says

    Valerie, it sounds like the celebration of your dad’s life was a very meaningful time. Not only with the service and fellowship that followed, but also in the preparation in the kitchen leading up to the day. I just loved, loved, loved this post. Egg salad has two big meanings for me. It is THE sandwich of any funeral I have ever attended. It is the sandwich my mother always made to welcome us to her home after a long journey from our place to hers. No matter what the hour we arrived, there was always egg salad sandwiches and tea before we tucked into bed. The idea of egg salad sandwiches around fellowship is so Canadian to me. Having come from Danish roots, the egg salad sandwich took a different form over there. Bless you for capturing a Canadian food moment that I hope lives on through all the food modernization trends that seem abound.

    Your words in the second paragraph really resonated with me. Even when you know a passing is imminent and you feel braced for it, the shock of the finality is never any less. My warmest thoughts for you and your family as your broken heart begins to heal.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Dear Anne,
      What lovely words to find this morning. Thank you so much. I love that your mom made you egg salad. My husband craves it in that way, too – and sees it as home food that is such a comfort… and maybe that is why it has become the quintessential funeral sandwich. It is such a soft pillowy bite of comfort.
      Hugs to you.

  8. Nancy Peacock says

    Hi Valerie,
    So sorry about your dad. I loved reading the posts that involved your mom and dad, and sensed that your dad was not doing as well lately. We had egg salad sandwiches at both my parents memorial services. It was the only thing I really felt HAD to be there! It is comfort food at its simplest and best.
    I so enjoy reading your blog posts every Saturday morning. I bring my coffee and relish reading through your well written, often humorous and educational posts…complete with lovely pictures.
    I bought a Thermomix from you about 7 years ago and I appreciate reading your posts about their use. I’m always looking for good ways to use that amazing machine.
    I don’t usually comment on blogs, but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your posts and pass on my sympathy (and empathy) for the loss of your much loved dad.
    Nancy Peacock

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      What a lovely, warm fuzzy to open up just now. I definitely remember meeting you and delivering the machine to you… I had hoped we would be sharing so many recipes, but life happens. I cannot express how much I appreciate your kind words today. I am still going to post my eulogy… but, it is all taking time. Little by little, step by step. This is a new knowing for me… like having my first child was. It is a knowing that no one can really understand until it happens. I didn’t realize that. I think I did in one way, but really did not. And, you have lost both of your parents so soon in your life. See? I know I have been so fortunate and have really worked to be that appreciative, loving and good daughter these past years that I most certainly wasn’t in my younger teen years! ;0
      In any case, it is egg salad, isn’t it. It really does say it all. It says, “Welcome home.” as Anne wrote. It says, “Let me comfort you.” in so many ways. It is quiet, unassuming, simple – yet so profound.
      Thank you, and big tight hug, Nancy!

  9. says

    My sincerest sympathies in your loss,Valerie. Take care of yourself. My thoughts are with you.

    Thank you for the wonderful egg salad recipe…timeless. A recipe that needs to be passed on to the next generation.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Thank you so much, Helene, for your thoughtful words. Hope you are well and enjoying our crazy Canadian winter!

  10. suzanne dennis says

    thought of this post, you & you dad today when i tried to make devilled eggs for the canada day bbq!
    eggs werent co-operating so i had to re-eval and make salad instead.
    i then remembered the most lovely salad we had at your dads memorial, which of course led me to remember the last time i saw your dad, at your daughters wedding celebration in your beauty back yard!
    anyway – used your measurements and make a killer egg salad for the bbq, and thought of you, v and the rest of your fam today
    happy canada day to you and yours

    ps—how in the heck do you get your ingredients chopped so uniformly – is that a thermo-mix secret or just a sharp knife?????
    lets just say mine is not so uniformly perfect, but tastes great!

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      A sharp knife… what a lovely tender message, Su. Thank you. I think of him daily – so often. Probably more than I imagined.
      He loved his food. Yes, he sure did.

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