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How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

With natural ingredients, you can create vibrant and unique shades. All it takes is some colorful fresh vegetables and spices to coax out beautiful natural colors. Here’s what you need to know to dye Easter eggs naturally.

A variety of colorful eggs are laid out on a wooden surface, showcasing how to dye Easter eggs naturally with ingredients like flowers, coffee beans, cabbage, blueberries, turmeric, spinach, carrots, and beets arranged above them.
Photo credit: Adobe Photos.

How to dye Easter eggs naturally

Dyeing Easter eggs naturally refers to coloring eggs using dyes derived from organic and plant-based sources. This is instead of relying on dye kits with chemical additives When it comes to natural egg dyeing using fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, you can create vibrant and eco-friendly colors.

This method typically involves creating dye baths by soaking boiled eggs in mixtures made from natural ingredients. These organic materials impart their colors to the eggshells, producing a range of hues. Interestingly, the colors of the vegetables, fruits or spices doesn’t always give the Easter egg the color you expert. That’s what makes using this method so much fun — the mystery of it all.

It’s also a great teaching and learning lesson for children. “When my kids were younger, we made natural dyes from whatever the kids thought would work,” Laura Sampson of Little Frugal Homestead recalls. “Sometimes the colors were awful and sometimes they were amazing, it was always a surprise. The one we loved the most was making purple from red cabbage. That was always a hit.”

Types of ingredients to use for dye

To dye Easter eggs naturally, you can use a variety of ingredients commonly found in your kitchen or garden. Here are some examples of natural dye sources that create vibrant colors. 

Fruits for dyeing eggs

A small plate with three naturally dyed Easter eggs is surrounded by scattered blueberries on a textured white surface.
Photo credit: Adobe Photos.
  • Blueberries for blue/purple.
  • Blackberries for purple.
  • Cherries for pink/red.
  • Pomegranate juice for pink/red.
  • Cranberries for pink/red.

Spices, herbs and ingredients to try

A raw egg and scattered coffee beans sit on a black plate on a rustic wooden surface. Nearby are a bowl of coffee beans and a jar with a spoon containing a dark liquid, perfect for those looking to dye Easter eggs naturally.
Dyeing eggs with coffee. Photo credit: Adobe Photos.
  • Paprika for orange.
  • Ground coffee or coffee grounds for brown.
  • Cumin for yellow.
  • Chili powder for orange/brown.
  • Turmeric for yellow.

Teas and colors

  • Black tea for brown.
  • Green tea for light green.

Vegetables for dyeing

Dyed blue eggs in and out of a carton next to red cabbage and a bowl of red cabbage dye on a textured surface, showcasing how to dye Easter eggs naturally.
Photo credit: Adobe Photos.
  • Beets for red/pink.
  • Red cabbage for blue.
  • Spinach for green.
  • Yellow onion skins for orange.
  • Red onion skins for purple/brown.
A carton with six brown eggs and two brown eggs outside, a bowl filled with red Easter eggs dyed naturally, and a wooden bowl, placed on a wooden surface with onion skins scattered around.
Photo credit: Adobe Photos.

Other natural sources to try

A bowl containing dark liquid and naturally dyed purple eggs sits on a metal tray, with more Easter eggs and dried flowers scattered on a textured surface. A spoon rests nearby.
Hibiscus flowers used for Easter egg dyeing. Photo credit: Adobe Photos.
  • Hibiscus flowers for pink or purple.
  • Red wine for purple.
  • Spirulina for green.

Feel free to experiment with combinations of these ingredients to achieve a broader spectrum of colors. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the more intense the color. Additionally, adding a bit of vinegar to the dye can help the color adhere better to the eggshells.

Steps for dyeing eggs

Before starting the dyeing process, it’s crucial to keep the hard-boiled eggs refrigerated until you are ready to apply the colors. Warmer eggs are more likely to crack.

Also, if you find any cracked hard-boiled eggs, get rid of them. And never eat hard-boiled eggs you’ve left unrefrigerated for more than two hours. So, if it takes you a long time to make these eggs, don’t eat them afterwards.

Now onto the dyeing steps.

  1. Gather the dye ingredients: For this batch of Easter eggs, use beets for pink, red cabbage for blue and turmeric for yellow.
  2. Prep the ingredients: Peel and chop three beets and shred half a head of cabbage. Purchase a bottle of ground turmeric.
  3. Make the dye: Prepare the dye by using two large pots. In one pot, combine four cups of water with beets; in the other, combine four cups of water with cabbage. Bring both mixtures to a boil, then let them simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure the even distribution of colors.
  4. Strain and add the vinegar: Strain the liquid to remove the cooked solids, then pour the colored dye into large bowls. Add two tablespoons of white vinegar to each.
  5. Make the turmeric dye: Add two tablespoons of ground turmeric powder to a large bowl and add four cups of boiling water. Stir to dissolve, then add two tablespoons of white vinegar.
  6. Soak and dye the eggs: Place the eggs in the dye, making sure they are fully submerged. Aim for 10-20 minutes for a subtle tint, while a more vibrant color may require up to an hour in the dye. Place the eggs in the refrigerator if you dye them longer than an hour for food safety. You can leave the eggs in the fridge overnight for even deeper colors.
  7. Dry the eggs: When the desired color is reached, remove them to a paper towel to dry completely before storing them.
  8. Store the eggs: Once the eggs are dry, store them in the refrigerator.

Make sure the dye sticks to the eggs

If the dye doesn’t adhere well, make sure your eggs are chilled and rub them with white vinegar before immersing them in the dye. This process will remove any oils or cooking residue, resulting in a clean egg.

Lessons learned from dyeing Easter eggs naturally

Here’s what we learned when using fruits, vegetables, flowers and other natural products to dye easter eggs: purple and brown are the easiest colors to get. That’s because you have so many options to use for this result. Hopefully, your kids or you like these dark shades the best. Because in my experience, these are the ones you’re most likely to end up with. Nonetheless, they looked great on our Easter dessert charcuterie board.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try and be creative with other colors. For example, since Zuzana Paar of Lowcarb-Nocarb was little, she would dye Easter eggs using onion skins. Then she would wrap them in leaves. This created an almost engraved look on the eggs.

Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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