How to dye Easter eggs naturally – a tutorial

So you want to dye your Easter eggs naturally – without chemicals and artificial colors? While it takes longer than the commercial egg dye kits you buy at the store, dyeing your eggs with natural foods is better for you and your child(ren)’s health, produces much more interesting colors and is, quite arguably, more fun!

Why dye with natural colors instead of artificial?
According to Organic.org, “Many food colorings contain color additives such as Red No. 3 and Yellow No. 5, which, according to a 1983 study by the FDA, were found to cause tumors (Red No. 3) and hives (Yellow No. 5).” I wrote about the drawbacks of artificial colors a while back if you’d like to read more on the topic.

It is more time-consuming than using a store-bought conventional egg dye kit (and I highly recommend preparing the egg dye baths a few hours before you plan to dye the eggs with the kiddos), but it is healthier for your kids and the environment. “Dyeing eggs the natural way gives you the opportunity to spend more time with your family, teaching kids to use alternative project methods that are healthier for them and the environment.” I think it will be a lot of fun and a great family project.

To get started you will need:

  • Hard boiled eggs (preferably white eggs since they take on the dyes better than brown eggs)
  • Ingredients to make your dyes, which I will discuss in more detail below – As a guideline, use up to 4 cups for vegetable solids and 3–4 tablespoons for spices per quart. Mash up fruits.
  • White vinegar (2 Tablespoons for every quart of water)
  • Several pots and bowls
  • Optional: stickers, rubber bands, and crayons for decorating the eggs and making interesting patterns
  • Egg cartons for drying the dyed eggs

Natural egg dyes can be made from a variety of ingredients. Here’s a list of what I used last year along with comments on the colors that resulted.

RED

  • 3 cans of beets in cranberry juice (instead of water) – produced a dark reddish hue

PINK

  • Frozen cherries – made a very light pink

RED-ORANGE

  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder produced a nice reddish-orange color

YELLOW

  • 3 Tablespoons of tumeric produced a great yellow

GREEN

  • A mix of spinach leaves, canned blueberries and their juice and a few tablespoons of tumeric produced a gorgeous earthy green color – I think it would work without the spinach leaves, but I happened to have some that were wilting so I threw them in.

BLUE

  • 3/4 of a head of red cabbage (chopped) made a beautiful blue

GREY BLUE

  • 2 cans of blueberries and their juice made a grey-blueish color

GREY

  • Frozen cherries mixed with blueberries yielded a grey color (not the purple I was going for).

Instructions:
Last year I found a couple great web site with tips on “Natural Easter Egg Dyes” and Natural Dye from Organic.org. The natural dyes come from spices like paprika, tumeric and cumin; vegetables like spinach and red cabbage; fruit juices and even coffee. All of your dye ingredients can (and should) be composted after you are done.

On Organic.org, there is a boil method (which produces darker results) and a cold-dip method, which is suggested for children or if you plan to eat the eggs, which is the method we used last year.

The two methods are:

Method 1—Hot
Place eggs in a single layer in a large, nonaluminum pan. Add the dyeing ingredient of your choice—it’s best not to mix until you are comfortable with experimenting. Cover the eggs and other dyeing “agent(s)” with one inch of water. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart to help the color adhere to the egg, and bring to a boil. Next, simmer for 20–30 minutes or until the desired shade is achieved. If you cook the eggs longer than 15 minutes, they will become rather tough.

Method 2—Cold
The cold method is the same as the hot method with the following exception. Once ingredients have simmered 20–30 minutes (depending on desired shade), lift or strain the ingredients out of the water and allow the water to cool to room temperature though you may wish to try keeping the ingredients in the colored water to give the egg more texture as the dye will become concentrated in areas where the vegetable touches the egg. Submerge the eggs until the desired color is achieved. You may keep the eggs in the solution overnight as long as it is refrigerated.

The longer the egg stays in the dye, hot or cold, the deeper the hue will be. Using vinegar will also help the color deepen.

Definitely feel free to experiment and try out other foods and spices. For me, that was a big part of what made it so much fun, trying out different things to see what colors would come from them. For example, the dye from the spinach, tumeric, blueberry mix looked orange or brown, but the eggs came out green! And the red cabbage dye was purpley-pink, but the eggs came out blue. It was like a fun science experiment that the whole family could get involved in. Happy egg coloring! :)

Pictures:
The process of making the dyes:

The egg dyes on the stovetop Beets in cranberry juice
Red cabbage Tumeric

And the results:

Red and pink eggsYellow and orange eggs
Green eggsBlue eggs

Links to other people’s natural egg dyeing results:

If you dye your eggs naturally and blog about it, please leave me your link and I’ll add it to the list. :)

Don’t miss a single CDG post, subscribe to my blog.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

80 thoughts on “How to dye Easter eggs naturally – a tutorial

  1. Right on. I will try again this year (had pretty disappointing results last year with natural dyes but your pics + instructions are great!)…

  2. Cool! I probably won’t dye eggs this year, since the ones I like are brown and I don’t have kids… but I’ll be sure to keep this in mind for the future.

    I also am planning to get chickens in the next few months, and one of the varieties I’m after is an “Easter Egger.” She’ll lay eggs in a shade of blue or green. I’m excited about that!

  3. Pingback: Topics about Bands » How to dye Easter eggs naturally - a tutorial

  4. Awesome! Thank you Thank you Thank you! I remember seeing a few of these last year, but none that I loved and I was not relishing going back to search. So glad to know that you tried this and they worked well. I now have a use for the bulk chili powder I bought 5 years ago (product that I really don’t need in bulk). And, I am excited to try blueberries and turmeric for making other green foods…like cupcake frosting!

  5. Thanks so much! I just came back from the co-op with w/ 3 dozen free range, local white eggs and wanted to find a more natural way to dye them.

    Love your blog :-)

  6. Pingback: Links and other fun stuff - 4/4/09 | Mom Of 3 Girls

  7. You get best, most intense green from cold Mate tea (that’s important! Hot tea will only result in a pale brownish yellow – not very exiting). Let it sit overnight to intensify the color. Strangely, I haven’t seen this anywhere on the net. Thought I’d share it, since I finally found a way to dye my eastereggs blue here.

    sent from: fav.or.it [FID5909611]

  8. Good Afternoon everyone,

    I saw the article about Easter and think it is great that so many people are buys making plans and getting excited about the festivities. My sister is coming home from America for Easter, so everyone is looking forward to seeing her. Easter is one of those religious festivals that can turn out to be quite stressful, what with all the family over demanding attention, and having to cook lunch for everyone… the list goes on. I always find Easter greetings cards quite expensive, and I really don’t like giving my hard earned cash to those big greetings card companies. So I may have found an alternative solution in the form of electronic greetings cards. Not only do they save paper, and stamps, but as long as you opt for a free site then the Easter e-Card is going to be free. I have done my research and have found a really lovely Free Easter e-Card site. I like this site as I found it so easy to use, which is great because I am not very confident with computers, also I liked the wide range of choice of cards they offer. There are loads of e-Card sites out there, so it maybe worth doing your own research in order to find the best one. Hope everyone has a great Easter whatever you decide to get up to.

  9. Oh, I love this post! We will be out of town for Easter but we’ll definitely use this information for next year. I always enjoying coming to your blog – I learn something every time! Thanks so much!

  10. Pingback: From Dates to Diapers and Beyond! » Today on Mom-2-Mom

  11. Pingback: How To Naturally Dye Your Easter Eggs | EcoVillageGreen

  12. Pingback: 9 ways the Easter Bunny can bring less waste this year | Cheap Like Me

  13. I’ve had trouble getting red dyes. I’ve had no luck with red cabbage, red onions, or beets. Even raspberries didn’t color the egg, or turned it purple when I added alum to the dye. I picked up a few new ideas from your post to try. Love your method of mixing several different pigments to get a new color – the possibilities are endless!

  14. Pingback: Organic Easter Egg Dyes! « Where Else Organic?

  15. Pingback: What’s Cooking Blog » Blog Archive » Playing with Food - Using Food to Dye our Easter Eggs

  16. I was never able to get red cabbage to give me a blue egg till found a site that said you have to leave it in the cooking water till the next morning. I have always simmered my eggs in the water with the coloring agent, usually getting mottled colors from their uneven contact with the egg. I seem to find that letting eggs stand in the paprika water also strengthens the color.

    I assume that after twenty minutes of simmering, the eggs are thoroughly sterilized, and that if covered while they cool off they are unlikely to become re-infected.

  17. Pingback: Organic and Green Mom Blog | The Aftermath of the Green Moms Carnival: Hysterical Mommy Bloggers? at Organic Mania

  18. Pingback: Baby Blogging Review » Smarter Babies & Kids Blog

  19. Thanks. Someone on twitter pointed me to this post and it was exactly what I was looking for. Looking forward to becoming a more regular reader

  20. Pingback: Arts & Crafts Play | PhD in Parenting

  21. Pingback: A naturally beautiful rainbow of colors | Crunchy Domestic Goddess

  22. Pingback: Go Green This Easter with Eco-Friendly Egg Dye and More | Best Eco Stuff

  23. Pingback: Things to Write Home About - 4/19/09 | Feels Like Home

  24. Pingback: (Anti) Social Lists 3/21/10 | (Anti) Social Development

  25. Pingback: Inspiration for Easter Egg Decorating

  26. Pingback: Merry Microfiber Blog » Blog Archive » Dye Your Easter Eggs Naturally!

  27. Pingback: Evoking Your Inner Eco Bunny: An Ethical Guide to Easter « Autonomie Project’s Blog

  28. Hi! I just made these with my kids following the directions given. The tumeric turned the eggs a really nice yellow, and red cabbage turned them a beautiful blue, but the chili powder made them a dull tan — was hoping for reddish orange.

    We had to leave them in the boiling water for way longer than 20-30 minutes to get a decent color.

  29. Pingback: Mini Breakfast Quiche « EZ Recipes

  30. Pingback: How to dye Easter eggs naturally – a tutorial « Muin Mound Grove

  31. Pingback: Dye-ing To Dye! « thetrashyamerican

  32. These all sound great, but I only needed to dye two eggs for my son’s pre-school Easter egg hunt tomorrow, which I actually just remembered about now! So I just put 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries in a bowl with a little bit of cold water and swirled the eggs around in the water and smashed the blueberries on the eggs! And they came out a beautiful purple! Then I put some vinegar on my fingers and flicked them over the egg, which created great pink and dark blue splotches! This is the easiest way to go in a pinch! But thanks for your suggestions as they got me going!

  33. Pingback: Ethical Easter - Page 2 - London Moms

  34. Pingback: Crunchy Domestic Goddess » Dye Easter Eggs Naturally – A DIY Tutorial

  35. Pingback: Plastic Easter Eggs in Your Eco-Friendly Easter Egg Hunt? :: My Plastic-free Life | Less Plastic | Life without Plastic

  36. i remember using onion skins to dye eastereggs. when you wrap onions skins around the egg, securing the skins with some netting/old panty hose and leave the egg in the water which also has been boiled with onion skins for a while, you get some interesting patterns in a yellow-brownish color. never tried it with red onions, though.i did this with my children 15-20 years ago…

  37. Pingback: Natural Easter Egg Dye: Celebrate Easter Naturally Series | EcoBuzz Los Angeles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>