Thursday, March 31

Natural Egg Coloring Dyes

Post from the Past:

With Easter fast approaching I have been thinking about how to dye our eggs this year.

I have found many great articles and How To posts but I am still not sure that I am going to "go natural" with the egg dying this year.

I found this article on for using natural dyes:
  1. Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan
  2. Add water until the eggs are covered
  3. Add ~ one teaspoon of vinegar.
  4. Add the natural dye (see below) using more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color
  5. Bring water to a boil
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
  7. If you are pleased with the color, remove the eggs from the liquid.
  8. If you want more intensely colored eggs, temporarily remove the eggs from the liquid
  9. Strain the dye through a coffee filter (unless you want speckled eggs)
  10. Cover the eggs with the filtered dye and let them remain in the refrigerator overnight
Lavender: Small quantity of purple grape juice, violet blossoms, & 2 tsp lemon juice
Violet Blue: Violet blossoms with a small quantity of red onions skins
Blue: Canned blueberries boiled with red cabbage leaves or just purple grape juice
Green: Boiled spinach leaves
Greenish Yellow: Boiled yellow & delicious apple peels
Yellow: Orange Peels, Lemon Peels, Carrot Tops, Celery Seed, Ground Cumin, or Ground Turmeric
Brown: Strong coffee, instant coffee, or black walnut shells
Orange: Yellow onion skins
Pink: Beets, cranberries, raspberries, red grape juice, or juice from pickled beets
Red: Lots of red onions skins

You can use fresh and frozen berries as 'paints', too. Simply crush the berries against dry boiled eggs.

Try coloring on the eggs with crayons or wax pencils before boiling and dyeing them.

Here is this one on
  1. Pink: Mix 1 cup strained juice from canned beets, ½ teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Soak cooled eggs in the dye for ½ hour.
  2. Purple: Mix 1 cup purple grape juice, ½ teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Soak cooled eggs in the dye for ½ hour.
  3. Orange: In a pot, mix 1 cup loosely packed yellow onion skin (about 2 onions' worth), 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for ½ hour, cool to room temperature, strain out the onion skins, then add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for ½ hour.
  4. Light Blue: In a pot, mix 1 cup torn and loosely packed red cabbage leaves, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for ½ hour, cool to room temperature, strain out the cabbage leaves, then add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for ½ hour.
  5. Yellow: In a pot, mix 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for ½ hour, cool to room temperature, strain out stray turmeric grains, then add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for ½ hour.
And another from Lakewind and yet another on Green Living Ideas Blogs

Some problems that I have with these natural methods are:
  • The amount of food that is used to make the dyes
  • The time that it would take to make the dyes
  • The amount of time that it would take to dye the eggs. (I really doubt that my kids would let an egg sit in a dye for half an hour. Heck, I couldn't wait half an hour to get my egg out. And what about the fun of multi colored eggs?)
  • The lack of participation by my kids (I don't really want them dropping eggs into boiling spinach)
  • The amount of pots and pans I would need (and are they going to be stained too?)
  • Did I mention the amount of food
Another concern I have what the eggs might taste like afterward.

We usually use the eggs to make things like deviled eggs, potato salad, potato salad sandwiches, or we just eat the hard boiled egg. If we used all these food items to dye the eggs would the eggs taste like the food?

I don't know about you but I don't want to eat a hard-boiled egg that tastes like coffee (no matter how much I love coffee).

Worse yet, how would the potato salad taste if I used the coffee & beet dyed eggs to make it?

I just don't think my family or I am ready for natural egg dyeing this year. Sorry. I am just not there yet.

What about you? Do you think you and your family will try a natural dying method for your Easter eggs this year?


Misty said...

I'd like to try but agree with your concerns. I found this link:, which is for dying paper or textile, which is probably more readily dyable (sp?) than eggshell, but I wonder if pureeing the ingredients and boiling beforehand, then letting cool and straining through a coffee filter, and leaving the eggs overnight or longer (with some added vinegar) would work... I might experiment with it!

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

Thanks for the link Misty. Let me know if you try this. I might experiment with one or two of them. BTW, I really like your profile pic!

Michelle said...

Well let me preface my answer by stating that we don't celebrate easter with eggs. BUT we are celebrating spring that way...thought it would be 3 year old has never done an egg hunt and she is going to LOVE it.

THIS SEEMS LIKE WAYYYYYY too much work. and not even fun for the kids.

I bought one container of natural red food dye the other day at the health food store, but it was too expensive to get anymore. Surely there is a cheaper place.

If there were you could use it just like regular food coloring, I would assume.

CHEAPER though is important.

Since I wasnt going to use natural dye, I jsut bought the cheapest eggs...hadnt thought about eating them, but hey, why not? My 9 year old is allergic to red

LOVE your blog. Gonna hang out for a bit.

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

Thank you for stopping by Michelle. I love to “meet” new people (especially ones that say nice things about my blog) ;-)

My 3 yr old daughter loved hunting for eggs so much last year that the egg hunts went on throughout the months and were even included in her birthday party. She is so excited about it again this year. Let me know how your daughter enjoys her egg hunt.

marina villatoro said...

Hi, I absolutely love this article. I have been going crazy looking for yellow natural dye. and nothing is for sale in costa rica and even when i went to the states. now i'll be using your ideas!!!!! thanks so much.
The Travel Expert(a) and an Expat with a Twist

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

Hi Marina,

I am glad you like it. You have to come back and tell us how it works for you. I keep going back and forth on whether I am going to try this or not. I would love to hear from some of you on how it really works.

Heian said...

I had found a simple article in a magazine about natural dye and thought it would be fun.I have older children but only this morning (Easter) did I consider it might not be as simple as the article made it sound and looked on-line. There was no mention in the very short article about coffee filters, long soaking, so many pans LOL. Maybe we will stick with white eggs and potato salad later.
Enjoyed all your comments though. Please post if anyone goes through with this and give the gritty details for next year.

Daisy said...

Many good thoughts. I wonder how beet juice would work? It certainly colors everything it touches.

Nicole Feliciano said...

I ended up posting this on the Momtrends facebook page with a link to you! Thanks so much and Happy Easter!