Naturally dyed eggs
Easter is upon us! That means it is time for all the fun Easter egg traditions again! One tradition we have here is dying your eggs together as a family and crack them open on Easter morning. In this post you will learn how to easily dye your eggs without using artificial colors but natural ingredients. Naturally dyed eggs are super fun and easy to make and will be the perfect addition for your Easter Brunch.
Why should you naturally color your eggs?
- Fun: Dying your eggs is a super fun Easter or Passover activity for the whole family!
- Easy: Coloring your eggs is not only super fun but also super easy to do. Even young kids can help in the process.
- Reduces Food waste: You can use everyday leftover scraps like onion skins which you usually would throw away to color your eggs.
- Save: Using every day ingredients from your kitchen makes it a save for the kids that love putting things in their mouth or liking their fingers.
- Simple Ingredients: You can use easy available ingredients you often already have in your kitchen to naturally dye your eggs.
When growing up it was always an exciting moment when my mom brought home a ton of eggs and a huge bag full of onion skins! It was time for a fun family day, usually the day before Easter Sunday. We got on some rubber gloves and started coloring all the eggs using different herbs and flowers to make pretty patterns.
On Easter Sunday we would have a big brunch and eat our dyed eggs. It is a tradition here in Switzerland that everyone gets one egg and we smash them onto another persons egg. We do that over and over again till only one egg is left that still has not cracked on both sides.
During my early childhood we always dyed our eggs with natural ingredients, mainly with onion skin. Later on we started using standard food dyes and at some point stopped the tradition completely. Last year I decided to bring back the old traditions and the Easter fun.
Dying your eggs in a natural way gives you a more muted color instead of the bright, strong color which you usually get when using food dye which I personally prefer. Plus you know exactly what the ingredients are while you do not always know exactly what all is in those colors you can buy at the store to dye your eggs with.
Make it a meal!
Have an awesome Easter brunch with these recipes:
What you need to naturally dyed eggs:
- Eggs: Use fresh white or brown eggs at room temperature. We usually use white eggs. However, if you do use brown eggs the color will be different. Unpeeled, hard-boiled, white or brown eggs, at room temperature, not fresh)
- Ingredient of your choice to create the pigmented dye: Find some ideas below
- Water: The water gets infused with the ingredient of your choice to create the dye.
- Butter or Oil: Use unsalted butter or a neutral oil such as sunflower or vegetable oil to give the dyed eggs a shiny finish.
- Variety of flowers, herbs and leaves: Simply go outside and pick what you can find in the beautiful flower fields or your garden. Keep them in a bucket full of water so they do not dry out and also are clean with no bugs.
- Nylon Stockings: Nylon stockings are the perfect tool to hold herbs and flowers in place to get a nice pattern on the eggs.
- String: To close the stockings.
- Paper towels: Use paper towels (or anything similar) to let the dyed eggs rest on. This will soak up the leftover water. Be careful: the towel will get some color on it from the eggs so do not use your favorite towels!
- The leaves from flowers
There are many more options. Use whatever you can find!
You can use a variation of different fruits, vegetables and spices to create dye for your Easter eggs. Here are some ideas for you:
- Onion Skin – orange or even red (the dark eggs in the picture before were made with onion skins). Simply fill a small pot with the skins. You can use fresh onion skins straight off an onion or buy it at the store. Stores often sell them before Easter especially for dying eggs. Here is an example.
- Purple Cabbage – lighter blue on white eggs; green or dark blue on brown eggs. Fill the pot for about 3/4 with the cabbage. When cooking it will shrink and make more space.
- Beets – rose to purple; it is recommended to remove the beets before adding the eggs.
- Spinach – Green; also fill the whole pot with spinach.
- Blueberries – Purple, blueish; fill the pot about halfway
- Turmeric – Yellow (the light brown eggs in the basket in the picture above were dyed with turmeric)
- Coffee – light to dark brown
Keep in mind that the color may vary depending on how intense the dye is and how long you keep the eggs submerged.
How to make naturally dyed eggs
Make the dye bath
To a saucepan add water and the ingredient you want to dye your eggs with. You can make separate batches of different colors or one large batch of a single color depending on what you prefer.
Cover the pot and bring everything to a boil. Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes so the water can get infused well and extract the color from the produce to create the dye.
Prepare an ice bad to shock the eggs after dying and stop the cooking process.
Dye the eggs
For this recipe you do not have to pre cook your eggs in order to dye them. Simply use fresh, raw eggs at room temperature. Make sure you keep your herbs, flowers and leaves in a bucket full of water. This prevents them from drying plus the water acts like a glue when putting them on the egg.
Here is how you do it:
Take some flowers, herbs or leaves and place them on your eggs in a pattern that you like. If your decoration does not stay on the egg make it a bit wet and it should get easier.
Next insert your egg (with the decoration on them) into the stocking. You can put as many that fit into the stocking. Simply make sure to leave some space, about fingers wide, in between each egg.
With a string close the stocking in between the eggs to keep them from moving around in the stocking. That will keep the decoration in place and make sure to get the beautiful pattern.
Cook the eggs
Take the lid of the pot and turn the heat down to medium-low. You do no longer want the water to bubble, else the eggs will brake.
Insert the stockings with the eggs inside, making sure eggs are fully submerged in water. Then simply let them cook for about 10-20 minutes just the way you usually would cook hard boiled eggs. The longer you let them soak in the dye the darker the color. At 10 minutes your eggs will still be slightly soft on the inside, at 20 minutes your egg will be fully cooked. Do not cook them longer than 20 minutes!
Remove the eggs from the pot and let cool in the ice bath.
Give the eggs the finishing touch
Pat the eggs dry with a paper towel. Use scissors to cut away the stocking, take off the herbs / flowers and wipe the eggs with a paper towel to dry. Now you can see the beautiful pattern created on the egg shell (see photo on the top: the yellow part is from the flowers we used).
Add some oil to another paper towel and gently rub it over the cooked eggs to give them a shiny finish.
There you go, you have beautiful dyed eggs that will be the show stopper during your Easter Brunch! Have fun cracking eggs!
Frequently asked questions
Q: Why do we put butter on the eggs?
A: It makes the color more vibrant and gives a shiny finish to the egg.
Q: Can I dye eggs without the decoration?
A: Yes! You can simply submerge the eggs in the dye bath without the stockings and will get beautifully dyed eggs.
Q: How long are naturally dyed eggs good for?
A: Handle naturally dyed eggs as any other hard boiled egg! Keep them in the fridge for up to 7 days and you will be fine.
Q: My eggs did not get as dark as i wanted, what do I do?
A: By letting them cook for a longer time period in the dye you will get a darker color. You can also try adding more of the dye ingredient (for example onion skins).
Q: I want a darker color but a soft inside of the eggs, what do I do?
A: Cook the eggs for as long as you want them to cook and shock them in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Then fill a jar or a pot with the cold dyed water and let the eggs soak in them for a few hours till you get the color you’d like to have.
Naturally Dyed Eggs
- 1 Stocking
- 1 String
- 1 Pot
- 1 Paper towel roll
- 12 Eggs
- 1 l Water
- Produce to dye (find ideas up in the post)
- Flowers, Leaves or herbs (find ideas up in the post)
- Butter or Neutral Oil (sunflower, vegetable, etc.)
Homemade Natural Egg Dye
- To a saucepan add water and the ingredient you want to dye your eggs with.
- Cover the pot and bring everything to a boil. Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes so the water can extract the color from the produce to create the dye.
- Prepare an ice bad to shock the eggs after dying and stop the cooking process.
How To Dye Easter Eggs
- Take some flowers, herbs or leaves and place them on your eggs in a pattern that you like. If your decoration does not stay on the egg make it a bit wet and it should get easier.
- Next insert your egg (with the decoration on them) into the stocking. You can put as many that fit into the stocking. Simply make sure to leave some space, about fingers wide, in between each egg.
- With a string close the stocking in between the eggs to keep them from moving around in the stocking. That will keep the decoration in place and make sure to get the beautiful pattern.
- Take the lid of the pot and turn the heat down to medium-low. You do no longer want the water to bubble, else the eggs will brake.
- Insert the stockings with the eggs inside, making sure eggs are fully submerged in water. Then simply let them cook for about 10-20 minutes just the way you usually would cook hard boiled eggs. The longer the eggs are in the dye the darker the color.
- Remove the eggs from the pot and put them in the ice bath.
- Then dry them off with a paper towel.
- Use scissors to cut away the stocking, take off the herbs / flowers and wipe the eggs with a paper towel to dry.
- Add some butter / oil to another paper towel and gently rub it over the cooked eggs to give them a shiny finish.