I admit that I have those little artificial dye bottles in my cupboard—but honestly, my son and I only use them for science experiments, even though when rainbow colored spills and blue stained fingers happen I always seriously regret it.
So the idea of coloring Easter eggs this year with those fake dyes seemed unbearable. On the flip side, the thought of making our own seemed complicated and labor intensive.
Good news: Homemade dyes are totally doable, plus the process leads to experimentation, questions, and what ifs—things I encourage in our house all the time.
Below I have cracked the code for dying Easter eggs naturally. Enjoy the process!
Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs
A few tips and guidelines:
The more ingredients you use and the stronger solution, the more potent the dye and less wait time. These recipes should dye an egg in half an hour.
Also, the end results may vary depending on a few factors: the dye concentration, what color your original egg is, and how long you leave the eggs in the dye. Be mindful of how impatient your child is.
You can approach this two ways: The first is to cold dip hard boiled eggs until the desired color is achieved which can take minutes, or leaving the eggs in the fridge overnight. The second approach applies to the beet application, where you boil raw eggs in the beet solution because this achieves the most even color. But like I mentioned, experimentation is totally welcome.
1 dozen room temperature, hard-boiled eggs, preferably white
4 cups homemade dye from the list below
1 tablespoon white vinegar per cup of dye solution
Colors and Quantities:
Red: 1 cup red onion skins, per cup of water
Orange: 1 cup yellow onion skins, per cup of water
Yellow: 3 tablespoons ground turmeric, per cup of water
Green: 2 cups spinach roughly chopped plus 1 tsp turmeric, per cup of water
Blue: 1 cup chopped purple cabbage, per cup of water
Pink: 1 cup shredded or roughly chopped beets, per cup of water
Combine the chosen ingredient, the vinegar and water into a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
Cool the liquid, and for the spinach, onions and cabbage, strain the ingredients.
Dip hard-boiled eggs into the cooled dye. You can also arrange the eggs in a single layer on a baking dish and pour the liquid over them (making sure they are completely covered with liquid) and then refrigerate.
Leave in for as many minutes as your child will tolerate.
Remove the eggs and carefully dry with a paper towel. Rub in a little vegetable oil, if desired, and then polish with another paper towel.
Store eggs in the refrigerator until ready for hiding or baskets.
Kier Holmes is a Marin-based landscape designer who, for over 15 years, has artfully created sustainable gardens that are dynamic year round. Kier also writes for Marin Magazine and Gardenista, is an elementary school garden educator and a garden speaker for adults and leader of the Garden Club for kids at the Mill Valley Library. Kier readily admits her obsession with all things plant related, and her natural habitat is among towering trees and blooming flowers. You can connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram.