Recipe: Naturally-Dyed Easter Eggs

food coloring, food dye, artificial coloring, Easter eggs, eggs, natural coloring, natural dyes

Easter is not a tradition in my family, so growing up I did not have many opportunities to dye Easter eggs, except one or two times with a friend. In light of all the recent news about the detrimental effects of artificial food colorings (get more information about the latest research on food dyes here and here), I thought I would experiment with homemade, natural dyes. Instead of exposing your children to the toxins in artificial colorings through their skin (yes, the chemicals go right through the skin into the body), you can use these natural dyes instead.

As you can see, the final product came out different than the typical dyed egg, but interesting none the less. At first, I thought it was a failure, but as the eggs were soaking in the dyes I saw textures and mosaics forming that spoke of nature and the myriad variations that may be found. As there are so many possible materials from the natural world that could be used, a list would be quite long. Instead, I will tell you what I used and when you try these eggs with your children, make a game of it and challenge them to think of materials they could use from your pantry or the garden. Please leave a comment and let me know what worked for you, and have fun!

Naturally-Dyed Easter Eggs


washable tablecloth, mugs or deep bowls, forks, spoons

white vinegar

hard-boiled eggs

egg cartoon


  • Cover workstation with the tablecloth
  • For each color, put the material into a mug or bowl
  • Mash up the materials with a fork (or boil if appropriate)
  • Adults should pour hot water into the mugs or bowls
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar to each mug (try to get organic vinegar as it is made from corn)
  • If the bowl is larger use more vinegar (I think the vinegar is what creates the mottled effect)
  • The children can lower the egg into the mug using a spoon
  • Let soak. I soaked mine overnight as the natural dyes need a long time to adhere to the egg
  • If you plan to eat the eggs, soak them overnight in the refrigerator
  • Try using rubber-bands, and/or wax crayons to create patterns if so desired
  • After you decide the color is right, let them dry in the egg cartoon
  • They will be dull — remember, natural dyes will not be as vibrant as fake dyes
  • When dried (the next day), you may wipe them gently with mineral oil or cooking oil to give them a beautiful sheen


  • blue: blueberry juice from frozen blueberries that have been thawed
  • maroon: beet juice from steamed beets
  • grey/blue: grape juice
  • yellow: turmeric
  • red: paprika
  • brown: clove
  • green: boiled spinach (this did not work very well)

This post is linked to: What’s On The Menu, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Tip Day Carnival, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Follies, Pennywise Platter, Food Trip Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Favorites, Fat Camp Friday, Friday Potluck, Sugar Free Sunday, Real Sustenance, Seasonal Saturday, Meatless Mondays, Midnight Maniac, Make Ahead Meals. Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, Mouthwatering Monday, Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods, Tasty Tuesday, Easter Bloghop, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

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Leave a Comment

  • jean April 13, 2011, 8:01 am

    Although, I don’t do easter eggs, the colors on on the naturally dyed ones look so much prettier than the pink, blues, green, etc. of the fake dyes. So much prettier. The eggs in the basket above tempt me to dye some, naturally, of course.

    • Jill April 13, 2011, 10:57 am

      Hi Jean,
      Thank you for your comments. Your ginger lemongrass tea looks superb! I AM going to try that!

  • Alicia April 13, 2011, 8:38 am

    I like them very much!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jill April 13, 2011, 10:59 am

      Hi Alicia,
      Thanks for your comments!

  • Sarah Smith April 13, 2011, 11:39 am

    Oh, I meant to try this last year but with a new baby in the house I just never got around to it. I had completely forgotten, so thank you for reminding me to try it this year!!

    • Jill April 13, 2011, 1:14 pm

      Hi Sarah,
      Please let me know how it goes! I loved your post today!

  • Janice April 13, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Wow. We will have to try this out! They look beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Celebrating Family

    • Jill April 13, 2011, 6:35 pm

      Hi Janice,
      Thanks for your kind words.

  • Rebecca April 13, 2011, 5:25 pm

    Those look great! I tried this last year but didn’t have such good results, you’ve got me inspired to try again. Thanks!

    • Jill April 13, 2011, 6:38 pm

      Hi Rebecca,
      I think you will “bee” able to do this! I find your beekeeping so interesting!

  • Tamara April 13, 2011, 9:54 pm

    Your Easter eggs are so pretty! I’m going to have to try that just to set out in a pretty basket. Anyway stopping by for Miz Helen’s hop. =)

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 5:50 am

      Hi Tamara,
      Have fun with them!Thanks!

  • yvette April 13, 2011, 10:35 pm

    Oh I love these natural colours, you did a superb job! All the more fun sharing with the children and their helping creative hands. The subtle colours would go beautifully with whites and natural weave teaxtures,My favourite things! yvette@twistedvines

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 5:49 am

      Hi Yvette,
      Thank you so much for your kind words.I hope you have lots of fun with these eggs!

  • Emily Lyons April 13, 2011, 10:58 pm

    This looks like a great activity to do with the kids this weekend with emptied, clean eggshells. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 5:51 am

      Hi Emily,
      Have fun with them!

  • Lyuba April 14, 2011, 8:33 am

    i am planning on naturally dyeing my Easter eggs too. I am just having trouble finding enough onion skins! thanks for sharing!

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 12:07 pm

      Hi Lyuba,
      Let me know how it turns out!

  • Dc April 14, 2011, 10:12 am

    I have once boiled the eggs in water with spinach or onion skins and used that to colour the eggs. I put herbs or ferns on the eggs and tied them in nylon stocking to keep the leaves in place. they turn out lovely.

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 12:08 pm

      Hi Dc,
      That is a great idea! Thanks for sharing. Next time I will try both — I bet the green came out better that way.

  • Jaime @ Like a Bubbling Brook April 14, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I think they look beautiful! Thanks for the idea!

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 12:09 pm

      Hi Jamie,
      Thanks for your kind words.

  • Mindy @ The Purposed Heart April 14, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Absolutely GORGEOUS!!! SOOO much prettier than the crazy neon looking eggs πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing!


    • Jill April 14, 2011, 5:05 pm

      Hi Mindy,
      Thanks so much! I think they are gorgeous as well!

  • Miz Helen April 14, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Hi Jill,
    I am on the committee to help dye the Easter Eggs for our community Easter Egg Hunt this year and we are using natural dyes. Your post is very timely for that information. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 5:06 pm

      Hi Miz Helen,
      Thanks for hosting. I hope your eggs come out great!

  • stacey April 14, 2011, 7:28 pm

    i was thinking about this today (as i purchased the typical Paas kit for dying easter eggs). i wondered if there was a natural way of going about that… and sure enough! they are beautiful too! i like the natural colors so much better than the bright and artificial colors. thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 9:33 pm

      Hi Stacey,
      Good luck with them.Let me know how it goes!

  • Mare @ just-making-noise April 14, 2011, 8:06 pm

    They look beautiful! I would LOVE to do that with my girls… hmmm. Maybe we should :o) Anyway, thank you for linking up at Simple Lives Thursday!

    • Jill April 14, 2011, 9:34 pm

      Hi Mare,
      Thanks for your comments!

  • db April 14, 2011, 10:24 pm

    hi jill – i love your blog! i’d like to share your post “your brain on fake food” – but i didn’t see a fb “share” button. am i not looking in the right place? keep up the good work!

    • Jill April 15, 2011, 6:21 pm

      Hi db,
      Just wanted to tell you your photos are amazing!

  • Thrifty Veggie Mama April 15, 2011, 8:58 am

    These look really interesting! Maybe we will give them a try!

    • Jill April 15, 2011, 6:22 pm

      Hi Thrifty,
      I’m sure you will like them!

  • Donna@My Tasty Journey April 15, 2011, 10:57 am

    I LOVEEEE this! Who cares if they look “different”, what your doing for your family is Awesome! Great job:)

  • Jill April 15, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Hi Donna,
    Thanks for your kind words!

  • Christy April 16, 2011, 8:44 pm

    They are so beautiful! Our chickens lay “dyed” eggs – in shades of brown and blue and green, but I would love to try this with some store bought white ones!

    • Jill April 16, 2011, 10:04 pm

      Hi Christy,
      Yes, I did use store bought white ones! Thanks for your kind words.

    • Christie April 18, 2011, 6:41 pm

      We have chickens, too. Last year we boiled some of our chickens’ green, blue, and speckled eggs, and then also decorated (naturally) some store bought white eggs. You might want to try liquid chlorophyll for a green dye. It works well for other things, anyway (like frosting). We love the natural colors we get from foods. Blackberries make a nice purple. I’ve never heard of using cloves. Did cloves produce the deep brown eggs in the photo?

      • Christie May 16, 2011, 2:54 pm

        I just thought I’d let folks know (for anyone reading this in years to come) how the home grown eggs turned out. Mostly, the natural dyes don’t work well on brown eggs. They worked well on the very pale eggs (both pale green/blue, and very pale brown, both nearly white). But on our brown eggs, they didn’t work. This was partly due to the brown-ness, and partly due to the vinegar in the dye. The vinegar helps to loosen the hen’s natural brown color on the egg, so the eggs had patches where this had come off (lighter) and patches where it didn’t come off (much darker). So, I recommend either collecting the palest eggs for a week or two (if you get these), or buying white for this project.

        • Jill May 16, 2011, 7:18 pm

          Hi Christie,
          Thanks so much for reporting back. Since I do not have any chickens at home, I just bought the cheapest white eggs I could find. I had a feeling that the natural dyes would need a white canvas…

  • Jerri April 17, 2011, 12:45 am

    I always loved making Easter eggs as a good. Neat idea! And they turned out great!

    Thanks for linking up with me for Friday Favorites!

    • Jill April 17, 2011, 11:18 am

      Hi Jeri,
      I’m so glad they turned out good! Thanks for hosting!

  • Of Goats and Greens April 17, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I’ve used onion skins (red or brown, each turn out differently), water leftover from boiling artichokes (sometimes a nice blue green but perhaps not always reliable). A group of us got together a couple years ago to do this just for fun, and I wish I could remember all the combinations we came up with.

    I’d think the yellow beets (if you can find them) would be interesting, too.

    • Jill April 17, 2011, 4:41 pm

      Hi Of,
      Thanks for the tips! I was thinking about the yellow beets but did not have any on hand. Beets are good because they really do stain well!

  • thepsychobabble April 18, 2011, 12:26 pm

    Interesting twist on the standard dyes most of us grew up with:)

    • Jill April 18, 2011, 4:28 pm

      Thanks for your comments!

  • Jane Doironw April 18, 2011, 9:55 pm

    Hi Jill,
    Wow! What a great post! You have so many great ideas! The eggs look really cool this way…and safe! Thanks for adding this to Melt in Your Mouth Monday! πŸ™‚

    • Jill April 19, 2011, 6:14 am

      Hi Jane,
      Thanks so much for your kind words and for hosting Melt in your Mouth Monday!

  • Barb @ A Life in Balance April 19, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the reminder about food dyes. I’ve been looking at ways to avoid them in our food, which is easy since we avoid processed food, but I forgot about food dyes and Easter eggs.

    Looking at your eggs, I’m now curious about the traditional Pysaki (spelling?) eggs. I wonder what they use for coloring the eggs?

  • Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations April 19, 2011, 12:20 pm

    FUN! My niece has red dye allergies so this is right up her ally!

    Come check out my recipe? I’ll be back to follow your blog.

    Have a great day. Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

    • Jill April 19, 2011, 12:38 pm

      Hi Traci,
      Your chicken scampi looks great ! I’m going to try it! Glad you like the dyes!

  • Alexis AKA MOM April 19, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Wow what a great idea, I’ll have to try it with my boys! Thanks

  • Jill April 19, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Hi Alexis,
    Thanks for your comments! Have fun!

  • Kankana April 19, 2011, 5:12 pm

    This looks fantastic and So cute! Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul Hop. Please visit next week too to share your recipe πŸ™‚

    • Jill April 19, 2011, 7:30 pm

      Hi Kankana,
      Thanks for your kind words!

  • christy larsen April 19, 2011, 7:29 pm

    these turned out really beautiful…i love the natural colors. i have used onion skin before for dying eggs, but that is it. i haven’t dyed eggs in years, perhaps i will have to tap my “inner child” this year πŸ™‚ thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club.

    • Jill April 19, 2011, 7:31 pm

      Hi Christy,
      Thank you so much. It was a lot of fun! Thanks for hosting.

  • Winnie April 21, 2011, 8:41 am

    Love this idea!!! We don’t celebrate Easter but this looks like a fun project I may do with my kids today πŸ™‚

    • Jill April 21, 2011, 11:54 am

      Hi Winnie,
      It is a FUN project for this time of year! I love your photos!

  • ELizabeth April 21, 2011, 4:55 pm

    Love these tips!!!

    • Jill April 21, 2011, 6:42 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,
      So glad you like them!

  • kc April 22, 2011, 12:29 am

    I just wanted to let everyone know that white or distilled vinegar is made from GMO corn. For anyone that is trying to avoid GMOs, coconut vinegar or rice vinegar would work well.

    • Jill April 22, 2011, 8:01 am

      Hi KC,
      Thank you for that info. I used organic distilled white vinegar. That is also available.

  • hellaD April 22, 2011, 2:35 am

    Wow this is fantastic! Please share it with our Easter Rebirth Bloghop!

    • Jill April 22, 2011, 8:01 am

      Hi HellaD,
      Where have you been? I will share.

  • Katherine April 23, 2011, 8:02 am

    What a lovely idea. The colors are wonderful too. Even more beautiful than the brightly dyed eggs. Well done. I enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog. Happy Easter Hugs, Katherine

    • Jill April 24, 2011, 9:18 pm

      Hi Katherine,
      Thank you so much for your kind words.

  • Michele@FitFoodista April 23, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Hi πŸ˜‰ Another great post. Please remember, though, we ask folks to submit only one post per week.

    • Jill April 24, 2011, 9:18 pm

      Hi Michele,
      OK. I’ll make a note of it for next week.

  • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free April 25, 2011, 1:32 pm

    Hi Jill!

    Thanks for linking up to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday! I wanted to share this post for this week’s link up event…I don’t see a link back to the post though. Did I miss it?


    • Jill April 25, 2011, 3:41 pm

      Hi Amy,
      The link is there now. Sorry, I must have missed it! πŸ™

  • Shu Han April 26, 2011, 9:47 am

    great ideas for natural colours! You could try creating a marbled pattern over the eggs by cracking the egg shells, kind of like Chinese tea leaf eggs! Thanks for the ideas for natural colour substitutes! I might try infusing eggs in these natural “dyes” instead of tea next time for a different take (:

    • Jill April 26, 2011, 2:34 pm

      Hi Shu Han,
      Thanks for your comments — your tea infused eggs are gorgeous! Next time i will try that!

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