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Natural Egg Dyes

Color hard boiled eggs the natural way! Natural coloring derived from food-based dyes can produce lovely, subtle hues that are sure to complete a happy basket for anyone. Use either hard-cooked white or brown eggs. You'll be pleased with the beautiful color variations.

Egg Dyeing Tips

  • Eggs destined for hard-cooking should be purchased at least a week in advance. Eggs allowed to sit a few days before boiling will peel easier.
  • Place eggs in a sauce pan large enough to hold them without crowding. Cover with cold water to over an inch above the tops of the eggs. Quickly bring water to boil and then remove pan from heat. Cover pan and let eggs stand in hot water - 18 minutes for extra-large, 15 minutes for large and 12 minutes for small eggs.
  • When the time is up, empty the pan of its water and immediately fill the pan with cold water, enough to cover the eggs. Allow eggs to completely cool. This will help prevent discoloring around the yolk. Store cooked eggs in the refrigerator.
  • For safety, eggs for eating should be kept at room temperature no longer than two hours. Plan your egg hunts and edible center pieces accordingly. Otherwise, considering cooking a batch of eggs to use for display only, or hollowing out raw eggs and coloring the empty shells.
  • Hollowed shells are an alternative for decorating and they can be carefully saved from year to year. To hollow a raw egg, poke small holes on each end of the egg with a sharp, thick needle. Thrust the needle into the egg to break the yolk,making it easier to remove the contents. Cover the small hole and slowly blow into the egg, blowing the yolk and egg whites out through the other hole. Be patient. The contents will come out more easily if the eggs are at room temperature. Dye as you would hard-cooked eggs, holding them under using a heavy object, like a spoon.
  • For dyeing, be sure the eggs are at room temperature and absolutely free of oils and grease, including fingerprints. A quick wipe with white vinegar will remove any smears.
  • Hard-cooked eggs kept in the refrigerator will remain fresh and ready to eat or decorate for seven days.

Making natural dyes

The following recipes provide a good guideline for achieving basic colors. Hues will be subtle or rich depending on the length the egg sits in the dye bath. Do not expect bright, artificial colors. Use heat-proof glass for all dye baths requiring boiling water. Alternately, the internet has many places to visit to get even more tips on natural egg dyes.

Turmeric Powder - Bright yellow to deep gold

Put 1 - 2 teaspoons ground turmeric powder in heat proof cup. Fill 2/3 full with boiling water. Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar.

  • works quickly
  • turmeric will easily stain clothing
  • dyed eggs may have a dusty residue which can be brushed off

Chopped Red Cabbage - Blues to teal

Put 2 - 3 tablespoons chopped red cabbage in a heat proof cup. Fill 2/3 full with boiling water and add 1 teaspoon white vinegar.

  • for best results, let eggs sit in dye bath overnight, in the refrigerator
  • avoid excess handling

Onion Skins -  Yellow: Light peach to gold/orange - Red Onion Skin: Pale celadon green

Use one large handful of onion skins for each cup of water. Simmer 20 minutes then add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar.

  • this method of dye is a favorite
  • yields good results
  • allow longer steeping time for greens, which will be very subtle in hue

Grape Juice - Blue to purple

Add 1 cup frozen juice concentrate to 1 teaspoon of vinegar.

  • let eggs sit in dye bath overnight, in the refrigerator
  • blue dyes are difficult to obtain, so be patient

Beets - Red Beets: Magenta red -  Orange Beets: Saffron yellow

Put 2 - 4 tablespoons freshly grated beet in a heat safe cup. Fill 2/3 with boiling water. Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar.

  • some dye results will be speckled
  • brown eggs will yield rich reds and golds


Natural Food Colors at Outpost

Look for seasonal natural egg coloring kits at Outpost. Year round, food-based natural dye colors colors are available in bottles in the baking section at your favorite Outpost.

  • Mix 3 ounces of water with 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons of natural color in a non-reactive bowl or cup.
  • In a separate bowl, cover hard-cooked eggs with white vinegar and soak for five minutes. This will help to open up the pores of the egg shell.
  • Remove the eggs and dry with a clean towel.
  • Now it's time to dye. Soak the egg in the color solution for five minutes. The longer the egg is left in the color solution, the darker the color.
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