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How to Dye the Prettiest Easter Eggs With Pantry Staples

Stunning, pastel-hued eggs made from natural ingredients you can pronounce.

February 26, 2021
Photo by Austin Day

I’ve always liked the idea of natural, homemade alternatives to artificial dyes and foods, but the continued convenience of running to the store kept me resistant to change. When my first daughter was born, though, natural products and non-processed foods became the necessity. She’s intolerant to countless foods, fragrances and common household chemicals with just a few dozen safe ingredients. Learning to live life with an infant while revamping the way we eat, cook, and clean was overwhelming—but I’m so thankful for it now. Cooking from scratch, choosing fresher ingredients, and getting clear on what we’re putting on and in our bodies has been a benefit to our whole family, while also keeping her allergic reactions away.

My misconception was that homemade products had to take longer, cost more, and be less satisfying. As it turned out, I actually liked that I could make a loaf of bread for pennies during nap time, or find new hacks for cleaning my house with fewer chemicals. And I definitely like that I can dye Easter eggs with my daughter without worrying about what’s in the dye.

Natural food dye isn’t as vibrant as store-bought, but creates beautiful, earthy pastels perfect for Easter eggs. In a few quick steps (using items you may have in your spice cupboard and snack stash), you’ll have an assortment of museum-worthy eggs to hide or serve. I used paprika to make orange, turmeric to make yellow, freeze-dried strawberries to make light pink and dried blueberries to create purple dye. You can experiment with colorful items you already have and since the dye is for eggshells, you won’t have to worry about the dye flavor affecting the taste of the eggs.

Read on for two different methods (one from freeze-dried powder, one from cooked-down dried fruit) to effectively tint your eggs this year.


Powdered Pigment

What You'll Need:

This method works well for spices like turmeric and powdered freeze-dried fruit, like strawberries.

  • Tablespoon
  • Small Bowl
  • Kettle
  • Spoon
  • Drying rack
  • Powdered freeze-dried fruit or spice
  • Cheesecloth
  • Hot water
  • Hard-boiled white eggs
Photo by Austin Day
Photo by Austin Day

What You’ll Do

  1. To turn freeze-dried fruit into powder, place in a food processor on high for 2 minutes.
  2. Cut out a square of cheesecloth 2 inches wider than the circumference of the small dye bowl and place on top of the bowl.
  3. Measure two to three tablespoons of powder into the center of the cheesecloth.
  4. Slowly pour hot water over the powder until it’s completely saturated but not oversaturated (the less water, the stronger the pigment of the dye).
  5. Let the mixture sit in the cheesecloth over the bowl for a few minutes, then discard the cloth.
  6. Place egg in the bowl of dye. Let soak for a few minutes, until dyed as desired and let dry on a cooling rack.

Liquid Pigment

What You’ll Need

This method turns dried fruit into a liquid reduction on the stove, aka a ready-to-go dye.

  • Saucepan
  • Tablespoon
  • Small bowl
  • Sieve
  • Spoon
  • Drying rack
  • Dried fruit
  • Hot Water
  • Hard-boiled white eggs
Photo by Austin Day
Photo by Austin Day

What You’ll Do

  1. Cook dried fruit in 1 cup of water on medium heat for five minutes, squishing the fruit around to draw out the color.
  2. Let the liquid reduce on the heat to thicken slightly.
  3. Pour the liquid into the dye bowl through a small sieve to catch the fruit.
  4. Let the liquid cool, then place the egg in the bowl of dye.
  5. Let soak for a few minutes, until dyed as desired and let dry on a cooling rack.

Have you tried natural egg dyes before? Let us know what worked for you below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Leslie
    Leslie
  • Mar
    Mar
  • Patti Frazier-Laundree
    Patti Frazier-Laundree
  • Dodo
    Dodo
Lauren Day

Written by: Lauren Day

Interiors Writer, Editorial Stylist & DIY Enthusiast

4 Comments

Leslie April 5, 2021
I second the onion skins idea. you can make a magnificent spectrum of pale yellow to deep ochre using the one dye.
 
Mar April 4, 2021
My Lithuanian grandmother used red onion skins.
 
Patti F. April 4, 2021
Do you think powdered drinks like Kool Aid, Crystal light, etc. would work? Just a thought. :)
 
Dodo March 13, 2021
Yes, I have done so in past; using beet juice (water from cooking beets),
stewed onion skins etc. Check out fabric arts dye materials to find solutions
to natural dye materials / colours.