Growing up, I don’t remember being that impressed by easter egg hunts. I’m not sure why the promise of chocolate wasn’t a motivating factor for me, but my favorite part of the holiday was, and continues to be, dyeing easter eggs. I just love dipping a white egg into a colorful liquid and seeing what comes out.
I’ve always used food dye for my easter eggs, but recently learned you can use vegetables, fruits, and spices to create vibrant dyes. How cool is that? After a day of experimentation, I want to share my findings so you can see how fun vegetable dyes are!
My biggest surprise of the day? Purple cabbage makes blue dye. I’ll repeat that: PURPLE CABBAGE MAKES BLUE DYE! I don’t even want anyone to explain how this works to me, because that’s just magical.
I did have to decide whether to use brown eggs or white eggs. I used mostly white eggs for this post, which creates vibrant colors. However, brown eggs will work just fine, and the few I did use gave the eggs a slightly darker, more subdued color.
For most of these dyes, and many others, the standard instructions are: Put 1 quart of water and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar into a small pot, add your chopped vegetable or spice, and boil for 30 minutes. Strain out the vegetable and let your dye cool. Soak hard boiled eggs in the dye (in the refrigerator!) until they are the color you want. We soaked them overnight to get the most vibrant colors.
Natural Dye Easter Egg Tutorial:
Yellow: Put 1 quart water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 5 heaping tablespoons of turmeric in a pot. We only boiled this mixture for 5 minutes, which didn’t fully dissolve the turmeric. However, we love the deep yellow shade the sediment turned the egg that was at the bottom of the jar when it was soaked overnight! Boil longer to fully dissolve the turmeric and get a more even colored dye.
Pink: Put 1 quart water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 4 cups chopped beets in a pot. Boil for 30 minutes, and then strain out the beets and let the liquid cool. Soak eggs in the refrigerator until you like their color.
Green: Put 1 quart water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 cup chopped parsley, 2 cups chopped spinach, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, and 1 TBS turmeric in a pot. This turned our eggs a dark, almost turquoise green. Feel free to leave the eggs in for a shorter amount of time, or add more turmeric and less blueberries! Soak eggs in the refrigerator until you like their color – we soaked overnight.
Blue: Fill up entire pot with chopped purple cabbage (about one small head), 1 quart water, and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Boil water 30 minutes, strain, and cool. Soak eggs in the refrigerator until you like their color – we soaked them overnight to get a bright blue color.
Try mixing dyes! I mixed the turmeric dye with the purple cabbage dye, which turned the liquid an awful muddy color. I almost gave up at that point, but decided to try dyeing one egg, and got the most brilliant emerald green out of it. Success! What other colors can you mix? Turmeric and beet?
Safety tip on hard boiled eggs: We don’t usually recommend that you eat hard boiled easter eggs, since hard boiled eggs are temperature sensitive and they’re often left out too long while the kids are dyeing them. These vegetable dyes themselves are safe to eat, so if you really don’t want to waste the eggs, make sure they stay at a safe temperature!
No Waste Tip: If you really don’t want to waste all those good eggs, try blowing out your eggs. Here’s an easy tutorial that shows you how to blow the egg insides out before you dye the egg shells, and then you can feel free to whip up a scramble or a tasty quiche. As an extra bonus, these easter eggs can sit out for months!