Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

(Editor's Note: If you don't have access to free-range eggs from well-cared for, happy birds, we'd recommend skipping the whole egg thing altogether and instead making your own papier-mache eggs this Easter)

The Following Article from The Old School

Skip the food coloring and dye eggs the old-school way this year with vegetable dyes and spices. In this tutorial, red cabbage, beets, and turmeric will give you beautiful muted hues for your eggs.

Prep Time:45 minutes
Takes: 1-2 hours
Makes:12 stellar springtime eggs
Costs: $10

  • 12 white, hard boiled eggs
  • egg carton
  • 2 tbsp turmeric (yellow)
  • 1-2 beets (pink)
  • purple cabbage (blue)
  • salt
  • vinegar
  • water
  • 3 bowls
  • slotted spoon
  • 3 pots with lids


Make a rainbow. For orange eggs, try boiled yellow onion skins, carrots, or paprika. For red eggs, try pomegranate juice, canned cherries (with syrup), or cranberries. For purple eggs, try hibiscus tea, boiled red onion skins, or red wine. A handful of dyestuff, or two tbsp of spices per cup of water are handy ratios to follow.
Just let the Easter bunny and his basket of pre-manufactured plastic eggs go ahead and hop on by this year — you’ve got better options. Take an hour, hard boil up a batch of fresh, white eggs, then color them the natural way using common foods and flowers. Gorgeous springtime results promised — here’s how.

Lesson Plan

  1. Boil one quart of water, 1 tbsp vinegar, and 1 tbsp salt in each of three pots.
  2. Add a handful of chopped beets to one pot, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer you simmer, the richer the color will be.
  3. Add a handful of purple cabbage to the second pot, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Place 2 tbsp of turmeric in a bowl and pour your third pot of boiling water over it. Mix well.
  5. After your ingredients have simmered, pour the colored waters through a clean strainer into your remaining two bowls. You can opt to leave the veggies in, but your egg color will be a bit mottled.
  6. Place four eggs into the turmeric bowl, four into the beet bowl, and four into the cabbage bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove eggs with slotted spoon. If they are the color you desire, set them in the egg carton to dry, being careful not to handle them too much, which can cause the dye to rub off. If you're looking for a richer color, return them to the water until they meet your needs. If you plan to eat them eventually, move to the refrigerator for the second soaking.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.