Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally

DIY, Easter, Holidays, Learn, Make, Primers, Try This at Home

For Easter this year, we turned to Maria Helm Sinskey, along with her daughters and their friends, to help us create something a little extra special: naturally dyed Easter eggs. Author of Family Meals, Maria is a devoted mother, noted chef, and Culinary Director at her family’s winery, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, in Napa Valley, California. She believes strongly in the importance of the family table and eating locally and organically.



These jewel-colored eggs are so beautiful that we often have egg dyeing get-togethers with our friends and their kids to make them. And you don’t have to rely on commercial products to create them, either. Your refrigerator and pantry hold a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and spices that can be turned into a rainbow of distinctive dyes.


You will need patience to produce intensely colored eggs with natural dyes, however. They act more slowly than commercial products, so you need to drop the eggs into the dye and then find an activity to keep everyone busy while the egg shells absorb the color. The first time we made these, my daughters couldn’t resist hanging over the bowls of dye and rolling the eggs around, so their hands ended up as dyed as the eggs.


Creating Natural Dyes:


Robin’s Egg Blue

  • 2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) coarsely chopped red cabbage
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar


Vivid Pink

  • 2 large beets, peeled and shredded
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar


Tropical Orange

  • 2 cups (1 oz./30 g.) loosely packed yellow onion skins
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar


Spicy Yellow

  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • a big pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar


For blue, pink, orange, or yellow, combine the ingredients along with 4 cups (32 fl. oz.) water in a pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes to extract the color and reduce the liquid. Let cool and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add cold water to bring the total to 3 cups (24 fl. oz./ 750 ml.), if necessary.


Deep Purple

  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) thawed frozen Concord grape juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml.) water


For purple, simply stir the ingredients together in a bowl.


The Equipment You’ll Need:

  • 2 dozen large, white, organic eggs
  • a large pot
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • natural dyes
  • as many bowls as you have different dyes
  • newspapers
  • old clothes to wear
  • 2 empty egg cartons
  • slotted spoons
  • white wax birthday candles and/or crayons


Step 1: Boil the Eggs
Place the eggs in the pot with 4 quarts cold water and add the vinegar. Set a timer for 16 minutes. Bring the eggs to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the timer goes off. Remove from the heat, let rest 5 minutes, drain, let the eggs sit in cold water 10 minutes, then drain.
Step 2: Get Ready!
Make the dyes as directed above, then pour each dye into its own bowl. Protect the work surface with newspapers, and make sure everyone wears old clothes—natural dyes stain, too. Line up the bowls on the work surface, and place the empty egg cartons nearby.
Step 3: Draw on Your Eggs
Use a white wax birthday candle to mark the egg anywhere you don’t want the dye to stick. Write a name or draw a zigzag and it will remain white when you dye the egg. Use crayons if you want a color other than white.
Step 4: Dye Your Eggs
Place the eggs in the dyes until they are a hue you like, usually 20–30 minutes. Using the slotted spoons, lift the eggs out of the dye and place them in the egg cartons. Allow the eggs to sit until dry, about 1 hour, before handling.

31 comments about “Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally

  1. Samantha

    I’ve tried the red cabbage trick before and it makes a beautiful soft blue. I’ve also used tea to make ecru colored eggs. Not that colorful but still gorgeous.

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  3. Paula Schell

    I am going to have our triplet grandchildren dye their Easter eggs this year using these recipes. We can hardly wait. What a great idea, and a wonderful way to have the whole family involved. Thank you for the recipes!!!

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  12. Olivia Ware

    Hi Jennifer, you may share this tutorial as long as you credit all content and images to Williams-Sonoma and link back to our site. Thanks for asking!

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  15. A.Austin

    Hi, great info! just a question, will boiling the mixtures to make the dyes stain the pots I used?

  16. Olivia Ware

    Hi Austin, natural dyes are much more gentle than commercial ones, but it’s still possible that they could stain. If you’re worried about staining, use a dark-colored pot or pick up an inexpensive one at the store for this project. After you’re finished, you can also boil a mixture of water and vinegar in the pot to help remove stains. Good luck!

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  19. Jennifer

    I was so excited to try these, but was rather frustrated with the results. Each of the dyes became too diluted when adding water as instructed. Another source suggested a one to one ratio when making the dye and adding the vinegar just before dying the eggs. I also was getting nowhere with getting those gorgeous blues out of the red cabbage and after lots of research, discovered that in order to obtain blue from the red cabbage, a small amount of baking soda is required.It made a huge difference!
    ( I aslo had issue with the beets, but that’s because the store didn’t have any in stock that weren’t already pickled, so I’d give that another go.) The onions really just make an ochre, as expected, no vivd color there…As for yellow, I used a Goya seasoning mix for yellow rice as I had neither turmeric or saffron on hand. Worked great (a more cost effective, too).

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