Natural Easter Eggs to Dye For

If you have spices and teas in your pantry, then you have the goods to make a basket full of all-natural Easter eggs. We asked Chef Stefan Pickerel, a corporate chef for The Spice & Tea Exchange, to give us the deets.

Eggs-pert Dying Tips

Chef Pickerel recommends using distilled water. “Water is the only neutral medium that does not have any additives, which can change the outcome of the dying process,” says Pickerel. “For example, if you use chlorinated and/or softened water, it will impair the natural dying liquid’s ability to color the egg’s shell.” Give the kids (and yourself) latex-free vinyl gloves to keep your hands from getting dye on them. Don’t worry if you do get a bit on your clothing or skin. Chef Pickerel says natural dyes are much easier to remove from clothes than chemical dyes.

A Basket of Tea and Spices

You may already have the egg-dyeing goods in your pantry. Chef Pickerel suggests these spices and teas for all-natural dyes:

Dyeing Hard Boiled Eggs

  1. Bring a large pot of distilled water to a boil.
  2. While water heats, place each spice or tea in separate heat safe/stain resistant bowls with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
  3. Carefully pour enough boiling water into each bowl, to cover the eggs you want to color. Let sit 10-15 minutes, allowing the maximum amount of color to produce.
  4. Strain solids out of the liquid and replace with hard-cooked eggs for a uniform color, or keep solids and liquids together, adding eggs for a more speckled, patterned coloring effect.
  5. After 20-25 minutes, cover bowls with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight to achieve deepest colors.

Cooking and Dying Eggs at the Same Time

  1. Use a separate pan for each color.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, eggs, 2-3 tablespoons of your desired spice or tea, and just enough distilled water to cover the eggs. Less water will help concentrate the final color.
  3. Bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit 17 minutes. Transfer eggs and liquid to a stain-resistant bowl and allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and place bowl in refrigerator for several hours or overnight to achieve deepest colors.

Eggs to Dye For

Sure, the vibrant colors or soft spring hues of natural dyes are pretty on their own but we also have some fun ideas for decorating too.

  1. Continue the all-natural theme and use fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme or tiny leaves and flower petals from your yard to make relief patterns on the egg. Use an old pair of nylons and cut a piece large enough to fit the egg. Place the egg and scattered the leaves and/or petals around the egg. Wrap a piece of nylon stocking tightly around the egg. If you use the toe part of the nylon stockings, you already have one pocket and can twist the other end tight. If you’re making a lot, just cut up enough squares to do all the eggs and twist open ends to secure. Place the stocking in the dye. Let it cool slightly, and remove the stocking and pat dry. Rub veggie oil on it for shine, if desired.
  2. Use a wax crayon to draw designs freehand or with stencils on hardboiled eggs before dying.
  3. Create a pretty texture by wrapping fabrics like lace, cheesecloth and netting. Cut a square large enough to fit the egg with room to twist it closed. Wrap the fabric tightly around the egg and twist to close. Use a rubber band to secure the twist. Use the twisted end as a handle and dip the egg into the dye. Remove after the desired color is achieved and pat dry.
  4. Wrap a rubber band, twine, washi or electrical tape around the egg before dying. Peel off when the egg is completely dry.

Filling Up Your Basket

You’ll probably use your colored eggs for decorating purposes but they are edible but care should be taken when eating naturally colored eggs. “The process does consist of using flavorful spices and/or teas, and relies on the eggs being submerged for an extended time, there will be the possibility of flavor transfer to the actual egg,” says Pickerel. Keep colored eggs in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat or display them to keep from spoiling. Hard-cooked eggs will keep for about a week in the fridge and unrefrigerated hard-cooked eggs can be kept out for up to 2 hours before spoilage occurs. “If they are not to be eaten, though the eggs may be kept out for several more hours, caution should be taken especially when children are present,” says Pickerel.

Have you tried dyeing your Easter eggs with pantry goods before? Share your results!

Photo credit: Arina Habich/

Tags : celebrations   holidays   easter   

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