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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.

March 29, 2022
Photo by Austin Day

I firmly believe that you are never too old for Easter egg decorating. One of the most fun parts of Easter is dyeing eggs with food coloring. The most traditional way to dye your eggs is using artificial vibrant colors from food coloring (the kind that comes in little plastic bottles and can be purchased from the baking aisle of any grocery store). While these are a surefire way to help you create a realistic sunset or pastel ombré effect on your eggs, there are a couple of more natural ways to dye Easter eggs.

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, all-natural 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 it does create beautiful, earthy pastels perfect for Easter eggs. And honestly, the muted look is so nice for the spring season. 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 Easter 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.

Just because you’re using natural ingredients, it’s still important to store hard-boiled Easter eggs properly. If you want to display them and later eat them, don’t leave them out at room temperature for more than two hours. If you don’t want to eat them, discard them at the end of the day. Otherwise, place them back in the refrigerator so that they can chill.

To make dyed Easter eggs using all-natural ingredients, you’ll still need a few of the usual ingredients: a few small bowls or mugs for dipping, a spoon, paper towels, rubber bands (for making fun patterns like zig-zags or stripes), hot water, and a drying rack.

Read on for two different step-by-step methods (one from freeze-dried fruit powder and one from cooked-down dried fruit) to effectively tint your Easter eggs naturally 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
  • Boiling 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 the fruit 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 freshly ground 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.

Photo by Austin Day
Photo by Austin Day

What You’ll Do

  1. Cook the dried fruit in one cup of water on medium heat for five minutes, squishing the fruit around with a wooden spoon 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!

This article was updated in March 2022 by our editors with even more decorating ideas.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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

Written by: Lauren Day

Interiors Writer, Editorial Stylist & DIY Enthusiast


MaraDH April 12, 2022
My Armenian grandmothers used the red onion skins too - gorgeous.
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.