Plant-Based Egg Dyes

Season: Spring

Stronger Together

Egg dyeing is a fun way to celebrate this time of year - and it’s a tradition that goes way back - as much as 5,000 years when Persians celebrated springtime with eggs colored with plant-based dyes. Plant dyes can be just as useful today and they’re plentiful; in fact you very well might have dye-worthy ingredients in your kitchen already!


Material suggestions

Color Materials Amounts
pink beets 1 bunch, washed and sliced
rust onion skins skins from 6 red or yellow onions
bright yellow  turmeric powder 2 - 3 tablespoons
turquoise red cabbage 1 large cabbage, grated and sliced
pale orange curry powder 2 tablespoons
red-orange paprika 2 tablespoons

You will also need:

  • White eggs (or try brown to experiment)
  • Stock pans(s)
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Slotted spoon


Hot bath method

  1. Place uncooked eggs in a stainless steel stock pan. Add water 2-3 inches above eggs. (When using bottled juice for dye, fill to the same level. Do not add water.) Add natural dye ingredients and 1-2 tablespoons vinegar per quart of water.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted soppon and air dry.

Decorating your eggs

  • Draw: Use color crayons to make designs on the eggs, then dip into dye.
  • Stickers: Make polka dots and other patterns using stickers, or make your own with painter's tape.
  • Double-dip: Dip eggs in one color, dry, then dip into another.
  • Natural patterns: Wrap eggs in old pieces of stocking with a leaf or other pretty plant when you dip them!
  • Polished: Wipe eggs with vegetable oil when dry to give them a sheen.

Adapted from a recipe by the National Cooperative Grocers Association. Original post, more color ideas, and more photos at

Keywords: kids recipes, Easter, natural egg dyes, non-toxic

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