Natural Dyes for Coloring Your Eggs!

Natural Dyes for Coloring Your Eggs!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As spring and Easter approach, consider creating natural dyes made from fruits, vegetables, and spices. It’s a unique way to share a fun activity with children, showing them that beautiful colors can come from the kitchen cupboard and garden. 

It’s also a lesson in avoiding artificial food coloring chemically manufactured from petroleum, a crude oil product used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar. Even the small amounts used in decorating hard-boiled eggs and other foods can cause hyperactivity and allergic reactions in some individuals.   

A good way to start is by searching natural food dyes online or reading books that cover sources and methods. Many titles on the subject describe making natural food dyes for decorating Easter eggs, cakes, cookies, and other treats. 

There’s a rainbow of color, ranging from soft and subtle hues to darker and richer shades. It depends on how concentrated the dye is and how long the eggs stay immersed in the liquid. Eggs with white shells will produce a slightly different color than brown eggs.   

A simple formula is: One cup of boiling water combined with one cup chopped/crushed fruits or vegetables, juices, or other foods. After boiling the liquid, simmer, strain, and then add one tablespoon of white vinegar to every cup of dye.  

Color chart: 

Yellows: Yellow onion skins or a heaping tablespoon of turmeric. 

Tans/browns: Brewed coffee. Black tea, cinnamon, cocoa powder.

Pinks/reds: Chopped avocado seeds and skins. Shredded beets and juice. Crushed raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, red grapes. Madder root powder. 

Oranges: Cooked sweet potatoes, shredded carrots. Paprika. Madder root powder: The center of the root produces vibrant orange hues, while deep red is in the outer area. 

Purples: Chopped beets and juice. Cooked purple sweet potato. 

Lavenders: Red Zinger tea. Crushed huckleberries or blueberries, blackberries, and juice. 

Blues: Crushed blueberries or huckleberries. Red cabbage with a bit of baking soda that turns it blue. 

Greens: Chopped spinach or kale. Matcha, finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. 

If chopping and crushing different fruits and vegetables seems a bit time-consuming or overwhelming, many food and flower powders are available online and at health food stores. Just add a tablespoon or more to the boiling water to achieve the desired color. 

One example is organic blue spirulina powder, blue-green algae that’s a natural food coloring, and blue smoothie ingredient. One would think it has a fishy taste, but it rather bland and neutral. It takes on the flavor of added fruit to smoothies.

If chopping and crushing different fruits and vegetables seems a bit time-consuming or overwhelming, many food and flower powders are available online and at health food stores. Just add a tablespoon or more to the boiling water to achieve the desired color.   time-consuming or overwhelming, many food and flower powders are available online and at health food stores. Just add a tablespoon or more to the boiling water to achieve the desired color. One example is organic blue spirulina powder, blue-green algae that’s a natural food coloring, and blue smoothie ingredient. One would think it has a fishy taste, but it rather bland and neutral. It takes on the flavor of added fruit to smoothies. 

Easter eggs painted with natural egg dye from fruits and vegetables.

There are many other powders available — beet, spinach, blueberry, and more. Many are added to smoothies, sauces, baked goods, and even stirred in a glass of water for an energy boost.   

Natural food and plant dyes can be used to marble the eggs or to color them whole with botanical imprints made from leaves. There’s no end to one’s imagination and creativity. It’s an adventure that can turn the ordinary into a culinary adventure and family tradition.   

What other natural foods do you use for dying eggs naturally?

Originally published in the April/May 2021 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

3 thoughts on “Natural Dyes for Coloring Your Eggs!”
  1. I have Easter Egger hens so no need for dying eggs. I get a beautiful variety of blues, greens and even pinkish eggs. Hard boil, cool then add stickers and they’re ready for an Easter basket or egg hunt

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