How to Dye Eggs Without Food Colouring

Photo of natural dyed eggs in a bowl for DIY easter craft ideas Hello Lunch Lady magazine

Keen to try an Easter DIY? Why not have a crack at dyeing eggs without using food colouring.

There are loads of natural dyes all around the home. Beets, coffee, cabbage and more! The coolest part of this crafty experiment is seeing what colours come from what ingredients after they’re thrown in a pot.

To dye your Easter eggs, you will need:

  • eggs
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp salt

For natural colour, add one of the following bases:

  • 2 cups red onion skin
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 cups red cabbage
  • 1 cup dried black beans
  • 6 tbsp dill seed
  • 2 large beetroot, chopped
  • 2 cups white onion skin
  • 6 tbsp matcha
  • 4 tbsp coffee

To make the natural dye:

Pop your selected dyeing ingredient into a pot. Add in 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons of salt. If more water is needed to cover the ingredients, proportionally increase the amount of vinegar and salt. Bring to the boil, and then lower heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain dye into a bowl and let cool.

For darker colours, boil the eggs in the dye for 30 minutes. For lighter shades, soak the eggs in the dye at room temperature for 30 minutes. You can experiment with the soaking times—and even try overnight.

Dyeing the Easter eggs:

The best eggs to dye are white eggs. The lighter the eggshell, the better your results. Hard-boiled eggs can be used in both the boiled and cold-dipping methods. Raw eggs can be used for the boiled method. For hollow eggs (that will last a lifetime), cold-dip the raw eggs, and then blow them out after they are dyed and dried.

For the cold-dipping method, use a metal spoon (otherwise your wooden spoons will get a splash of colour!) and lower the cooled hard-boiled egg into the bowl of cooled dye. Let the egg soak for as little as 10 seconds or as long as overnight. (This timing comes down to the depth of colour you’re after.) Remove the eggs with a straining spoon, pat down with a paper towel and let dry on a wire rack. The cold-dipping method produces subtle shades. To avoid an uneven spread of colour, you might also need to rotate the eggs while they’re in the dye.

For the boiled-dipping method, use a metal spoon and lower the raw egg into a pot of dye (strain the vegetables out of your dye). Bring to the boil for approximately 30 minutes—or less, once you’ve achieved your desired colour. The heat allows the dye to saturate the shells and produces a more intense and evenly spread shade. Remove eggs with a straining spoon, pat down with a paper towel and let dry on a wire rack.


For more crafty inspiration, great recipes and interesting articles shop the Lunch Lady magazine here.