Dye Easter eggs the natural way with the help of local ingredients and vendors

Growing up, I associated Easter with the awful smell of those egg dye chemicals. So last year when natural egg dyeing became trendy, I was all too relieved to try out the not-so-new technique.

The best part of this method (aside from a much-improved sensory experience) was that a lot of the needed ingredients were in my kitchen already, and any others were easily found at places like the Red Stick Farmers Markets, Southside Produce Market, Red Stick Spice Company and local grocery stores. And if food allergies concern you, most ingredients can be substituted for others to make similar colors.

Though this method can take a bit longer than chemical dyes, leaving your eggs in these natural dye mixtures for extended periods of time will only produce deeper hues. To prepare for this year’s Easter egg dyeing adventure, we’ve compiled a list of natural ingredients and the beautiful colors they produce.


Yellow onion skins: It sounds weird, right? But trust us. Remove the papery skins from about six onions and simmer in two cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain the dye and add three teaspoons of white vinegar. Then submerge your pre-boiled eggs for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge.  (If you have no pressing need for naked onions, chop them up and throw them in the freezer for later.) If you’d like to forgo the onions, paprika is another commonly used red-dye ingredient.


Turmeric: Bring three tablespoons of turmeric, two tablespoons of vinegar and four cups of water to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain, cool and add the eggs to soak for at least 30 minutes. You can also use saffron, orange peels, green tea leaves or carrots to make yellow dye.


Spinach: Chop four cups of spinach and boil in three cups of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Simmer for 30 minutes; then, strain out the spinach and add the eggs. If you want some variety, substitute parsley, apple peels or red onion skins to get other shades of green.


Blueberries and red cabbage: For a navy blue shade, mix a cup of frozen blueberries with one cup of water. Let the mixture sit until it reaches room temperature, then remove the berries and submerge your eggs. For a lighter shade of blue, cut about a fourth a head of red cabbage into chunks and bring to a boil in four cups of water. Stir in two tablespoons of vinegar and let cool.


Grape juice or red wine: Mix one cup of grape juice or red wine with one tablespoon of vinegar. Submerge until you reach the desired shade.


Beets: There are loads of ingredients you can use for pink, but beet juice is the most common. Cut a medium-sized beet into chunks and add the chunks to four cups of boiling water. Stir in two tablespoons of vinegar and let cool. At room temperature, remove the beets and submerge the eggs. You can also use cherries, pomegranates and raspberries.