Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Easter is around the corner and with that comes family traditions.  Our family has been decorating pysankas since our Grandma took up the traditional Ukrainian method of decorating eggs years ago.  It’s still my favourite way to decorate eggs, using a kistka filled with beeswax you heat over a flame, then “drawing” on your egg in layers of beeswax with turns of dyeing your egg. 

(A non-traditional egg my Grandma made for me in 1997)

However this year we are on social isolation and distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  My sister has the pysanka tools and we won’t be having a family Easter gathering therefore I decided to try a different method to decorate hard boiled eggs for our 2020 Easter Egg Hunt.  I use all-natural colours for my soap making, and I’ve tried a few times to use natural colours for icing on cupcakes (using beets), or cocoa for playdough even.  Today, I did an experiment with my sons to colour eggs with herbs & spices of what we had available in our kitchen.  Trips to the store to pick up dye or specific ingredients is non-essential therefore we made do! 

My parents and my in-laws raise chickens therefore we are fortunate to have a steady supply of fresh eggs.  My parents have white and brown eggs, and my father-in-law has mostly brown and shades of green eggs.  I saved some white eggs from a few weeks ago, because it’s better to hard boil older eggs… although two week eggs are still pretty fresh for most!  I doubt we will end up peeling and eating these eggs anyways, as they will likely get cracked in the egg hunt!


I read on different sites to use about one cup of water, the food/spice for colourant and then a 1 tbsp of vinegar.  I’m assuming the vinegar is to help soften the egg shell to absorb the colour better.

So my experiment today consisted firstly of beet powder.  I had made this up last year for a different project… cooked beets, blended, dehydrated & grinded but I bet fresh beet juice would work just as well, if not better.  I also tried rose petals, as I have many dried that friends have given me for other projects as well.  {Yet another use for rose petals!!  Did you see my guest blog post about Top 5 Ways to Use Rose Petals over on Vintage Society’s website here}.  Cucumber powder that I made previously, turmeric and cayenne pepper.  This is just what I had available today when I felt inspired this morning to do this, and not planning ahead.  Other sites have suggested using red cabbage and purple or yellow onion.

You add water in a saucepan with the dye matter and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15-30 min.  Strain and pour into jars.  Add 1 tbsp of vinegar.  Once cooled, add a hard boiled egg to the dye.  Leave sit for at least 15 min and remove when desired colour is reached. 

I found today the cucumber powder did not work.  I will just have to obtain a green egg from my father in law to expand my colour palette.  The turmeric worked the best with a bright yellow sunny egg.  But I am very pleased with how they all turned out.  I love the muted and earthy tones we achieved.  The first batch, I left the eggs in the dye too long and the vinegar started to disintegrate the shells a bit.  Just gave it a crackled effect!  So this Easter Sunday, I will be hiding these outside for an egg hunt and hopefully the kids find them before the magpies!

Next year I might try berry puree or try harder to achieve a nice green with herbs I collect such as alfalfa or nettle.  Makes me wonder if our ancestors dyed eggs for Easter or is this a modern tradition?  Guess I will have to research some more.  But this was a fun experiment to do today with what I happened to have on hand in the kitchen.  Happy Easter everyone and stay safe!

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