Grove Collaborative
naturally dyed Easter eggs in a ceramic egg holder

How to Dye Easter Eggs & Make Natural Dyes

Last Updated: April 15, 2022

Ready to naturally color your Easter eggs with items you already have in your kitchen? Check out these easy steps for creating your own dyes at home, plus which colors to combine for vibrant hues.

We all love the nostalgic quality of dyeing those bright Easter eggs. Maybe you remember gathering around the kitchen table covered in newspapers or grocery bags as a kid, with little dye tabs or food coloring and spoons ready to go. You loved the way those tabs fizzed in the water, and the way they transformed your hard boiled eggs into bright colors. Or maybe it’s a tradition you’ve carried over to your own family over the years.

What’s wrong with Easter egg dye?

Those little fizzy tabs might actually be full of carcinogenic chemicals: As seen on NPR and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, traditional colors in food can be linked to cancer, as well as behavioral and attention problems in children. Doesn’t sound like it’s worth the risk for the color payoff anymore, does it? Instead of limiting yourself to bland eggs this season to avoid artificial dyes, try switching to food-safe dyes made from stuff you might already have in your fridge or spice drawer.

After some trial and error testing commonly suggested natural food dyes on Google, we’ve found the best blends and techniques to score the colors you crave. Spoiler alert: It often takes a lot more food scraps than you think.

Whichever dyes you decide to create and color combinations you choose, we recommend prepping the dyes a day before you plan on dunking your Easter eggs, as creating multiple colors can be time consuming. Once the dyes are done, it’s easy enough to dip and experiment once you get started, so use our guide as a loose suggestion for spurring your creativity this spring season.

What you’ll need to create natural food dyes

Here are a few of the basic items you’ll want on hand to prep your food dyes — keep reading for which food items and spices produce the most vibrant colors, plus our favorite color combinations.

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Various food items, spices, and scraps (see below)
  • Pans (we suggest a few so you can prep multiple dyes at once)
  • Strainer
  • Bowls for holding finished dyes

Natural Easter egg color glossary

We experimented with both brown and white eggs with wildly different results, so we’ve tried to capture the variance where we could.

  • Pink: 4 cups chopped beets on white eggs
  • Dark red: Reuse the beet or yellow onion skin dye on brown eggs
  • Orange: 4 cups yellow onion skins on white eggs
  • Light Orange: 4 tbsp paprika
  • Yellow: 4 tbsp turmeric
  • Green: 4 cups chopped purple cabbage on brown eggs
  • Light Blue: Reuse that same purple cabbage dye on white eggs
  • Purple: 4 cups red onion skins

Grove Tip

Reuse those onions

Unless you’ve been saving loads upon loads of onion skins, you’ll likely need to buy a few from the store (or go seeking the skins shed around the produce aisle, like we did). If you’re at a loss with what to do with all those now-naked onions, consider pickling them for a welcome topper on tacos or other Mexican dishes.

How to create natural food dyes

Once you’ve decided which colors you’ll attempt, what you’ll need is a healthy dose of each food or spice, plus plenty of patience — and a few different pans.

  1. Mix 1 quart water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar (this is the base for all the dyes).
  2. Bring to a boil before adding the pigment materials that you chose for your desired color from the above list.
  3. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Check to ensure the dye has reached your desired color.
  4. At this point you could strain the dye, but we recommend letting the mixture return to room temperature to further increase the depth of the hue.
  5. Let it all chill and strain over a bowl.
  6. Repeat until all dyes are made. We recommend keeping a few going on the burner at once to speed up the process.

How to naturally dye Easter eggs

Now that you’ve prepped the dyes and decided on your color combinations, the process is pretty simple. Make sure you have plenty of hard-boiled eggs on hand; we loved experimenting with white, brown, and a few pastel-hued eggs from our backyard chickens.

  1. If not already in bowls, move all of your dyes into bowls or other containers so the liquid is deep enough to completely cover an egg.
  2. Carefully drop eggs into the dye.
  3. Remove with tongs, then continue to dip until your desired color is reached. You can dip once for a lighter shade, more often for a deeper hue, or mix and match dips across different dyes.
  4. Move eggs to a paper towel or egg carton to dry.
  5. Optional: You can rub a neutral oil over the eggs to make the shades really pop.
  6. Also optional: We had some fun playing around with rubber bands tied across the eggs for striated patterns, and with dipping one half of an egg in one dye and the other half in another.

Grove Tip


Use these color suggestions as a baseline to build your own blends. Think funky, on-trend colors like chartreuse (turmeric + cabbage), lavender (beets + cabbage), and salmon (turmeric + onion skin) by mixing and matching pigments.

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