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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

Did you know that you can turn veggie scraps and used tea bags into Easter egg dye?

Create zero-waste (or almost zero waste) Easter eggs using only vegetable dyes. Instead of peels and veggie scraps heading straight for the compost pile, try using them to color your Easter eggs naturally.

What you will need:

  • hard boiled eggs, either using the 5-5-5 Instapot method or the good old fashioned way on the stove.

  • shredded scraps from a red cabbage (for blue/green)

  • outer skins from a yellow onion (for orange)

  • beet peels, stems, and root tips (for purple and pink)

  • turmeric or used turmeric tea bags (for yellow)

  • white vinegar

  • castile soap optional To help the dye adhere to the egg you can lightly wash the hard boiled eggs in non-toxic castile soap available at health food stores and online.

  • mason jars, canning funnel, strainer

  • Instant pot optional To make 5-5-5 hard boiled eggs in the Instant pot: Fill the inner pot with 1 cup of water, place the rack in the bottom of the pot and place eggs on the rack then lock the lid. Set the manual pressure to high for 5 minutes, allow natural pressure release for 5 minutes then using a wooden spoon release the pressure. Remove eggs from the pot with tongs and submerge eggs in a cool water bath for 5 minutes.


  1. Boil your eggs and set aside to cool

  2. Add 1 cup of the vegetable matter or 2 tablespoons of spice to one cup of water in a saucepan.

  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes

  4. Cool the dye and pour into a bowl or mason jar

  5. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the dye

  6. Place eggs a into the bowl or mason jar, arranged so that the whole egg is covered

  7. Transfer the eggs to the refrigerator. Leave the eggs to soak, anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours, checking frequently for color. When you like what you see, remove the egg and place on a cooling rack to dry completely. You can get several shades out of a single dye according to how long they soak.

  8. After the eggs are completely dry take a cloth or paper towel soaked in olive oil and gently blot the eggs until they become shiny.

Tips for truly zero-waste Easter eggs

Make a fun meal plan for the week before Easter that includes the veggie scraps needed to dye eggs. Here are some suggestions:

  • Fish taco night using red cabbage and onions. If you use red onions to dye your eggs, try making pickled red onions for a tasty taco topping. See recipe below.

  • Turmeric ginger iced tea to create enough "used tea bags" to make a vibrant yellow dye. Usually 6 tea bags per quart is a good rule of thumb.

  • Beet salad, or just beets on your salad! Delicious with goat cheese and baby Swiss chard.

  • Make a unique egg salad after the Easter egg hunt. Food and Wine magazine has great variations.

  • Don't forget to put the boiled veggie scraps in the compost after making your dye!

* Easy Recipe for Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Peel and slice red onion into thin slices. Place into a pint sized mason jar.

In a small saucepan stir together vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

Pour mixture over onions in jar until full. Place the lid on and let cool to room temperature.

Place the lid on to seal and refrigerate.

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