Friday Recipe: Vegetable-Dyed Eggs

April 02, 2010 | Written By:

by Lindsay Muscato


photo from The Kitchn

Eggs are everywhere this weekend — even the White House Lawn. This recipe for pretty, colorful eggs creates a lush palette using veggies and tea, and it makes the creation of the dye a real part of the project. It’s by Sarah Gillingham-Ryan of The Kitchn, who wrote last spring about her beautiful experiment in coloring eggs with onion skins. With this recipe, Sarah notes: “Keep in mind the effect of the dyes varies depending on how concentrated the dye is, what color egg you use, and how long the eggs are immersed in the dye. I used half a purple cabbage, shredded, to dye four eggs. Err on the side of more rather than less when creating your dye.” As we posted earlier this month, hard-boiled eggs are a great snack, so make extras!

How To Make Vegetable-Dyed Eggs
By Sarah Gillingham-Ryan

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, room temperature, or white and brown eggs, preferably not super-fresh (see note below)
  • Purple cabbage (makes blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs) 
  • Red onion skins (makes lavender or red) 
  • Yellow onion skins (makes orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs)
  • Ground turmeric (makes yellow) 
  • Red Zinger tea bags (makes lavender) 
  • Beets (makes pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs) 
  • Oil (canola or olive) 
  • White vinegar

Clean the eggs so there are no particles sticking to their shells.

To prepare a colored dye, first chop the cabbage, chip or peel away the dry skins from the onions, or shred the beets. In a stainless steel saucepan, boil enough water to generously cover the number of eggs you’ll be dyeing. Add the dye matter and bring to a boil, turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes. Dye is ready when it reaches a hue a few shades darker than you want for your egg. Examine a sample in a white dish. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (I put the pot on my fire escape and it cooled off in about 20 minutes).

Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another stainless saucepan, or into a bowl then back into the original pan if that’s all you have. Stir in the vinegar. For the dyeing, it’s best to use a pan with a flat bottom, like a Dutch oven, or a large jar. Arrange the room-temperature eggs in the pan in one layer and carefully pour the cooled dye over them.

Place in refrigerator until desired color is reached. Massage in a little oil to each, then polish with a paper towel. Keep in refrigerator until time to eat (or hide).

Note: You can also start with raw eggs and cook them in the dye bath as described in the previous post about onion-skin eggs. I found with dyes like the Zinger tea and beets, the color was more concentrated with the refrigerator method. Of course, this method requires clearing out some space in the refrigerator.


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