How to Dye Easter Eggs
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Get ready to start a new holiday tradition. Dyeing Easter eggs is a snap when you use pantry staples like food coloring and vinegar. We'll take you through it, step by step.
With Easter just a hop, skip and a jump away, it’s time to plan your Easter feast (check out our best Easter recipes), dig out the plastic grass and set up your Easter egg hunt.
I like to save one of my favorite traditions, dyeing Easter eggs, for the last minute. It feels extra festive to create a basketful of pastel and candy-colored eggs on the day before the holiday.
Yes, many grocery stores stock egg-dyeing kits. But it’s just as easy to do at home with ingredients and tools you already have. Best of all, dyeing Easter eggs is a quick, fun activity that’s simple enough for kids of all ages. Let’s get started!
How to Dye Easter Eggs with Food Coloring
You really don’t need much to start dyeing Easter eggs at home. Start with eggs and boiling or very hot water—heat up half a cup for every color you’ll use. Then gather your tools.
Supplies for Dyeing Eggs
- Food coloring: Liquid food color works best for dyeing eggs. Snag any brand and colors you love most.
- White vinegar: The second ingredient for homemade egg dye is plain white vinegar. You don’t want to use any other fancy vinegar options.
- Clear glasses: You can use any heat-safe cup, bowl or mug to dye Easter eggs, but clear glasses help you get a better idea of what color your dye is before giving your eggs the plunge.
Step 1: Make hard-boiled eggs
Before you break out the dye, you need to make hard-boiled eggs. To do this, place the eggs (as many as you like) in a saucepan and cover them with water. Make sure there’s about an inch of water covering the tops of the eggs. Then bring the water to a boil, take the pan off the heat, cover it, and let it sit for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the pan and cool the eggs by running them under cold water.
And yes, you do want to hard boil the eggs before dyeing them. Boiling the eggs in water after dyeing them will cause the color to run off, and then you’ll be back to plain ol’ eggs again! Plus, when the eggs are hard-boiled, they are less likely to crack and cause a mess in your dye.
Step 2: Prepare the dye
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Making homemade egg dye with food coloring is super easy. Start by prepping a few heatproof mugs or bowls. You’ll want one for each color you plan to mix.
In each cup, pour in a half cup of boiling water, a teaspoon of vinegar and the food coloring of your choice. You’ll need between 10 and 20 drops of food coloring, depending on the shade and intensity of the color you’d like. Pale coloring will have a delicate finish, while darker colors will look bright and candy-like.
Experiment with mixing different colors together, too. You can create nearly any color using yellow, red and blue food coloring:
- Red + Yellow = Orange
- Red + Blue = Purple
- Yellow + Blue = Green
Step 3: Dye the Easter eggs
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When the eggs are completely cool and your colors are mixed, the fun begins! Protect your work area with a tablecloth or newspapers, and set out the cups of dye. Also, grab paper towels to catch spills, and an empty egg carton for the finished product.
Using a wire egg holder, a whisk or just a spoon, submerge the eggs in the food coloring and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to fully absorb the color. The longer they bathe, the more vibrant the finished color; you can tug them out of the bath periodically to check.
Editor’s Tip: If you don’t have an egg holder, use a whisk! Simply ease apart the wires of a whisk and slip the egg inside, then use the handle to dip the egg. This is especially handy when dyeing Easter eggs with little kids—less splashing and no roll-away eggs. Whatever you do, don’t use wooden utensils, as the wood will take on the color.
Step 4: Dry and store
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Remove the eggs from the dye and allow them to dry on paper towels, or right in the cardboard carton. Once the tops of the eggs are dry, flip them so the bottom can dry. Store in the fridge until you need them.
Editor’s Tip: Planning an Easter egg hunt? We suggest using plastic eggs or creating a very thorough map of your hiding places. You don’t want to come across a hidden egg weeks later—trust us.
Your Easter Egg Dyeing Questions, Answered
Decorating eggs can be easy, but trying a new method can also leave you with a lot of questions. We’ve got the answers!
Can you dye raw eggs?
Technically, you can dye raw eggs, but it’s risky. A raw egg is more likely to crack—and once cracked, it’ll ruin your whole batch of dye. It’s best to stick to hard-boiled eggs!
What do you do if an egg cracks?
If an egg cracks during the dyeing or drying process, it’s no big deal! The ingredients in this dye are safe to eat and won’t affect the flavor of your hard-boiled eggs.
Can you dye brown eggs?
Yes, you can dye brown eggs. The end result will be a bit more muted, but brown eggs will still take on color.
Are there other ways to decorate eggs?
You bet! Decorating Easter eggs isn’t just limited to food dye. There are all types of Easter egg decorating ideas, including using natural dyes, temporary tattoos, wax crayons and other craft supplies.
Research contributed by Lisa Kaminski, Taste of Home Editor