Uova di pasqua colorate

Easter eggs – colouring with spices

Dyeing Easter eggs with onion skins

When my children were little, we used to dye Easter eggs together every year. For colouring we mostly used onion skins or other natural colours like tree bark or herb powder. Some natural colours are available in different stores. We even decorated them with small flowers and leaves from our garden. It was a party every year!



  • Eggs (not too fresh, otherwise they will be difficult to pee, about 7 days old)
  • Vinegar and household paper
  • Small leaves and flowers
  • Onion shells
  • Old stockings or pieces of fabric (25 x 25 cm)
  • Thin string or wool thread

Here a small instruction for colouring Easter eggs with onion shells

The best way is with the help of old stockings. If you don’t have any, you can use small pieces of cloth. You can easily wash off the writing on the eggshells with vinegar. I prefer to dye white eggs because the colour will be more intense than on the brown ones. Place the leaves and flowers flat on the egg, then wrap the egg in onion skins until it is completely covered. Both the brown and the red onion skins are suitable. Then wrap the whole thing either in a cut off foot of an old stocking or in a piece of fabric and tie it with a string.

Egg packs Egg packs

Place the eggs in cold water and boil them. From boiling point, the Easter eggs are cooked for 10 – 12 minutes. Since Easter eggs are not stored for long in my family – but are eaten fast, I only cook them for 8 minutes. This way they still have a small soft spot in the egg yolk and are not too dry. But this way their shelf life is shorter.

Ognion shell colour brew


If you don’t cool down the eggs in cold water, they can be kept longer. Cooling them down makes it easier for germs to enter the egg.

Hard boiled, intact eggs that were not cooled in cold water can be kept for about a month.

Once they are cooked take the Easter eggs out of the hot water and once they are not too hot any more, carefully unwrap the eggs from the stocking and the onion skins. To make them more shiny you can coat them with a little butter.

Easter eggs coloured with onion shells

For a few years now, however, I have been using spices to colour Easter eggs.


Especially yellow – orange – red tones are easy to get with spices. Green – blue – brown tones are a bit more difficult.

I have had good experiences with turmeric, annatto seeds and sandalwood. Black tea is also suitable for brown tones.


First, you have to make a colour brew. Boil water and with the chosen spice and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. You need about 1 tablespoon of spice per litre of water. Let the brew cool down. Then place the eggs in the coloured broth and boil them as described above.

Egg packs

If you want, you can decorate the eggs first, with flowers, leaves, as described above but this time without the onion skins. Or you can wrap them with threads, which gives nice “spider web” patterns.

You can also make these Easter eggs shine with butter as well.


Happy Easter ?

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How do you dye Easter eggs?




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