I love using natural materials to dye eggs. I’ve had great success with foods like cabbage, blueberries, and turmeric. Check out my food dyed Easter eggs post if you’d like to go that route. It’s a fun project, but dying eggs with fresh food requires simmering the food to make the dye. It also involves wasting some food, which is my main hesitation. This method uses teas and herbs that I already had on hand in my pantry (Free!) and doesn’t require simmering but rather a normal, simple tea steep ( Easy!). I’m thinking this is my new go-to method for egg dying!
BONUS tip: You can perfectly boil eggs in the Instant Pot and the shells just fall off when you peel them. Totally amazing! Use the trivet that came with your instant pot, add 1 cup water to the pot, cook at high pressure for 5 minutes then manual pressure release. Done. Perfect, easy-to-peel hardboiled eggs!
Quick down and dirty chemistry involved here. I tested using white vinegar and alum. These are mordants that help the colors penetrate the eggshell. They are necessary to get vibrant colors, and, in some cases, any color! White vinegar changes the pH of the dye which can also alter the color a bit. Alum though allows for the most vibrant coloring. Deeper hues, richer tones, truly beautiful. Alum is used in pickling and is perfectly safe and edible, it’s also cheap! I buy alum online here.
Also, the alum does NOT affect the flavor of the eggs AT ALL so keep them refrigerated and use them to make my deviled eggs with bread and butter pickles that I’ll be posting first thing Monday. No need to waste it, it’s all delicious (and oh-so-beautiful) food! Ps: Don’t drink the tea though, vinegar and alum in tea will make your mouth pucker!!
As you can see, I don’t even strain the herbs out of the tea. It’s SO EASY!!
The left column of dyed eggs is with only alum in the dye water. The right side uses alum and vinegar. Both options make incredible colors and you can also experiment with multiple dips. These were simply left overnight in the fridge. One long dip. No fuss. You can also experiment with multiple dips in different colors to make combinations.
I was shocked that the chamomile and lavender were so beautifully successful. Mordants, man, they make things so vibrant!
Chamomile, lavender, hibiscus, and beetroot are my favorites! Which are your faves?
Lavender – pale, grassy green
Calendula – pale yellow
Hibiscus – rich greenish blue or purple-ish blue
Beetroot – rich to pale pink
Chamomile – rich yellow
Rooibis – pale to rich burnt orange
- Hard boiled WHITE eggs ( Instant Pot : Trivet, 1 cup water - 5 minutes at high pressure + manual pressure release)
- 1 cup hot boiled water per tea color
- 1 teaspoon alum per tea color
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar per tea color (if using to alter the color, optional)
- 1 Tablespoon red rooibos tea
- 2 Tablespoons dried chamomile flowers
- 1 Tablespoon beetroot powder
- ¼ cup dried hibiscus petals
- ¼ cup dried calendula flowers
- 2 Tablespoon dried lavender
- In a separate jar for each color, add the tea/herb, boiled hot water, alum, and vinegar (if using). Stir together to dissolve powder.
- Gently place a boiled white egg in each jar of tea.
- Let tea cool then refrigerate eggs in jars overnight.
- In the morning, spoon eggs from jars and let dry in an egg carton.
- Dip again for even richer tones!