Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

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Rita's Annual All Natural Egg Dyes

One of our traditions for Easter starts at the beginning of Lent. My Mom’s ancient wooden bowl sits in a place of honor on the kitchen counter. Each time I use a yellow onion, the papery outer skins are put into the bowl. By the time Easter week comes, I have enough skins to color Easter eggs naturally. I have a smaller wooden bowl that holds red onion skins.

I’ve been bombarded with requests to share my recipes for naturally colored Easter eggs again. Funny thing is these recipes have been around a long time, yet continue to be among my most requested.

I’m thinking this pandemic has made a lot of you comfortable with cooking more, and as a result, creativity and the urge to try something new seems the way to go.

Repurposing onion skins to color eggs is fun, and satisfying. Depending upon the kind and how long eggs sit in the dye, you’ll see shades of light gold to amber to brick red.

But onion skins are just one way to color eggs.

Like pink eggs? Try the dye made with beet juice.

The spice turmeric turns the eggs sunny yellow.

Our favorites are eggs colored with red cabbage. The dye starts out purple but with the addition of vinegar, the eggs turn teal blue!

Hopefully, coloring eggs naturally will become a tradition in your home, too.

Vinegar to dye proportions

The same for all dyes: for every cup of liquid, stir in a tablespoon of clear vinegar. This “sets” the dye.

Naturally colored eggs take longer to color, so be patient.


Except for turmeric dye, strain all dyes. All dyes should be cool before coloring eggs.

Onion skins

In a saucepan, place as many papery outer skins of yellow or red onions that you have. Cover with a couple inches of water.

Bring to boil, lower tosimmer, cover and cook until onion skins have colored water, about 10 minutes. 

Egg colors vary from light amber to brick red.


Use strained beet juice or boil fresh skinned beets and strain. Just bring it to a boil, then turn the heat off.

Red cabbage

Use a whole head of cut up red cabbage. Cover with water a good inch, bring to a boil, lower to a gentle boil, cover, and cook until cabbage loses most of its purple color, about 30 minutes.

This dye takes several hours at least so it’s good to put in the refrigerator while the dye is working. The longer the eggs sit in the dye, the darker the color blue.


Bring 2 tablespoons turmeric in 1-1/2 cups water to a boil. Cool but don’t strain.

Add vinegar, stir and place eggs in dye until desired color is obtained.

Remove, swish them around in cool water very quickly only to remove particles.

Turmeric colored eggs are bright yellow.

Butterfly blue pea:

No real recipe here. 4 tablespoons flowers to 2 cups water should do it. Bring to a simmer and let infuse until the color is dark blue. Strain and proceed. This gives a beautiful bluish purple egg.

Violet petals: A good cup of petals/flowers to 2 cups water. Proceed as for butterfly blue pea dye. Makes a beautiful purple bluish egg.


Make dyes ahead. Strain and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature.

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