Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Naturally Dyed and Decorated Easter Eggs (Using Onion Peel and Turmeric)

At some point of my life I decided to make only all-natural Easter eggs. Although I like to see variety of egg colors in an Easter basket, I don't feel comfortable using artificial dye, even if it says it's food-grade. That's especially the case if the dye penetrates below egg shell, for example seeing blue strains on my egg white is not really appetizing for me.

Dying with onion peel is a traditional and still very popular way of decorating Easter eggs in my homeland, Serbia. You wouldn't believe how many eggs are decorated over there, I am talking about several dozens per single family. Egg hunt is not so popular; instead we exchange Easter eggs with neighbors, friends and relatives. We also have egg-cracking competition, tournament style: each family member chooses an egg and then gently (or less gently) bumps against someone else's egg, trying to crack it, while keeping their own whole. Ultimately, whomever is left with unbroken egg is a winner.

On the pictures you can see how Easter eggs look like when dyed with onion skin (brown eggs) or turmeric (yellow ones). Very natural, indeed. Below, I will show you how to do it, plus, I will teach you how to make beautiful decoration with leaf imprints.

White or brown eggs?

If you use onion skin for dying you can use both, brown eggs will get deep brown color, white ones will be more light brown and reddish. However, if you use turmeric try white eggs.

How to get dry onion skin?

Last few years I have been collecting dry onion skin weeks ahead of Easter. But, you can always buy a lot of onions and peel off their skin. Also, many times I was allowed to peel onions placed on display in grocery stores.

I typically use brown and yellow onion, but you can try red onion skin too.

Onion peel dying 

You need:

12 eggs, white or brown

5 cups packed dry onion skin

4 or more cups of water to cover eggs in a pot

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

Vegetable oil for shiny look


In a  medium pot, place half of onion peel on the bottom, than 12 eggs on them, and the rest of onion peel place over the eggs. Pour in water to be 1-2 inch above eggs and peel, then add vinegar and salt. Heat the water until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer the eggs for about 20 minutes on low temperature. Check if the eggs are turning brown. When done, remove the saucepan from the cooker, wait for the eggs to cool down.

Give the eggs final touch by gently rubbing vegetable oil on them. Use cotton towel. They will be smooth and shiny, just perfect.

Turmeric egg dying

You need:

12 white eggs

6 tablespoons turmeric powder

Water to cover eggs

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons salt


Follow instructions for onion peel coloring above. Instead of using onion peel add turmeric powder.

When done, place eggs on paper towel to dry.

Leaf imprint decoration

Eggs decorated with arugula, parsley, sage, geranium leaves and geranium flower

You need:

Bunch of leaves of early spring plants that you can find nearby. Tender leaves are better choice. My favorites are Italian parsley and Chervil (French parsley).

A pair of old panty hose, cut into 4-5 inches wide stripes



Before you use leaves leave them in a dish filled with water, it will be easier for you to apply them on the eggs.

After you lay leaf on the egg, cover it with hose stripe, then pull the hose very tightly on the opposite side of the egg, make a twist and secure it with string. Cut the part that hangs. Place the eggs into the saucepan with onion peel and follow cooking instructions from above.

When the eggs are done and cooled down, remove hose and leaves using scissors and let them dry. Then apply vegetable oil.


  1. Jaja su ti predivna. Ja vec par godina bar dio jaja obojam lukovinom jer su mi takva najmilija a svega nekoliko obojam bojama zbog cerke. Kakav bi rezultat dobila sa tamnim jajima i kurkumom jer kod nas nema bijelih jaja?

    1. Zar je moguće da neme belih? Mislim da su bela jaja lepša kad se oboje sa kurkumom

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