A Natural Red Dye for Your Pascha Eggs

A Natural Red Dye for Your Pascha Eggs


Need to dye your eggs for Pascha but can’t find the dyes in the grocery any longer?  Maybe you have an allergic reaction to synthetic dyes.  I did some research and found a few links and articles on naturally dyed eggs last month.  Here are the directions for naturally dyed red eggs.

STEP ONE – Collect Yellow Onion Skins.  Yes, YELLOW ONION SKINS.  Not red onions, yellow.  If I didn’t do it myself I wouldn’t believe it either. A large pot of yellow onion skins, when boiled for 30 minutes in 9 cups of water and 3/4 c of white vinegar make a red dye.

blogger-image-2095255710Cooking for my family of three, I didn’t start early enough to save for this dye job, so one Sunday I asked for help from a local restaurant famous for their homemade onion rings.  The owner said they must go through a hundred pounds of onions a day!  I thought she was exaggerating, but by Tuesday afternoon she had two grocery bags stuffed and waiting for me.

Before you prepare the dye, take the eggs out of the refrigerator so they2013_04_20 006R can come to room temperature.  This will limit the cracking.   Also, I understand medium eggs dye better than large eggs.

2013_04_20 002I crammed the one bag of skins into my large pot.  (I saved the other bag in case this didn’t work.) As it turned out, one bag was more than enough.

Poured 12 cups of water and 1 c of white vinegar over the skins and smooshed them down.  The original recipe called for 9 cups of water but I had so many skins and didn’t think they would get wet enough, but they smoosh down very well.  There was more than enough dye.2013_04_20 003

As I did with the dolmathes, I inverted a plate and weighed it all down with my glass measuring cup.

2013_04_20 005R

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After boiling for 30 minutes…

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Strain the skins in a colander, saving the dye in a clean pot.  It’s a good idea to strain them again with a mesh strainer to remove little bits that can stick to the eggs when cooking or you can use coffee filters in the colander.


Cooking the eggs

Place the room temperature eggs into the dye and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook, simmering eggs for 15 minutes.




Hot out of the pot they looked very brown.  I was a bit disappointed.  But as they cooled they turned redder.  They camera took some liberties and makes them look redder than they were.

When they are just cool enough to touch, dip a rag into a small bowl of olive oil, and coat the eggs.

red eggs


red egg


We are not liable for any spills or splatters

so be sure to wear an apron and use glass or stainless steel.

And although we can’t endorse any particular company,
we encourage you to light a sweetly scented candle.
When you are working with onions, vinegar and boiled eggs, it can get a bit stinky.


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About author

Presvytera Vassi Haros

Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.