How to dye eggs naturally

December 21, 2008

in basics,how-to

I wrote in the Professor Layton bento post that the color blue is kind of a taboo color in the kyaraben world. In Japan, kyaraben are mostly for kids, and many moms try their best not to use food coloring in bento.
Any processed food contains food coloring, and I don’t freak out about it. I wanted to use minimal food coloring in my bento, so I looked for ways to dye food naturally.

[How to dye an egg naturally]

- curry powder or turmeric

- red cabbage
- vinegar

[Light blue]
- red cabbage

I forgot to put vinegar in this shot.

[Yellow egg]
1. Put a little bit of curry powder (or turmeric) into a glass of hot water, and mix well. Make sure you have enough water to completely cover the egg.

2. Put a hard-boiled egg in the water and leave it for 20~30 minutes. (stir it every 10 minutes or so)

[Pink and light blue egg]
1. Chop a leaf of red cabbage, and leave it in hot water for 10~15 minutes.

2. Remove the cabbage using a drainer, and pour the water into a small bowl or glass.
3. For a pink egg: Put a little bit (about a teaspoon) of vinegar into the water, and mix well.

The color immediately turns pink!

The color immediately turns pink!

Left: red cabbage with vinegar, Right: red cabbage

4. Put the hard-boiled egg in the colored water and leave it for 20~30 minutes. (stir it every 10 minutes or so)

Aren't they cute?

Aren't they cute?

That’s it!
How long you leave the egg in the water is up to you. I wrote 20~30 minutes, because that’s how long I left the egg in the water. I found out that a shot glass is the perfect size for dyeing a quail egg. Curry powder and red cabbage may dye plastic containers, so used glass or porcelain containers for this project.

I put seaweed eyes and a carrot beak on an yellow quail egg to make a chick for my Farm bento. I used purplish blue dye to dye kamaboko (fish cake) for EVE’s eye for my Wall-E bento.

While I was doing research on the color blue in food, I learned something very interesting. “…blue is an appetite suppressant. Weight loss plans suggest putting your food on a blue plate. Or even better than that, put a blue light in your refrigerator and watch your munchies disappear.” (from Color Matters) So be careful not to use too much blue in your food.

You can see more pictures of “How to dye egg” on my flickr page.
And if you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

ShreelaNo Gravatar December 22, 2008 at 12:27 am

I put some diced beets into my pickled eggs, and they came out pink. But I don’t have beets right now, and do have purple cabbage LOL, thanks!


Wendy LeowNo Gravatar December 22, 2008 at 9:05 pm

i didn’t know you can do this!! can’t wait to try this
will the eggs taste the same??


Doctress JuliaNo Gravatar January 14, 2009 at 12:32 am

How do you color with turmeric? Do you add it to the water? Tell me, tell me, please. :)


TKNo Gravatar March 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I imagine some saffron would also work as dye.


anonNo Gravatar May 7, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I wonder if different Teas could be used for this too. I know Rasberry Zinger from Celestial Seasons is a very rich deep red color.


cakuLiNo Gravatar July 28, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Amazing… you are so briliant! and now i can make some colour for my egg…and it’s natural…thx


anthonyNo Gravatar August 30, 2009 at 4:07 am

i learn so much from ur bog… a lot of brilliants ideas for my party food.


velveteenbunniesNo Gravatar September 14, 2009 at 5:17 am

Ahhh~~ tis is the one u talking about~ *grab a note*
Is it only for egg,sis?how about we put a rice into it? XD


sofieNo Gravatar November 3, 2009 at 11:54 pm

wow, thanks for sharing this method XD


SandraNo Gravatar January 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm

This is so cool! I’m allergic to artificial coloring, so this is a brilliant way to make my food attractive.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll experiment with other things such as parsley.


CraigNo Gravatar March 24, 2010 at 11:19 pm

do you know if you could dye only the egg white in a sheet like the mixed eggs?


AnnaTheRedNo Gravatar April 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Hi Craig,
I’ve never tried to dye the egg white and make an egg sheet before, so I have no idea. Maybe I should try and see what happens. I’ll post the result when I do.


LisaNo Gravatar June 30, 2010 at 5:08 am

Hi , thanks for sharing your tips.


breeNo Gravatar December 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Hello, Your website is incredible. I found it while looking at ideas for making Mario mushrooms. You have skills! Thanks for sharing your talents. I am boiling eggs right now to experiment with. This will be great on Easter for deviled eggs.


o'goshNo Gravatar February 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

just found out bout your blog…very informative….will try this for my son..TQ so much for sharing….


MingNo Gravatar May 19, 2012 at 6:01 am

Dear Ms Anna, thank you so much for this amazing blog and for generously sharing all your ideas, tips and techniques. I also love Studio Ghibli and was very excited to see all the Totoro bentos, cookies and chocolates you’ve made. I thought that the broccoli christmas tree was pure genius!

Thank you again!


annatheredNo Gravatar December 24, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Yes, the egg will pretty much taste the same. The curry one smells a bit like curry, but it’s not strong, and if you wash it well, you won’t notice the smell at all. (The color won’t come off)
Good luck!


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