Onion-Dyed Easter Eggs

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(Original Post Date:  March 18, 2010)

Just in time for Easter… I thought I would post my favorite method for dyeing Easter Eggs without any messy food coloring or special Easter egg dye.

I’ve been making Easter eggs like this since I was maybe 8 or 9 years old?  It used to be a challenge – hunting down enough rubber bands in all the various drawers – sometimes I couldn’t find any and would have to resort to yarn or string.  Use yarn or string if you must, but rubber bands always work the best.

Don’t ask me what prompted me to start wrapping eggs with onion skins… I think I was obsessed with the TV show “Mr. Wizard’s World”, and thought that I was doing something “scientific” or something.  Back in those days, I was very confused about the difference between science and art… as my elementary school teacher could probably tell you… once I turned in a plastic bird, glued onto a piece of glass with sea shells around it as my “science project”.  Haha.

All you need are eggs, onions, and some rubber bands.  The end result produces a nice marbleized effect… with a mix of browns, oranges, greens, and yellows.

Looking to use up all your leftover Easter Eggs?  Try my recipe for Taiwanese/Chinese Simmered Tea Eggs!

Onion Dyed Easter Eggs:

  • raw eggs (however many you want to make)
  • brown onion skins
  • water
  • rubber bands

1.  Peel and remove the dried brown skins from several onions.  I usually buy a bulk bag of onions, and just use the skins in the bottom of the bag that have already fallen off.

2.  Wrap each raw egg with several large pieces of onion skin, and secure in place with a few rubber bands.  You can also use kitchen twine – but I find that rubber bands hold a little bit better.

3.  Place each egg into a large saucepan, and slowly add cold water to cover the eggs.

4.  Make a “Drop lid” out of foil.  (If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a drop lid, this is a Japanese cooking technique that involves placing a lid, smaller than the diameter of the pot, directly on top of the surface of cooking fluid.  It reduces the movement of fluid in the pan, and prevents large bubbles from forming that could disrupt fragile foods.)

In this case, I use the drop lid to prevent the eggs from moving around too much, so that the onion skin doesn’t get broken apart.  Just tear a big piece of foil, and fold it inward to form a circle.  Poke a hole through the center, and let it float on top of the water in the saucepan.

5.  Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.  (Leave the drop lid on.)

6.  Remove the eggs from the water with tongs, and let cool on a cutting board.

7.  When cool, remove rubber bands, and peel the onion skins off the eggs.  (It is best to do this while the onion skins are still wet).

8.  Store cooked eggs in the refrigerator for up to one week.

If you want your next batch to be an even yellow/brown color (without any marbling), you can re-use the cooking liquid, and use it to boil your next batch of raw eggs (without wrapping with onion skins).


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