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Dyed eggs White hens' eggs can easily be dyed at home using only a few simple ingredients.

Dyed eggs are an important part of the Orthodox Easter ornamental tradition.

Read more about Finnish and Orthodox Easter traditions here.

Dyeing eggs using natural ingredients

fresh white eggs
½ - 1 tbsp spirit vinegar (10 %)
colouring ingredients  —  see below

Place the fresh (raw) eggs straight from the refrigerator in a small saucepan. Add cold water enough to cover the eggs. Add the vinegar and some of the colouring ingredient listed below. Vinegar acts as a binding ingredient, so the colour on the dyed eggs will not stain your fingers.

Different colours can be obtained from the following ingredients:

  • Yellow or light brown  —  papery skins of yellow or red onions
  • Yellow or orange  —  saffron threads, turmeric powder
  • Red or purple  —  beetroot peel or beetroot pickling liquid
  • Brown  —  papery skins of yellow onions, instant coffee, black tea leaves
  • Green  —  frozen spinach, birch leaves, green moss
  • Blue  —  frozen bilberries

Bring the water to the boil and boil the eggs for about 10 minutes. The more of the above ingredients you use and the longer you let the eggs sit in the colouring liquid, the deeper colour they will have.

Take the pan off the heat, pour out the hot water and pour cold water on the eggs to cover them. Let the eggs cool in the cold water.

Dyeing eggs using food colouring

fresh eggs
boiling water
spirit vinegar (10 %)
food colouring (powder or liquid)
glass jars
vegetable oil

You can either boil the eggs in water in which vinegar and a little food colouring of your choice has been added, or dye the eggs after cooking, following the instructions below:

To protect the working surface from colouring, cover it with newspapers. You will need a separate glass jar for each food colour you are going to use (eg one for red, one for yellow etc).

Start by boiling the eggs for eight minutes. Meanwhile, bring some water to the boil in another pan. Pour 50 millilitres of spirit vinegar in each glass jar. Use regular jam jars, or other similar jars, that hold 500 millilitres. This is roughly enough to dye two eggs at a time in one jar. If you are dyeing a large amount of eggs, use larger jars and increase the amount of water, vinegar and food colouring in proportion.

Just as the eggs are cooked, pour 250 millilitres of boiling water in each glass jar to top the vinegar. Add some food colouring and mix until you get a deeply and evenly coloured mixture. Work quickly, so that the mixture will keep boiling hot. Place the cooked eggs on paper towel and let the moisture evaporate from their surface.

As soon as the surface of the hot eggs has dried, plunge them briefly in the coloured, hot water. The vinegar is absorbed by the warm, porous eggshells, binding the colour in the shell. Lift up the eggs using spoons and place on newspaper to dry and cool down. Darker and deeper colours, like blue, attach quicker than others, and may be used in smaller quantities. Light colours, like yellow, on the other hand, may need to be used in larger quantities.

Rub the cooled, dry eggs with edible vegetable oil and polish them gently. This gives them a beautiful shimmer. The vinegar absorbed in the eggshells makes the eggs keep longer. Place the eggs in a decorative bowl or other dish. They will keep in room temperature and may be eaten within a week.

Recipe source:, accessed 2003,, accessed 2003, Helsingin Sanomat/Ruokatorstai, 1998, 2003, Helsingin Sanomat: "Muna pitää kuorensa", 2004, Helsingin Sanomat/Ruoka & Juoma, 2004, 2006, among others.


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