Dyeing eggs is an engaging tradition, whether you're decorating for spring or preparing for a visit from the Easter bunny, but the smell of vinegar is a less pleasant part of the process. Commercial dye kits are usually only available for a short period of time, and they can be expensive. You can dye eggs year-round with regular food coloring and no vinegar.
Eggs in the Shell
Vinegar serves to deepen the colors of the dyes, so working without it will leave the colors lighter. You can darken them a bit by allowing the first dip to dry and then dipping the eggs back in the dye for a second bath.
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- Coffee mugs or bowls
- Boiling water
- Food coloring
- Hard-boiled eggs, with the shell or without
- Tongs or spoons
- Paper towels
1. Pour boiling water
Pour boiling water to fill the mugs two-thirds full.
2. Add food coloring to each mug
Add about 20 drops of food coloring to each mug and stir it in. Mix different combinations of primary colors to make the perfect hue for your party.
3. Gently place an egg in each mug
Gently place an egg in each mug. Allow it to remain in the dye for at least 5 minutes. If your mugs or bowls aren't deep enough to completely submerge the eggs, use the tongs or a spoon to turn them every minute or 2 to cover the whole surface.
4. Lift the eggs from the mugs with the tongs
Lift the eggs from the mugs with the tongs and set them on paper towels. Be sure to wipe the tongs before moving from one color to the next.
5. Place them back in the mugs for another 5 minutes, for darker color
When the eggs are dry, if you would like darker color, place them back in the mugs for another 5 minutes. Repeat until you're satisfied with the hue.
Plastic containers may stain with some colors. Most mugs allow you to submerge the egg completely without using large quantities of colored water.
You can also add 1 teaspoon lemon juice or salt to help the color adhere.
Without the Shell
Take your deviled eggs to another level by dyeing the whites of the egg before filling them with the yolk mixture.
1. Peel the eggs and slice them in half
Peel the eggs and slice them in half to remove the yolks. Wipe yolk crumbs away with a paper towel or your fingers.
2. Dye the whites
Dye the whites, following the same steps as you use for the shells.
3. Fill the centers
Fill the centers with your favorite yolk mixture. A simple, traditional filling blends the mashed yolks, pickle relish, mustard and mayonnaise.
4. Nestle the eggs among greens
Nestle the dyed eggs among leafy greens.
When you remove the eggs from the dye, place the egg halves face-down to drain out excess dye and water.