Easter · Eggs · Fun

Coloring Eggs

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I wouldn't go hiding these around the house for your kids to find on Easter morning. 

They're probably better suited to just eating, or perhaps making a batch of really wild deviled eggs – something I'm thinking of doing with the next batch. 

I've been thinking about making these for a while.

I'd seen recipes in a couple of my Asian cookbooks for Chinese Tea Eggs, a typical street snack found in parts of China.  Basically what you do is hardboil your eggs normally, and then, when they've cooled enough to handle, roll the eggs around on a hard surface to crack them.  You don't want to crack them too hard – you still want the shell to stay on the egg.  But you want to develop a nice overall cracked look.

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Then, for the tea eggs, you'd make a pot of good, strong, dark tea and either simmer (recipes vary) the eggs for a while in the tea or just plunge them into the hot tea and leave them there for several hours.

To make mine, I hardboiled them, cooled them a bit, and rolled them around on a paper towel to crack them.  Some came out better than others.

Then I brought some more water to a boil and salted it (to flavor the eggs a bit, just in case we eat them).  While the water was heating up I set out several bowls for the various colors.  I picked out seven colors (no particular reason for that number - I'll probably make more when it's closer to Easter) and parcelled out some gel food coloring into each bowl.

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I used pink, yellow, copper, green, blue, teal, and purple. 

When the water reached a boil and I'd added in some salt, I ladled water into each bowl and stirred the food coloring to dissolve it.  Then I placed one or two cracked eggs in each bowl, making sure they were covered completely with the colored water.

** And here's where I give you a word or two of advice.  First of all, have a towel under your bowls – if the egg displaces too much water, you'll have a mess, and food coloring CAN STAIN.  Second, use bowls or other containers that are more vertical then horizontal in dimension.  Actually coffee mugs worked really well for me – I ended up pouring colored water from my bowls into mugs – oh, the colorful mess I had!  But the mugs worked great.  I made sure to pick dark mugs so that if there was any staining catastrophe, no one but me would know.

I didn't take pictures of the eggs in their color baths – most were too dark. 

I left them in there for…(had to do some thinking just then) about 7 hours.  Yes.  I typed it correctly and you read it correctly.  7 hours. 

* Update *  I was thinking that it wasn't a very food-safe thing to do – leaving the eggs out to soak in hot/warm water for 7 hours.  In fact, it's not safe at all – it's a perfect environment for all sorts of bad little bugs to grow and thrive and contaminate everything.  We didn't eat those left out eggs anyway – I just took pictures and eventually tossed them.  Wasteful, right?  So I made a batch and instead of soaking them in hot colored water, I used cold colored water and soaked the eggs in the fridge overnight.  I'm happy to say it worked just as well AND you can eat the eggs!

Now, I don't know if it was necessary to leave them that long, but that's just the way it worked out, what with shuttling kids around and bringing Julia to gymnastics and making dinner and everything, it was nearly 7 pm when I finally got a chance to unveil my masterpieces. 

I was kind of excited, to tell you the truth.  And I was so excited that I didn't think to take a picture of the eggs BEFORE I peeled them, but ah well, that's why I don't write for Bon Appetit.

Here, however, is a lovely photo of the peeled shells:

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Pretty darn festive themselves, aren't they? 

And here are my eggy jewels:

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Aren't they cool?????  Well, some of them didn't come out so good, but the ones that did – I'm pretty happy with them.

As you can tell, it's hard to really see the detail on the yellow one.  I might not do yellow again, although it's so bright and pretty that maybe I will.  You just never know what I might do!

Anyway, the interesting thing (to me) is that some of them don't look like the colors I'd expected.  The two green ones are fine.  And that single teal egg is fine.  The orangy one is copper, but oddly enough, when I look at it today, it's more pink.  Or peach.  And those two purple ones?  Those were in the pink food coloring.  They looked purple yesterday (in the above photo) and today they've calmed down a bit to a fuschia.  The blue ones…they're fine.  And that darker blue, right in front?  That was supposed to be purple.

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So either you can do a lot of scientific experimentation with amounts of food coloring and length of time spent soaking…or you can just wing it and let the eggs be like little colorful gifts as you peel them.

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Both of my kids are dying to color eggs, especially Julia.  She saw all the mugs and bowls of eggs in food coloring on the counter yesterday, and unfortunatly she was sent to bed early (long story) and didn't get to see the final products.  I didn't show her this morning.  I was a bit concerned that she'd cry or get upset about missing the fun of peeling.

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So I think I will make more of these and let the kids pick the colors and roll the eggs around to crack them. 

Alex WILL NOT eat eggs, but even he was impressed last night with how they looked.

And then perhaps I will make deviled eggs…or a really colorful egg salad…with the finished products.

OH!  Almost forgot – yet another bit of advice – when you're cracking the shells, be gentle with them.  If you whack them too hard on the counter or on your sibling's head (just preparing for everything here), you could also cause the white to split all the way to the yolk.  Just like this blue one on the end here (left front):

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It's not the most horrible thing in the world, but it does kind of ruin the aesthetic.  And we don't want that, do we?  At least not for the pictures.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to for fun.  Hope you've been entertained!

(Oh, and if you haven't had enough of these eggs, go here.)

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86 thoughts on “Coloring Eggs

  1. Hi, I tried your tutorial yesterday and it was such a joy to see the results this morning! Different kinds of food colouring clearly has different effects, because my yellow egg was great while the red turned out a disaster… 😉 Going to post something on my blog now, will link back to you. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wow! We are going to try this for Easter. I was looking at images for coloring eggs and found this site and what a treasure!Thanks and love your pictures!

  3. i remember doing eggs like this when I was a kid. It’s so weird to see someone else do them like this…I thought we were the only ones weird enough to eat colored eggs! These look beautiful tho. Thanks for the post. It was like walking down memory lane in a strange way =]

  4. I did it and the eggs turned out great !!! I also made the eggs into Deviled eggs…. I also put the food color in the yokes and made contrasting colored eggs !!!! Happy Easter everyone ! P.S. I put a little Horseradish in the yoke mix !!!!

  5. This turned out amazing! I just love it!!! I linked your post to my blog of my Tutorial Tuesday Easter Edition. Thanks so much for sharing! erraticallyelizabeth.blogspot.com

  6. Hi….these look so cool! May I ask….is it necessary to use the GEL food coloring, or may I use the regular liquid food coloring?

  7. I love this idea (I had seen it somewhere else), and I was thinking that I might try this for our traditional Easter egg hunt. Then I read your post and I see that you don’t recommend “hiding” these eggs. I guess I understand that since the shells are cracked, hiding them could invite pests or germs to make them unsafe for the kids to enjoy eating the eggs once they are found. I do like the idea of using them for deviled eggs…they certainly won’t be boring old deviled eggs!! I wonder, does the dye penetrate to the yolk?

  8. Hi Ronna,

    The color didnt sink that deeply into the white, so no, it doesnt color the yolk. Im thinking maybe if you wanted it to, you could poke deep holes through the cracked places before you put the eggs into the colors, and some of the color should penetrate that way.

  9. I’ve actually made deviled eggs similar to this. I boil them, peel them, THEN dye them solid them as I would any egg. I just leave them in the bowl for several minutes. I am always asked to bring my deviled eggs, so it was fun to be colorful for Spring. I should have taken a picture!

  10. I did these this weekend for Easter. And I have to say, not was it fun and easy, but my daughter was crazy to see the end result. They turned out fabulous !!! Thanks so much for the idea.

  11. I thought at first that it is still unpeeled but after reading the whole article I found out that you should have to peel it and get the outer layer to make it look brighter and shinier!

  12. I want to make these as deviled eggs for a tacky holiday party with red dye on the white and green yolk mixture. I did a small test run and I think they turned out okay on the dye but they pretty much got ruined in the peeling process. Can you give me tips (detailed, no assumptions that I know anything that ‘everybody’ knows) on anything I can do to peel them? Do I dry them after they get taken out of the dye? Do I boil with baking soda or vinegar or something? Thanks!

  13. Hmmm…not really sure what works and what doesnt – Im not always successful either. I think if the eggs are room temp theyre easier to peel, and yes, let them dry first. But honestly, I dont know what the tricks are. Sorry! Anyone else out there have a suggestion?

  14. These are so cool! And we love to eat hard boiled eggs in my house. I can’t wait to try it!

  15. They are gorgeous! I don’t mean to be a party pooper but I would worry more about consuming the food coloring than leaving the eggs out. We do this with beets, cabbage, turmeric, onion skins, spinach… and then I know that they are safe for my kids to eat.

  16. Hey guys here is a way faster way to do this after cracking the eggs put them in to boiling dye for a minute or two and they come out amazing! Also don’t forget to put a lot of dye the more you put the better color the eggs will come out! Have a happy Easter!

  17. my kids and I have been doing this for years, at least 16 now and what we tend to do with them after they are done, is an Easter potato salad…. lovely bright colors on the table with our Easter dinner and so much more fun for the kids to eat

  18. I have done this with the Easter Egg Collors. With the vinegar in the water they did up very well. I let them set in the water about an 1 1/2 hours. Then put then in plastic sandwich bags. Each color in a seperate bag. Pelled them the next day. The were so pretty, not as jewel toned as yours. So the next time I go to town I will find some gel food colors. But I will mix it with the vinegar. Vinegar will set the colors quicker than salt.

  19. I’VE DONE THIS ,BY ACCIDENT, I HAD A FEW EGGS THAT WERE CRACKED—NO BIG DEAL–WRITE– WELL I SET UP MY COFFEE CUPS FULL OF COLORS ,WITH A TEASPOON OFVIGNIER IN EACH CUP , SO THE COLOR WOULD HOLD ON THE EGGS, AND THIS WORKED VERY WELL, LEVE IN THE COLOR ONLY AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO COLOR THE EGGS, AND THEY ARE JUST AS GOOD TO EAT AS ANY OTHER EGG,

  20. Beautiful. I always use bleach water to remove any stains from the food gel. I do this on the tables/counter tops, bowls, cups, etc. Not to be used on anything like clothing-unless they’re white clothes.

  21. Hi!

    Love your colored tea eggs. Found it on Pinterest. May I write about it on a blog post for a Doodle Hog on 5 Easter Inspired Crafts? Of course I’ll link it back to you!

    Thank you,
    Yvonne

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