Red Eggs for Greek Easter

My older 3 boys have a Greek heritage and I love so many of the traditions of the Greek Orthodox. I’m not particular about celebrating Orthodox Easter, but I do make sure and incorporate the Greek Easter traditions into our regular Easter celebration.

I wrote about how I enjoy traditions and feel they are very important, but, I also like to keep them simple. Dyeing eggs red has a great meaning, plus, it simplifies the egg dyeing tradition. We only need red eggs.
We dye our Easter eggs red to represent the blood of Christ.
And how do we get such beautiful crimson? It’s actually pretty simple:

How to Naturally Dye Eggs a Crimson Red

  • Dry “paper skins” from yellow onions. (from about 5-10 yellow onions)
  • Eggs
  • Water to cover eggs
  • 2 TB white vinegar.
Add all ingredients to a pot, boil for 30 minutes, with a lid on. Check the eggs: if they the right shade, remove them and cool. If you want them to darken, allow them to cool in the water and then place them in the refrigerator, (still in the water with onion skins) overnight. Rub the eggs with olive oil to keep them vibrant.
These photos aren’t edited – this is the real color of the eggs! I will never go back to food coloring again- God’s natural colors are so much more vibrant!!
*Note: as long as I use yellow onion skins, they come out nice and red,ย getting “yellow” onion skin is important to the color.
Another bonus – the color doesn’t come off on hands.
After Easter dinner, we go around the room, cracking the eggs against each other to see who’s egg can “win”. As we do so, we remember:
“And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.”
Matthew 28:2
He is no longer there, He is risen!

We also make Greek Easter Bread. Click here for the recipe.
red eggs

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! Iโ€™m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Unknown on 03/27/2013 at 2:23 am

    Thanks for including this. We are Orthodox, and real foodies, so this is great!

    • Nina Devine on 05/02/2021 at 4:15 pm

      We are Russian Orthodox. All my childhood we had beautiful red eggs using onion skins, with water from our home made pickled beets.
      Easter Bread is manditory, as well. I gather up a few friends and we make it together.

  2. Casey on 03/27/2013 at 2:41 am

    I love red eggs – and that you managed to get this gorgeous red without the dye that makes them inedible.

  3. Anonymous on 03/27/2013 at 2:58 am

    Did you start with brown eggs?

    • Rachel on 03/27/2013 at 4:09 am

      I started with white eggs.

    • Ann Burnham on 04/09/2019 at 3:11 pm

      I use only brown eggs. They come out a beautiful deep red.

  4. MelDrop's Corner on 03/27/2013 at 2:07 pm

    Dry “paper” from yellow onions. Are you talking about the thin flakey layer on the outside of the onion? These are gorgeous! I would love to do this with our son. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jeannie Sweeney on 03/27/2013 at 2:53 pm

    So confused as to how this works. It’s like an exciting science project! We are coloring eggs naturally this year. I was pretty worried but, I think it will be easier than I thought. So do they have an onion flavor?

    • Rachel on 03/27/2013 at 5:36 pm

      No onion flavor. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Margaret on 03/27/2013 at 10:47 pm

    beautiful! Mine were more orange but I didn’t boil the eggs in the mix. Something to try for next time!

  7. Alena Belleque on 03/28/2013 at 3:36 am

    Wow, that is incredible! And I โ™ฅ the tradition, I’ve never heard of that. Definitely going to have to do that this year!! It’s my daughter’s 1st Easter ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Anonymous on 03/28/2013 at 4:07 am

    Sounds so awesome, so how long do you keep the eggs in the water ande they are raw to start or do you hard boil them first?

    • Rachel on 03/28/2013 at 4:54 am

      Hard boil them in the onion water, so yes, raw to start.

  9. Gardencat on 03/28/2013 at 5:36 am

    My son has Greek heritage. Wish he could have known his Yaya before she passed. Not sure if this is spelled right…Christosa nestea

    • Rachel on 03/28/2013 at 2:01 pm


      Christos Anesti! (Christ is risen)

      Alithos Anesti (Truly, he is risen)

    • basketbabe on 03/31/2013 at 4:01 am

      This comment has been removed by the author.

    • Georgiann on 03/29/2015 at 1:48 pm

      It’s Yia Yia

  10. Anonymous on 03/28/2013 at 8:53 am

    Does the color bleed or come off at all? We’ve hidden eggs before that were dyed with food coloring, only to have the dye bleed onto furniture or carpet.

    • Rachel on 03/28/2013 at 2:02 pm

      I have not had the color come off.

    • Anonymous on 03/28/2013 at 3:32 pm


  11. Stephanie Dollansky on 03/28/2013 at 3:58 pm

    Do you know what exactly haoppens to trigger the color change? There must be components in the paper skins that react with the vinegar…? I’d like to know from a “scientific” perspective, as this would be a truly enriching activity to do with kiddos: Christ-centered teaching, healthy/nutritious/nontoxic, and a “science” experiment all wrapped into one!

    • Rachel on 03/28/2013 at 4:15 pm

      I don’t know, but I’m sure google could give you some answers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Anonymous on 03/28/2013 at 8:33 pm

    My eggs turned out to be a dark orange brown- no red in it. Do you hard boil them in their skins, or do you take the skins out of the water?

    • Anonymous on 03/28/2013 at 8:34 pm

      What is the secret to get them red? I used the dry paper skins from the yellow onions. Do you think red onion skins would work?

    • Rachel on 03/29/2013 at 2:57 am

      I have done both, boiled with the skin in the water and after removing it. Perhaps it depends on the onions, I have gotten more orange/red at other times, it seems to vary every time.

      Red onion skins come out similar, slightly more brown tinged.

  13. Anonymous on 03/29/2013 at 1:38 am

    I just tried this and mine turned out orangish definately not crimson!! a little disappointed but still cool, not sure what I did wrong?!

    • Rachel on 03/29/2013 at 2:58 am

      Perhaps it depends on the onions, I have gotten more orange/red at other times, it seems to vary.

  14. bradshaw meadows on 03/29/2013 at 1:20 pm

    i tried this last night and am so excited about the results! This is really cool! I now have my new favorite way to dye eggs! My kids love it too! THANK YOU for sharing this!

    • Rebecca on 04/08/2017 at 12:02 am

      We were always told The beautiful brown Rich color was the result of it being a rabbit egg

  15. Anonymous on 03/29/2013 at 11:17 pm

    We save up onion skins from cooking all during Great Lent and then do as you do, except we then keep the eggs in the colored water over night, in the fridge. That prevents the orangish-color, you get a very deep red. You can then polish them with olive oil to get a nice shine on them.

    • Rachel on 03/29/2013 at 11:25 pm

      Oh thank you! I will add that bit of info to my post, that will help a lot of people!

    • Yiayiat on 04/04/2015 at 1:57 pm

      Glad to hear you refrigerated the eggs……I would NEVER leave them sitting out over night.

  16. Elizabeth on 03/29/2013 at 11:37 pm

    I already boiled my eggs. Do you think it would work to leave them in the water overnight in the fridge? Or do they really have to cook in the water?

    • Rachel on 03/29/2013 at 11:40 pm

      They will change color a bit, but I think they will just be orange. Please let us know if you do it and what your results are!

  17. nona on 03/30/2013 at 6:38 am

    Mine came out quite brownish orange. Beautiful either way. Thanks for the recipe. Christos vascreas! (Christ is risen! – Russian Easter salutation)

  18. Molly on 03/31/2013 at 4:35 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I didn’t want to do the typical American egg-dying, but this was perfect for us. As it turns out, this is not just a Greek thing, but an Orthodox thing. So, these are also Russian and Ukrainian Easter eggs, perfect for my Russian and Ukrainian kids! I had no idea until I saw your recipe. The only other thing I am doing for Easter is making Paska, which is an Eastern European Easter bread.

  19. Unknown on 05/04/2013 at 8:47 pm

    I did this this year (just yesterday ๐Ÿ™‚ and the eggs were splotchy from leaving the skins in the water when I boiled the eggs. Next time, I think it will work better to strain out the onion skins before boiling the eggs in the onion water.

  20. Salem Thorup on 01/12/2014 at 2:34 am

    Has anyone tried dying anything else with this formula? I’m so curious if this would work on clothes or other things. I’ll try it & post my results, but I’d love to hear if anyone else has already tried this or knows what the results might be.

  21. Karissa on 03/28/2015 at 11:24 am

    This may sound weird, but I live in Africa and we don’t have yellow onions this time of year. Would red onion skin or beet juice work? Thanks!

  22. Matia on 03/31/2015 at 8:30 pm

    When leaving the eggs in overnight, does it turn the egg white a different color?

    • Rachel on 04/01/2015 at 12:32 am

      No, I don’t remember the color going through the shell like typical “food coloring”, but don’t hold me to it- it’s been quite a while since I left them overnight.

  23. Angie on 02/29/2016 at 9:57 pm

    I love the red and love that the eggs are naturally dyed!

  24. Orthodoxgal on 04/15/2017 at 10:53 am

    I Tried this way of making eggs !! And i think to get best result you have ti leave them over night in the fridge after boiling let it cool off and leave the eggs inside the pot with the water and the skins. Leave it inside the refrigerator over night. And you should have auburn red ish eggs!! Its not going to be bright red because natural dye does not work like that!
    Dont be disap with your eggs unless you do only the 30 minutes and you take then out then they will be orange. Leave over night!

  25. Ryan (Ian miller) on 02/20/2018 at 6:01 am

    When I rub them with oil in the past, the red dye comes off. Do you drain them and wait a few days to rub the oil on? They seemed patchy after the oil and I didn’t get the shiny dark red. Thanks

  26. […] take the credit for this marvel of genius – check out Nourishing Minimalism’s post “Red Eggs for Greek Easter”ย or Sophaki Cooks’ “Natural Dye Easter Eggs” for a full […]

  27. Bryon on 04/08/2018 at 1:16 pm

    Isnโ€™t 30min a bit too long to boil the eggs? I followed the instructions and the eggs are a dark red, but a lot of them cracked! What did I do wrong?

    • Chrissy on 02/15/2024 at 8:10 pm

      30 min is too long to cook the eggs. The skins should be boiled for 30 min then removed. Then add brown eggs and simmer for 10 min. I have an addition cold pot of red onion dye cold in the fridge and add the cooked eggs to that .

  28. Greek Orthodox Mom on 04/09/2018 at 4:39 am

    Your simple but clear directions were exactly what I was looking for since I have been wanting to do this natural dye process for a while. I did the complete boil/cool/refrigerate process and was happy with the results. It wasn’t as red as with food dye, but still a vibrant red. There were cloud-like variations because of the physical contact with the skins, but I like that. I may try the suggestion of straining the skins out before boiling the eggs in the water just to see how that works too. Finally, I used all white eggs but threw a brown egg in too, for comparison. I will use brown in future because the color was a bit deeper and more even.
    Thanks again for this helpful post.

  29. Jill on 04/14/2018 at 11:41 pm

    My Greek sister-in-law (in her early 70s) didnโ€™t know how to dye the eggs red. Iโ€™m Scandinavian/Croatian! ๐Ÿ˜‚

  30. Phillip Peters on 02/05/2024 at 5:31 am

    30 minutes of boiling eggs is excessive and ruined the eggs flavor and texture afterwards!

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