Dutch Dyed Easter Eggs With Flowers & Onion Skins




Introduction: Dutch Dyed Easter Eggs With Flowers & Onion Skins

About: Often—in dreams—I crash flying contraptions I've built from scraps of things or I can breathe undersea. I would not follow any Instructables I post for flying contraptions.

Onion skins and flowers have been used to dye eggs in celebration of springtime in Lower Saxony—the eastern Netherlands to northern Germany and Estonia—since pagan times.  This method of dying eggs is still practiced in rural areas of the region in celebration of Easter.  Growing up in the Overijssel province of the Netherlands, my father and his family used cloth and string to bind the onion skins and flowers to the eggs as they boiled.  This Instructable, however, uses aluminum foil, which my father describes as a vast improvement over the difficult-to-manage cloth and string.

Step 1: Materials

Eggs, raw (NOT pre-hard-boiled), as many as you like
Aluminum foil, torn into squares that are at least 8” x 8”
Onion skins, red and brown, large pieces
Small leaves and blossoms with interesting patterns, shapes, and colors
Large pot for boiling eggs
Strainer or tongs
Large bowl of cold water

Step 2: Get Onion Skins at the Market.

Most super markets do not mind if you collect loose skins from the onion bins, but please buy at least one gratitude onion.

Step 3: Gather Small Leaves & Blossoms

Look for anything with an interesting pattern, shape, or color.  Plenty of volunteers can be found in almost any lawn.  Most flowers—including roses—do not impart color to the eggs, but hyacinths and dandelions work fairly well.  Some suggestions: grape hyacinths, forsythia, dandelion blossoms & leaves, clover, violets, spring beauties, sprigs of hemlock, etc..

Step 4: Place a Large Piece of Onion Skin on the Middle of a Foil Square.

Step 5: Arrange Some Leaves And/or Blossoms on Top of the Onion Skin.

Step 6: Place a Raw Egg on Top of the Leaves And/or Blossoms That Are on the Onion Skin.

You may need to hold the egg to keep it from rolling, but you can also fold the sided of the foil up to keep the egg in place.

Step 7: Gently Press More Leaves And/or Blossoms Against the Exposed Surface of the Egg.

A combination of different shapes and textures works very well.

Step 8: Wrap More Onion Skins Over the Leaves And/or Blossoms and the Surface of the Entire Egg.

Step 9: Holding the Onion Skins—and the Leaves And/or Blossoms Beneath Them—in Place, Wrap the Foil Square Around the Egg Completely.

* Be careful not to break or crack the egg!
* The foil should be tight enough to keep the leaves and onion skins in place, but loose enough that water will be able to seep through to the eggs as they boil.
* Be sure to tuck all of the onion skin inside the foil.

Step 10: Twist "horns" Into Foil for Easy Identification.

In order to see how a particular egg turns out, or to identify a specific person’s design, twist one, two, or more “horns” into the foil wrappers.

Step 11: Boil Water in a Large Pot That Can Contain Enough Water to Completely Cover the Eggs.

Step 12: Gently Lower Each Egg Into the Boiling Water [boil for 20 Minutes].

BOIL for 20 minutes.

Step 13: If There Are Leftover Onion Skins, Add Those to the Boiling Water As Well.

The more onion skin wrapped eggs that are boiled, the deeper the color of the water and pigment on the eggs will become.  Adding leftover onion skins to the water will make the first eggs dyed as richly colored as the last.

Step 14: After 20 Minutes on the Boil, Use Tongs or a Strainer to Fish Out the Eggs.

Step 15: Place the Eggs Into a Bowl of Cold Water, or Run Them Under the Cold Water Tap, Until They Are Cool Enough to Open.

Be careful! Even after the foil is cool to the touch, the onion skins and eggs may still be very hot.

Step 16: Unwrap the Foil and Onion Skins From the Eggs, and Rinse Off Any Remaining Petals or Leaves.

Step 17: Vrolijk Pasen!



  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest
  • Creative Misuse Contest

    Creative Misuse Contest
  • Fix It! Contest

    Fix It! Contest

22 Discussions

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words, Easter wishes, and clever variations on the technique, and especially for sharing your happy memories of dying eggs this way. This was my first Instructable, but it was so easy to do, as I was having as much fun dying eggs with my Dad (pictured) now as I did as a kid!

Gauze and Cheesecloth can work as well!

I've never seen this b4. I love it! Thanks for sharing, what a great job with the instructions!

funny, there is a jewish-spanish recipe where you boil eggs for 4 hours with onion skins and coffee, and some ppl add parsley for a nice design. you get very brown eggs, although they tasted just the same to me.

it's called huevos haminados.

Incredibly beautiful, simple, an awesome instructible and you have some beautiful hands there, m'am! Best easter 'ible in years.

3 replies

Thank you! (You know that some of the hands were mine, and some were my Dad's, right?)

Oh, no, I hadn't noticed! I had meant the older ones with more wrinkles, they are strangely awesome. But be patient, yours will be as intriguing one day, haha!

My Dad is a very skilled artist (painter), I will have to show him your wonderful observation/comment. Thanks for that!

20 Minutes?

Do these eggs take longer to cook because they're wrapped in foil, because I've always done my eggs no longer than 12 minutes and they come out as a perfect hard boiled egg. Considering the boil time for a perfect soft-boiled egg is 4 minutes, I can't imagine boiling for 8 minutes longer than what I do for a hard boiled egg.

1 reply

20 minutes allows time for the color to deepen and for any subtler tones from the blossoms to impart to the egg. Essentially, the dye is being made as the eggs are being dyed. You can certainly eat these eggs, but if that was the primary goal was good eatin'--and not coloring--like you, I'd fish them out around 4 min.. :-)

I love it! Do you get the same or similar results if you use something other than flowers and leaves? I was thinking about things that would provide an interesting silhouette. Thank you for such a great instructable!

My mother made these when I was a kid back in the '50's. As kids, my brother and I wanted the Paas dye tablets, and we did color 3/4 of say, 3 doz. eggs. But the rest were set to boiling with as many onion skins as were available. No string, cloth, or foil: just eggs and onion skins.

1 reply

I love this so I pinned it on Pinterest under Easter -Everything

Vrolijk Pasen uit Zeeuws-Vlaanderen :)