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Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins

20 minutes



Easy old-fashioned Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins. The tradition of colouring eggs with onion skins, or other vegetable skins dates back hundreds of years. Even with the introduction of commercial food colouring, natural colouring still has its charm. It is such an easy and inexpensive way to decorate your Easter eggs. The process is as simple as boiling onion skins in water with salt and white vinegar. For more impressive results, wrap garden leaves around the eggs, tie them into stockings and boil. The result is beautifully coloured and decorative eggs, all dyed the natural way.

Ingredients for Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins

The tradition of Easter

The custom of colouring eggs at Easter is a widely practiced tradition. You will find egg colouring practices throughout Europe and in other parts of the world. In Serbia, egg colouring is a yearly traditional practice. We use real chicken eggs, hard-boiled, dyed and decorated. The eggs, as well as the Easter Bread / Uskršnja Pogača take the central place in the Easter celebration.

Aside from their decorative purposes, there is also religious meaning surrounding this tradition as eggs resemble the eternal life of Jesus and new life. Even with the increasing commercial aspect of chocolate eggs, egg colouring is still an upstanding tradition in Serbia. 

Egg colouring is traditionally done on Holy Friday, in preparation for Easter Sunday. On Sunday, breakfast starts with a game of ‘tucanje’, which involves family members cracking their eggs against each other – top to top, and bottom to bottom. It is said that the one whose egg does not break is believed to be blessed by good luck. 

Also, Easter egg hunting has historically not been part of the Easter celebration in Serbia, nor have I grown up doing this. I personally do not see how this relates to the holiday, other than it being a fun activity for kids. It is more about slowing down, enjoying amazing food and connecting with loved ones.

Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins

About this recipe

If you have come across this recipe, you may be wondering “Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins … but how?”. Well, it’s pretty simple, boiling onion skins in water releases their natural colour. Depending on the onions, you will find that onion skins can release different shades of colour from yellow-ish to burgundy. Using enough onion skins is important, the more onion skins the better the colour. The eggs are cooked in a pot filled with onion skins, water, salt, and white wine vinegar. You do not have to worry about the eggs cracking as the salt prevents this from happening. And don’t worry, your eggs won’t taste like onions. They will taste like eggs and look great on your Easter table. 

If you do not wish to use leaves as part of your decoration, simply place your eggs directly into the onion skins and boil them as they are. 

Ukrsnja Jaja / Easter Eggs

Common questions

White eggs or Brown Eggs?  

You can use any egg colour, white or brown eggs will work.  

How long can I store the eggs? 

Easter eggs are made on Easter Friday, but you can store these eggs in the fridge for up to one week. 

Yellow onion skins or red onion skins? 

For this recipe I used yellow onion skins and ended up with a beautifully bold colour. It is important to use a lot of onion skins to get a better colour. Red onion skins will give you a slightly different, but equally beautiful result.  

Types of leaves? 

You can use any garden leaves. However, the leaves should be small, and preferably thin. Parsley leaves work well. I used chamomile leaves, which worked beautifully. Keep in mind that thick leaves may be trickier to stick onto the egg. 

Stockings or cheese cloth? 

Traditionally, stockings have always been used to hold the leaves and eggs. You can use a cheese cloth; however, I do not recommend it as you risk staining it. 

Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins

Looking for more?

If you are looking for more ideas, try one of the recipes below:

Easter Bread / Uskršnja Pogača

Mums Štrudla sa Jabukama / Apple Strudel

Serbian Chicken Soup

I hope that you enjoy making these decorative Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins. I love the traditional practice of egg colouring every year, and colouring with onion leaves is the most simple and natural way to go about it. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. If you have a moment, please leave this recipe a rating. I would love to hear what you think, and if you make this recipe or have any questions, you can find me over on Instagram. You can also find a video for this recipe over on TikTok.



Adjust Servings
12 eggs
12 onions or produce bag of onion skins
1tbsp salt
2tbsp white wine vinegar
various small garden leaves
1pair stockings, unused


Peel the onion skins from your onions and place the skins in a medium pot. Set this aside. To decorate the egg with leaves, take a cut up stocking, twist the stocking at the base and tightly tie it into a knot. Brush the egg with some water and gently place the garden leaf in an arrangement of your choice (the water helps the leaves stick). Insert the egg into the stocking, trying not to wrinkle the leaves. Twist the stocking at the other end again and tie a knot, holding the egg tightly in the stocking. Repeat this process for all eggs that you wish to decorate with leaves.
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Place the eggs in the middle of the onion skins, making sure the bottom and top of the pot is covered with onion skins. Cover the pot with water, ensuring everything is submerged. Add the salt and white wine vinegar, gently stir and cook on high heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat down low, and gently cook for a further 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is up, turn the stove off. Cover the pot with a lid and allow the eggs to soak in the pot for 30 minutes. You can use this dye for a second batch, but keep in mind that the next batch may turn out with a darker colour.
Using a spatula, gently remove the eggs onto a towel. Once ready to handle, cut the eggs out from the stocking and allow them to completely dry. Remove and dispose of the leaves. To give the eggs a shine, pour a few drops of olive oil onto a paper towel and coat each egg. Use a new paper towel to remove any excess oil. Enjoy!
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