You Don’t Actually Have to Hard-Boil Your Easter Eggs (Local News and Reviews)

I’ve spent the majority of the past 15 years creating budget-friendly DIY projects, pinnable entertaining ideas, and holiday-themed crafts that have been featured on your favorite magazine covers and morning shows. I quickly learned that practice makes perfect—since very few projects go smoothly or look camera-ready on the first try.

So even though most people grab a dozen eggs to dye at Easter, I’m used to filling my basket with 10 dozen or so—and that’s just on my first trip. When I’m testing different dye techniques or experimenting with color palettes, dyeing a dozen eggs goes really fast. Decorating so many eggs over the years has definitely taught me a trick or two, but this tip was born out of necessity and has become my favorite waste-reducing time-saver: You don’t actually need to hard-boil your Easter eggs.

Hyperventilating over blown-out eggs

When I opened my carton-packed fridge while working on my first Easter story, I knew I had to find an easier method than boiling 120 eggs before dyeing them. First, I tried blown-out eggs—a centuries-old technique used to preserve decorated eggs that gained an even larger audience as a hard-boiled alternative in the DIY world. But, as many pysanky-makers would agree, blowing out an egg is really hard! You have to pierce the shell on the top and make a small hole on the bottom using a safety pin, and then put your mouth on the top and literally blow the insides out of the bottom pinhole. There are a few hacks out there, but it’s impossible not to feel lightheaded or winded after a few strong puffs. And I don’t love the idea from a salmonella perspective, either.

Four cups of different colored dye, with a person's glove covered hand pulling an egg out of the blue dye.
Photo: Taryn Mohrman

Just dye them raw

The fact is, raw eggs take dye just as well as hard-boiled eggs do. So now I skip the cooking-and-cooling prep work and dip raw eggs into the dye bath instead. The raw eggs come out with the same beautiful colors but none of the unsightly cracks that are often a byproduct of boiling the eggs. This also frees me up to cook a range of dishes with the dyed eggs, instead of letting them go to waste. We’re not huge hard-boiled-egg fans in my house, but we’ll take frittata or French toast any day of the week.

This method helps me prevent food waste. Commercially produced raw eggs in the United States keep in the fridge for up to five weeks, whereas hard-boiled eggs will last only a week in the fridge. If your family likes hard-boiled eggs more than mine does, just boil and decorate the eggs you know they’ll eat.

When you’re dyeing, both boiled and raw shell eggs can be left on the counter for up to two hours in up to 90 degree Fahrenheit weather, according to the FDA (above that temp, the guideline is one hour). Best practice is to keep them cold—and all of the sources we consulted recommend storing commercially produced US eggs in the refrigerator. For the same food-safety reasons, your dye bath should be room temperature or cooler—you may want to refrigerate the bath before you start, depending on which egg-dyeing kit you use. Wirecutter’s top pick is the Dunk N’ Color: The No Mess Egg Coloring Kit.

Fun World Dunk And Color

Easy-to-dissolve tablets create a dye bath that gives eggs a rich, saturated color, and the wide oval cups make the whole process simpler.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $0.

But won’t raw eggs break?

Probably not. If kids can dye a hard-boiled egg without cracking it, they can dye a raw egg without cracking it. Take the same precautions you would if you were cooking together: Remind little ones that eggs can break under pressure or roll away on flat surfaces. Then show them how to hold an egg in the cup of their hand or use a piece of paper towel to steady it. My three young kids managed to dip-dye two-dozen raw eggs last year without so much as a fumble (though sibling relationships being what they are, some elbows were thrown over whose turn it was to check the dye bath). I honestly can’t remember any major egg mishaps in the six years we’ve been dyeing raw eggs as a family. But if an egg does accidentally drop and break, sprinkle a bit of salt on top to make it easier to wipe up, and then clean the surface with hot, soapy water. You might also want to give any visiting family and friends a heads-up that the eggs are not hard-boiled before they pick one up and attempt to peel.

A new way to display them

Rather than setting out the whole dyed eggs on my table or in an Easter basket (if you do this, remember to follow FDA guidelines for proper handling), I convert the empty shells into bright bud vases. When I’m ready to cook an egg dish, I use a method similar to the one used to make cascarones confetti eggs. I crack off the top third of the shells, pour the insides into a bowl, and then wash out the shells. You can even do the pouring part ahead: The raw egg mixture will be good in the refrigerator for two to four days.

I place the cleaned-out shells in an egg cup or a ceramic egg crate to keep them upright, and then I fill an empty shell halfway with water and add a fresh-cut flower. And if your centerpiece creation doesn’t go to plan, you can always break the washed, calcium-rich shells into small pieces and sprinkle them onto the soil of your potted Easter plants for a pop of compostable color. How’s that for eggs-tra credit?

This article was edited by Annemarie Conte and Marguerite Preston.

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