No matter how much you enjoy dyeing Easter eggs, you may be thinking twice before you head to the dairy aisle for a few extra cartons this spring. The price of fresh eggs has more than doubled since last year, which means you likely want to make every effort to avoid food waste (deviled eggs for everyone, or you can just dye them raw like I do).
Why we love ceramic eggs
Before you shell out for fresh eggs in the name of tradition, know this: There’s another way to dye eggs for your Easter table and baskets that’s just as much fun and even more special. During my decade-long career as a lifestyle magazine editor, I created hundreds of Easter eggs for photo and video shoots, and not a year went by that I didn’t use ceramic eggs. Unlike wooden craft eggs, ceramic eggs look just like fresh ones on camera and in person, except you don’t have to worry about them breaking or spoiling, which makes them easier to decorate, display, and keep. That’s a huge plus for kids who would rather show off their egg-cellent work than (gulp) eat it or keep it in the fridge. (Remember, hard-boiled eggs can only be left on the table for 2 hours, or less than 1 hour when temperatures are above 90 °F.)
Though ceramic eggs are a solid choice for nearly any hand-decorating technique (think painted, decoupaged, embellished, and more), they’re also great for classic egg dyeing. If a ceramic egg rolls off the countertop, drops too fast into the dye bath, or clashes with a metal spoon, it’s unlikely to crack or break. Plus, the ceramic finish absorbs dye quickly and doesn’t bubble or scratch like fresh egg shells can.
Eggcetera Ceramic Nest Eggs
These bright white eggs take dye well and dry quickly. Pastel versions are available if you don’t want to get crafty.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $24.
I first purchased white ceramic chicken eggs from CeramicEggs.com about a decade ago because they were one of the few companies that sold online, but I continued to use them for years because the eggs were high quality and so was the customer service. Now larger retailers like Amazon and Oriental Trading carry ceramic eggs too, which can save you time and money on shipping.
I recently tested Eggcetera Ceramic Nest Eggs and found them to be just as reliable and durable as the others I’ve used in the past. And while comparable in price, they’re sold in more size options, which I consider a plus. (Both CeramicEggs.com and Eggcetera offer pastel eggs if you want to skip dyeing all together.)
Fun World Dunk And Color
This kit’s easy-to-dissolve tablets create a dye bath that gives eggs a rich, saturated color, and the wide oval cups make the whole process simple.
How to dye white ceramic eggs
- Start with bright white ceramic eggs. We like Eggcetera Ceramic Nest Eggs. Wash them thoroughly with dish soap and water to remove any dust, which prevents the dye from best adhering to the surface.
- Prepare your dye baths. You can use an egg-dyeing kit (Wirecutter’s pick is Fun World’s Dunk And Color), which produce light pastel shades on ceramic eggs. Leaving ceramic eggs in a dye bath longer doesn’t necessarily achieve bolder colors because they’re not as porous as fresh eggs. So if you want bolder color, use our go-to food coloring technique with a heavy dose of food dye. To check your color, try dipping the corner of a paper towel into the dye bath; add more dye as needed.
- Remove and let dry. This is the same step you would take with fresh eggs—remember to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands. We like to place dyed eggs on cooling racks over a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and give them an occasional roll so they dry with fewer drips. Once they’re dry, they’re ready to display.
- Protect your ceramic eggs in the off season. Store them in an ornament storage box or place the eggs back in the cartons they came in, then stack them inside a bin or box. Ceramic eggs don’t typically need padding, but if they’ve been embellished or you’re worried about scratches and nicks in storage, wrap each in a half a sheet of tissue paper for safekeeping.
Display them for years to come
Since they don’t expire, ceramic eggs can be dyed and displayed at the first sign of spring, adding color to your Easter baskets and bowls for the length of the season. Then on Easter, they’re safer to use in egg hunts compared with dyed, hard-boiled eggs, which can be contaminated by bacteria when left on the ground or unclean surfaces.
Ceramic eggs can also become a family keepsake. I love displaying our favorite ceramic eggs from over the years because we get to look back at what we made together, and those memories are a way better treat than anything the Easter Bunny could ever bring us.
This article was edited by Catherine Kast and Annemarie Conte.