Can You Eat Dyed Eggs?

Easter is one of the year's most cheerful holidays, and celebrating the holiday with an Easter egg hunt is one of the true joys of springtime. But if you're hunting for hard-boiled eggs that have been dyed instead of plastic eggs full of the best Easter candies, one question has surely crossed your mind: Can you eat dyed eggs after the hunt is done?

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The short answer is yes, you can eat hard-boiled eggs that have been dyed. The longer answer is that it's complicated.

As long as you use food-safe dyes or food coloring in your decorating, the coloring itself will pose no health risks. If you are treating your dyed eggs just like normal hard-boiled eggs, putting them in the fridge after dyeing and then using them for egg salad, you're good to go. Hard-boiled eggs stay fresh in the shell for about a week in the fridge, so make sure you eat them within that time frame. You might as well add some deviled eggs to your Easter spread along with ham, lamb and other seasonal favorites.

But if you are hiding and hunting for those dyed Easter eggs and don't want to come down with a case of food poisoning, some basic precautions should be put in place.

First, make sure that you wash your hands before dying your eggs. The Egg Safety Center recommends refrigerating your hard-boiled eggs if you don't plan on dyeing them right away, and discarding any eggs that develop cracks before, during or after the hunt. You should also make sure to discard any eggs that have been left unrefrigerated for more than two hours.

Because eggs that have been boiled are more porous than ones that aren't, it's easier for bacteria to enter. So if the eggs have spent any time outside on the ground, it's recommended that you throw them away as well.

In short, there's nothing inherently dangerous about eating dyed Easter eggs, as long as you use an edible dye and treat them as you would any other hard-boiled egg you intend to eat. Before dropping those eggs into the pot, though, be sure to read up on the best (and worst) ways to cook and peel hard-boiled eggs.