Plus, this method is practically mess-free.

By Betsy Cribb
Updated March 12, 2020
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It’s the most versatile of Southern starches: Throw it in a pot with chicken broth and sausage, and you’ve got a South Carolina chicken bog; stir in black-eyed peas and ham hock, and voila! Hoppin’ John. Rice is the vehicle on which many of our favorite regional dishes depend. But we recently discovered its plays-nicely-with-others personality extends well beyond the stock pot, thanks to the crafty mom behind Views from a Step Stool. With a little food coloring and a plastic bag, rice also becomes the easiest (and tidiest!) way to decorate your Easter eggs for a pretty, speckled look.

Here’s how to decorate Easter eggs using dry rice:

First, pour one cup of uncooked rice into a zip-top sandwich bag. Then, add 7-10 drops of food coloring dye. Zip the sandwich bag closed, then shake the bag to incorporate the rice and dye. (You may have to massage the rice through the bag to fully incorporate it with the dye.) Once the grains are dyed, place the hard-boiled egg into the bag with the rice. Zip the bag closed, then, holding the top of the bag with your fingers, shake it so that the dyed grains of rice pepper the egg. (Holding the egg through the bag may cause smearing.) When you take the egg out of the bag, it will have a pretty, lightly speckled appearance. Repeat the process with as many colors of dye and eggs as you’d like. We thought they looked like Whoppers’ Robin Eggs candy!

Why we love this easy Easter egg decorating hack:

It’s easy, quick, and requires very little clean-up (i.e., the kids won’t get dye all over their hands, then wipe said messy hands on the counter/walls/clothes). Plus, you likely already have all the ingredients on hand.

Long story short, here’s what you need:

  • Rice
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Food coloring dye
  • Zip-top sandwich bags

Two helpful notes to keep in mind:

  • Adding too much food coloring dye to the rice may cause smearing. Be sure to dry the hard-boiled egg before placing it in the bag too; wet eggs will smear, and you won’t achieve the desired speckled look.
  • While you can speckle a plain, white egg for a more subtle finish (blue dye is particularly pretty), our favorite speckled eggs were the ones we’d dyed in another color before speckling them—and inspired the Robin Eggs candy comparison.