How To Make Natural Food Coloring At Home

 

Fruits and veggies have a beautiful natural hue so why not turn them into food coloring instead of using commercial products? Wellness makers prefer natural to commercial anyway so, if you’re one of us, you probably want to learn how to make natural food coloring at home. We have tips and some recipes to help you start making your own food coloring.

Tips For Making Natural Food Coloring At Home

Before we proceed, we have to mention that natural food coloring is not as intense as the commercial type. Nevertheless, the natural coloring has nice and unique tints that will add flair to your foods and treats.

To get the most intense color results possible, you have to start with a concentrated base. You can find tips for making a concentrated base, how to choose the right ingredients, and how to use natural food coloring in the following paragraphs.

Find The Right Ingredients For The Desired Color

To make natural food colorings you can use all kinds of ingredients – fruits, veggies, spices, and even tea. Here are our favorite natural food coloring ingredients:

Pink food coloring can be made with:

  • Strawberries;
  • Raspberries;

Red food coloring can be made with:

  • Beets;
Orange food coloring can be made with:
  • Carrots;
  • Sweet potato;
Yellow food coloring can be made with:
  • Saffron;

Green food coloring can be made with:

  • Matcha (in sweet treats);
  • Spinach (in savory goods).

Blue food coloring can be made using red cabbage with baking soda

Purple food coloring can be made with:

  • Blueberries;
  • Red cabbage;
  • Sweet potato.

Brown food coloring can be made with:

  • Coffee;
  • Tea;

Back food coloring can be made with:

  • Activated charcoal;
  • Dark cacao;
  • Squid ink.

Think About The Flavor

Despite being filled with so many chemicals, store-bought food colorings are not flavored. Natural food coloring has a subtle taste and flavor, as the color comes from natural ingredients. The more food coloring you add to a recipe, the more the food will taste like the ingredients used in the food coloring. This is great for cookies, cakes, and other baked goods since the fruity flavors make the treats even better. It can be a little trickier with certain food colorings, such as spinach and squid ink since they don’t go well with sweet treats. Nevertheless, you can use other food coloring ingredients to obtain the same color without making sweet treats not taste good. Just keep in mind that natural food coloring adds flavor to your food so you might have to adjust the recipe to make sure the flavors go well together.  

Liquid Vs Powder Ingredients

You can make natural food coloring in two different ways – using powder ingredients and using liquid ingredients. Both methods work great but, generally speaking, powders are more concentrated and they create more intense colors.

Powder Ingredients

Powder ingredients come with two options. You can buy fruits and veggies in powder form or make your own powder by pulverizing freeze-dried foods with a spice grinder or food processor.

Some natural food coloring requires ingredients that are already in powder form, such as spices, tea, coffee, and cocoa.

We highly recommend dissolving powders in a little bit of water before adding them to frosting or icing to prevent clumpy results. Alternatively, you can use milk, cocoa milk, or any other liquid ingredient. You can add powders directly in batters because the small powder quantity won’t affect the consistency.

Liquid Ingredients

To make food coloring with liquid ingredients, you have to make a very concentrated liquid first. You can do this by pureeing fruits and veggies, using a juicer or a blender, or by simmering or boiling veggies and fruits first and then blending them with water. Certain ingredients, mainly spices and herbs, require infusion too.

Since liquids can affect the consistency of batter, icing, and frosting, you have to reduce the liquid base. By doing this, you will also obtain more concentrated food coloring.

Heat And Its Role

Natural food coloring works great in cold applications. If you add natural food colorings to icing or frosting, you will have a nicely colored result. While the natural food colorings can be used in baked goods too, it is important to remember that heat can alter the color and make it browner or duller.

Natural Food Coloring Recipes

Below you can find our favorite natural food coloring recipes for pretty colors with healthy ingredients.

How Do You Make Pink Food Coloring At Home?

Method 1

You can use this coloring for icing, frosting, or batters.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of canned beets;
  • 1 teaspoon of beets juice.

Directions

Drain the canned beets without throwing away the juice.

Add the canned beets to a food processor or high-speed blender.

Add 1 teaspoon of juice.

Blend until smooth.

If desired, you can strain the coloring.

Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.

Method 2

Use this method to make colorful icing.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 teaspoons of strawberry powder*;
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water;
  • 1 cup of royal icing.

Directions

Dissolve the strawberry powder in water (1 teaspoon of powder for 1 tablespoon of water).

Prep royal icing as usual and add food coloring.

Use immediately.

*You can use raspberry powder if you prefer raspberry flavor to strawberry flavor.

How Do You Make Red Food Coloring At Home?

Use this quick and easy recipe to make red food coloring that is perfect for decorating Christmas or Valentine’s Day cookies and other treats.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 teaspoons of beet powder;
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water;
  • 1 cup of royal icing.

Directions

Dissolve the beet powder in water (1 teaspoon of powder for 1 tablespoon of water).

Prep royal icing as usual and add food coloring.

Use immediately.

How Do You Make Orange Food Coloring At Home?

Halloween and Easter treats are better with icing colored with natural orange coloring.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 teaspoons of carrot powder;
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water;
  • 1 cup of royal icing.

Directions

Dissolve the carrot powder in water (1 teaspoon of powder for 1 tablespoon of water).

Prep royal icing as usual and add food coloring.

Use immediately.

How Do You Make Yellow Food Coloring At Home?

Method 1

Perfect for batters, frosting, and icing, this natural food coloring is very easy to make. Please note that turmeric tends to rapidly stain whatever it touches so be careful when making this food coloring. Also, if you want to store it for later use, the coloring may stain the container.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of water;
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric.

Directions

Mix water and turmeric in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil.

Boil for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.

Method 2

Saffron also makes great yellow food coloring. So if you prefer saffron to turmeric, try this recipe instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of water;
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads.

Directions

Mix water and saffron in a saucepan.

Bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat.

Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes.

Strain and then bring back to heat.

Boil until reduced to 3-4 tablespoons.

Remove from heat and transfer to a container to cool completely.

To use in royal icing, add ½-1 teaspoon per cup of royal icing. For other recipes, use as needed. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

How Do You Make Green Food Coloring At Home?

Method 1

For green sweet treats, matcha is a great option for making a delightful green icing.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder;
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water;
  • 1 cup of royal icing.

Directions

Dissolve the matcha powder in water (1 teaspoon of powder for 1 tablespoon of water).

Prep royal icing as usual and add food coloring.

Use immediately.

Method 2

For savory treats, pasta, savory bread, or tortillas, you can use spinach to make green food coloring.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh spinach;
  • Water as needed.

Directions

Add the spinach to a saucepan.

Cover with water.

Boil for about 5 minutes.

Drain and discard the liquid.

Transfer the spinach to a food processor or high-speed blender.

Add 3 tablespoons of water.

Blend until smooth.

Add more water if the mixture is not perfectly smooth and blend again.

Let cool.

Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.

How do you make blue food coloring at home?

Blue is not the easiest color to make at home. However, you can obtain a nice shade of blue using the recipe below. You can use this blue food coloring in icing, batters, or frosting. It works best when mixed in royal icing.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of shredded red cabbage;
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • A pinch of baking soda.

Directions

In a small pot, add the shredded cabbage and water.

Bring to a simmer on medium heat.

Remove from heat.

Let steep for 15 minutes.

Strain and return to heat.

Boil until reduced to 3-4 tablespoons.

Add a pinch of baking soda. The baking soda should change the color of the mixture from purple to blue.

Remove from heat and transfer to a container to cool completely.

To use in royal icing, add ½-1 teaspoon per cup of royal icing. For other recipes, use as needed. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

How Do You Make Purple Food Coloring At Home?

For purple, you can either use the recipe above and skip the baking soda or use the one below if you prefer blueberry flavor. Use in icing, frosting, and batters as needed.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of blueberries;
  • ¼ cups of water.

Directions

Add water and blueberries in a saucepan.

Bring to a simmer on medium heat.

Simmer until the blueberries begin to break down.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or high-speed blender.

Mix until smooth.

Strain with a fine mesh sieve.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.