Why buy at the store when you can make food dye at home using natural, nutritious ingredients? (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

How to make natural food coloring at home

Try your hand at colorful food dyes without buying the expensive stuff.

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

I wouldn’t call myself an all-out health nut, but I do try to avoid certain ingredients with a well-deserved bad rap. Food coloring is definitely on that list. But as someone who bakes often, and loves making attractive, personalized desserts, I’ve had plenty of occasions where I wanted a bit of color for my food – and using chemicals just wasn’t going to cut it.

Natural food dyes are cost-prohibitive, so I gave the homemade versions a try. It was easier than I thought, and although the color is light, I’m happy to make some compromises for health. Taste testers agreed that the spinach, blueberry, turmeric and beet dyes barely changed the flavor.

For a bright, neon green color, I used fresh wheatgrass – but beware, the taste is strong with this natural – and very healthy – dye!

Food Coloring Recipe

Print
Prep20 mins
Yield2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 loose beets (cleaned and cooked, with their juices)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Instructions

  • Light green dye: Combine spinach and water in a frying pan. Heat on low-medium flame, and stir until spinach is wilted. Process in a small food processor, and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  • Pale purple dye: Combine berries and water in a tall cup. Use an immersion blender to fully process the berries. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  • Bright pink dye: Strain the juices after cooking beets, and reserve the thick, colored water to use as dye. It looks red, but usually ends up a bright pink when added to icing sugar. (Here are a few ideas for using up those beets!)
  • Yellow dye: Mix turmeric into boiling water and stir until combined.
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Topics in this recipe