Food coloring: powder, liquid or gel?

Food coloring: powder, liquid or gel?

Food colors: types

Food colors which to choose? Whether you need to make a red sugar paste, a yellow glaze, a royal blue icing or a green dough, you need to use food coloring!

Yes, but ... which are the best? How to choose from those on the market? Are there any natural dyes you already have at home? How to choose the right colorant from the shelf for the preparation you need?

Let's order! You can find different types of dye:
  • food coloring powder
  • gel food coloring
  • liquid food coloring
  • food coloring paste
Let's see together what are the differences and peculiarities of each type of dye.

Food coloring powder
The food coloring powders are used to color the doughs of desserts, ice cream, frosting cream, various creams. In general, the manufacturer specifies the most appropriate use. The food coloring powders should be used paying attention to the powder / liquid balance of the recipe.

There are both chemical dyes and natural food dyes.

Among the 100% natural dyes there are those of Molini Spigadoro, made from natural ingredients such as spirulina, pumpkin, carrot, cherry, beetroot, apple ... The color obtained is more similar to pastel color.

In general, powdered dyes are not very suitable for sugar paste and modeling pastes. Natural ones, however, have a greater ability to mix and not to form many small dots of dye.

Chemical or natural, powdered dyes can be used diluted in water or egg white to decorate dry sugar paste or other surfaces for which it is necessary to use a food coloring.

Gel food coloring

Gel food colors give bright, intense colors, are easy to use and a few drops are enough! They are especially suitable for decorations in sugar paste and for modeling pastes, thanks to the beautiful colors !!

Liquid food coloring

Suitable for modeling pastes, to use them you must always consider the balance of the starting ingredients, in the powder / liquid ratio.

I put between 10 and 50 g less liquid in the recipe and replace it with 1-50 g of liquid dye. Example: on 4 scoops of flour and 2 of salt, use 1/2 scoop of liquid dye (50 g). I prefer to do so rather than recover a busted consistency afterwards ;-)

If you want to use liquid food coloring for royal icing or sugar paste, it is better to proceed drop by drop.

Paste dyes

They are the easiest ones to add to the doughs, because they do not alter their balance. A very small quantity is taken and mixed with the rest until the desired color intensity is reached.

They are professional dyes and cost a lot. They are not easily found on the market, except in specialized stores or on Amazon :-)

Natural dyes

To color the dough or other preparations you can also use the ingredients we have at home. Here's how you can get it:
  • yellow color: saffron
  • orange color: turmeric
  • pink color: beetroot juice, red cabbage + lemon juice
  • green color: spinach or chard (use cooking water), mint syrup, spirulina
  • red color: tomato (I use the concentrate), red cabbage
  • blue color: red cabbage + sodium bicarbonate (blend the red cabbage, filter the juice and add a pinch of bicarbonate, until it turns blue)
  • brown color: instant coffee or cocoa powder, cinnamon

To sum up

Food colors which to choose? Here is a diagram:
  • doughs, sugar paste: gel dyes, liquid dyes
  • creams, royal icing, icing: powder dyes, gel dyes

Which dyes do you prefer to use? Do you have any other suggestions? Write it in the comments below ;-)

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