Using food color

Humanity has been using coloring for many, many years. What is food coloring? Food coloring is a food additive, which when added to pastries, it will enhance or alter the natural colors of the item.

Food coloring that is water soluble can be used in pastries which contain liquids or in pastry recipes which can handle some additional drops of liquid without affecting the wet to dry ingredient ratios.

cake using colored fondant

When to use coloring in pastry

Coloring is used extensively on cakes that are covered with fondant. All decorations done in fondant, like the image above, require fondant to be mixed with a bit of desired color (preferable gel colors NOT liquid color drops). If you do NOT want to change the consistency of the fondant, you should use gel colors.

You can use food coloring to pie and tart doughs, cupcakes, pastillage, royal icing, but not in buttercream.

How to color fondant

Fondant can be colored by simply adding very little food coloring into the fondant and then simply knead the fondant until an even color results all throughout. For fondant one should use gel colors not liquid drops, so that the consistency of the fondant remains the same. Also, a good idea would be to use gloves when coloring fondant.

Color blending chart

Gently squeeze or tap on bottle to obtain drop by drop, the desired color.

Color blending chart
Desired colorRedYellowGreenBlue

Use this chart to color Fondant to desired color.





Coloring eggs


  • 1 tsp (5ml) vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
  • 20 drops of color

Adjust quantity for coloring more eggs

Food Color - Its Purpose and Health Implications when used in food

Food coloration is used to spruce up dishes and make them more attractive to the eye. Many chefs like to use food colors to give their dishes rather snazzy looks. However, there are a number of other cooks who do not use any coloration due to the controversies and the different health implications that food color may have.

At the end of the day, it is all about personal preferences and choices. Food color can make your dishes very attractive. The reason why color is needed in the first place is that the temperature changes, moisture variances and other processes food undergoes while it cooks causes it to lose its original pigmentation. A lot of the original food color value gets lost in the oil and water that it cooks in.

An easy substitute, therefore, is artificial coloration. Today, there are new food colors that are made from organic sources so that they adhere to the aesthetic needs of the chef as well as keep the safety and health feature in mind. These have become increasingly popular, and are a good alternative to other food colors.

Criticism for food colors and the health issues they could create

Recent studies have shown that there may be a relation to the preservatives stored in artificial food colors that could aggravate the extent to which a person is susceptible to ADHD or ADD. While other studies in the area of health and food color have never arrived at a solid conclusion, the attention deficiency study has managed to cause necessary aversion among people to the substance.

Organic colors are a far safer alternative to achieving nearly the same result. The studies went on to show that it was not just people who already suffered from the condition that were susceptible, but the general population also faced increased risk of developing the disorder.

Organic food dyes available

Natural food colors are now being produced for commercial purposes. Consumers are becoming increasingly informed and health conscious. There are various food colors that are safe. For example, the caramel coloring is made out of caramelized sugar itself. Another great dye you could look out for is the butterfly pea. This gives you a blue color which is much desired by a number of cooks. If you are looking for red, you could try saffron. It gives a reddish-orange tinge to the dish. There are various natural dyes to choose from.


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