How to Dye Frosting & Glaze with Food Coloring

Add a little color to your frosting—and your day—with this easy frosting guide. We’ll cover choosing a type of food coloring, blending your custom color, and troubleshooting any problems. Before you know it, you’ll have the confidence and know-how to make a whole rainbow of icing colors for decorating your cookies.

There are two main options for dyeing frostings and glazes: liquid or gel food coloring. Each has its own advantages and challenges. For instance, liquid food coloring is cheaper and more readily available, but since it comes in limited colors and is dispensed in drops, it’s much more difficult to use a consistent amount. One squeeze too many and a pale rose color turns into vampire red!

Gel coloring, on the other hand, is more expensive but infinitely more versatile. Its thick consistency makes custom-blending colors easy, plus it never thins out a glaze by adding extra liquid to a recipe. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, try big-box craft stores or look online. There are dozens of color options available!

Once you’ve picked your type of food dye, adding color to icing is easy. First, mix up a batch of powdered sugar glaze or royal icing. Scoop plain frostings into color-proof glass or metal bowls, using as many containers as colors you’ll mix. We like to reserve a little extra plain frosting just in case the icing color gets too dark.

If you’re using liquid food coloring, add one drop at a time to your plain frosting. Stir and continue adding coloring drop by drop, mixing after each addition, until you reach your desired hue. If you accidentally add too much, stir in some of the reserved plain frosting and continue on. Problem solved!

If you’re using gel food coloring, grab a stack of toothpicks. Dip one in your coloring of choice and, using the back of a knife, scrape into the plain frosting. Mix well and add any additional necessary gel with a clean toothpick. Since both kinds of food coloring are shelf-stable, simply store leftover frosting according to recipe directions.

Feel free to experiment with different color ratios, icing types, and more. And if you discover a particularly beautiful shade, please share it with us via Facebook or Instagram (@cookiecutterkingdom). Good luck, and happy mixing!

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