How To Choose The Right Food Coloring?


Have you ever used food coloring? A lot of people are unaware of the different types of food dyes. So, they avoid using any or use a wrong one. However, it is very easy and quite simple to choose food coloring for a particular dish. 

Imagine you have no food dyes. There is no way desserts like candies, rainbow cakes, macarons and glazed gingerbread can even exist. Not only the food industry, but many people also use additives to color foods in their kitchens.                

A food coloring is a pigment, dye or any other substance added in a dish to give the dish a particular color/colors. For example, FD&C RED 40 is a concentrated Dye powder used for giving red color to a dish. 

Are these food colorings safe? 

If the FDA has approved the use of a food coloring, you can use that dye in your dish. The FDA has certified FD&C RED 40 for use in foods. So, it is safe. If you are buying any food coloring online, it is your job to check if it is FDA certified or not. Let’s see what are the different types of food coloring you can use in your kitchen. 

But before that, why do we use food coloring? 

We often tend to relate certain colors with certain flavors. From candies to wine and from dips to soups, the perceived flavor of the food can be influenced by its color. People often add food coloring to improve the natural color of a dish. For example, you are making pistachio frosting. However, it is not green enough. This is where you add some food coloring.         

Adding FD&C RED 40 or any other FDA approved food coloring can make your dish look more appealing, attractive and appetizing.  

Food coloring also allows you to make personalized baked goods by adding a dye in dough, batter or buttercream. Not all food dyes are easily available in the market.

Different types of food coloring 

Liquid Dye 

These are traditional synthetic food colorings with a water base. Liquid dyes are available in little squeeze bottles. These bottles are usually made of plastic. You can easily purchase from a grocery store. You can easily add drops of dye into icings or batters. This food coloring is less intense. You can keep on adding drops to reach the desired tone. Liquid dyes are often used to tint batters, icings and dough. You can dye easter eggs by mixing with vinegar. These food colorings are inexpensive and easy-to-find. Liquid dyes are suitable for lighter, pastel coloring. However, you need to add more dye to achieve the desired brighter or deeper color.             

Gel Paste Dye 

This dye comes in the form of concentrated gel or icing color. A gel paste dye contains water, glycerin and/or corn syrup base. So, it is a concentrated and thick version of liquid color. This gel comes in little jars or pots. As it is very concentrated, you need to add only a small amount. You can use a dye of this type in cakes such as rainbow cake or velvet cake. It can produce dark and saturated colors. However, you have to be careful while adding this type of food coloring. 

Powder Dye 

There are some food dyes such as FD&C RED 40 that come in the form of powder. Powder food dyes are different from liquid and gel paste food colorings. If you are using liquid dyes, you may not need to dissolve. However, you have to dissolve a powder dye to add color to a dish.     

When you are buying any food coloring, make sure that it is certified. And, also read and follow the instruction for storing and using the dye.  

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