While food coloring might not top your weekly grocery list, it’s definitely a staple every mom should have in the house at all times. Maybe you have a special birthday coming up that calls for colorfully frosted desserts or want to try your hand at a new DIY project you spotted online. Whether you’re a natural cook in the kitchen, or have a passion for arts and crafts, food coloring can enhance your baking game and bring a little vibrancy to your homemade candles, bath bombs and more.
But before you click that “buy” button, be realistic about how often you’ll actually use food coloring before splurging on the box that features a bottle for every color of the rainbow. You know better than anyone that buying in bulk isn’t always the answer — more often than not, the extra inventory just takes up space.
Finally, as cool as it is to watch your buttercream frosting turn colors, you might not be so keen on the ingredients list for some of the options out there. Luckily, there are natural food coloring options that source their hues from plants, veggies and seeds. Decide what would work best for your kitchen and browse some of the best food coloring kits below.
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1. AmeriColor Food Coloring Student Kit
The set is comprised of 12 dyes and includes your standard staples, such as blue, red, yellow and green, as well as a handful of noteworthy hues like super black, chocolate brown and teal that are typically harder to find. Though each bottle only holds .75 ounces of dye, only a few tiny droplets will produce the rich, vivid pigmentation you desire. Therefore, when used sparingly, the collection should last a while. What’s more, this food coloring gel has a reputation for its high quality: the colors don’t separate or break down, and work especially well with delicate whipped icings and goods you’ll likely toss in the freezer to enjoy at a later date.
2. Good Cooking Liqua-Gel Food Coloring
Whether you’re a food decorator extraordinaire or dabble in the occasional DIY project, this kit should be a staple in your pantry. The set includes 12 pigments that range from black to purple, and unlike most food coloring bottles that appear one way on the internet and look completely different in person, what you see here is what you actually get. Mixing and matching is made easy with a pop-top cap and unique droplet design that’s meant to make the measuring process more precise and less messy. That way, you’ll know how much you’ve used and can jot down your exact measurements for next time. The colors stay intact whether you drip a few drops into icing or homemade bath bombs, and all colors included are gluten-free.
3. Wilton Icing Colors
For moms who aren’t constantly whipping up colorful pastries in the kitchen but who’d still like a collection of food coloring pigments to use on special occasions, this set of icing colors is the perfect option. The set includes 12 gel-based colors, including Kelly Green, Red, Lemon Yellow and Copper. Each jar holds .5 ounces of coloring, so they’re smaller than other options out there. Jarred pigments don’t come with pop-up tops or droplet designs, so the application process is a bit more hands-on but still relatively simple. All you have to do is dip a toothpick into the coloring and then transfer it into your icing; repeat for a richer color payoff. The colors won’t separate or break apart, and work well with toppings such as buttercream, royal frosting and meringue.
4. McCormick Nature’s Inspiration Food Coloring
Love the idea of adding color to your delicious creations, but loathe the chemically processed ingredients that are often used to achieve them? Switch to this natural option. This set includes three colors — Sky Blue, Berry and Sunflower — that are derived from all-natural sources such as plants, vegetables, seeds and zero artificial dyes. Unlike most food colors that come in gel or liquid form, this natural alternative comes in the form of powders you can mix into icings, milk shakes, and other no-bake recipes and DIY projects such as homemade play-doh for kids.