a cupcake sits on a black plate next to a fork with a silver foil cupcake liner topped with jet black icing made from homemade black food coloring mix.

How to Make Pitch Black Food Coloring with Red, Green, and Blue Dye

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Making black food coloring is a simple process that can be completed in a few minutes at home with store-bought liquid food dye. If it’s not Halloween and you can’t find pre-made black food dye in stores, you’ll need to mix some colors and make it on your own. This recipe uses the perfect amount of natural green, red, and blue food coloring and will work for frosting, candy, cakes, cookies, and anything else you need to take on a midnight black hue. All you need to do is follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to mix liquid food coloring together for the perfect pitch-black shade of black.

What Colors Do You Mix To Make Black?

watkins food coloring How to Make Pitch Black Food Coloring with Red, Green, and Blue Dye Baking & Sweets how to make black food coloring

To make black food coloring, you will need green, red, and blue liquid or gel food coloring. This recipe uses Watkins natural liquid food coloring. You can get a box of four for around $7 on Amazon. You can use any brand of food coloring that you prefer. If you have some that you purchased from a local store, those will work too.

Can you use gel food coloring to make black?

You can use gel food coloring to make black, but it’s not the easiest way. You will need to make sure that the gels blend together completely to avoid patchy colorwork. Although, when you use gel food coloring, it usually requires less dye to achieve a deep black and therefore may save the taste of whatever you’re adding it to. You can get gel food dye pretty much anywhere; if you’re looking for a natural, chemical-free option, it is harder to find. Chefmaster offers natural, plant-based gel food coloring as an option.

If you choose to use gel food coloring to make your black dye, it is recommended to premix in a separate bowl to ensure all the colors are blended well before adding to food. Liquid food dyes are best for making pitch-black foods like fondant, gum paste, buttercream frosting, and more.

How to Make Black Food Coloring

mixing black food coloring How to Make Pitch Black Food Coloring with Red, Green, and Blue Dye Baking & Sweets how to make black food coloring

Making black food coloring is really easy for the most part. In fact, it is the easiest of all food dyes to make, and there’s really no wrong way to do it. You don’t have to worry too much about adding too much of the wrong color. If you get in an extra drop of red, you haven’t ruined the whole batch. While Halloween may be the most popular time to dye food black, you may find that you need to create and over the hill cake or add outlines to your royal icing cookies, so it’s always a good idea to keep this recipe handy.

Ingrediants & Equipement You’ll Need to Make Black Food Coloring

All you need to make black food coloring is a bowl, spoon, and your red, green, and blue food dye.

How to Mix black food coloring

Blue, Red & Green Ratios For Black:

  • 3 parts blue food dye
  • 2.5 parts red food dye
  • 1 part green food dye

Preparation

  1. Add blue, red, and green food dye to a small bowl and mix together to achieve desired black color. If one color is more prominent, balance it out with another color. For example, if there is too much green, add more red.
  2. Add the food dye to whatever food you want to color (ie: frosting, cakes, etc). If it looks too grey, add more of the dye mixture until desired color is achieved.
mixing black food coloring 1 How to Make Pitch Black Food Coloring with Red, Green, and Blue Dye Baking & Sweets how to make black food coloring

Making Black Food Coloring FAQS

Does black icing taste bad?

If you use too much food coloring, your frosting or food may end up with a bitter taste. This is because the liquid and gel dye can alter the flavor. The bitter taste is most evident with the liquid food coloring.

If you want to ensure that your icing or frosting tastes good, consider adding less than 1/8 teaspoon of black food color at a time until desired shade is achieved, then mix well before adding more food coloring.

To avoid an unpleasant aftertaste, mask sure you use only a small amount of black food coloring. To make your frosting an even darker shade of black without adding more dye, you can add cocoa powder to your frosting or icing for some extra flavor. You may also want to consider using natural food coloring.

Why does my black icing look purple?

Sometimes black icing will look purple rather than black. This is because the properties of food coloring change with temperature changes which can alter how dark or light the color becomes in your icing! To fix this, you’ll need to mix in more green liquid dye until it reaches a pitch-black darkness.

What is the Best Way to Color Black Icing?

The best way to color black icing is to use a food coloring that will produce a true black. There are three kinds of food coloring liquid, gel, and powder. Liquid food coloring can be used for frosting or other decorations on cakes in the kitchen. Gel is an option as well and is easily accessible. Powder food dye is not recommended as it is the most difficult to get an even color if you are not using a black powder.

Where can I buy black food coloring?

During specialty seasons, like Halloween, it is easy to find in the baking aisle of most large supermarkets or grocery stores.

If it’s “Off-season,” you may need to order it online at Amazon, Walmart, or other big-box retailers like Target if you don’t feel up to mixing it yourself.

What is the best store-bought black food coloring?

The best store-bought food coloring is Watkins. Watkins is a safe, chemical-free food coloring and can be found in many stores. You can see if you can get it locally here. Or you can get it off Amazon and if you’re a Prime member get it in two days. You can try the store brand if you’d like but keep in mind that not all food dyes are created equal.

Making and mixing black food coloring from food dye is easy, getting the taste right after is the hard part.

Making black food coloring is simple and easy. You can create your own from a package of red, green, and blue liquid food dye (or gel food dye). Just mix together the correct ratios to get that perfect shade of black! Just be careful not to overdo it or you will end up with inedible food, especially frosting. What are some recipes that call for black food coloring? Let us know and we may even share them!

Black food colored icing/frosting in a clear glass bowl that was made at home by mixing red, green and blue liquid food dye.

Black Food Coloring

Make black food coloring at home with three simple colors red, blue and green!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Drops Blue Food Coloring
  • Drops Red Food Coloring
  • 1 Drop Green Food Coloring

Instructions
 

  • Add blue, red, and green food dye to a small bowl and mix together to achieve desired black color.
    how to make black food coloring is being demonstrated by red food coloring is being dropped into a glass bowl in preparation of making black food dye.
  • Add the food dye to whatever food you want to color (ie: frosting, cakes, etc).
    a cupcake sits on a black plate next to a fork with a silver foil cupcake liner topped with jet black icing made from homemade black food coloring mix.
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