How to Create Black Food Color: 7 Steps

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How to Create Black Food Color: 7 Steps
How to Create Black Food Color: 7 Steps

You can find black food coloring in confectionery stores, but it's not as common as other colors. Make your own coloring by mixing in other colors or explore natural ingredients to color toppings, sweets or savory dishes.


Method 1 of 2: Mixing Food Colors

Make Black Food Coloring Step 1

Step 1. Buy red, blue and green dyes

It is possible to mix such colors to make dark gray, which is the best you can do without buying a black food coloring.

If icing or other icing, use a gel or paste dye. Liquid dyes are less intense and can leave the coating dripping

Make Black Food Coloring Step 2

Step 2. Add cocoa powder (only for white toppings)

The end result is always better when you start from a recipe that is already dark in color. If you're using a white frosting, you can fix this by adding cocoa powder, one scoop at a time.

  • Black cocoa powder gives the best result, but common will also work with this method.
  • If you skip this Step you will have to use a lot of coloring, which can affect the taste and texture.
Make Black Food Coloring Step 3

Step 3. Put equal amounts of red, blue and green in the recipe

Start with just a few likes of each color and mix well. Repeat until the mixture darkens and reaches a shade of black, always adding equal amounts of each color.

It is possible to use yellow instead of green, but as it is lighter, achieving black becomes more difficult

Make Black Food Coloring Step 4

Step 4. Adjust the color

If you see streaks of other colors in the gray, make the following adjustments:

  • If it's greenish, add more red.
  • If it's purple, put more green.
  • Add one drop of color at a time, mixing well afterwards.
Make Black Food Coloring Step 5

Step 5. Wait to see the final coloration

Most food colors will darken in buttercream and fade a little in royal icing or boiled toppings. If icing or other boiled topping, consider adding coloring 30 minutes before serving to lessen fading.

  • In some countries, the chemical components present in water can change the color. Butter cream usually has a more reliable color when made with milk.
  • Keep the cover or putty away from direct light and heat, which can cause it to fade.

Method 2 of 2: Using Natural Ingredients

Make Black Food Coloring Step 6

Step 1. Mix black cocoa powder into cake batter

This special type of cocoa powder, marked as “black” or “ultra-processed”, has a darker color and milder flavor than regular cocoa. This will make the cake black and with a very delicate chocolate flavor. When replacing it with regular cocoa powder, make the following changes.

  • Add a little more fat (butter or oil).
  • Use a scoop (5ml) of yeast instead of ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml).
Make Black Food Coloring Step 7

Step 2. Put squid ink on savory dishes

It has a salty taste, so it is not suitable for sweets or desserts. It is commonly used to color pasta, rice or savory sauces. For a more intense color, mix it in fresh homemade pasta (in place of salt and part of the liquid ingredients). For a faster but less consistent recipe, put the ink in the water while the pasta or rice is cooking. Add the paint to the sauce as well for a more intense look.

  • Some fishmongers sell the product, but you may have to go to several to find it.
  • Put the squid ink in small amounts. It is very salty and can taste like iodine.


  • Specialty confectionery stores may have black food coloring for sale.
  • Black walnut shells can be boiled to make a brown or black paint to decorate egg shells. Eating such paint can be harmful, so do not use it as a food coloring. The broth can stain skin, clothing, and anything else it touches.


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