Perfection Is My Enemy

A Chrisitan mom & crafter shares what's worked for her.

All Natural Red Food Dye August 6, 2012

Filed under: All Natural,Birthday Parties! — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 11:28 am
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What do you do when your son is allergic to red food dye and red is his favorite color? Well, you spend a couple of weeks trying to make natureal food coloring out of various fruits and veggies. Here’s what finally worked for me.




Start with one can of beets (sliced or cubed).

Put in a sauce pan (you may need to add a little water, just enough to submerge the beets) and heat on medium heat for 20 minutes or so.

Don’t let it boil. The goal here is just to get the beets nice and soft.

Remove from heat and use a potato masher or fork and mash up the beets.

Put them back back on the heat for another 10 or 20 minutes. Again, don’t let them boil.

Remove from heat and strain (I used cheese cloth).

Toss the beets and put the liquid back in the sauce pan.

Turn heat up to a boil. Boil down until you get a thin syrup (I ended up with about 2 tablespoons of liquid).

DO NOT take your eyes off the pan.

Stir constantly or swirl liquid in the pan. It will cook down very quickly once it starts boiling and if you take your eyes off it, it will burn to your pan quickly.

I put mine in the fridge overnight, but you really just need to let it cool down to at least room temp before using.

Just add to any frosting to make the bright red color (use less if you want a bright pink color).

I used a marshmallow fondant. Looked and tasted great. You can’t taste the beets at all.


Good luck, and happy natural food dying.


23 Responses to “All Natural Red Food Dye”

  1. Autism Types Says:

    Really comes out that red?
    Would be awesome!
    What about the flavor, don’t want a cake that tastes like beet juice?

  2. Yes, it really does come out the red. And no, it doesn’t taste like beets at all. I feed it to the kids and when they are done I ask them, “Did you guys all like the cupcakes?” I hear cheers and YES! Then I say, “You just ate your vegetables today!” And the kids all yell, “NO WAY!” and “We don’t beleive you!”

  3. stacey Says:

    Did you buy the marshmallow fondant or make it? Thank you so much for expertise!

  4. Susa Says:

    Great recipe! I tried it and used the color to dye cookie glaze in different shades of pink and red.

  5. Jacquie Says:

    Hi,wondering if fresh beets would do the same thing? I stay away from canned food because of the BPA in the can!

  6. KC Says:

    Actually turns out a deep red. But add the frosting to the dye and mix a little at a time so it doesn’t come out too diluted of color. Has a slight taste compared to without the dye, but I don’t think it tastes “beety”. Thanks!

  7. darlene Says:

    Does it stain or wash out easy?

  8. Stacie Says:

    Did you drain the canned beets then add water to cover, or did you use the entire contents of the can and then add additional water? Lastly, most canned beets are salted; did you use an unsalted canned variety? Thank you!

  9. zulma Says:

    how about juicing fresh beets

  10. Tiffany Says:

    Are the canned beets pickeled? I’ve see jars of pickeled beets am I looking at the wrong thing? Trying to make a lady bug. I hope it turns out.

  11. Amy Says:

    Pretty bummed. I boiled two cans down to syrup (following instructions here) and the best I could get was pink. A little bummed I couldn’t get the bright red talked about here for a Mickey cake.. Back to the drawing board…

  12. Rachael Says:

    Can you use this to dye buttercream?

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