Gel Food Coloring: Our Tested Best 5 Picks (2023)

Food coloring is great for enhancing the appearance of your baked goods and making them look more attractive. By adding food coloring to your foods, you can make them look much more appealing.

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Adding candy color or food color to buttercream frosting or icing was always a hit when my children were young. The gel food color or synthetic coloring particularly around Easter got the little ones very excited with all the bright colors.

You can actually get food coloring in many forms, but the one that we are going to be looking at today is gel food coloring. With so many options available, it can often be difficult to know where to find the best ones.

Unless you are a lover of all things baking, food coloring isn’t something that you would really think about adding to your shopping list, but it can always come in handy.

Though, we can understand why you might be struggling to make a decision. You are going to want to get your hands on the very best products, as without them, you won’t be able to achieve the best results.

No matter if you are baking every day and looking for ways to improve your skills, or you are looking for something to brighten up a birthday cake, food coloring can come in handy for a variety of things.

To help you choose from a selection of the best available products, we are going to share our list of the 5 best gel food colorings with you. This will help you know exactly where to look.

Gel Food Coloring: Our Tested Best 5 Picks (1)

In a Hurry?

If you need some gel food coloring for an event that is fast approaching, then we have got you covered. We will leave our top pick here for your quick and easy viewing, so you can go ahead and get your hands on some.

Through our research, we have found that the best gel food coloring is the set of Ann Clark food coloring gels.

With this selection of gel food colorings, you will receive 12 popular color choices that are bright, vibrant, and more than suitable for any occasion.

There is a great mixture of light and dark colors, and you won’t be disappointed with the wide selection available.

OUR TOP PICK

Gel Food Coloring: Our Tested Best 5 Picks (3)

These Ann Clark food coloring gels are both rich in color and super easy to use. They offer a wide range of colors that you can even blend together to find the perfect combination.

You will find every hue of the rainbow in this set, and you can combine the colors to create everything that you could possibly need. You will easily be able to make your baking more colorful and attractive with these excellent colors.

The colors are both bright and vibrant and the tubes are easy to use. The colors that are included with your purchase are super red, orange, red, lemon yellow, leaf green, teal, sky blue, royal blue, purple, pink, brown, and black.

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Each tube contains 20g of food coloring gel and is 4.5-inches tall.

Pros

  • Vibrant colors - You can be sure that these colors will remain rich and vibrant when you mix them with your baked treats
  • Great amount - Each tube contains 20g of food coloring gel, providing you with enough for multiple uses
  • Easy squeeze - The tubes are really easy to squeeze, which allows you to work more quickly and efficiently, rather than wasting time trying to get the product to come out

Cons

  • It has been noted by customers that these colorings might not be the most suitable to use with meringue as they can compromise the consistency due to their thickness

EDITORS CHOICE

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This set comes with 12 different stunning and vibrant colors that are highly concentrated.

There is a great selection of colors to choose from, including Lemon Yellow, Sunset Yellow, Grass Green, Violet, Grape Purple, Navy Blue, Sky Blue, Red, Brown, Pink, Green and Black.

Each bottle of food coloring has 10ml of product inside, and you will be provided with the perfect opportunity to get creative with your baking.

One of the best things about this food coloring is that it won’t alter the original taste and texture of any recipe, and it is water based, making it suitable for a wider variety of applications.

All of these products are made from food grade ingredients to ensure that they are safe for use, and they are really easy to use. They can be mixed together to create new shades and are suitable for both beginners and professionals.

You can also be assured that the colors will not fade or harden, and they are even great for frozen goods.

Pros

  • Tasteless - Unlike many other food colorings, these do not have an unpleasant taste or smell, so it won’t compromise your delicious flavors
  • Easy to use - The drop mouth design makes it easy to control your drops and enables accurate mixing
  • Allergen-free - These food colorings are dairy free, peanut free, eggs free, nut free & gluten-free, making them suitable for most people

Cons

  • The label does not feature a list of ingredients

BEST VALUE

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This set of food colorings contains 240g of gel paste food coloring that is split into 12 20g bottles.

There is a large variety of colors for you to choose from, and these include Red, Pink, Yellow, Black, White, Green, Violet, Brown, Orange, Sky Blue, Purple Red, Blue Green.

They feature a highly concentrated gel based formula that will provide you with deep and vivid colors that will help you to achieve almost any shade you want.

These rainbow colors can also be easily blended together to create your own custom shades, and they are both safe and edible.

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They are made using only safe ingredients and do not feature any unwanted chemicals. This is the perfect kit for both beginners and professionals, and they are widely used for a variety of baking purposes.

As well as all of this, the squeeze bottles have flip-top caps that make it much easier for you to measure the gel colors precisely, drop by drop. The liquid gel texture also makes it easy to flow and control the amount that you want to use.

Pros

  • Highly concentrated - The formula of these colorings is highly concentrated, which means that the colors are more likely to be really vibrant when mixed with baked goods
  • Tasteless - These food colorings are both tasteless and odorless, which means that they won’t affect the overall taste and texture of your baking
  • Allergen friendly - These colorings are suitable for vegan, and they are gluten-free and free from peanut and tree nuts, making them more allergen friendly

Cons

  • It can be difficult to create any dark colors through mixing with this set

RUNNER UP

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This is the perfect set of food colorings for baking and even craft purposes, and your purchase will include 12 different colors for you to choose from. This allows you to decorate with a wide variety of color options, and they have a new and improved formula to make their color impact more pronounced.

They are great for making your food look more attractive and appealing, and they will provide great color combinations to compliment each other.

Unlike some other brands of food coloring, these ones will not affect the overall taste and texture of your foods, and they are suitable for many different applications and techniques.

One of the best things about these food colorings is that they are really easy to use, and you can mix them together to create a whole new range of colors to suit your needs.

You can squeeze them easily to make it easier for you to control the amount of drops that you are using for optimum color mixing.

Another great feature that they have to offer is that they are resistant to fading, and they are able to provide accurate and realistic-looking colors. They are also a great cost-effective solution as you get lots of colors at a low price.

Pros

  • Pure ingredients - These food colorings have been made using only the purest of ingredients, so they will not change the normal taste or smell
  • Easy to use - They have been designed for instant dispersing and the squeeze bottles are really easy to control
  • Cost-effective - There are lots of colors available at a lower price than some other brands, making this a cost-effective option

Cons

  • The colors are not as concentrated in this set than some others, so you might need to use a little bit more product than normal

RUNNER UP

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This set of gel food coloring will provide you with 10 different vivid and vibrant color options that include yellow, orange, pink, red, violet, green, teal, blue, brown, and black.

You can choose to utilize these colors as they are, or you can even mix them together to create your own custom colors to match any theme.

The ingredients that have been used to make these products are safety certified, only high-quality ingredients have been used, and they are also halal certified.

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They feature pure high concentrations that will not alter the taste, texture, or smell of any recipe that you make, and they are also suitable for vegans.

Something else that is great about this product is that it is free from a variety of allergens, including gluten, dairy, peanuts, eggs, and nuts.

The upgraded formula ensures that the colors that you receive will be the brightest and deepest vibrant colors possible. You will only need to use a small amount of the product to get excellent results, and the colors will not fade after baking.

These colors are water-based which makes them easy to mix and disperse without hardening, and they feature a drip nozzle design that will not leak. Ultimately, you will be provided with accurate and optimal color mixing.

Pros

  • Safety certification - The high quality ingredients that are used in these colorings are approved by the FDA and MSDS, so you can be sure that they are safe to use
  • Multi-uses - You can use these colors for typical uses like baking and cooking, but you can also use them for crafting projects
  • Guarantee - Your purchase will come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you are unhappy with the quality of the product

Cons

  • This product can stain easily, so you will need to take care when you are using it and wear gloves if you do not want to stain your hands

Best Gel Food Colorings Buying Guide

Now that finding some of the best available products has been ticked off of your list, there may be some other things that are worth considering before you go ahead and choose the one that you want.

We will leave some additional things that you might need to know about choosing the best gel food coloring below.

Color Concentration

One of the most important things that you will need to think about is the concentration of the colors provided.

The last thing you want is to spend money on food colorings only to find that you need to use the entire bottle to get any colors to show through.

Ideally, you should go for food colorings that have a high concentration to ensure that they are going to be fit for purpose.

Quality of Ingredients

Another thing to think about is the quality of the ingredients that have been used to make the products.

Some types of food colorings will contain unwanted ingredients or chemicals that provide an unpleasant taste or smell. This is something that you should try to avoid, which is why it is worth checking out the ingredients list.

Something else to consider is allergens, especially if you are making goods for other people, as some food colorings may contain ingredients that are not suitable for everyone.

Gel Food Coloring Vs Liquid Food Coloring

Traditional liquid food coloring is one of the worst that you can get. The colors will be much less intense, which means that you need to use a lot of product to get the colors to shine through.

However, gel food coloring is much more concentrated, meaning you can use less product to achieve vibrant colors.

Gel Food Coloring: Our Tested Best 5 Picks (4)

Gel Food Coloring: Our Tested Best 5 Picks

These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!

5 from 2 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • Ann Clark Cookie Cutters Food Coloring Gel 12-Pack
  • Nomeca 12 Color Cake Food Coloring Set
  • Nomeca 12 Colors Gel Food Coloring
  • Limino Food Coloring - 12 Color Vibrant Cake Food Coloring Set for Baking
  • Wayin Gel Food Coloring 10x10ml Colors

Notes

Select your option.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.
Enjoy.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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FAQs

What is the best gel food coloring for buttercream? ›

Americolor Soft Gel Paste Kits: these water-based gels are the best there is (in my opinion). They're super concentrated, so you don't need to use a whole lot to get rich colors.

What is the difference between food coloring and gel food coloring? ›

Unlike liquid food colours, gel food colours bring brilliance and clarity of colour without the addition of a lot of unnecessary liquid. Only a few drops of gel colour will give you a the same, or better result than a teaspoon of liquid colour.

What food coloring should you avoid? ›

Some Dyes May Contain Cancer-Causing Contaminants

Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 may contain contaminants that are known cancer-causing substances. Benzidine, 4-aminobiphenyl and 4-aminoazobenzene are potential carcinogens that have been found in food dyes ( 3 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 ).

Which is better AmeriColor vs Wilton? ›

I really liked the Americolor better, especially the red. It was less orange than the Wilton color. You may need to make sure your buttercream is a little thicker since the Americolor is a soft gel and adding a lot might make your buttercream a little softer. I didn't find this to be too much of a deal-breaker though.

Which buttercream do professionals use? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is probably the most standard buttercream for pastry professionals. It is incredibly smooth, making it an extremely popular choice for icing cakes.

Is liquid or gel food coloring better for frosting? ›

You should use liquid food coloring for frostings (although it will not give very vibrant colors), Easter egg dyes, thick doughs (like sugar cookie dough), and icings.

Is powder or gel food coloring better? ›

In general, gel/paste food coloring can be used interchangeably with liquid coloring, you will simply need to use much less (gel/paste colors can be very cost effective!). A powdered color is used most often in applications where water is prohibited, such as in chocolate and dry mixes.

How do you store gel food coloring? ›

Like other pantry items, food colouring should be stored in a cool and dark place. If its original packaging is damaged or if it is not sealed properly, liquid and gel colours will dry out very soon, so it is important to ensure the lids fit properly before storing.

What happens if you put too much food colouring in icing? ›

Liquid food coloring can also cause problems with buttercream consistency. If you continue adding liquid in hopes of getting a more saturated color, you will thin out the consistency of your frosting. Too much liquid can even cause your buttercream to curdle.

Which food coloring is the least harmful? ›

Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine): Like Blue #1, it's found in colored beverages, candy, and drugs. But it can also be found in processed food and pet food. Although it's considered to be the least harmful of food dyes, studies have suggested that it has carcinogenic effects in mice and can worsen hyperactivity in children (2).

Does gel food coloring change the taste of cake? ›

Gel food coloring is more concentrated and you will only need to use a small quantity to achieve dark or bright colors, leaving the composition of your product unaffected. But the quantity of food coloring is not the only reason taste might be affected. In some cases, you might be hit with a bitter or a chemical taste.

What is the safest food coloring? ›

When it comes to dyeing foods pink and/or red, most sources agree that beets are the best option. They're simple enough to incorporate into recipes as dye: simply use some of the liquid from canned beets, or boil or juice raw beets and use the resulting liquid.

Is oil based food coloring the same as gel food coloring? ›

Candy Color (Oil Based Colors)

Candy colors characteristically appear to be very similar to gel paste colors, however rather than having a water base as the foundation they are oil based colors. Oil Base colors are primarily used for coloring chocolate, as these colours do not contain water.

What is the most vibrant food coloring? ›

Annatto from the achiote tree, paprika from chile peppers and turmeric can create yellow and orange colors. Beets can be used to achieve a reddish to purplish hue and is product pH dependent. Spirulina is a blue-green algae recently approved by the FDA as a colorant.

What food coloring is healthy? ›

Shoot for foods that use natural food coloring from fruit and vegetable extracts. Beets, blueberry juice or beta carotene are good alternatives.

How food dyes affect the brain? ›

Animal studies indicate synthetic food dyes affect activity, memory and learning, cause changes in the neurotransmitters in the brain and cause microscopic changes in brain structure.

Is food coloring a carcinogen? ›

Some dyes that have been found to cause cancer in rats at high doses have been judged to be safe at levels consumed in food and drink. Most food dyes are found in ultra-processed foods that we should only be eating sometimes and in small amounts, such as soft drinks and confectionery.

Who bought out Wilton? ›

Wilton Brands, the Naperville-based seller of cake decorating equipment, has agreed to be bought by Dr. August Oetker KB, a private German company that sells baking products and baked goods. Wilton will remain headquartered in Naperville and operate as a division of Dr. August Oetker, the companies said Monday.

Is Wilton company still in business? ›

for 90 Years. Since 1929, Wilton has been inspiring the joy of creativity in everyone, everywhere, every day.

Did Wilton change its name? ›

Now, more than 50 years later, the non-profit group is rebranding as the Wilton Newcomers & Neighbors, and in addition to a new name, WNN is starting the 2018-2019 year with a new logo and expanded mission.

What buttercream holds the best? ›

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Butter and flavorings are beaten into the meringue to create the buttercream. Because of its stiff meringue base, the frosting holds up well, will not crust and is great for piping cupcakes and decorating cakes.

What is the most delicious buttercream? ›

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

SM buttercream is arguably the best frosting in terms of cake decorating because it is the easiest way to get those smooth clean lines.

What tastes better Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Italian buttercream? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is easier to prepare, but does it taste as good? That's a personal preference. To me, the two frostings taste almost identical. However, I find the Italian meringue frosting to be a bit easier to work with and the Swiss meringue frosting to be a tad bit lighter.

Which frosting holds up better? ›

After: Swiss Buttercream (left); Italian Buttercream (right). The full force of a hot hairdryer doesn't do either frosting any favors, but the Italian holds up better than its counterpart. The meringue in Italian Buttercream is cooked to a higher temperature, which gives the frosting a sturdier structure.

Does food coloring mix better with hot or cold water? ›

The food coloring mixes through the hot water faster than it mixes with the cold water. This is because in hot water, the water molecules have more energy and are moving faster than the molecules of cold water. This makes it easier for the dye to get mixed throughout the hot water.

Can I use gel color in buttercream? ›

If you need your buttercream to be a pure white, you can use a concentrated bright white gel color, or you can also add very (very) small amounts (toothpick dots) of violet gel color to the buttercream to cancel out the yellow hue and create a white buttercream.

How long can you keep food coloring gel? ›

Like liquid food coloring, gel food coloring doesn't really have an expiration date since they aren't made from materials that can rot or go rancid.

Is Wilton food coloring a gel? ›

Description. This Wilton Edible Gel Food Coloring Set gives you deep, rich color that won't change the consistency of your sweet treat. Perfect for coloring buttercream frosting, fondant, royal icing and more, this food coloring set contains colors that are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

How long does it take for gel food coloring to dry? ›

Resting time

When coloring icing or fondant, it is best to let it rest for 1-2 hours, as the color develops with time. For Buttercream and Fondant, colors will deepen over time as they dry, so it's better to stop at a shade or two lighter than needed.

Do you need to refrigerate gel food coloring? ›

No need to refrigerate, we would recommend storing in a cool dry place like a pantry or cabinet.

Can you use expired gel food coloring? ›

After all, you don't want to spend money on something that will expire too quickly, going bad to the point that you can't use it. You'll be glad to know that food coloring doesn't contain any ingredients known to expire, meaning it's still typically good to use, even after the expiration date!

How long can you keep Wilton gel food coloring? ›

Can I Still Eat Items that Have Past Their Freshness Date?
Food ProductFreshness Range
Icing colorsWithin 36 months of coded date
FondantWithin 18 months of coded date
Color Right food coloringWithin 48 months of coded date
SprinklesWithin 36 months of coded date
4 more rows
8 Oct 2021

Is it OK to drink water with food coloring? ›

Food coloring is tested to be safe for human consumption, but only in small amounts such as might be used to color icing or cookie dough. Eating or drinking lots of it might be more than is intended to be consumed.

Why is food coloring unhealthy? ›

Most foods containing artificial food dyes are highly processed, contain little if any natural nutrients, and are high in calories and added sugars. Food dyes are likely to be detrimental to our health, which is supported by the cancer-causing, immune disrupting, and hypersensitivity effects that they are linked to.

Is Blue 1 carcinogenic? ›

Blue 1 may not cause cancer, but confirmatory studies should be conducted. The dye can cause hypersensitivity reactions.

What does Yellow 6 do to your body? ›

It contains the same cancer-causing compounds as Yellow #5. In addition, Yellow #6 causes tumors in the kidneys and adrenal glands of laboratory animals. American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy, and carbonated beverages may contain Yellow #6, so check labels.

Is Blue 1 toxic? ›

FD&C Blue No. 1 is widely used in food products (candies, confections, beverages, etc.) and there have been no reports of toxicity associated with this general food use.

Can I color melted chocolate with gel food coloring? ›

However, water-based food coloring – such as Color Right food coloring or gel-based icing colors – should not be used to tint Candy Melts. The water in the food coloring can cause your candy to seize, rendering it unusable.

Does gel food coloring ruin chocolate? ›

Because chocolate is oil-based, adding a gel based coloring will make your chocolate seize (just like if you added in a few drops of water). Chocolate and water do not mix.

Why is yellow 5 allowed in the US? ›

Companies in the U.S. are required to list Yellow #5 in their ingredients because some people have sensitivity to it. "Companies are so sensitive about allergies, but peanut allergies would be far more common than Tartazine," Pariza said.

Which diseases are caused by artificial food colours? ›

Diseases like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can affect children due to excessive consumption of foods with added food colours.

What kind of food coloring do you use for cookies? ›

Food Gel Colors-I prefer AmeriColor and Wilton but you can use what you are comfortable with. Just make sure not to use a liquid color like you buy at the grocery stores. It will mess with the consistency of your dough.

What kind of food coloring do you use for bath bombs? ›

To color bath bombs, add water-soluble dyes in the wet phase. If you are using mica, which is not water-soluble, you can add its pigments in the dry phase.

Is food coloring safe for baking? ›

Did you know food coloring can be made using natural and artificial ingredients? Both of which are safe and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These colorings are used in a variety of foods, not just baked goods, including ice cream, yogurt, soft drinks, cereals, sausage casings and cheeses.

Is gel food coloring good for cookies? ›

Gel food coloring is great to use in frostings or icings for bright colors, red velvet cupcakes, and candy. It is not good for using in dying cookie doughs because it is so concentrated, it is hard to blend.

Can you use gel food coloring to decorate cookies? ›

To make painted cookies

Add a few drops vodka to a small bowl or dish and then add a drop or two of gel food coloring. Mix with your brush and blot off the excess paint. You're ready to start painting!

What type of food coloring is best for cookie icing? ›

The best colorings for royal icing are Gel Colors. Why? Gel colors contain bright, food-safe pigments and only a little liquid. This lack of liquid means you can add more color to your royal icing without changing the texture or the taste.

Will food coloring stain your tub? ›

Play With Colors

When it's bathtime, put the ice cubes in the tub and let your child play with them as they melt (and don't worry, food coloring agents won't stain your tub).

How can I naturally color my bath water? ›

DIY Homemade Bathtub Color Drops
  1. 1 tablespoon citric acid (you can find in the canning area of your store, or buy on amazon)
  2. 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
  3. 1 tablespoon Epsom salts.
  4. 2 tablespoons baking soda.
  5. liquid (not gel) food coloring (grab at the dollar store!)

What food coloring can I use for candy melts? ›

Oil-based food coloring is the secret to coloring Candy Melts candy.

Is Wilton food coloring safe? ›

Also safe to use in batters, doughs and other foods, this edible food dye is a great way to customize and personalize your treats.

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