8 Natural Food Dyes You Can Make at Home

Skip the store-bought food coloring and try these natural food dyes instead. They're made from some of your favorite foods!

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Fresh young sliced beets on table
Photo: Shutterstock/Africa Studio


One of the most common veggies used as dye, beets produce a deep pink (almost red) hue. Blend 1/4 cup of cooked beets with 1/2 cup beet juice. Strain out any large pieces, then save the remaining liquid to use as food coloring for your next red velvet cake.

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Fresh and sweet carrot on a grey wooden table
Photo: Shutterstock / 5 second Studio


“Orange” you glad you can use carrots instead of processed food coloring? Except your final result will be more yellow than orange, most likely. Put raw carrots through a juicer to create your dye (you may need to add some water to thin out the liquid). It’s perfect for one of these magical unicorn recipes.

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fresh turmeric roots on wooden table
Photo: Shutterstock/SOMMAI


The super trendy Indian spice can also double as a vibrant yellow food dye. Simmer 1/2 cup of water with about a teaspoon of turmeric (a little goes a long way!), then let it cool. You can use it to tint these lemon star cookies or any other bright treat.

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Raw Organic Green Matcha Tea in a Bowl
Photo: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker


This green tea powder isn’t just for smoothies…it’s also a great way to naturally give your baking a gorgeous green color. And matcha is simple: Just blend the powder directly in with your ingredients while you’re mixing. It’s perfect for holiday baking (think festive St. Patrick’s Day treats or Christmas cookies).

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Young spinach in a wooden plate


Another alternative to green food coloring. Place two handfuls of fresh spinach into a pan, then fill with water just to cover the leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes (until the water reduces by half) before letting cool and blending into a liquid. Green eggs and ham, anyone?

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Red cabbage sliced on wood board, white wood background
Photo: Shutterstock/Oleksandra Naumenko

Red Cabbage

It’s not surprising that this colorful cabbage makes a great food dye. To make it blue, simmer cabbage for about 20 minutes, strain the water and add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Store in the refrigerator for up to six weeks and mix it in to doughs, icings and more.

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Fresh and tasty looking raspberries on a wooden table
Photo: Shutterstock/And-One


These are great for giving cakes a pretty pink color without the added taste. Begin with freeze-dried raspberries and pulse them in a food processor until they’re ground to a fine powder. Remove any big chunks or seeds, then mix into the dry ingredients of your cake and bake according to the directions.

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fresh blueberries
Photo: Shutterstock/MaraZe


These tiny berries pack a big punch. Despite having “blue” in the name, blueberries give off a much more purple shade. Blend fresh or frozen berries with a little bit of water to form your coloring. Then add it to frostings (like this classic buttercream), cakes or cookies for a very violet tint.

Amanda Tarlton
Amanda has more than a decade of media experience, specifically in product testing in the cooking and lifestyle space. As a freelancer for Taste of Home, Amanda writes mostly about foodie finds, home and lifestyle goods and cooking and baking utensils that make life easier (and more fun!). Outside of freelancing, Amanda is the executive editor of commerce at Field & Stream.
When she's not working, Amanda is on the lookout for the best pizzas in town or testing out secret menu items at restaurants and coffee shops.