Plant Based Food Coloring : Vibrant Colors from Nature

plant based food coloring

From plant based diets to eco-conscious living, the embrace of all things natural is surging. And the world of food coloring is no exception! Consumers are increasingly ditching artificial dyes in favor of plant based food coloring alternatives, driven by a desire for:

  1. Natural Ingredients: Ditch the synthetic unknowns and color your food with ingredients straight from nature’s vibrant palette. Imagine beetroot powder painting your cake a stunning red, or matcha transforming your smoothie into a verdant delight.
  2. Health Benefits: Many plant based food colorings pack a nutritional punch. Turmeric boasts anti-inflammatory properties, while spinach offers a dose of essential vitamins. Infuse your food with both color and goodness!
  3. Stunning Hues: Don’t underestimate the power of plants! From the fiery reds of beetroot to the vibrant greens of matcha, the natural world offers a spectrum of colors just waiting to be unleashed on your culinary canvas.

This article takes you on a vibrant journey through the exciting world of plant based food coloring. We’ll explore diverse options beyond the usual suspects, unveiling hidden gems like dragon fruit powder and butterfly pea powder. With practical tips, delicious recipe ideas, and DIY options, we’ll empower you to transform your food into a masterpiece of both taste and color, naturally! So, ready to ditch the dyes and embrace the plant powered palette? Let’s dive in!

Exploring the Plant Based Palette: A Symphony of Colors from Nature

Depending from the specific sources we can get different shades of colors:

Fruits and Vegetables

Reds & Pinks:

  1. Beetroot powder: This powerhouse packs an intense, earthy red perfect for cakes, frosting, and savory dishes. Remember, its taste might not suit delicate desserts, so use it strategically.
  2. Dragon fruit powder: This tropical gem delivers a soft pink hue with a subtle sweetness. Ideal for smoothies, frostings, and playful pink accents in baked goods.
  3. Pomegranate concentrate: Not just for juice! This concentrate offers a tart, tangy pink ideal for glazes, sauces, and desserts with a fruity twist.

Oranges & Yellows:

  1. Sweet potato puree: This versatile veggie offers a range of orange shades, from vibrant Jewel potatoes to subtle Beauregard varieties. Perfect for cakes, frostings, and even savory dishes like sweet potato gnocchi.
  2. Saffron: The “king of spices” delivers an intense orange and a unique floral aroma. While its high cost limits frequent use, a pinch adds a luxurious touch to rice dishes, paella, or even a saffron-infused honey drizzle.
  3. Turmeric: This golden spice adds a warm, earthy yellow to savory dishes like curries, rice, and roasted vegetables. A touch can even lend a subtle golden shimmer to frostings and baked goods.


  1. Spinach powder: This subtle option offers a grassy green tint ideal for savory dishes like pasta sauces and dips. For a hint of green in frostings, blanch and puree the spinach, straining out any fibrous texture.
  2. Matcha powder: This vibrant green powder boasts a unique earthy-sweet flavor alongside its intense color. Blend it into matcha lattes, infuse frostings for a vibrant green swirl, or create stunning matcha-infused treats like cookies and cakes.
  3. Spirulina powder: This blue-green algae offers a vibrant green color but carries a distinct algae taste. Use it sparingly in smoothies for a subtle color boost or mix a tiny amount into frostings for a unique green accent.

Blues & Purples:

  1. Butterfly pea powder: This magical powder transforms into a vibrant blue when steeped in hot water. Its floral taste complements sweet and savory dishes like butterfly pea tea, rice, and even blue-hued frostings.
  2. Red cabbage with baking soda: This scientific trick involves simmering red cabbage with baking soda to create a magical blue hue. While the cabbage flavor is subtle, this option works best in savory dishes like rice or dips.
  3. Purple sweet potato powder: Forget processed purples – this gem offers a vibrant natural purple color with a slightly sweet taste. Bake it into cakes and muffins, create playful purple frostings, or even add it to savory dishes like mashed potatoes for a surprising splash of color.

Spices and Herbs

Reds & Pinks:

  1. Paprika: This versatile spice comes in a range of red shades, from sweet Hungarian paprika to the smoky Spanish variety. Add a pop of color and fiery warmth to savory dishes like chili, deviled eggs, or even a unique orange frosting for a playful twist.

Oranges & Yellows:

  1. Annatto powder: This vibrant orange powder boasts an earthy taste. While primarily used in Latin American cuisine, it can add a unique orange hue to savory dishes like stews, sauces, and even rice.


  • Spinach powder: This mild option offers a grassy green color. Sprinkle it over savory dishes for a vibrant finishing touch or use it in green-tinged frostings for a subtle herbal accent.

Flowers and Plants

Blues & Purples:

  1. Hibiscus powder: This vibrant pink powder boasts a tart flavor and packs a punch of antioxidants. Use it in smoothies, jams, or even create stunning pink-hued frostings and glazes.
  2. Marigold powder: Infused from marigold petals, this powder offers a vibrant orange with a subtle floral taste. While not readily available everywhere, it’s a unique option for adventurous bakers seeking intense hues and floral accents.

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