Baked Goods · Gluten Free Tips · Kid Friendly/Toddler Approved! · Recipes · vegan

Natural Red Food Dye


With Valentine’s Day this week, I have been inspired to bake some new gluten free and vegan baked goods.  Icing is a key ingredient in my Valentine inspired recipes this year but I’m always hesitant to use food dye to colour my icing – especially red food dye – which has been linked to a variety of health issues, especially in children.  While a little red food dye here and there shouldn’t cause any issues (at least I hope it wouldn’t – it’s not like they sprinkle it over their spaghetti each night!), if I can get away without using it, I’m all for it!

I’ve been reading a lot about using different plants and vegetables to create food dye which is obviously free of chemicals and additives.  I decided to try using beets to create a red (or pink) food dye for my Valentine’s cookies and cupcakes.  You know what?  It worked and even better, it didn’t taste like beets!!


If you want to try out this recipe, here it is:


  • 1 beet, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 cups water


  1. In a medium sized saucepan, add beet and water.  Bring to a boil, then heat over medium heat for 25 – 30 minutes.
  2. Remove beets with a slotted spoon (beets should have lost a lot of their colour by now and water should be red).  Add sugar to the water, mix well and heat over medium heat for 10 – 15 minutes.  Make sure to mix every couple of minutes to avoid mixture from sticking to the pot.
  3. Remove pot from heat, let cool.  Mixture should be the consistency of syrup and will thicken up a bit more as it cools.  Once cool, add to a glass jar and refrigerate.  The dye should last about a week but will slowly lose its colour since there are no additives in the dye.
  4. Add by the teaspoon to your icing mixture.  It took me about 3 teaspoons to get a pink colour so it might a few more teaspoons to see red.
  5. Have fun!

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