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Welcome to my blog post about my favourite food colourings I use in all of my baking!

When you baking you inevitably use food colourings… and there are SO MANY OUT THERE. So this post is here to help you decide which ones you want to use – as I have tested so many over the years, I definitely have my favourites.

“What food colourings do you use?” is probably one of the questions I get asked the most, as you can all see yourself how many brands and types there are out there – and annoyingly, so many are awful. You never know, it may change in the future… but generally, and you can buy from a supermarket should be avoided. 

I know that is such an annoying thing to say, but I have to be honest – liquid food colourings can vary so much, and the ones you can find in the supermarket are far too weak in strength, and can generally ruin your bakes – and no one wants that to happen. 

I tend to gravitate more towards oil-based colours as they tend to incorporate better into any bake, but you will see below what I mean. I have given a selection of options which vary in price points, but generally – food colours are worth the investment. All brands below require so little for a strong colour result that they are worth it! 

Please note that these links are affiliate links so I will earn a commission from any sales through the links. 

Progel Food Colouring

I love rainbow dust progel food colouring – I have used them for years, and I love them. I love that they are in a tube because they are easy to use – and get out what you want, without getting a spoon dirty and accidentally getting food colouring everywhere! 

I love using the blue progel colouring – I used it on the blue layer of my rainbow cake, and for the buttercream in my rainbow explosion cake

I also use the purple progel food colouring in my rainbow cake, and for the buttercream in my rainbow explosion cake. 

Sugarflair Food Colouring

We all know how hard it is to get a good colour on your red velvet cake, or how hard it is to get a solid black colour when it comes to baking right? Sugarflair colours are so strong, and the brand I have used for the most time out of all of these! There is a great starter set available, which covers most of your bases.

I use the red extra food colouring when I want something red – and it is strong enough to withstand the brown of the cocoa powder in a red velvet cake. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend any others for the job! 

The black extra food colouring works the same – yes you need to start with a brown base to get something jet black, but other black food colourings will create a murky grey colour and not black. 

Colour Splash Food Colouring

Another brand that I love that comes in a tube (and again so easy to use because of no messy spoons) is colour splash! They are quite similar to the rainbow dust Progel ones above, but still so good!  I love using these as they are cheap to buy in my opinion, and worth it! 

I love the pink from the colour splash set and used it on the drip for my rainbow cake – and it made such a vibrant and beautiful pink colour with so little added to the ganache! It also works with even less, to make a beautiful pale pink such as with my 29th birthday cake

If you ever want to colour something brown, without it being chocolate – it is worth a good quality colouring! I often use this brown colouring as I find it creates the perfect colour.  

Wilton Food Colouring

Wilton colours have often been quite iconic in the baking world for really good quality and strong colours – and I really love the basic set that you can buy! It has every staple colour that you may need in it, and I love them all. 

One of my favourites is the leaf green colour as it always give a vibrant and beautiful colour to anything, and I just love it! 

Wilton also have the white colouring that I often use on my blog with recipes such as my rainbow cake, and my blogs 7th birthday cake. It’s quite liquid in comparison to the other colours, but I really do love it! 

Colour Mill Food Colouring

Colour mill is one of the newer brands to me, and I am already in love – the range of colours that they offer is utterly insane, and worth the price. Yes, they are quite pricey but ohhhhh they are amazing. The quality of colour is insane! I was honestly a little blown away by all the colours that were on offer. 

One of the first colours I used is the orange – and it is beautiful! The yellow one also makes the most beautiful sunshine yellow that I ever did see. 


The food colouring world is an absolute minefield, and I don’t blame anyone for a being a little perplexed as to which brand to buy!

If it helps, I use all of these brands for all jobs…. colour sponges, colour buttercream, colouring ganache. It can be difficult sometimes to get the colour you want, but that comes with practice! Generally with buttercream for example, a colour will develop over time, so don’t be worried! 

It’s best to stick to gel/oil based colours, and avoid any water based colours. Generally, they are too weak and can ruin a bake! If you have any questions leave them below! 

Find my Recipes on my Recipes Page!

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  1. Grace W on June 27, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Jane, I’m about to invest in a set of Colour Mill colours for making my rainbow cake but I also do a lot of sugar cookies with royal icing – would these work for royal icing as well? I notice it says it works best with a fat. I’ve previously been using Sugarflair but I find that the Red Extra always bleeds into any lighter colours the next day!

  2. Diana on February 9, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Could you let me know what you would use for a rose gold colour. I’ve been looking for a gel colour butt cannot find one anywhere.

    • Jane's Patisserie on February 10, 2023 at 12:14 pm

      Hiya! I don’t think any decent rose gold colourings exist – I use food paints or glitters! Hope this helps! x

    • Helen Maleary on September 24, 2023 at 8:11 am

      I have used Sugarflair Spice red , it’s the best. I’ve found for a rose gold buttercream but obviously not metallic

  3. Linda on February 5, 2023 at 3:23 pm

    Hi Jane,can you tell me which colourings you used for rhe Creme egg cupcakes.
    Many thanks.

  4. Macie on January 20, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    I’m making black buttercream this evening. Would you recommend pro gel or colour mill? It will be chocolate buttercream?

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 30, 2023 at 11:28 am

      Hiya! Take a look at my spooky spider web cake for the best black buttercream. Hope this helps! x

  5. Sara on November 19, 2022 at 12:39 pm

    Hi, this is a fantastic post. Thank you so much for the details it has definitely been useful.

    I am confused though as from my knowledge, you can only use oil based colour or powder to colour chocolate and not gel.

    I noticed you recommended colour splash in the comments and also stated you have tried them all for chocolate. Could you expand a little? Did you try the gel colours to colour chocolate (not ganache but chocolate for e.g. dipping strawb or cake pops).

    Many thanks !

  6. Sian Steele on April 30, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Jane,

    What would you recommend I buy for making WHITE buttercream ?

    Also which colours for making an Aston Villa coloured cake – claret & blue?


  7. Ruby on April 25, 2022 at 10:04 pm

    Hello Jane,
    Wat gel/oil would you recommend for colouring cheesecake?

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 26, 2022 at 2:53 pm

      Hiya! I usually use Colour Splash or Rainbow Dust. Hope this helps! x

  8. Parece on April 11, 2022 at 12:29 am


    Thank you for this post, which would you use to paint with. I’m making my sister baby shower jungle themed cake and will need to paint the animals (made of icing). I’m leaning towards sugarflair but unsure if the others will be better suited. Needs to be veggie/vegan friendly which I know wilton isn’t.
    Thank you in advance

    • Ms Lynne Blackwell on October 20, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      Hi which oil based food colouring do you use for chocolate colouring please

  9. Jane on March 31, 2022 at 11:17 am

    Hi, what brand of food colouring would you recommend for meringues and macaroons?

  10. Lauren on February 3, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    Which brands would you recommend that use natural colours. I have friend who is allergic to a lot of the artificial colourings (e.g. brilliant blue, Sunset yellow ect) which I know the progel contain. I also try to avoid these in things for children as they have been linked the adverse behavioural effects.

  11. Andrea on January 20, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    This is such a GREAT blog…I’m not due to make any cakes at the moment but i have been asked by my grandsons over the years for Harry Potter, Frozen, minions Etc & got the colours All WRONG!! It’s cost me a fortune doing the cakes & having to do them again. Thank you Jane for your advice…….I’ve bought your book in addition to following you for years & I just want to say big THANK YOU xxxx

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 27, 2022 at 9:38 am

      Ahhhh thank you so much im so happy to hear that! Thank you – enjoyyy! x

  12. Laura on January 19, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    Hi! Which brand would you recommend if doing ombré blue buttercream icing? For a ‘Frozen’ theme cake, so the blues wouldn’t be too dark!

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 20, 2022 at 9:14 am

      Hiya! Id recommend using ProGel – just increase the amounts as you go for the ombre! Hope this helps! x

  13. Sarah on January 18, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Jane,
    Do you use whitening powder? Or only the liquid white you linked to? I’ve tried a few whites for buttercream but none of them seem to do much! I’d like to make my buttercream whiter but also try to make a white chocolate drip actually look white rather than the yellowy colour it normally is!

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 20, 2022 at 8:58 am

      Hiya! I usually only use the liquid for my bakes! For tips on a white white chocolate drip, take a look at my white chocolate drip cake! Hope this helps! x

  14. Helen on January 12, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    Hi, what colour would you recommend to make rose gold buttercream ? Thanks in advance

  15. Lesley Blackman on January 12, 2022 at 11:37 am

    Thanks for such a great post Jane, I love the colours that Colour Mill produce, unfortunately I do find they have a definite taste which I don’t like, it’s the same in chocolate & buttercream . I don’t put too much in either, I don’t get any taste difference with any of the other gel colours . Does anyone else find this?

  16. Jacqui on January 12, 2022 at 10:03 am

    Hiya, what brand is best fir colouring white chocolate please ??

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 13, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      Hiya! All of these work well when colouring chocolate – however I think my go to is Colour Splash! x

  17. Louise on January 12, 2022 at 9:48 am

    What gives you the best red I find my Sugarflair goes like a deep pink rather than red

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 13, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      Hiya! I only recommend SugarFlair Red extra, but you could try Colour mill or Wilton! x

  18. Ann on January 12, 2022 at 8:32 am

    I am doing a Spider-Man cake what red and blue colour would you suggest I use for buttercream

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 13, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      Hiya! Id use ProGel for the blue and sugarflair for the red! x

  19. Beth on January 12, 2022 at 8:21 am

    Hi Jane, which would you recommend for colouring chocolate? Thanks x

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 13, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      Hiya! I have tried all of them and they all work well – but I’d say my go to is colour splash! Hope this helps! x

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