Logo NHC

The Dangers of Artificial Food Dyes & How to Make Your Own Natural Food Coloring at Home


It’s really no secret that artificial food dyes pose risks to our health. In many European countries, these types of additives have already been banned, or at least food products that contain them have warning labels to caution parents of the dangers associated with consumption.

An article from Forbes indicates that even though six colorants have already been made illegal in the United States since 1950, the FDA still approves several artificial colorants to this day.

The Dangers of Artificial Food Dyes


Dr. Mercola points out in his article that, every year, 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes are being poured into U.S. foods, even though many have been proven to be carcinogenic and cause a variety of health issues.

Even the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reports that,

“In addition to considerations of organ damage, cancer, birth defects, and allergic reactions, mixtures of dyes (and Yellow 5 tested alone) cause hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in some children.

Because of those toxicological considerations, including carcinogenicity, hypersensitivity reactions, and behavioral effects, food dyes cannot be considered safe. The FDA should ban food dyes, which serve no purpose other than a cosmetic effect, though quirks in the law make it difficult to do so (the law should be amended to make it no more difficult to ban food colorings than other food additives).

In the meantime, companies voluntarily should replace dyes with safer, natural colorings.”

Since we’re already exposed to many artificial colorings on a daily basis, it only makes sense to take a more natural approach when you’re making your own food at home. It’s a great way to eliminate your exposure to any potential health risks they do have.

DIY: How to Make Your Own Natural Food Coloring

The next time you want to dye Easter eggs, decorate Christmas cookies or frost your cupcakes all pretty, you can use these super simple tips for how to make your own natural food coloring with ingredients you may already have on hand!


Here are some ways to make natural colorants using food and spices. Don’t worry, your baked goods will not end up tasting like these foods.

Orange – Blend up some carrots and strain the juice. You could also try using paprika or carrot powder.

Red – Blend up some raspberries and strain the juice. Beet juice, pomegranate juice or beet powder would work as well.

Green – Blend up some spinach leaves with about a 1/2 cup of water. Liquid Chlorophyll, parsley juice or matcha powder will work, too.

Yellow – Blend up some mangoes and strain the juice. Ground turmeric or saffron will work as well.

Blue – Chop half a head of red cabbage, add it to a pot, cover it with water and cook at medium heat. Spoon the purple liquid into a dish and add about 1/2 tsp of baking soda. This method will work with any purple colorant.

Purple – Blend up some blackberries and strain the juice. You could also try purple carrots, purple sweet potatoes or blueberry juice.

Brown – Try espresso, cacao powder or cinnamon.

Black – Use activated charcoal.

In order to make your liquid food coloring a bit more concentrated so you don’t end up with runny frosting for instance, simply heat the liquid in a pan on the stove on medium heat.

The liquid will start to evaporate and reduce itself to a more concentrated form. Add that to your icing or buttercream and it will turn out beautifully!

Also, if we remember back to grade school, red, yellow and blue are the primary colors, so you can make just those three colors and mix them to make green, purple and orange.

You can see just how easy this entire process is by watching this awesome how-to video from Dulce Delight.

Hopefully you found this article both informative and helpful, especially when it comes to how to make your own food coloring! If you’ve used other methods for natural dyes, please leave a comment to inform the world.

Otherwise, happy, healthy baking at home!

If you liked this article, subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the next one.