How to Make Purple Food Coloring from Natural Ingredients

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How to Make Purple Food Coloring from Natural Ingredients


Adding a pop of purple to baked goods, frostings, and more is easy with homemade purple food coloring. Natural plant pigments can be extracted or infused to create rich, vibrant shades of purple for all your culinary creations. Whether you need just a small amount to tint an icing or a larger batch for coloring candy or cake batter, purple food dye can be whipped up right in your kitchen. This guide covers multiple methods on how to make purple food coloring using fruits, vegetables, and flower petals. Read on to learn how to make natural, non-toxic purple dyes to add festive flair to your foods.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring: Summary of Methods

There are a few main approaches to making edible purple dyes at home:

  • Extract juice from purple fruits and vegetables like blueberries, purple carrots, red cabbage, and blackberries. Strain well.
  • Infuse milk or water with purple flower petals such as violets, butterfly pea, hibiscus, and lavender.
  • Blend and strain purple plant materials to yield concentrated dye liquids.
  • Mix small amounts of natural blue dye (like spirulina) into natural red dye (from berries) to create purple. Adjust ratios to achieve desired shade.
  • Combine artificial blue and red food coloring to form purple. Use sparingly for intensity.

With minimal effort, you can quickly make vibrant purple food coloring using items you may already have in your pantry and garden.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring: Basic Purple Food Coloring Recipe

One of the easiest ways to make purple dye involves infusing milk with purple flower petals. Here is a simple method:


  • 1 cup milk (dairy, non-dairy, canned coconut milk all work)
  • 1⁄4 cup purple flower petals (butterfly pea, hibiscus, violet, etc.)


  1. Add milk and flower petals to a small saucepan. Gradually heat over medium flame until it simmers.
  2. Turn off the heat and allow it to steep for 20-30 minutes, letting the milk absorb a purple tint from the flowers.
  3. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, pressing petals to extract as much color as possible. Discard petals.
  4. Use the strained purple milk as food coloring right away, or refrigerate up to 5 days. Shake before each use.

The milk helps extract the natural pigments from the petals to create a vivid liquid dye. Try out different purple blooms to achieve a range of hues.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring: Extracting Juice from Purple Fruits/Vegetables

For more concentrated dyes, juices can be extracted from purple produce like these:

  • Blackberries – Boil fresh berries, then mash and strain juice.
  • Blueberries – Simmer fresh or frozen berries, then strain.
  • Purple carrots – Grate raw carrots, mix with a little water, then strain.
  • Red cabbage – Simmer chopped leaves until soft, let cool, then blend and strain.
  • Purple sweet potatoes – Peel, chop, boil, mash, and strain potatoes.

The resulting juices will create bold purple shades. For muted tones, dilute with a bit of water. Juices should keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring: Making Lavender-Blueberry Dye

For an extra vibrant purple, try this combination of blueberry juice plus dried lavender:


  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1⁄4 cup dried culinary lavender
  • 1⁄2 cup water


  1. Combine blueberries, lavender, and water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and mash blueberries lightly with a spoon. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Pour mixture into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, pressing solids to extract liquids.
  4. Discard solids. Use strained dye right away or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate up to 5 days.

The lavender enhances the blueberry pigments, resulting in a rich purple coloring perfect for homemade cake, candy, and more.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring: Mixing Red and Blue Food Colors

Another option is to mix natural red and blue dyes from fruit and vegetable sources. Some good options:

Red Sources:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Red cabbage
  • Beets

Blue Sources:

  • Blueberries
  • Red cabbage
  • Butterfly pea tea
  • Spirulina powder

Mix a few drops of red coloring with a few drops of blue to create purple shades. Adjust the ratios until you achieve the desired hue.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring: Artificial Food Coloring Method

For the brightest, most intense purple dye, you can blend small amounts of artificial red and blue food coloring. This will create very concentrated colors, so start with just a toothpick dip of each and add more as needed.

Keep in mind artificial dyes can be made from petroleum derivatives. Using sparingly is recommended, as they have been linked to hyperactivity in children.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring: Tips for Purple Food Coloring

Here are some handy tips for working with homemade purple dyes:

  • Start with small amounts then gradually add more to prevent over-coloring foods.
  • Acidic ingredients like lemon juice can cause purple hues to turn bluer. Avoid adding together.
  • For richer purple tones, add a pinch of vitamin C powder to the dye.
  • If dye starts to separate, shake vigorously before each use.
  • Store dyes in airtight containers in the refrigerator to prevent molding. Glass jars or bottles work best.
  • For uniform coloring throughout batters, mix a concentrated dye “paste” first, then whisk in drops as needed.

From pastries to fruit snacks and more, homemade purple food dye allows you to add natural, eye-catching color to all your kitchen creations.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring FAQS:

Here are some common questions about How to Make Purple Food Coloring:

What is the most natural purple food coloring?

Dyes made from purple plant materials like blackberries, purple sweet potatoes, red cabbage, hibiscus, and violet petals are the most natural options. They extract pigments directly from the plants without chemicals.

Is purple food coloring safe to ingest?

Natural purple dyes made from edible fruits, vegetables, and flowers are safe to consume. However, artificial food colorings can potentially cause issues like hyperactivity in children when ingested in large amounts. Use artificial dyes sparingly.

How do you make purple icing without food coloring?

Some options for purple icing without food dye include using mashed blueberries, grape juice, purple sweet potatoes, or non-dairy milk infused with lavender flowers or butterfly pea tea powder. Strain out solids after blending.

Why did my purple icing turn blue?

Acids from ingredients like lemon juice or cream of tartar can cause purple icing made with natural dyes to shift to a more blue/indigo hue. Avoid adding acidic ingredients when aiming for true purple tones.

Should I use liquid or gel food coloring for purple?

Gel food colors will provide more concentrated, intense purple shades. Liquid dyes are easier for blending colors but may require more to achieve vivid purples. Use liquid for lighter pastel shades and gel for richer, darker purple hues.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring Conclusion:

With a bit of kitchen experimentation, you can easily extract, infuse, blend and mix natural ingredients to create your own homemade purple food dyes. From infusing milk with violet petals to mixing red cabbage juice with spirulina powder, the possibilities for achieving that perfect purple shade are endless. Store your homemade dyes in airtight containers in the refrigerator for a week. Afterwards, utilize them to infuse vibrant hues into cakes, frostings, candies, and various sweet and savory dishes. With natural plant-based dyes, you can ditch the artificial stuff and make edible purple creations your whole family will love.

How to Make Purple Food Coloring Sources:

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