If you need some tips on how to color buttercream, you have come to the right place. You can learn how to take a classic buttercream recipe and turn it into the perfect color for your dessert creations. You will even find tips for coloring other frosting types as well.
How to Color Buttercream Frosting
If you have a white or cream-colored frosting, you can pretty much turn it into any color your heart desires. It is not quite as difficult as some make it out to seem. However, if you’re going for a very specific color, it can be a little tougher. This is why I have created as many tips as I can to help you through the process of how to color buttercream. Many of these tips work for coloring other frosting styles as well, since coloring largely depends on the base color of your frosting.
How Do You Add Color to Buttercream Frosting?
Start off with this Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe. Then, you will want to grab your food coloring and start adding it to your frosting. However, first, you will need to figure out what color you want and how vibrant you want those colors to be. Food coloring comes in various types and all can be used to add color to your buttercream. However, some work better than others, especially with certain colors. For example, it is difficult to get more vibrant colors with the liquid type of food dye. Gel food colors, especially the kind made just for cakes and cupcakes is the best option for vibrant colors, this kit is wonderful for achieving vibrant colors. Plus, they are usually a lot closer to the color you are expecting. If you are going for a specific color, take some frosting out of the batch and test it first before attempting the entire batch. Only go with a small amount of food gel (food coloring) at a time and keep adding until the desired color has been reached.
How Do I Get the Frosting Color I Want?
This is the tricky part. Depending on the desired color, you may have to mix multiple colors together to succeed. However, always rely on the basic color mixtures taught in school. If you need green, add yellow and blue together. If you need orange, add red and yellow together. I am sure you get the point. Since I do not have the ability to list every color here, my biggest tip is to use a search engine to find the color if it is a unique one. Odds are, someone will have the perfect dye mixture already laid out for you. You will want to note the type of dye they are using and the exact color shades as this makes a huge difference in the color outcome. As an example for a more unique color, in order to get tan, you will need yellow and brown, but a touch more yellow. Or, you can purchase a large food gel kit that will have just about any color you will ever need!
Can I Use a Frosting Other Than Buttercream?
Of course, you can! As long as it is a lighter color, you should be able to adjust its color hue. However, say you are starting with a yellow frosting, you will need to pretend like you have added yellow dye to the frosting already. You cannot treat colored frosting like white frosting since there is already a color added to the mix. One of my favorite frostings to use is my Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. It is another great frosting option. Some people may also want to use my cream cheese frosting recipe.
Why is My Homemade Frosting Turning Out Off-White?
It is definitely much easier to color frosting when you start off with pure white. However, there are many reasons why your frosting might not be a perfect shade of white. If it is not, you’ll need to pretend like you started off with a touch of brown or yellow dye in your frosting, and mix accordingly.
● You did not use clear vanilla – Most frosting recipes call for vanilla, but it is brown and even a small amount can ruin the white of your frosting. Use clear vanilla if this happens to you. Note that “clear vanilla” will be imitation extract.
● Egg yolks – Since egg yolks have a very distinct yellowish-orange color, they tend to adjust the frosting from white to off-white. In order to avoid this, you can always use just the egg whites. This will change the consistency of the frosting, but not in a bad way.
● Other ingredients – Any ingredient you’re adding to your frosting that isn’t white or clear, will add color to it. Take note of this since even natural cane sugar can change the color since it comes in a brown hue.
How Do I Make Rainbow Buttercream Frosting?
When you make your frosting batch, decide how many colors you want, and divide the frosting into that many equal amounts. Then, simply color each batch to the desired colors you need. In order for it to go on in a rainbow swirl, you’ll need to follow these steps.
● Take each color of frosting and place it in a separate frosting bag.
● Layout a sheet of plastic wrap and pipe a straight line of each frosting color next to each other on the plastic.
● Roll up the plastic gently, then cut the tip and frost the cupcake recipe, like this decadent Perfect Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.
● You can also pipe the frosting in lines by placing a frosting bag with the tip already in it, inside a cup. Fold the sides of the bag over the cup, then tilt it and pipe the colors in lines next to each other. Use this technique to make these gorgeous Rainbow Party Chocolate Cupcakes.
Please note this starts with my basic classic buttercream frosting recipe. The added directions are on how to make a rainbow buttercream frosting which some people also call unicorn rainbow frosting.
Tips on making this Rainbow Buttercream Frosting recipe:
● For my UK and Australian friends: confectioners sugar is icing sugar (powdered sugar, 10x).
● If you require a stiffer frosting, add more confections sugar in ½ cup increments. If you need a thinner frosting, add more milk in tablespoon increments. You can add a few drops of food coloring to make colored frosting.
● Always frost completely cooled baked goods so your frosting does not melt on application.
● The gel colors used for the rainbow frosting shown were were pink, yellow, blue, and purple.
Rainbow Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
● ½ cup unsalted Butter, softened
● 2½ cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
● 2 TBSP Milk
● 1 tsp Vanilla
● Food Gel Coloring, colors as desired
Rainbow Buttercream Frosting Mise en Place:
Rainbow Buttercream Frosting Directions:
1. Using a stand-up mixer, beat butter until creamy on medium speed.
2. Gradually add half of the confectioners sugar; beat until well mixed.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of milk; beat until well mixed.
4. Gradually add the rest of your confectioner sugar; beat until well mixed.
5. Add vanilla extract, and remaining milk.
6. Beat for 2 minutes.
7. Remove one cup of frosting, set aside.
8. Divide the remaining buttercream frosting between 4 bowls and color each bowl with a drop of food gel coloring. To make two different shades of blue and more gel color to one of the bowls.
9. Snip off the end of a piping bag (if using plastic) and insert a star tip.
10. Layout a sheet of plastic wrap and pipe lines of frosting in rows.
11. Roll up the plastic wrap into a sausage shape then snip one of the ends of with scissors.
12. Drop the cut end of the plastic wrap into the piping bag that was fitted with an open star piping nozzle.
13. Spread the tops of the cupcakes with a little of the white frosting you set aside earlier. (Optional. If you only want a swirl, you can only make the swirl!)
14. Pipe a rainbow swirl onto the center of each cupcake or edge of your cake.
- ½ cup unsalted Butter, softened
- 2½ cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
- 2 TBSP Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Food Gel Coloring, colors as desired
- Using a stand-up mixer, beat butter until creamy on medium speed.
- Gradually add half of the confectioners' sugar; beat until well mixed.
- Add 1 tablespoon of milk; beat until well mixed.
- Gradually add the rest of your confectioner sugar; beat until well mixed.
- Add vanilla extract, and remaining milk.
- Beat for 2 minutes.
- Remove one cup of frosting, set it aside.
- Divide the remaining buttercream frosting between 4 bowls and color each bowl with a drop of food gel coloring. To make two different shades of blue and more gel color to one of the bowls.
- Snip off the end of a piping bag (if using plastic) and insert a star tip.
- Layout a sheet of plastic wrap and pipe lines of frosting in rows.
- Roll up the plastic wrap into a sausage shape then snip one of the ends of with scissors.
- Drop the cut end of the plastic wrap into the piping bag that was fitted with an open star piping nozzle.
- Spread the tops of the cupcakes with a little of the white frosting you set aside earlier. (Optional. If you only want a swirl, you can only make the swirl!)
- Pipe a rainbow swirl onto the center of each cupcake or edge of your cake.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Russian Piping Tips - Cake Decorating Supplies - 88 Baking Supplies Set - 49 Icing Piping Tips - 3 Russian Ball Piping Tips, Flower Frosting Tips, Bakes Flower Nozzles-Large Cupcake Decorating Kit
Pridebit Cupcake Decorating Tips Extra Large Piping Icing Tips
Kootek 35-in-1 Cake Decorating Supplies with Aluminium Alloy Revolving Cake Turntable, 24 Piping Tips, 2 Frosting Spatula, 3 Icing Comb, 2 Reusable Pastry Bags, 2 Couplers and 1 Flower Nail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 0g
Note: for exact nutritional information, consult your dietitian. All nutritional information provided is simply a guideline.
More Frosting Recipes:
● If you enjoyed this post, be sure to sign up for the Ann’s Entitled Life weekly newsletter, and never miss another article!