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9 best food colourings

Elevate your cake creations with the perfect baking shades

Bold baking: We've tested colourings on vibrancy, consistency and whether they contain natural ingredients ( Sugarflair/The Independent )

The struggle of finding a perfect food colouring is something that every baker experiences. The balance of achieving the correct vibrancy without affecting the taste or texture of your cake can prove difficult.

While most food dyes usually lack in one of these properties, there are a handful that deliver on all accounts. We've spent hours baking to find the products that perform best in the kitchen, here are our favourites.

Magic Colours pro gel colourings: £3.25 each, The Cake Decorating Company

The word “magic” here is an understatement. This range of food colouring offers such variation, it’s hard to choose just one. Contained in a neat, squeezy bottle, this ultra concentrated gel mixes evenly into anything – from fondant and marzipan to macaron batters and buttercream – without changing the consistency. The colours are oven safe up to 180 degrees celsius, which means you can add it to your sponges too. All the colours are vegan friendly too, so they’re suitable for everyone.

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PME concentrated natural food colouring: £1.99 each, Lakeland

We’re making a conscious effort to avoid additives in the food we eat and that goes for baking too. Thanks to PME’s natural food colours, we can still make our bakes look just as beautiful without E-numbers and additives. The colours don’t last as long once opened, but work just as well as any other food dye.

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Wilton color right performance system: £32.29, Amazon

Due to the high concentration of these colours, you’re able to use less to achieve more vibrancy without altering the taste of your bakes. The Wilton color right set comes with a chart to guide you in creating the perfect shade of any colour. The bottles are designed to let the gel fall one drop at a time, so you can carefully measure how much you’re adding – allowing you to recreate the same colours time and time again.

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Colour Splash gels: £1.50 each, Baking Mad

With 29 different shades to choose from, Colour Splash gels will never disappoint. Whether you’re aiming for pastels or vibrancy, the squeezy tubes and fine nibs allow you to add as much or as little colour as you like. Vegetarian friendly (even the red) and great value for money – ideal for any cake enthusiast.

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Deco Relief food colour for chocolate: £8.95 each, Sous Chef

Colouring chocolate is a whole different ball game, liquid and gel food colouring may cause chocolate to seize up or split. However, Deco Relief’s fat soluble powder prevents this from happening. This is slightly more expensive than standard food colouring, but worth it –  as only a small amount is required so each pot can last a very long time. If you’re tempering chocolate, it’s best to add the colouring before you temper to ensure optimum results.

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Squires Kitchen edible paint set: £13.20, Squires Kitchen

Become a true cake artist with Squires Kitchen’s edible paints. Developed by cake expert Natasha Collins, these paints are perfectly smooth and glossy which result in streak-free brush strokes. This kit is ideal for painting directly onto sugarpaste or fondant, the contemporary colours are perfect for creating unique scenescapes on cakes and iced biscuits.

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Rainbow Dust metallic paint: £3.65 each, The Vanilla Valley

Painting onto cakes may seem strange, but when metallic colours are involved, how can you resist? Rainbow Dust’s metallic paints will add that extra sparkle to any creation. Whether it is flicking gold over a cake’s surface, or painting on smaller details, these colours will transform any bake into a shimmering showstopper.

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Waitrose natural food colouring: £1.09 each, Waitrose

Concentrated gel colours are our preferred option when it comes to cake decorating. However, they usually contain E-numbers which tend to be undesirable to eat, especially for children. These liquid food colourings from Waitrose are created from natural extracts such as paprika, spirulina and carbon which makes them totally safe to consume. While the colours may change the consistency of certain batters and buttercreams, adding these food dyes to royal icing makes them a perfect option for biscuit decorating and will keep the kids happy.

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Sugarflair spectral food colouring paste: £1.80 each, Baking Mad

Sugarflair is one of the most popular colouring brands used by professional cake decorators and pastry chefs due to its high quality ingredients, vibrant colours and vast range of shades to choose from. Mix the gel with some water and paint directly onto fondant, or use a cocktail stick to add small amounts to icing and buttercream. The colours are also available in larger tubs to ensure a lifetime of happiness.

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The verdict: Food colourings

Magic Colours are our go-to range, due to their beautifully soft consistency and vast range of colours and on offer. In order to keep chocolate at optimum consistency, specific powders such as the Deco Relief range are best. If you’re conscious of keeping your bakes as natural as possible, then investing in some of PME’s natural colouring will be very beneficial. While Wilton’s color right provides a fantastic foundation to achieve any colour possible.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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