Chocolatiering DIY Chocolate Making

What’s the Best Food Coloring for Chocolate?

best food coloring for chocolate

Looking to add color to your chocolate creations, but unsure what to use? In this article, we explain what the best food coloring for chocolate to use is, including types and brands.

Adding custom colors such as pink, green and blue to your chocolates can be a lot of fun, but can also lead to potential issues. One of the biggest issues caused by adding food color to chocolate is seizing, and it’s a problem big enough to completely ruin your batch.

However, by choosing the correct food coloring for chocolate, the task is easy. The key here is using the right type of color. In this article, professional chocolatier Simon Knott explains what the best food coloring for chocolate is, for beautiful results.

For instructions on how to use food color in chocolate correctly, check out Simon Knott’s article How to Color Chocolate.

What’s the Best Food Coloring for Chocolate?

By Simon Knott, Professional Chocolatier

There are fewer hurdles to overcome in coloring baked goods, where oil or water-based colors easily blend with typical baking ingredients to produce the desired color. However, the complexity of chocolate’s ingredients makes achieving good coloration more problematic.

In particular, the combination of cocoa butter globules, sugar, and cocoa solids in chocolate makes it particularly prone to seizing with the smallest addition of water, for example, with the use of water-based food colors.

On the other hand, the development of oil-based and powdered food coloring products has enabled chocolatiers to overcome this hurdle simply by eliminating the water element.

TIP: The best food coloring for chocolate are powdered and oil-based colours.

best food coloring for chocolate is oil based
The best food coloring for chocolate is oil based, because it blends with the cocoa butter in chocolate.

Best Food Coloring for Chocolate

Oil Based Colours for Chocolate

The most frequently used agents for coloring chocolate are oil-based food colorings.

They are manufactured with vegetable oil, such as canola oil, and emulsified with a colored pigment. Food colors are now also manufactured using cocoa butter as the oil base for the food coloring. The thinking is that this makes them ideal for combining with the cocoa butter in the chocolate.

The pigment in any food color is made up of very fine ground particles, often from different minerals. When the particles are extremely fine, they disperse through the carrier oil and remain in suspension. The development of different colored pigments has a long history, and the chemistry involved in their evolution and manufacture is complex.

The advantage of oil-based food color is that it is chemically suitable and versatile enough to easily mix with melted chocolate’s components without the seizing potential of water-based colors.

When added to chocolate, most oil-based food colors produce intense color changes, so it’s vital to add the color in very small amounts. Although you can always add more, once added, the color can’t be removed.

Some chocolatiers overcome this intensity by diluting the oil-based food color with alcohol to create a thin paint. This is then applied to the chocolate surface with a brush or sprayed on using an airbrush to achieve different artistic effects.

Here are my personal brand recommendations for the best oil-based food coloring for chocolate.

The Sugar Art

Official Website:

Supplier Location: United States (US)

Their Choc Elite’s range of oil-based colors are designed specifically for coloring chocolate. The 10-bottle range of colors comes in 1 oz (35g) dropper bottles, along with black and white, which can be used to adjust the tone.

Colour Mill

Official Website:

Supplier Location: Australia

The intensity of the Colour Mill range means only a small amount is needed, making it more economical. It’s ideal for blending with chocolate, ganache, and cocoa butter. Colors range from pastels to intense raspberry.


Official Website:

Supplier Location: United Kingdom (UK)

A range of 1 oz (35g) bottles, which are formulated with cocoa butter to ensure easy combination with melted chocolate. Solid at room temperature, the pigment must be gently heated in the microwave before use. The range of 14 intense colors are vegetarian, vegan, and GM-free.

avoid using water based food colour for chocolate
Avoid using cheap water-based food colour for chocolate, as they will cause the chocolate to seize.

Gel-based Food Coloring

Can you use gel food coloring in chocolate?

For baking, gel-based food colors are an ideal solution that suits the ingredients involved. However, fewer chocolatiers use chocolate gel-based products.

They are formulated differently, and judging the tiny amount of color needed to achieve the desired result can be very hit and miss. If too much is added accidentally, it will permanently change the texture and flavour of the chocolate.

Chefmaster Liqua-Gel

Official Website (Amazon Store):   

Supplier Location: United States (US)

Manufactured in the US, the Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food coloring range is vegan, kosher, and halal certified. The range of 12 colors is formulated using glycerin and corn syrup.

Powdered Food Coloring

The pigments used in powdered food coloring are usually sourced from plants, such as hibiscus, beetroot, and turmeric root, or they can come from synthetically manufactured colors. According to the country’s government legislation, any color manufactured for human consumption must be certified safe. Always check that FDA approved ingredients are being used.

Powdered food coloring doesn’t need any preparation and can simply be mixed into tempered chocolate, where stirring will result in a uniform color without streaking or graining. Compared to oil-based food colors, powders don’t have the same intensity, so you will need more powder to get the same intensity of color. This is ideal if you are trying to create softer shades, such as pastels.

You Took

Amazon Listing:   

Supplier Location: United States (US)

The 3 g jars of edible powder come in 10 colors and include gold and silver. The product has a long, three-year shelf life and can be used in cake decorating, rolled fondant, and drinks.

Baking Pleasures

Official Website:

Supplier Location: Australia

The full range of colors can be mixed directly into melted chocolate in its powder form. The colors come in 10 ml pots in a wide variety of colors ranging from pastels to intense primary tones.

Edible Craft

Official Website:

Supplier Location: Australia

Sells a good range of Australian made oil based powders specifically formulated for work with chocolate. They are sold in 5 g bottles and also 1 g bottles for conducting tests. Colors include red, blue, green, violet, yellow, orange, and black.

SK Professional

Amazon Listing:

Supplier Location: United Kingdom (UK)

A 10-pack of 4 g jars of powdered pigments that emulsify well with chocolate without a flavour taint. Plenty of satisfied customers on Amazon.

matcha is a popular and natural white chocolate food coloring
Matcha green tea powder is a popular and natural white chocolate food coloring.

Natural Food Coloring

For some, powdered food coloring from a natural source is a better alternative. The number of natural products now available has grown enormously. Historically, beetroot juice and turmeric are well-documented for their coloring properties in dyeing cloth. However, many have since been added. Green colors, for example, include spirulina (a green algae), wheat grass, and matcha green tea powder. Although popular, they don’t tend to have the same color intensity as powdered and oil-based colors, and they can also add slight flavour changes to the chocolate.

Sugar Art Supply – NFD ChocoColors

Official Website:

Supplier Location: United States (US)

Choco Colors is a manufacturer of natural food coloring powders that are designed to work well with melted chocolate. Each 20 g jar is made from all natural sources with no artificial ingredients and Kosher certification. The full color pack includes blue, pink, orange, red, and yellow.

Water-Based Food Coloring

As mentioned earlier, water-based food coloring is not recommended, as it will seize the chocolate. This includes the cheap bottles of food dye from the supermarket. The best food coloring for chocolate you can use are oil-based colors and powdered colors.

Final Words on the Best Food Coloring for Chocolate

When looking to add color to your chocolate creations, you should always buy the best food coloring for chocolate that you can afford.

There are a lot of products on the market, but they won’t all use the best ingredients, and price isn’t always a good indication of quality. Use online and professional reviews to identify the best products from customers’ and experts’ experiences, or you can choose one of my recommended products.

Make sure to steer clear of water-based food dyes, as these will ruin your chocolate through seizing, and instead aim to use oil-based or powdered food colors specifically formulated for use in chocolate.

For step-by-step instructions on how to use your colors, please read my how to color chocolate article where I explain how to correctly incorporate food colors and dyes into chocolate.

Happy chocolatiering!

Article Author

  • Simon Knott

    Simon Knott studied a BSc Hons in Catering Management, Food Science, and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University and started writing in 2006, specialising in food and drink. He worked as Food & Drink Editor for two county magazines, interviewing chefs and local food producers. In 2010 Simon started a company making traditional fudges and chocolate products. The company quickly grew, supplying local outlets and Simon was awarded five Gold Great Taste Awards for his products. Simon recently completed a Diploma in Copywriting, and continues to write about food and drink, business and skiing.

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