We want to make christmas short pastry cookies this evening and I can't find the food coloring. So what alternatives can I use to color the dough? Cocoa for brown, and what about other colors? Would be tumeric a good option? Or are there unwanted side effects such as orange hands or a burned taste?


3 Answers 3


For redish/orange/yellow color carrots and beets are better option. They are sweet and already used as colouring agents in food so the taste won't be distinct as in turmeric (that in my tries only work well with cinnamon and a lot of it). Beet can also be used in concetration for deepish red and even violet

For brown - carmel from sugar. Cocoa and activated charcoal is better to make black color.

For blue/violet - berries (skins) or grapes.

Green - mint or chlorella

For fun (but strange) new taste red onion (it work great with sugar).

  • Are you actually recommending putting coal in food?
    – csk
    Dec 17, 2020 at 17:58
  • @csk I suspect that should be charcoal, which is sometimes used in food
    – Chris H
    Dec 17, 2020 at 18:52
  • 1
    @csk Heh, language barriers. As Chris H wrote I meant activated charcoal. In polish it's just "activated coal". Dec 18, 2020 at 8:24

Tumeric has a distinct flavor, as does cocoa. These will color your cookies, but also flavor them. If you don't want these flavors, you have to seek out flavorless food coloring.


So I tried it out. The color is bright yellow, and for the taste I added ginger as well. But after baking the difference in color is pretty small, so I would not suggest using tumeric.

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