Homemade Natural Blue Food Coloring

Natural Blue Food Coloring--from a Surprising Source!

Ever since my son was born with life threatening food allergies and eczema, we knew that we needed to avoid toxins and eat as natural as possible. I started making everything from scratch, including dairy-free milk, homemade seasonings, and even ketchup, plus making whole food substitutes for things like DORITOS®, marshmallows, and white chocolate chips.

Most of the time I try to keep things simple in the kitchen since my life is really busy, but sometimes I like to have a little extra fun with some food coloring to jazz things up a bit.

But artificial food coloring just isn’t an option for us.

So when my boys wanted some fun chocolate cupcakes for an ice hockey party with blue colored frosting, I sought out a way to make natural blue food coloring…..

Now, I’d found other ways to use natural items to make natural food color, like in my Mint Fudge and Easter Fudge, but blue natural food coloring was a new challenge for me.

What’s Wrong with Artificial Food Colors?

We all know that those artificial food colors are not healthy and are suspected of having links to behavioral and health problems.  We have avoided them in our home completely since our son’s diagnosis with autism, but I wish we had done it sooner.

Did you know that a lot of artificial food colors have aluminum in them?  When you see, “FD & C Yellow Aluminum Lake” on an ingredient label, you can know that you will be eating aluminum.

And if the label doesn’t say “aluminum,”  then you might be eating barium or zirconium.

No thank you!

Why I Made This Blue Food Coloring

Recently my son had a season finale for his ice hockey league (the Griffins Youth Foundation), and each team member was going to be presented with a cupcake decorated with colored frosting to match his uniform.

Ugh — my son’s team color was his favorite color, blue.

Why couldn’t he have been on the Green Team?  Then I could have used parsley like I did for my Mint Fudge.

Or if he’d been on the Purple Team or Red Team, I could have used the colorings in my Fun Fudge.

Well, I initially told him not to get his hopes up — that there was no way that we were going to be able to make blue frosting naturally, but then I found out how.  And now I am going to share it with you!

You are probably not going to believe what vegetable you are going to use!

You could use this natural blue food coloring for any of the following:

  • dying Easter eggs
  • paper mache projects,
  • crafts
  • fun creative food ideas (blue mashed potatoes, anyone?), like —

Natural Blue Food Colouring in Frosting

CUPCAKES Decorated with Hockey Uniform Numbers

I think they turned out great, and my kids did too!  I’ll be sharing the chocolate/carob cupcake and peppermint icing recipes in the near future.

Chocolate and mint is one of my favorite combos.

One other thing to know about natural food coloring is that some of them are prone to fading.  The blue wasn’t that deep to begin with (we tried to get the first batch deeper, but ended up with a really bad baking soda taste :-(), but it faded even more in the days following.

So if you color frosting for cupcakes, eat ’em up quickly!   I’m sure that won’t be hard.

Here is the natural blue food coloring in a bowl:

Natural Blue Food Coloring

And here is how to make it:

4.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Natural Blue Food Coloring
Recipe type: DIY Foods
Cuisine: Dye-Free
Natural Food Coloring made from a surprise ingredient. Artificial Food Coloring isn't healthy. Here's a way to make Homemade Natural Blue Color yourself.
  • Half-head red cabbage (yes, I said "red cabbage!")
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  1. Wash the cabbage and cut out the stem.
  2. Chop into small pieces.
  3. Place cabbage pieces in a pot and add water until the cabbage is covered.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes and then drain.
  5. The resulting liquid will be purplish (see photo #1 below).
  6. Gradually add baking soda, ½ teaspoon at a time, until you get a nice blue hue (see photo #2 below). Be careful, because the baking soda will add flavor to the coloring. If you are using the color for something you will be eating then you need to be especially careful how much you add. Since it is the alkaline quality of the baking soda that causes the red cabbage juice to turn blue, you can also add spinach juice, green tea, or another alkaline ingredient.
  7. Notes: The color in the cabbage juice, itself is not particularly sensitive to temperature, but the mixture of the baking soda with the juice is. So you will want to add the color after the food item has cooled, or else only add it to food items that will not be heated.

Blue Food Colouring Dye, Easter Eggs Colouring

Photo #1

Blue color for dying Easter eggs

 Photo #2


(Money Saving TipUse filtered water for cooking the cabbage and then, though it is pretty well boiled, you can still eat the leftover veggies for dinner.  Try topping them with my Moroccan Vinaigrette and Chat Masala.)

What will YOU use this Natural Blue Food Coloring for?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


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  1. Was wondering how long the batches of coloring last.

    • I don’t know- sorry. I felt that the frosting held its color, though.

      • After adding the first 1/2 tsp of baking soda, the cabbage water turned a deep emerald green. Since your recipe says to keep adding 1/2 tsp at a time until it turns blue, I continued to do so. 2 Tbsp later, still green. . . I am going to try again and start with a small pinch of baking soda. Perhaps 1/2 tsp was too much?

  2. Sorry my question wasn’t clear. When you make a batch of coloring do you know how long it will last if you don’t use it all up. Could you freeze it?

    • It was clear. I’m sorry but I don’t know how long it will last. I assume it would freeze. If you add something acidic to it, the color will change.

      • I’m trying to make a blue punch or juice for my daughter’s birthday but everything I add the blue color to changes to pink. I saw you said if you add acidity, it changes color. Any ideas on how I could add it to a juice to make it stay blue?

        • No, sorry. I think we’d need to look for another way – like blueberries?

          • ok, we’ll try some fruit! I guess this cabbage coloring works best with solids. Thank you for sharing about the cabbage. My 3 year old and I loved doing this experiment together and we look forward to a healthier way of making food coloring in the future. Thanks for helping me teach my little one a healthier lifestyle!

          • Well, it works without an acid medium, which is the issue here. Thanks so much and you are very welcome!

  3. Will this dye work on fabric?

    • Yes, it should.

    • No not really. It’ll take a little color, but it’ll fade quickly. For the most color, you want to use a different recipe, not one that’s food safe. Soak chopped red cabbage in cold water for a week. Mordant the fiber with alum. Soak the fiber in the dye. The longer you soak the deeper the color will be. Soda is not necessary to get a blue with this, but adding an acid or base will shift the color. Soda will shift it green and acid will shift it purple. The color is not very fast and will fade to grayish over time.

  4. Would fruit puree works to dye frosting? The base for my frosting is cream cheese, honey or vanilla. It’s for dog’s birthday cakes…

  5. I got a great color blue from the red cabbage water and a tiny bit of baking soda but when I added it to the cream cheese-powdered sugar frosting, it immediately turned purple like the original cabbage water. Any suggestions? I need it for cake tomorrow morning!

  6. olivia teoh says:

    If anyone is interested in natural cobalt blue, I have the perfect solution.
    Its extracted from a blue flower which grows abundantly in my garden.
    I have made blue bread from it. Unfortunately I cannot attach the photo here to show how beautiful the color is.
    If interested , u can email to me

  7. Hi there,
    Here in Asia, we have a plant known as butterfly pea or more commonly known as blue pea. The flowers are a beautiful purplish blue colour and are harvested and dried. When steeped in hot water, the blue pigment seeps out and the pigmented water is used as a natural colouring for food or enjoyed as a tea. Just a little input, hope it can helps.

    • Oh how lovely!!! I just looked up the plant – it’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    • I just looked it up too, what a gorgeous flower! I found the organic tea bags and loose dried flowers on Amazon.com. I’m sure other places sell them too. I also found the seeds to grow your own flowers! Apparently they are a type of hibiscus?
      Thanks, ladies, for the great ideas for natural blue food dye you can make at home!

  8. My son wants a blue ice cream cake. Do you think it will stay blue when mixed with frozen ice cream even though it is a dairy product?