So what’s the difference between liquid food coloring versus a gel/paste or a powder version? And more importantly, why should you care?
Basically the difference between the three types of food coloring is dilution level.
Less liquid = more concentrated color. In general, gel/paste food coloring can be used interchangeably with liquid coloring, you will simply need to use much less (gel/paste colors can be very cost effective!). A powdered color is used most often in applications where water is prohibited, such as in chocolate and dry mixes.
Liquid Food Coloring
- Produces the softest level of color.
(Note: LorAnn’s liquid coloring is professional strength and is more concentrated than typical grocery-store liquid food coloring).
- To use: Add liquid food coloring by the drop until desired color level is achieved.
- Ideal for tinting hard candy & lollipops, frostings, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and Easter eggs (mix with water and vinegar).
Gel/Paste Food Coloring
- Produces dark, saturated color.
- To use: For gel food coloring in a pot, we recommend using a toothpick and adding a small amount, adding more as needed. For gel colors in a squeeze bottle, add by the drop. It’s easy to over-do it, so start with a small amount of color and work your way up.
- Can be used interchangeably with liquid food coloring, just use less.
- Ideal for adding color to larger batches and where adding too much liquid is an issue.
Powder Food Coloring
- Produces the deepest, ultra-dark level of color.
- To use: Scoop a tiny amount of powder food coloring and add to dry ingredients. For tinting chocolate or confectionery coating (candy melts), start with a small amount of melted chocolate or coating and mix in powdered colorant to form a deeply colored ‘marble’. Mix this ‘marble’ into your larger batch of melted chocolate or coating. Repeat if necessary to create a darker hue.
- Ideal for tinting chocolate, dry mixes, and anywhere water is prohibited. Can be used to color hard candy and lollipops.
- Fun fact: Those colorful clouds of powder that runners enjoy in a Color Run is typically a mixture of a small amount of powdered food coloring and corn starch.