How to make red food colouring

Updated February 21, 2017

You might be wary of the side-effects attributed to the artificial food colourings you can buy at the supermarket. One option is to buy natural food colourings from a specialist supplier, but this can be very expensive. There is another choice: make your own. With just a few simple steps and a little bit of time, you can have your own natural red food colouring.

Wearing the gloves, scrub the beetroots under hot running water to wash away any dirt or pesticides. Beetroot will stain your skin, but it can be washed off with soap and water.

Add the beetroots to the pan, cover them with water and bring to a boil over a medium high heat. Cook until the beetroots are fork tender.

Remove the beetroots from the pan. Reserve the cooking liquid. Peel and chop the beetroots, pouring any juice that comes out of them back into the cooking liquid. Add the chopped beetroots back into the cooking liquid and let them soak for at least four hours.

Strain the liquid into the jar, add the vinegar, cover and store. Use in similar amounts as artificial food colouring, but the results may vary depending on the variety of beetroot used. Experiment to find the optimal amounts to achieve the red colour you want.


Use a glass jar instead of a plastic container since the dye will permanently stain the inside of the plastic container.

Things You'll Need

  • 450 g (1 lb) beetroots
  • Gloves
  • 1 Large pan
  • Water
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) vinegar
  • Glass jar with lid
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