What Colors Make Red Food Coloring? (Best Tips!)

What Colors Make Red Food Coloring

Do you know what colors make red food coloring? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

Red is a primary color. This means that you cannot simply mix two colors to create red like you could with purple (blue mixed with red) or green (blue with yellow).

So, what colors make red food coloring? Depending on the shade of red that you need, you can simulate a reddish color by mixing pink and black to make red food coloring. However, you need to remember that this can be difficult to achieve.

In this article, we will dive into colors you can create with different food dyes. We will also examine a natural substitute for red food coloring.

What is a Primary Color?

Primary colors are colors that by definition cannot be created by mixing other colors. You can combine varying amounts of the primary colors to create other colors.

Adding white or black can change the shade of the color you are working with.

The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.

What are the Secondary Colors?

Secondary colors are colors that can be created by mixing two primary colors. The secondary colors are:

  • Purple- purple is created by mixing red and blue
  • Green- green is created by mixing blue and yellow
  • Orange- orange is created by mixing red and yellow

How do Black and White Affect Other Colors?

Technically, black and white are considered shades, not colors. If you add them to another color, they can darken or lighten the other color. Black will darken another color. White will lighten another color.

It does not take much black or white to lighten a color, so if you are adding these to your food coloring, start small and add more gradually until you find the shade you want.

If you are adding food dye to white frosting, you will already be adding white to your color. This means if you are looking for deep red color, you will likely initially have pink frosting rather than red.

You will need to add more red to intensify the color.

Making Red from Pink and Black

Most basic food coloring packs include red, yellow, blue, and green. From those colors, you should be able to mix most of the other colors you want to use.

However, some brands do make more variety of colors. This can save you time on painstakingly mixing your colors.

If you have one of those expanded packs and you are out of red food coloring, you can mimic red by adding pink food coloring and black.

Start with only a small amount of black, as adding black can quickly change the shade of the food coloring.

Depending on what you are making, you may not even need to add black food coloring.

For example, if you are making a devil’s food cake and you want to add the red food coloring to help achieve the signature color of the cake, you can substitute pink.

The cake itself is dark enough that if you have pink food coloring, it will give your cake the iconic devil’s food color.

Read also: What Colors Make Red Icing? (Food Coloring Red Frosting)

How to Make Different Colors of Food Coloring

The following list explains which colors you will need to mix to achieve various secondary colors and more. Adding more or less of any color can help you add more nuance and variety, given your vision.

  • Green- Add blue and yellow. Since most blue food colors are more saturated than the yellow dyes, you may want to add more yellow than blue. Start with equal parts and add more blue or yellow depending on which shade you want.
  • Purple- If you want a true purple, add equal parts of blue and red food coloring.
  • Orange- To create a true orange, add equal parts of yellow and red food dye.
  • Plum- If you want a plum color, you will want to add blue and red food dye. Add more red dye than you add blue because plum is a reddish-purple.
  • Teal- If you want teal or turquoise, you should add blue and green food dye. If you do not have green food dye in your kit, you can add blue and yellow but making sure to add twice as much blue as yellow.
  • Apricot or coral- Start with yellow food coloring. Slowly add a little red or pink (depending on what you have) until you have the shade of coral you are looking for.

Read also: What Colors Make Pink Food Coloring? (Best Tips!)

Natural Substitutes for Red Food Coloring

If you are out of red food coloring and you are interested in making your own, there are other options! Similarly, some people do not like to use chemicals in food coloring.

This natural substitution will still give you the color you want, without food coloring.

Beet Juice

Beet juice is a popular substitute for red food coloring. It is inexpensive and relatively easy to make.

All you need to do to use beet juice as a food coloring is wash a beet and grate it into a paper towel.

If the beet is fresh and juicy enough, you can just squeeze the juice from those grated chunks directly into whatever you are coloring.

If you want more beet juice or if you are concerned about not getting enough juice from your beet, you can make some beet juice by boiling beets.

Simply peel the beets, add them to water and let the water simmer until the beets are no longer bright red. Then, add a little bit of sugar and dissolve it in the beet juice.

Remove the beets and let the dye cool before adding it to your recipes.

How to Make Red Frosting >> Check out the video below:

Final Thoughts 

If you are working with the primary colors, you cannot make red food coloring. Red is a primary color, so by definition, it cannot be created by mixing any other colors.

However, if you have pink, you may be able to get reddish hues in your baking by adding black and red food dye together.

Be careful not to add too much black food coloring.

If you do not have red food coloring, you can easily make some with beets. This food dye will have fewer chemicals and will still give you the rich red color you want.

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Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Rvandplaya.com. Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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