Kitchen Q&A: Cake Decorating–Icing Colors

I have to be honest–I am not a big fan of the food coloring drops.

When I’m decorating a cake or cookies, I prefer vibrant, varied colors. I like gel food coloring the best. I use Wilton Gel icing Colors.

Here’s what I like:
1. many color choices
2. don’t thin out icing (particularly good for classic buttercream)
3. don’t have to use a lot

Here’s what I don’t like:
1. even though not quite as messy, the jars can leak
2. you have to use a toothpick to get the gel out
3. my hands always end up covered in food coloring

How about a compromise?

I was over at my dear friend, Tania’s a few weeks ago. We were making homemade saltwater taffy. (Don’t even ask–it did not work as planned. I even tried a second time on my own and still I failed! Argh.)

Tania pulled out a box of Ateco Food Coloring Kit, 6 colors

Her friend had given them to her as a gift a long time ago. (They used to be available through Martha by Mail.) I was intrigued.

Here’s what I like:
1. the colors are nice and vibrant
2. they are a little thinner than the Wilton, but not enough to thin out frosting
3. even better, they have a flip-top cap–not messy

I like these. A lot. Here in the next few weeks (or months…) I am going to get a box for myself.

Anyone else have a preferred brand of food coloring ?

You may also like


  1. I use the wilton gel also and really like the color it gives the icing~

    I have never seen the other kind – but they do look handy with the flip-top cap. Could be a lot less messy…..


  2. If you can get to a cake supply shop, Americolor has some of the best gel colors around. They are very true colors and you barely have to use any to get the desired effect you are wanting.

  3. i have the same spectrum set as tania. i LOVE it. i got it years ago, and it’s still going strong. i just have to buy black from time to time. i have no clue why i go through so much black food coloring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.