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How to Color Cookie Dough: A Step-by-Step Guide for Color Cookies

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Whether you are baking for a children’s party, a themed event, or just for fun, using colored cookie dough is an excellent way to create exciting edibles. Adding a few drops of food coloring to your cookie dough will leave you with baked goods that look so fantastic they need little decoration. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to make colorful cookie dough.

colored cookie dough

What Types of Food Coloring to Use When Making Cookies

When coloring cookie batter, there are four types of coloring you can use:

Liquid Food Coloring: This form of coloring is the kind that most commonly comes to mind. It comes in a squeeze bottle in a range of different shades. However, while you can use this form of pigment to color your cookies, the color lightens considerably when it bakes. 

Gel Food Coloring: Often referred to as “icing color,” gel colors consist of corn syrup, glycerin, and water and usually come as a past or a liquid gel. The trick here is less is more, as these offer intense and rich colors. 

Powder: Powder pigments can be used to color cookies. However, this form of coloring is best suited to confectionary like meringues or recipes that do not allow for additional liquid like chocolate.

Natural Colorants: Natural colors usually come in a dropper bottle and are made from plant sources. These are excellent for baking for kids or adults with food allergies.

How to Color Cookie Dough?

Making colored cookie dough is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is add a few drops of food coloring to your dough to create brightly-colored cookies. However, there are a few important questions to tackle before we dive into making the colored sugar cookie dough. So, let’s look.

How do you add food coloring to cookie dough?

Adding the food coloring to your cookie dough is tricky as you don’t want to add too much and over-color your dough. Using a dropper or the end of a toothpick to add a few dabs of color to your dough is the best way to gradually add color without overdoing it. 

Can you put liquid food coloring in cookie dough?

Yes, you can. However, keep in mind that liquid food coloring fades substantially when it bakes, leaving you with a more muted color. Therefore, if you want to create vibrant tones, we suggest using gel color instead.

Can you add food coloring to the cookie batter?

Yes, you can. However, we suggest waiting until you have made the dough before adding the coloring, as you can more accurately create the color and vibrancy you want.

colored cookie

How much food coloring do I add to cookies?

You will only add a drop or two depending on the food coloring you’re using to create your colored cookies. Since gel coloring is much more concentrated than liquid food coloring, you may only need half a drop to achieve your desired tone.

When should you add food coloring to cookie dough?

The best time to add coloring to your sugar cookie recipe is right at the end before you chill the dough and use cookie cutters to cut your dough into shapes. Adding your color to the dough before you refrigerate it will help you create the right shade.

How to make Colored Sugar Cookies

You are on the right track if you know how to bake cookies. What you need to make colored cookie dough includes:

  • A batch of cookie dough
  • Food coloring
  • A toothpick
  • A stand mixer
  1. Firstly, you’ll need to roll your cookie dough into a ball on a sheet of plastic wrap. 
  2. Then, press your thumb into the center of the dough to create an indent. 
  3. Add one or two drops of coloring to the indent using your toothpick. Remember, the sugar in baking is what adds moisture, so there is no need to go overboard when you add color.
  4. Next, wrap your dough in the plastic sheet and leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes. 
  5. Then, knead the color into the dough using your hand or a stand mixer. 
  6. When the color is thoroughly mixed in, you can refrigerate your dough before rolling it out, cutting it into shapes, and baking it.
Follow Jordan River:
Jordan River is an experienced baker with a background in event management. She went into marketing and customer care and started working with JB Cookie Cutters to educate and share her experiences. She’s had her fair share of kitchen and cooking tools and knows exactly what works best and why. Before she started writing, Jordan got a degree in marketing and communications. She is a mom of two, so when she is not writing, she loves cooking and testing new recipes, improvising in the kitchen, and creating unique things that turn into family events.
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