I’ve secretly been using food coloring as a lip stain for a little over a year now. Not just any food coloring, natural food coloring made with beet juice. It cost me about $9 for 1 fluid ounce, which isn’t that expensive considering lip stains can be four times that price. However, very expensive relative to the cost of beets.


Red and Golden BeetsRed and Golden Beets


I’d been meaning to make my own food coloring from beets for a while, and I finally got around to it last week. It was a lot easier than I had thought it’d be. I didn’t want to stain my nice bamboo cutting boards, so I used an old wooden one instead. And to my surprise, the beets didn’t actually stain at all. I think rinsing the board immediately after using it might have helped.


Golden Beets in PotGolden Beets Simmering


When buying beets, get them with their leaves still attached. They tend to be fresher, and if they are not, you can tell immediately by their wilted leaves. The beet greens are edible so don’t discard them! They look and taste kind of like rainbow chard. I like to sauté them with some garlic. And as for the beets, I tend to just eat them plain. But you can add them to a salad with some goat cheese. Yum!

Coming Soon: I will update this post with some photos of what I make with the food coloring =)


Natural Food Coloring with Beets

Easy recipe for making homemade natural food coloring using beets. Method is the same for red and golden beets. Use the natural food coloring in place of liquid in a recipe.

Yield: 1 natural food coloring

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

  • 6 cups (1.5 L) water
  • 3 organic beets – washed, ends trimmed
Blanch, Peel, Cut
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Add the beets and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Transfer the beets to the ice bath. Keep the beets in the ice bath until they are cool.
  3. Peel the skin and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return the beets to the original cooking pot.
Cook, Simmer, Cool
  1. Cook the beets for 25 minutes or until tender, and remove the beets from the pot.
  2. Simmer to concentrate the solution for another 25 minutes.
  3. Let the food coloring cool. Use immediately or store in a glass jar in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

  1. Beets do not have to be organic, but it is recommended.
  2. Prepare beets on nonporous surfaces to prevent staining.
  3. You can simmer the solution for longer if you want the food coloring to be more concentrated.
  4. Cocoa powder may be added to the red food coloring for a deeper color.
  5. Add a few drops of vodka to preserve the food coloring longer.