Homemade Natural Food Coloring with Red/Purple Cabbage

This is an easy recipe for making homemade natural food coloring using red/purple cabbage. Depending on the pH of the liquid, the dye can range from red to purple to blue to green. Use the natural food coloring in place of liquid in a recipe.

Yield: 1 natural blue food coloring

Prep time:
Cook time:
Idle time:
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  • ½ head of red/purple cabbage – cut in half lengthwise
  • 6 cups water
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Slice the half head of cabbage into pieces crosswise. Put the pieces into a colander and wash under cold water.
  3. Place the washed cabbage pieces into the boiled water and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Remove the cabbage with a strainer. Simmer to concentrate the solution for another 30 minutes.
  5. Let the cabbage food coloring cool before use.
  6. Use immediately or store by freezing in an ice cube tray.
  7. Make the food coloring red by adding an acidic ingredient like lemon juice. Add a few drops at a time.
  8. Make the food coloring blue by adding an alkaline ingredient like baking soda. Add a pinch at a time. Adding too much will result in a green color.

  1. Add the cabbage food coloring to a recipe before modifying the color. There may already be ingredients in the recipe that will change the pH.
  2. When modifying the color, work slowly and carefully. It is very easy to change the color, and the color will continue to change as it settles into the solution. (Give it time to do its thing!)
  3. Temperature affects the red cabbage food coloring. The warmer the solution, the redder it will be. The colder the solution, the bluer it will be. It is best to let it go to room temperature before adjusting the color.
  4. Check out some of my recipes with red cabbage juice.