How to Make Red Frosting

February 8th, 2019 by Desiree Smith

Do you struggle with making bright red buttercream frosting? You’re not alone! Learning how to make red frosting that’s actually red and not pinkish red can be a challenge, but we’re up for the task!

We’ve gathered up all our red food coloring and a whole lotta buttercream to determine just how much icing color is needed to achieve your desired shade. Whether you use gel food coloring, Color Right base colors or jar icing colors, you can rest assured that your buttercream will turn out rosy red every time.

For Coloring Large Amounts of Icing (1 cup or more):

Gel Food Coloring

This concentrated gel is great for coloring icing, batter, cookie dough and more. The red food coloring is available in the primary color set (which also includes yellow, green and blue).

  • Light Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 10 drops of color
  • Medium Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 20 drops of color
  • Dark Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 100 drops of color

Color Right Food Coloring System

Featuring ultra-concentrated colors in squeezable bottles, the Color Right system will give you bright and vibrant reds without compromising consistency. The Red and Crimson base colors are included in the full Color Right collection but can also be purchased individually.

Red Base Color

  • Light Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 10 drops of color
  • Medium Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 20 drops of color
  • Dark Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 80 drops of color

Crimson Base Color

  • Light Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 10 drops of color
  • Medium Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 40 drops of color
  • Dark Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 80 drops of color

Icing Colors

These jar icing colors make it super easy to mix your own color combinations. We have three shades of red in this format: Christmas Red, Red-Red and No-Taste Red.

Christmas Red Icing Color

  • Light Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + ¼ teaspoon of color
  • Medium Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 1 teaspoon of color
  • Dark Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 1 tablespoon of color

Red-Red Icing Color

  • Light Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + ¼ teaspoon of color
  • Medium Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 1 teaspoon of color
  • Dark Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 1 tablespoon of color

Red (No Taste) Icing Color

  • Light Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + ¼ teaspoon of color
  • Medium Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 1 teaspoon of color
  • Dark Shade: 1 cup white buttercream icing + 1 tablespoon of color

For Small Amounts of Icing (less than 1 cup):

If you need less than 1 cup of red icing for your project, we suggest using one of our pre-colored red icing pouches or tubes. We have several varieties to best suit your needs.

Red Icing Pouch with Tips

This icing pouch also includes two decorating tips (round and star tip) for easy and convenient decorating.

Red Ready-to-Use Icing Tube

This tube is like having a decorating bag filled with icing ready to go! Simply use a coupler to attach any standard-sized Wilton decorating tip to the end of this tube and you’re ready to decorate.

Red Cookie Icing

This quick-setting icing is great for decorating sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies. The cap of this bottle also acts as a small round tip to help you pipe messages, borders, dots and more.

Red Ready-to-Use Gel Tube or Red Sparkle Gel

Need to write a quick message on your cake or add a few red decorations? These gel tubes will get the job done in no time. Use the regular gel tube for a solid red icing or try the Sparkle Gel to add a little shimmer and shine!

Helpful Hints:

  • Using a buttercream recipe with a high yellow dye content (like an all-butter frosting or one made with butter-flavored shortening) might make it harder to get a true red result. Try using a recipe with no-flavor solid vegetable shortening instead or a combination of no-flavor shortening and butter.
  • For richer reds, try making your buttercream from scratch. Our buttercream frosting recipe is easy to color and tastes delicious!
  • You can also get a brighter red by using equal parts Red-Red and Christmas Red icing colors.
  • If possible, make your red icing a day or two ahead of time. The color will deepen as it sets, so a rich red will look even richer a few days later.
  • Using large amounts of red icing color might add a bitter taste to your icing. If that happens, add a little more flavoring, such as clear vanilla or no-color almond extract to balance the flavor. If you’re coloring a large amount of icing, we suggest using No-Taste Red, which will add all the color without compromising the taste.

How did your red icing turn out? Take a pic and tag us on Instagram @WiltonCakes.

Desiree Smith Desiree is the Public Relations Manager at Wilton. She spends her days monitoring media opportunities, working with newspaper, magazine and television contacts, collaborating with bloggers and handling a variety of other odds and ends. Desiree has a degree in journalism and experience writing for newspapers and television. Outside of Wilton, she enjoys running and planning outings with friends.

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