Valentine's Day

5 Alternatives to Red Food Coloring

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

It’s Valentine’s Day; break out the Red No. 40! Seriously, though, the day is accompanied by a slew of artificially-colored red and pink foods. But if you’d like to stay away from the fake stuff, here are a few alternatives to consider for your homemade Valentine’s Day treats:

1. Hibiscus flowers steeped in a bit of hot water until cooled
2. Boiled cranberries (as outlined at
3. Red beet juice
4. Red beet powder
5. Pomegranate juice

Some of these colorants will affect flavor more than others, but that might not be unwanted: imagine a hint of pomegranate in the icing on chocolate cupcakes! Do you have other tried and true methods of making your own red or pink food coloring? Please share in the comments!

Related: Recipe Roundup: Make It a Red Velvet Valentine’s Day!