NutriPro Simple & Authentic - 10 tips for cooking with colour

Monday, November 25, 2019

We already know that colour appeals to people's visual senses, but did you know it can also affect the way they experience its flavour?

One study showed that adding food colouring can deliver as much as 10% more perceived sweetness1. Another showed that adding food colouring to a clear solution changed the way people detected basic tastes in the solution2.


YELLOW: reduced the detection threshold for sourness and increased the threshold for the detection of sweetness.

GREEN: decreased people’s detection of sweetness.

RED: reduced the threshold for the detection of bitterness2.


10 tips for cooking with colour:

  1. Use fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables to add pigment, or complement pale foods with bright sauces like green pesto or mango salsa.
  2. Keep the flavour profile of pigments in mind when adding them to dishes to make sure they don’t clash.
  3. Blend fresh or cooked berries into batters or beverages to make them pink, purple, or blue.
  4. Freeze-dry fruits and grind to a powder for a shelf-stable dye you can mix into frostings or beverages.
  5. Cook and puree beets, spinach, or squash and work it into pasta to turn it red, green, or orange.
  6. Ask your fishmonger for squid ink that you can add to pasta, rice, or bread to make it black. For a vegan option, you can also use charcoal powder as a black dye.
  7. Soak saffron in water for a rich golden hue, traditionally used in rice, paella, and bouillabaisse.
  8. Mix ground coffee or cocoa powder into icings for cakes and cookies.
  9. Add golden-yellow turmeric powder to brighten curry, eggs, meat, tofu, or potatoes.
  10. Stir in some dried spirulina (algae powder) to turn yogurt or ice cream a beautiful blue.



1Clydesdale FM, Gover R, Philipsen DH, Fugardi C.  The effect of color on thirst quenching, sweetness,  acceptability and flavor intensity in fruit punch  flavored beverages. J Food Qual. 1992;15:19–38.

2Maga JA. Influence of color on taste thresholds.  Chem Senses Flavor. 1974.