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What colors make burgundy frosting?

Burgundy frosting is a rich, deep red color that is perfect for accenting cakes and cupcakes. When making burgundy frosting at home, you can create the ideal shade by mixing together complementary colors. With some experimentation, you can find the right color combination to achieve a stunning burgundy frosting. In this article, we’ll explore what food colors can be blended to create beautiful burgundy frosting for your baking projects.

Primary Colors for Burgundy Frosting

The primary colors to use when making burgundy frosting are red and blue. By adjusting the amounts of each and experimenting with adding small amounts of other colors, you can customize the burgundy tone. Here are some tips for using red and blue to achieve burgundy:

  • Start with a red gel food coloring as the base.
  • Add a small amount of blue gel food coloring, a little at a time, until you reach the desired burgundy shade.
  • Too much blue will make the frosting more purple. Add more red if this happens.
  • Liquid food coloring can also be used, but gels provide more color intensity.

The exact ratio of red to blue food coloring will depend on the brands and intensity of the colors you use. Be prepared to tweak until you find the perfect blend.

Secondary Colors to Enhance Burgundy

While red and blue make the foundation, adding a touch of secondary colors can bring more depth and dimension to burgundy frosting. Here are some colors to experiment with:

  • Purple – Just a small amount of purple deepens the red tones and brings out the burgundy color.
  • Brown – A tiny touch of brown adds an earthy quality and cuts the intense red hue.
  • Orange – A dash of orange brightens the red shade for a more vibrant burgundy.
  • Black – For a very deep, dark burgundy, add a tiny amount of black.

Start with just a toothpick swirl of any secondary shade and add more as needed. Too much will dull or muddy the burgundy color.

Achieving the Perfect Burgundy Frosting Color

Making frosting the ideal burgundy shade requires some trial and error. Here are some tips:

  • Mix food colors in small bowls first to test shades before adding to frosting.
  • Keep note of color ratios that work for replicating the color.
  • Add more frosting to lighten color or extra food coloring to deepen it.
  • View frosting in natural light to ensure accurate color.
  • Work with American buttercream or cream cheese frosting for best color vibrancy.
  • If dyeing frosting burgundy, mix gel colors with vodka for most concentrated hues.

Adjust the color balance until you love the resulting tone. The extra effort is worth it for stunning burgundy frosting.

Recommended Food Color Brands

For achieving the most vivid and true burgundy shades, use high-quality food coloring gels or pastes from brands like:

  • Americolor
  • Wilton
  • Ateco
  • Chefmaster

Their concentrated colors allow you to add the precise amount needed for perfect burgundy frosting every time.

Food Color Amounts for Burgundy Frosting

As a starting guide, here are suggested amounts of gel food colors to mix for a vivid burgundy frosting to frost 24 cupcakes:

Color Amount
Red 1 tbsp
Blue 1 tsp
Purple 1/4 tsp
Orange 1/8 tsp

This provides a balanced, rich burgundy coloring. Adjust to your own taste and needs. More or less frosting will require adjusting the amount of food coloring.

How Lighting Affects Burgundy Frosting

The lighting you view the burgundy frosting in will impact how the color is perceived. Here is how different lighting affects the shade:

Lighting Color Effect
Natural sunlight Provides the truest color
Warm incandescent Makes the burgundy look slightly more red/orange
Cool fluorescent Adds a slightly more blue/purple tone
LED Intensifies the burgundy color

View your burgundy frosting in natural light when mixing food colors for the most accurate representation of the shade. But realize it may appear slightly different under indoor lighting conditions.

Tinting Vanilla Frosting Burgundy

If you want to tint vanilla frosting burgundy rather than starting with a white base, you’ll need to account for the original color. Here are some tips:

  • Add food coloring slowly and gradually until desired shade is reached.
  • Limit yellow and orange shades since vanilla frosting already has warm tones.
  • Stick with red, blue, purple more to cool down the frosting to burgundy.
  • Use an extra pinch of blue and purple to counteract yellow vanilla undertones.
  • Too much food coloring can thin out frosting consistency.

It may take extra effort, but you can transform vanilla frosting into a stunning burgundy color.

Troubleshooting Burgundy Frosting Issues

If your burgundy frosting turns out too light, dark, muddy or purple, here are some troubleshooting tips:

Issue Solution
Too light Add more red, blue and purple dye
Too dark Add more frosting or orange dye
Muddy color Add a touch more red or blue
Too purple Mix in more red dye

Don’t be afraid to keep adding colors gradually until your frosting matches your ideal burgundy tone.

DIY vs. Store-Bought Burgundy Food Coloring

For convenience, you can purchase pre-made burgundy food coloring gels. But with some red, blue and purple dye, you can easily mix up the perfect custom burgundy shade at home.

DIY Coloring Store-Bought Coloring
Lets you control the exact color tone Provides uniform, consistent color
Very affordable Slightly more expensive
Requires trial and error mixing Quick and easy to use
Can reproduce color indefinitely Need to repurchase color when out

If you bake often, mixing up your own burgundy dye allows endless customization. But pre-made dyes can offer reliable results for occasional baking. Either option can produce beautiful burgundy frosting.

How to Store Leftover Burgundy Frosting

To save leftover frosting colored burgundy for later use, store it properly to retain the beautiful color. Here are some storage tips:

  • Place frosting in an airtight container in a single layer to prevent coloring transfer.
  • If planning to reuse, avoid direct contact with plasticwrap or bags.
  • Refrigerate up to 3-5 days to prevent mold.
  • Let refrigerated frosting come to room temperature before reusing.
  • Avoid freezing, as thawing will negatively impact texture.
  • If reheating, microwave in short increments, stirring gently.
  • Add milk, cream or powdered sugar to loosen if needed.

With proper storage, you can enjoy your homemade burgundy frosting again and avoid waste.

Burgundy Frosting Uses and Ideas

Burgundy frosting is perfect for dressing up treats for autumn holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Here are some ways to use it:

  • Cupcakes or cake – Frost with burgundy for seasonal flair
  • Cookies – Pipe burgundy details on sugar cookies
  • Macarons – Fill or top with coordinating burgundy ganache
  • Cake pops – Dip in burgundy chocolate for a themed look
  • Donuts – Glaze or decorate donuts with ombre burgundy icing
  • Meringues – Make into burgundy-tipped mushrooms

Let your creativity run wild with burgundy frosting! The color is perfect for Halloween witches’ hats, fall leaf accents, or elegant wine-hued desserts.


Achieving the perfect burgundy frosting color may take some experimentation with amounts of red, blue, and purple food dye. But the gorgeous, deep red hue is worth the effort. With the right color combinations and quality gel dyes, you can easily whip up burgundy frosting at home to make your holiday treats stand out. So unlock your inner mad scientist and get mixing reds and blues until you concoct a luscious burgundy worthy of your next baking masterpiece.