Homemade Sprinkles

This recipe was created by America’s Test Kitchen Kids. Learn how to make your own sprinkles in all of your favorite colors and flavors. Be sure to use gel food coloring in this recipe. The sprinkles come out best if you stick with only warm colors (such as red, yellow, and orange) OR only cool colors (such as blue, green, and purple). Mixing warm and cool colors results in a brown color. You can substitute other flavored extracts for the vanilla.

Safety Considerations: No safety considerations

Difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 1 hour active time, plus 8 hours drying time

Prepare Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 4–6 teaspoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Yellow gel food coloring
  • Pink (or red) gel food coloring (or your favorite colors!)

Gather Equipment:

  • 2–4 cookie sheets or rimmed baking sheets
  • 2–4 pieces parchment paper
  • 3 bowls (1 medium, 2 small)
  • Small rubber spatula
  • Pastry bag
  • Small round pastry tip (No. 3 Round Decorating Tip)
  • Scissors
  • Drinking glass
  • Bench scraper
  • Airtight storage container

Get Started

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use rubber spatula to mix together confectioners’ sugar, 4 teaspoons milk, vanilla extract, and salt in medium bowl, scraping down bowl as needed, until smooth icing forms, 1 to 2 minutes (icing will be very thick). If icing is too thick to stir, add extra milk, ¼ teaspoon at a time, until icing becomes smooth.

2. Divide icing evenly among bowls, leaving one-third of icing in original bowl (you should have 3 bowls of frosting). Use spatula to stir 2 to 4 drops yellow food coloring into 1 bowl of icing. Clean spatula or spoon before mixing next color. Stir 2 to 4 drops pink or red food coloring into second bowl of icing. Keep 1 bowl of icing white.

3. Prepare pastry bag: Use scissors to cut 1 inch off bottom corner of pastry bag. Fold top of pastry bag out and halfway down. Insert pastry tip through bag so tip is peeking out of snipped bag corner.

4. Transfer white icing to pastry bag: Stand bag upright in drinking glass (with tip touching bottom of glass). Use spatula to scrape white icing into bag. Remove bag from glass and unfold cuff. Use bench scraper to push frosting down toward tip. Twist top of bag nice and tight so there’s no air between frosting and top of bag.

5. Hold pastry bag so it’s standing straight up, perpendicular to baking sheet, with tip about 1 inch from parchment paper. With 1 hand, squeeze pastry bag above twist to steadily push icing out of bag. At same time, move bag from one end of parchment paper to other end. Continue piping lines of icing until you run out of white icing. You should pipe lines close together —  just make sure they don’t touch. (Don’t worry if your lines aren’t perfectly straight or if the line of icing breaks. After they dry, you’re are going to break up the lines of icing into sprinkles, anyway! Also, remember to take breaks — your hand might get tired!)

6. Use bench scraper to push as much of white icing down toward tip as possible. Stand bag upright in drinking glass (with tip touching bottom of glass) and fold top of bag out and down, over edge of glass. Use spatula to transfer yellow icing to pastry bag. Remove bag from glass and unfold cuff. Use bench scraper to scrape yellow icing down toward tip and twist top of bag tightly.

7. Continue piping lines of icing across parchment, moving to second parchment-lined baking sheet when you run out of room on first sheet. Use all of yellow icing.

8. Use bench scraper to push as much of yellow icing down toward tip as possible. Stand bag upright in drinking glass (with tip touching bottom of glass) and fold top of bag out and down, over edge of glass. Use spatula to transfer pink or red icing to pastry bag. Remove bag from glass and unfold cuff. Use bench scraper to scrape pink or red icing down toward tip and twist top of bag tightly.

9. Continue piping lines of icing across parchment paper, moving to third parchment-lined baking sheet when you run out of room on second sheet. Use all of pink or red icing.

10. Set baking sheets aside in cool, dry place. Let lines of icing dry at room temperature until they are fully hardened, at least 8 hours or overnight.

11. Once icing is fully dry, roll up parchment the long way (with icing lines facing inside). Use your hands to gently squeeze parchment paper roll, breaking up icing lines into approximately ¼- to ½-inch sprinkles. Turn parchment paper roll upright over airtight container, perpendicular to counter, and slide sprinkles into container. Use bench scraper to scrape off any sprinkles stuck to parchment and scoop up any sprinkles that fell out and transfer them to container.

12. Sprinkles can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Looking for more kid-friendly activities to do at home? Check out our other Adventure Kids Camp activities!