Watch How to Make Your Own Sprinkles

To gear up for the release of our new cookbook, Ice Cream & Friends, we're re-running a tutorial on how to make sprinkles—one of ice cream's best friends—with a bonus video! 


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When I was a little kid, I adored sprinkles. I would add them to absolutely every ice cream cone I ordered.

In the past few years, however, I found my love for sprinkles fading away. I blame the cheap bottles I used to buy at supermarkets; instead of the rainbow-colored sugar specks I remember from my childhood, supermarket sprinkles often come in faded primary colors and taste remarkably like nothing at all. 

But on my 25th birthday, my friend presented me with a homemade cake covered top to bottom with deep purple, forest green, and sapphire blue sprinkles that didn’t ruin the cake with a plastic flavor. In fact, these beautiful, delicious sprinkles tasted like sugar and vanilla. 

Her secret? These sprinkles were homemade. She shared her recipe with me (inherited from her mom, a pastry chef at a local restaurant in Portland), and since then, I haven’t turned back. I make my own sprinkles almost every time I decorate a cake. Not only are sprinkles incredibly easy to make, but you can also choose your own colors and flavors. 

Homemade Sprinkles

Makes around 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 egg white, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or any other extract, such as rose water, orange blossom water, peppermint)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Assorted food coloring

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine confectioner's sugar, egg white, extract, and salt. Mix the ingredients on low speed until a paste forms. The paste should have the consistency of liquid glue. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until all the confectioner's sugar is fully incorporated.

Divide the paste into as many portions as you have colors, tinting each batch with the color of the choice. Use a rubber spatula to stir the food coloring into the paste until it's an even color.

Transfer the different colored pastes into their own pastry bags, each fitted with a small pastry tip (Wilton's #2 or #3). Pipe out long, thin lines on a cookie or jelly roll pan, ensuring that the lines do not touch each other. Repeat the process with the remaining colors and allow the piped lines to set uncovered in a dry place for 24 hours.

Once the piped lines have dried completely, use a bench scraper or a butter knife to break the piped lines into short, sprinkle-sized pieces. Use immediately, or store in a dry, airtight container for up to 1 month.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Michelle Lopez

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • amyecampbell
  • Karen Oliver
    Karen Oliver
  • Jeni De La O
    Jeni De La O
  • alison brown
    alison brown
  • Kt4
Baker, blogger and photographer at I first started stress baking during my sophomore year of college and have not stopped since.


amyecampbell July 14, 2021
Use strong piping bags!!! I had a terrible time making these last night until I figured out I needed to double up on my cheap supermarket piping bags so they didn't burst. It's a thick 'icing' youre working with so it can hold a shape, but in too weak a piping bag the pressure required to pipe it is enough to burst the side of the bag.
Karen O. March 27, 2017
Are there any concerns about the egg being raw?
Jeni D. March 27, 2017
I wonder if this same formula could be sued to make edible confetti? Maybe spreading the mix out on parchment and letting it semi-set before scoring the circle shapes?
alison B. September 16, 2014
Hi! Just made these, and boy, do they taste good! Mine haven't even dried yet, but I will add that anyone who wants to make these should make this adjustment: If you are piping multiple colors, make sure to cover your other colors with plastic wrap while you are working! Getting it dried out before they are piped would be a disappointing waste of time! :) Thanks for the recipe! I'm making mine for my nearly 2 year old's birthday next Monday!! :)
Kt4 September 10, 2014
Allie M. April 13, 2014
Is there a way to make these without the egg? My son is allergic to eggs, but would love these.
Ally T. July 23, 2014
I need an egg-free version, too! My son is also allergic to eggs. :/
Sonja March 28, 2017
I know these comments were from quite a few years ago, but flax "eggs" are usually great substitutes in most recipes. Not sure how it would lend itself to this one (perhaps a very well ground flax would work?). Here is a like if you have never used this substitution before: Good luck!
Sonja March 28, 2017
Cookie16 March 7, 2014
This is why I love Food 52. What a great post! Not sure Ill ever do this but I'm thrilled to read this regardless - really fun! :)
Rhonda35 March 27, 2017
Yes, I agree! Probably won't ever make them but glad to know how!
Cynthia C. February 8, 2014
Whaaaa!! So so cool Michelle! I'm obsessed with this.
Kate |. February 7, 2014
I'm so pleased to have found this! Can't wait to give it a try this weekend.
maci B. February 7, 2014
I was just lamenting how fake store-bought sprinkles taste, because I wanted to sprinkle them on some donuts. This is so brilliant and timely :)
Rupal P. February 7, 2014
Looks tasty - essentially this is taking royal icing and piping it and breaking it??
Sini |. February 7, 2014
This is seriously amazing.
Yvonne K. February 7, 2014
Love this! I would have never thought to make my own, but this looks too fun not to try. The possibilities are endless!
Tom S. February 7, 2014
Is there any coloring available for me to use that is not the commercial food coloring that uses red dye 2(?) etc.? I think them harmless by my daughter does not, so grandson (4 yrs old) gets none and he - and I - like them on the biscotti we make together. Thanks for your consideration.
angie February 7, 2014
You could try beet powder. I've never used it but I know people who have, and it lends a slight earthy but not beety flavor & a lovely color.
Annielu H. February 7, 2014
Easy and natural food dye coloring with this easy recipe!
kelly M. February 7, 2014
India Tree makes all natural colorings.
Tom S. February 9, 2014
Thank you all.
Jas3 February 22, 2014
Whole foods sells a small pack of natural food colors.
molly Y. February 7, 2014
this is the best thing EVAR!!!!
Annielu H. February 7, 2014
Here's a video by Dulce Delight (an awesome food blog) on how to make natural food colouring only using FRUITS AND VEG!
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 7, 2014
I've always loved sprinkles. Sometimes if they're not available I will forgo ice cream all together. I'm not a baker, but always wondered how its made. My favorite is "real" chocolate flavored ones - in a silly cartoon shaped plastic bottle or Carvel. Saving this if I get the inspiration to give it a go!