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Homemade Sprinkles

Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow sprinkles mixed and individual colors

My husband is obsessed with sprinkles.  His favorite cake is actually funfetti because he loves sprinkles so much (a little surprising for a foodie, but it’s true).  Have you ever eaten store-bought sprinkles though?  They taste disgusting!  My “childhood self” remembers them tasting ok, but my “adult self” hates them.  To have some sprinkles in the house that I could actually eat, I decided to make my own homemade sprinkles. 

Benefits for making your own sprinkles:
Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow sprinkles
  1. You can make them any color your heart desires.  Do you need a certain shade of blue to go with your theme, but the store doesn’t sell that color?  No problem…make your own!
  2. You can use any kind of coloring you want.  Do you like vibrant colors?  You can use gel food coloring to get deep sprinkle colors.  Do you prefer to use natural food coloring because you want to avoid dyes?  Then this recipe is perfect because you can use natural food coloring.
  3. You can customize the shape of your sprinkles.  Do you have jimmies but you wanted circles?  Would a heart sprinkle be perfect for a Valentine’s Day cookie?  This recipe can be piped into as many shapes and designs as you can imagine. 
  4. You can add flavoring to the sprinkles.  Would mint flavored sprinkles be the perfect addition to your chocolate cupcake?  Maybe you want each color to have its own flavor?  It’s easy to customize the flavor of sprinkles with different flavored extracts.  Just a reminder, a little goes a long way. 
  5. You get some bragging rights.  Who wouldn’t be impressed by homemade sprinkles?

Whatever your reason, you can follow the tutorial below for your own homemade sprinkles!

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Ingredients for Homemade Sprinkles
Homemade Sprinkles Ingredients
Special Equipment
Making the Homemade Sprinkle Mixture

Place the larger amount of powdered sugar, egg white, salt, and vanilla into a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water (i.e., a double boiler).  Stir the ingredients together with a silicone spatula to form a paste.  Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 150°F/65°C on an instant-read thermometer. 

Remove the bowl from the double boiler and pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can keep it in the double boiler bowl and beat with a hand mixer).  Use the paddle attachment to beat in the remaining “smaller amount” of powdered sugar until the mixture is fluffy and smooth. 

Homemade Sprinkles Paste

The sprinkle mixture should be a thick paste.  Almost like soft playdoh. 

This mixture is essentially a royal icing using fresh egg whites instead of meringue powder (essentially dried egg whites).  My royal icing recipe would be perfect for making these sprinkles as well.  You have two options at this point:

Option 1:
Homemade Sprinkles Paste

Use the paste to make sprinkles that hold a 3-D shape very well.  Many of the homemade sprinkle recipes end up with sprinkles that are flat strips instead of rounded “jimmies.”  I really wanted to make a sprinkle that would stay round on all sides.  Because the paste is stiff, you will NOT be able to pipe it.  Trust me on this.  My hands tried AND failed.  What I used instead was my clay extruder to pipe rounded strings.  I only use this clay extruder for decorating with food.  Do not use an extruder that has previously had clay in it (even if you cleaned it). 

Option 2:

Add small amounts of water at a time (e.g., ¼ tsp at a time) and mix until you have a thick pipeable consistency.  You want the mixture to be as thick as possible so that the sprinkle will hold its shape better and not flatten completely.  The texture should be similar to peanut butter (i.e., you can put a knife in and it will stay standing without leaning on the edge of the bowl). 

If the perfect 3-D sprinkle is what you’re after, this recipe is for you.  If you would prefer to pipe your sprinkles, you can either use this recipe or my popular royal icing to get the perfect piped sprinkle.  

Coloring and Flavoring the Homemade Sprinkles
Coloring Homemade Sprinkles Paste

Regardless of the method you use, divide the sprinkle mixture into the desired number of colors and add food coloring and flavorings.  In my case, I divided it evenly into 8 bowls to make rainbow sprinkles.  If all of your sprinkles have the same flavor, you can add the flavoring when mixing in the powdered sugar. 

Coloring Homemade Sprinkles Paste

Just a word to the wise, flavorings and food dyes can be VERY strong.  Too much can easily make something taste artificial or the color too dark3.  Start with a few drops and add more if there isn’t enough.  You can always add more, but it can’t be removed once it’s mixed in. 

Mix in the colors until there are no remaining streaks.  Cover each bowl with plastic wrap until you are ready to use it.  This will keep the mixture from drying out. 

Using Clay Extruder to Make Homemade Sprinkles
Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow Sprinkles

To make sprinkles using the clay extruder, roll the paste into a log that is slightly smaller than the circumference of the extruder.  Push the log gently into the tube until it is almost full.  Add the die in the front (I used the one with a single small circle, but you can use whatever shape you want for your sprinkles).  Close the extruder and slowly push the paste through the hole to get a strip of extruded sprinkles.  I did this over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 

Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow Sprinkles

Continue this same process with all of the remaining colors.  I cleaned the extruder tube between colors to ensure there wouldn’t be any color bleeding.  It was as simple as wiping with a damp cloth.  Try not to let any of the sprinkle mixture dry while it’s in the extruder.  It’s easier to clean when it’s wet.  If any of the mixture dries in or on the tube, you can clean it by running the tube under hot water.  The water will melt the sugar in the tube and then you can wipe it clean. 

Piping Sprinkles

If you chose to thin the icing, then place each sprinkle color into its own piping bag.  You can choose to use piping tips or you can cut a small hole in the tip of the bag. 

Piping Homemade Sprinkles

Pipe the sprinkles in straight lines (or your desired shape) onto a sheet of parchment paper.  I like to keep the parchment paper in a sheet pan so it’s easy to move the sprinkles while they’re drying.

If the mixture is flattening into a strip while piping, you can return the mixture to the bowl and add a small amount of powdered sugar to thicken it. 

Drying the Sprinkles

Allow the sprinkles to dry at least overnight (i.e., 8 hours).  They might require less time or more time depending on the amount of moisture in the mixture.  Do not use the sprinkles until they have dried completely. 

Storing Sprinkles
Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow Sprinkles in Strips and Jimmies

Gather the “sprinkle sticks” and cut them into the desired size. 

Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow sprinkles

Place the finished sprinkles into an airtight container.  I like to reuse cleaned glass spice jars exactly for this purpose.  The sprinkles will keep for at least a year at room temperature. 

Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow sprinkles

Now, that you have your own stash of homemade sprinkles, they can be added to anything you want.  Keep an eye out for how I’m going to add them to a classic ice cream treat!

What is your favorite way to use sprinkles?  Do you add them to cakes and cookies to make them funfetti?  Do you like to use them solely as decoration? 

Homemade Sprinkles - White, blue, pink, and purple sprinkles
Did you make this recipe?
Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow sprinkles mixed and individual colors

I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving your thoughts below. Or snap a photo and share it on Pinterest or Instagram (@windycitybaker).

Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow sprinkles
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Homemade Sprinkles

Prep Time30 mins
Course: Dessert

Equipment

  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Clay extruder (optional)
  • Piping bags, tips (e.g., #2 Wilton tip), and coupler

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (220g) powdered sugar, sifted (larger amount)
  • ¼ cup (30g) powdered sugar, sifted (smaller amount)
  • ¼ tsp (1.8g) salt
  • 1 large (30g) egg white
  • 1 tsp (4.7g) vanilla extract
  • 1-3 tsp (5.5-16.5g) water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Extracts (optional)

Instructions

Making the Homemade Sprinkle Mixture

  • Place the larger amount of powdered sugar, egg white, salt, and vanilla into a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water (i.e., a double boiler).  Stir the ingredients together with a silicone spatula to form a paste.  Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 150°F/65°C on an instant-read thermometer. 
  • Remove the bowl from the double boiler and pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can keep it in the double boiler bowl and beat with a hand mixer).  Use the paddle attachment to beat in the remaining “smaller amount” of powdered sugar until the mixture is fluffy and smooth.  The sprinkle mixture should be a thick paste.  Almost like soft playdoh. 
  • This mixture is essentially a royal icing using fresh egg whites instead of meringue powder (essentially dried egg whites).  My royal icing recipe would be perfect for making these sprinkles as well.  You have two options at this point:

Option 1

  • Use the paste as-is to make sprinkles that hold a 3-D shape very well.  This sprinkle will stay round on all sides.  Because the paste is stiff, you will NOT be able to pipe it.  Use a clay extruder to pipe rounded strings.  Do not use an extruder that has previously had clay in it (even if you cleaned it).  It should only be one used exclusively for food decorating.

Option 2

  • Add small amounts of water at a time (e.g., ¼ tsp at a time) and mix until you have a thick pipeable consistency.  You want the mixture to be as thick as possible so that the sprinkle will hold its shape better and not flatten completely.  The texture should be similar to peanut butter (i.e., you can put a knife in and it will stay standing without leaning on the edge of the bowl). 

Coloring and Flavoring the Homemade Sprinkles

  • Regardless of the method you use, divide the sprinkle mixture into the desired number of colors and add food coloring and flavorings.  If all of your sprinkles have the same flavor, you can add the flavoring when mixing in the powdered sugar. 
  • Just a word to the wise, flavorings and food dyes can be VERY strong.  Too much can easily make something taste artificial or the color too dark.  Start with a few drops and add more if there isn’t enough.  You can always add more, but it can’t be removed once it’s mixed in. 
  • Mix in the colors until there are no remaining streaks.  Cover each bowl with plastic wrap until you're ready to use it.  This will keep the mixture from drying out. 

Using Clay Extruder to Make Homemade Sprinkles

  • To make sprinkles using the clay extruder, roll the paste into a log that is slightly smaller than the circumference of the extruder.  Push the log gently into the tube until it's almost full.  Add the die in the front (I used the one with a single small circle, but you can use whatever shape you want for your sprinkles).  Close the extruder and slowly push the paste through the hole to get a strip of extruded sprinkles.  I did this over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 
  • Continue this same process with all of the remaining colors.  I cleaned the extruder tube between colors to ensure there wouldn’t be any color bleeding.  It was as simple as wiping with a damp cloth.  Try not to let any of the sprinkle mixture dry while it’s in the extruder.  It’s easier to clean when it’s wet.  If any of the mixture dries in or on the tube, you can clean it by running the tube under hot water.  The water will melt the sugar in the tube and then you can wipe it clean. 

Piping Sprinkles

  • If you chose to thin the icing, then place each sprinkle color into its own piping bag.  You can choose to use piping tips or you can cut a small hole in the tip of the bag. 
  • Pipe the sprinkles in straight lines (or your desired shape) onto a sheet of parchment paper.  I like to keep the parchment paper in a sheet pan so it’s easy to move the sprinkles while they’re drying.
  • If the mixture is flattening into a strip while piping, you can return the mixture to the bowl and add a small amount of powdered sugar to thicken it. 

Drying the Sprinkles

  • Allow the sprinkles to dry at least overnight (i.e., 8 hours).  They might require less time or more time depending on the amount of moisture in the mixture.  Do not use the sprinkles until they have dried completely. 

Storing Sprinkles

  • Gather the “sprinkle sticks” and cut them into the desired size. 
  • Place the finished sprinkles into an airtight container.  The sprinkles will keep for at least a year at room temperature. 
Homemade Sprinkles - Rainbow sprinkles
Notes
  1. I prefer to use gel food coloring because the colors can be intense without needing to add a large amount (which is typically necessary with liquid food coloring).  You can also use food coloring powders or even natural dyes if you would like. (Back to “Ingredients” section)
  2. You can use any extracts you want to flavor your sprinkles.  I used a small amount of almond extract, but there are a ton of extracts to choose from (e.g., flavors from LorAnn or Silver Cloud Estates. (Back to “Ingredients” section)
  3. Some food coloring can also impart flavor.  Reds are notorious for having a bitter flavor (I definitely added too much red and those sprinkles are not as tasty as the other ones).  Natural food coloring can add flavoring as well since they are derived from different foods. (Back to “Coloring and Flavoring” section).
  4. This recipe was adapted from the “Rainbow Sprinkles” recipe in Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks.  

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe rules! I am just starting out with baking and I have been so disappointed with store bought jimmies, they all taste terrible now. I am so glad I found your website; your sprinkle recipe makes for magical little bites of deliciousness 🙂 The clay extruder worked perfectly and I made a beautiful pastel funfetti cake with my homemade sprinkles! Thank you for creating this recipe.

    1. I’m so glad you like the recipe! I agree that most store bought sprinkles taste really gross and leave a greasy film in your mouth after chewing them. I remember them tasting better when I was younger, but my tastes have definitely changed as I’ve gotten older.

    1. Hi Mary,
      I would think the holes of a ricer could be used, but I’m not sure that the length of the sprinkles would be very long. I would guess they would be more the size and shape of small balls. However, I’ve never tried that before and I could be completely wrong. Also, the hole size might be a little different, but as long as the sprinkle dough can be pushed through, you would be able to make sprinkles. Send me a picture of the sprinkles if you make them with a ricer. I’d love to see what they look like!

      Sara

  2. My, soon to be, 30 year old daughter has asked for a homemade funfetti cake for her birthday! Can these sprinkles be used in the cake as well as on it? Thanks you!

    1. Hi Marci,
      Happy Birthday to your daughter! These can definitely be used in a funfetti cake. Just fold them in at the very end (like you would with normal sprinkles) so the color doesn’t bleed into the cake batter.

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