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How To Color Swiss Buttercream

I’m sharing How to Color Swiss Buttercream with gel food colors.

cake decorated with rainbow buttercream ruffles on a cake stand


Swiss Buttercream is known for being notoriously difficult to color. Especially if you want to achieve beautiful bright and rich tones.

Have you ever tried to color Swiss Buttercream with gel food colors? If you have then you’d probably ran into the same problem I had encountered over 7 years ago.

colored swiss buttercream in piping bags

I remember I was trying to color Swiss Meringue Buttercream with leaf green coloring and though I was getting green it wasn’t bright green. It was muted and no matter how much gel color I added it only became worse.

Buttercream was turning into a dull dark green mess with tiny little dark beads. I didn’t understand why it was happening.

Then, just by a chance I found out that heat can remedy this issue. How do I mean? It’s quite simple really.


Before I jump into a tutorial here are few Swiss Buttercream Cakes I made in the past. I employed the heat coloring method to create rainbow, bright purple, pastel and even black buttercream.


  • Start with a room temperature Swiss Buttercream.
  • Take about 1/4 cup of buttercream and add gel food coloring.
  • Mix well, notice how color is dull and not bright.
swiss butterceam in a bowl
americolor green leaf food color in a large bottle
green swiss buttercream
  • Microwave 1/4 cup of dull green buttercream on high for 5-8 seconds. Buttercream will be melted, don’t panic.
  • Quickly and thoroughly mix it. You’ll notice color will be deeper and brighter. Pour microwaved portion into the uncolored buttercream and mix it well.
  • If needed repeat this step. Until desired color is achieved.
warm buttercream
green colored swiss buttercream
  • Purple buttercream can be tricky to make with ready to use purple food coloring.
  • I use Electric Pink and Sky Blue Americolor Gels to make purple icing.
  • Once you achieve the color you need let the buttercream rest for a little bit. This helps to develop the color further.
  • If buttercream appears too soft refrigerate for 30 minutes.
purple swiss buttercream
purple swiss buttercream in a bowl


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  1. I cannot thank you enough for this colouring trick for meringue based icing. This tip is life changing and has completely eliminated my stress working with these icings. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us.

  2. Hi, I added the gel food coloring to the room temperature buttercream and mixed, not knowing it would ruin the buttercream and form the beads. Do you have any advice on what I should do to fix this? It’s my first time making this.

    1. Hi Amanda,
      I’d suggest using the coloring method I used here. Take little bit of “ruined” buttercream and heat it up in the microwave and then stir well, see what happens, then add it to the remaining buttercream. Etc.

  3. Do you think it would work the same if you added the color in the egg white and sugar heating step? Just curious.

    1. Hi Jacqueline,
      that’s a great question and a great idea. I haven’t personally tried it. I wonder if adding color to meringue while it’s still warm would work and then adding butter after. I haven’t
      tried it myself though.

    1. If you don’t have a microwave you could heat an oven safe dish, for example a ramekin in the oven. When it’s warm add a small amount of heavily colored buttercream and whisk it. Residual heat of ramekin will help with the color transformation. It will also become liquid just like it would in the microwave. Add it to the uncolored buttercream and whisk well. Repeat if necessary. Hope it helps.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I’d just use royal blue gel food coloring. Or if you are worried that you might end up using too much of it you an also use oil based food colors.

  4. I just want to say the BIGGEST THANK YOU for this tip. It is life changing as a baker! I love SMBC but have never been able to get past the beading of gel colouring! I’ve tried so many different brands thinking it’s the brands fault, but this changes everything! I can finally get vibrant colours with SMBC. Thank you so so much! Really appreciate this tip! 🙂

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