Add Color to Chips & Crackers













Curry Papadam Chips, Green Split Pea & Onion Chips, Corn Chips,  Whole Grain Rye Crackers, and Whole Grain Garlic Chips (with red cabbage coloring). Recipes are from Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers. Photo by Jeffery B. Kahn

Whether you’re making these at home, or a professional caterer or chef, adding color to crackers and chips makes them even more appealing.  That’s why industrial products add chemical colors in the USA (not in Europe or Great Britain though, because the health care system and food regulation is so much better there).

But you can add natural colors using lentil, dal, wild rice, corn, and bean flours, which not only adds color, but even more fiber and protein, and different vitamins and minerals, than grains.  You can also use water colored from boiled cabbage or beets, and so on.

Please let me know if you’ve got a way to add color that I haven’t listed below so the additional tips can be shared with everyone.

Because baking browns chips and crackers, the colors are warmly muted and subtle.  That bright pink beet water is not going to result in a “Cat in the Hat” bright pink cracker, but rather an attractive dark red tinge.


  • Grain: corn flour, 1 Tablespoon whole millet
  • Bean flour: yellow split peas, garbanzo, yellow dal
  • Spice: curry powder, turmeric, lemon zest
  • liquid:


  • Grain: red quinoa
  • Bean: red dal or red lentils
  • Spice: red spices for a darker orange, yellow spices for a lighter orange
  • Liquid: condensed orange or mango juice, water from boiled orange beets


  • Spice: paprika, tandoori masala, fajita spice mix, chili powder, cayenne
  • Grain: red quinoa
  • Bean: red dal
  • Liquid: water from boiled red beets or red cabbage.  Red wine.


  • Spice: Italian seasoning, pesto, etc
  • Bean: green split peas


Blueberries didn’t work– they make a reddish juice that browning overwhelms.


Black to Dark Grey

  • Grain: Wild rice or Chinese forbidden black rice
  • Seeds: poppy and black sesame


  • Soy sauce (1 T) instead of salt
  • Molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup
  • Cocoa powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • coffee grounds or coffee instead of water

If you’re making dessert crackers you can always scatter vivid colored sprinkles and sugars if that’s what you want to do…


About Alice

I've milled and baked with whole grains for many years, because whole grains are delicious, and white flour is missing the nutrition that protects you from cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases. Plus it's a good emergency food.
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