Color dried pasta with Food Coloring

As I overhear my husband talk to his sister about letting the kids do a pasta art project I got excited and thought I would try using food coloring to give the kids more color to play with. When googling I read alcohol or vinegar can be used. I decided to follow this but used vinegar instead.

I’m going to start with a few things to keep in mind.
1) Pasta with groves did not take well.
2) I found that thiner flatter pastas like the shells turned to mush quickly.
3) I had a red and pink food coloring, both turned out pink.
4) the directions say 10 drops to a 1/4 cup, I wanted a lighter purple so I used less drops (6-8). For the red I used 15 drops and it still turned out pink.
5) When the pasta is soaking, turn the bags owner several times, I think I did that every 10 min or so. This is more critical with the darker colors, if the pasta isn’t flipped you will get parts of the pasta that don’t take the color.
6) You should also flip the pasta as it drys after a few hours.
7) Use gloves if you don’t want to get food coloring on them!

Now that I have that over, let’s get started! I used 6 different types of pasta, and was planning on doing eight different colors (after playing with a few colors, I ended up with five plus the extras as not colored). I first split the pasta in individual bags, one bag per color and type.


Then I put the pasta from one bag at a time in a bowl. I put the 1/4 measuring cup in the bag and poured the vinegar in the cup and dumped the measuring cup in the bag as I took it out. Add the number of food coloring drops, close the bag and swish it around to mix the color. Dump the pasta in, shake after closing and lay flat in a bowl. You will need the bowl, the food coloring will leak, they are plastic bags after all!



Then, flip the bags over every ten minutes or so. Leave them in one to two hours. As you flip the bags you can get a feel for how the color is taking and how mushy the pasta is getting. I had two bags of shells go mushy to the point I had yo toss them. Rinse the pasta and spread on one to two layers of paper towel.

Some pasta will take to the food coloring better than others. I found the groves in pasta didn’t work as well.

So I decided to not rinse some of the rigatoni pasta, it seamed to help.

I also noticed with some of the pasta, if I just flipped some spots would be un-colored that were touching the other pasta, so I shook some of the pasta as I flipped it.


It seamed to take a while to dry, after checking on most of the pasta after sitting overnight I found the parts facing the paper towel were still wet. Some of the pasta I moved into open plastic containers to continue to to dry, others that flipped over to continue to dry longer. I also plan to leave the pasta open for several days to finish drying. One thing you will notice is some of the pasta will dry darker, or more even. See some examples of this below, the top images are the wet pasta, the bottom is after sitting over night.


When all is said and done, two batches and three days later we have pasta! I’m really excited with how the different colors turned out, I’m just sad my pink is red or my red is pink.

All you need is food coloring, vinegar, dried pasta, and time!


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