How to Color White Chocolate

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To color chocolate, you'll need to melt it first. This is always a tricky process, and even more difficult with white chocolate, which burns easily. If possible, allow extra time to track down the right ingredients and work on a test batch.


[Edit]Setting Up

  1. Choose a white chocolate. The ingredient list should tell you whether a white chocolate is made with real cocoa butter, or with a cheaper vegetable oil substitute. Imitation products are less likely to seize (turn gritty) than chocolate made with real cocoa butter. Experts tend to back real chocolate in terms of taste, but some brands of imitation chocolate compete well in blind taste tests.[1]
    Color White Chocolate Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • Use freshly purchased chocolate. Chocolate suffers in flavor and texture when stored too long, especially if it's the real deal.
    • For detailed chocolate artwork, use a thin dipping or coating chocolate.
  2. Pick your food coloring. Even a drop of water can turn your melted chocolate into a gritty mess. For best results, buy powder or oil-based food coloring from a specialty baking store or online.[2] You can use the instructions below with regular liquid food coloring, but the process is much more difficult.
    Color White Chocolate Step 2 Version 4.jpg
    • Oil-based food coloring is best used for light colors, since too much of the coloring can add a bitter taste and stain mouths.[3]
    • These food dyes are more concentrated than liquid dyes. They will stain clothing, skin, and countertops.
  3. Warm oil-based coloring in advance. As though keeping the chocolate dry weren't difficult enough, chocolate can also seize if the food coloring is a different temperature than the chocolate. If you are using oil-based food coloring, raise it above room temperature first. (Keep other types at room temperature.)
    Color White Chocolate Step 3 Version 4.jpg
    • Place the closed bottle in a zip-locked bag. Remove as much air from the bag as you can, then seal tightly.
    • Submerge the bag in a bowl of warm water for 10–15 minutes. The water should feel comfortably warm to the touch, not scalding.
    • Shake the bottle once or twice during the process to distribute heat evenly. Replace water if it has cooled to room temperature.
    • Remove the bottle from the bag and dry it thoroughly.
  4. Bring a double boiler to a simmer. If you do not have a double boiler make one from a large pan, plus a heatproof mixing bowl or small pan that can sit atop the larger one. Start with just the large pan, uncovered. Heat 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 cm) of water until it reaches a low simmer.

    • Dry the top container and a stirring utensil thoroughly while you wait, even if they don't look wet. A rubber or silicone stirrer is ideal, since wooden spoons may contain absorbed moisture.[4]

[Edit]Melting and Coloring

  1. Decide when to add the food coloring. The timing depends on which type of food coloring you are using. Read the full instructions below before you start, since you may need to change the order of the steps:
    Color White Chocolate Step 5 Version 4.jpg
    • Add powdered dye as soon as the chocolate starts to melt.
    • You can add oil-based dye after the chocolate melts, as long as you warmed the dye as described above.
    • Liquid dye is less likely to cause seizing if added right away, before the chocolate melts.[5] (This is why there is no need to warm the dye in advance.)
  2. Place the chocolate in the smaller container. Put the chocolate into the top portion of the double boiler, which should still be at room temperature. Place this container on top of the simmering pan. The indirect heat from the steam will warm the chocolate slowly, keeping it below seizing temperature.

    • If using a chocolate bar, break it into small pieces of roughly equal size.
    • Make sure your hands are completely dry. Any moisture could ruin your chocolate.
    • If using chocolate with real cocoa butter, you may set aside 1/3 of the chocolate for later use. This is only necessary if you want your chocolates to look glossy.
  3. Stir until melted. White chocolate burns very easily, and should never get above 115ºF (46ºC).[6] Keep the heat on the lowest setting, or turn it off completely if melting a small batch of chocolate. Stir slowly and constantly until smooth, then remove from heat.

    • If the instructions above call for adding the dye before the chocolate is melted, see below for more information.
    • If melting a large batch of chocolate (several pounds or kilos), a chocolate thermometer or an instant-read thermometer with 1 degree increments is highly recommended.[7] Keep the chocolate between 100 and 110ºF (37–43ºC).[8]
  4. Add the dye slowly. Most powdered and oil-based food dyes are more concentrated than the common liquid type. Add in small increments and stir in thoroughly before deciding whether to add more.

    • Shake bottled food coloring well before adding.
    • If the chocolate seizes (turns gritty), remove it from heat and stir in a neutral-flavored vegetable oil a spoonful at a time. The chocolate will usually smooth out again, but this can affect the flavor.[9]
  5. Temper the chocolate (optional). If your white chocolate contains real cocoa butter, it may end up dull and slightly soft after melting and setting. This doesn't affect the taste, but you can restore the gloss if you like by "tempering" the chocolate. There are many ways to do this. Here's a common approach that doesn't require any extra equipment except an accurate thermometer:[10][11]

    • Remove the chocolate from heat and wrap a towel around the base to keep it warm.
    • Add chopped, unmelted chocolate until you have a ratio of 1 part unmelted chocolate to 2 parts melted.
    • Stir constantly until the chocolate reaches 80–82ºF (27–28ºC), and all the chocolate has melted.
  6. Let the chocolate set. Many chocolatiers cool their chocolate slowly at room temperature, so it is less likely to crack or sweat. Others prefer to let it set in the refrigerator for 10–20 minutes, which may work better if your kitchen is warm or humid. Store your finished chocolate in a cool, dry room away from light.
    Color White Chocolate Step 10 Version 3.jpg
    • For best results, place paper towels in your refrigerator to absorb moisture.
    • If you are pouring chocolate into molds or using it as a dip, keep it warm until you've finished working with it.


[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Double boiler (bain marie)
  • Rubber or silicone spatula or stirrer
  • Food coloring — powdered or oil-based strongly recommended
  • Bowl & zip-locked bag (if using oil-based food coloring)
  • Additional white chocolate for tempering (optional)



  • Melting chocolate is very difficult if humidity levels are above 50%. Run a dehumidifier in clammy weather.

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