Tulip Red

Red has been the bane of cookie decorator’s existences for well, centuries as far as I know.  Except that I made the centuries part up.  But for decades, AT LEAST!

Red causes stress, PERIOD.  Why, you ask?  Well first of all, it does weird things like take two or three days to develop into the proper color.  It also likes to bleed and make the cookies that were perfectly beautiful the night before, tear-worthy the next morning.  And to top it all off, it tastes like {let’s not mince words here} CRAP!

This is why I use tulip red.  Obviously, I use a LOT of it.  Those are 13.5 and 4.5 ounce bottles.

Truth is, there is no shortage of bad tasting icing colors.  Black, orange, purples, pinks, burgundy, and of course most reds have a bitter aftertaste.  Of course, this isn’t bothersome or even noticeable to some people, but it’s enough to make me skip a cookie, and I NEVER skip cookies.  BLECH!

When I first began making cookies, I used Wilton’s no-taste red.  The only problem with that was that all it took was a batch of ladybugs to wipe out a whole container, so I had to come up with something else.

What I wanted was no-taste red in bulk, but tons of searching led to absolutely nothing.  Since I am not the type to give up easily, I quit Googling and began calling. 

I hit the jackpot at Country Kitchen.  It was from them I learned that in decorators code, “tulip red” means “no-taste”.  Who’d have thunk?!

Of course, being the know-it-all that I am, {my husband often addresses me as doctor} I didn’t quite believe them, so I ordered one of each brand to verify.  Turns out they were telling the truth!!!

So, in the name of better tasting cookies, I am sharing my knowledge with you.

In case you’re wondering about the color, tulip red is pretty close to super red.  I’d say it’s a little bit more “orangey” but really unless you’re color matching for a wedding or something, the difference is so SUBTLE, no one will ever notice.  See?

I almost exclusively use tulip red.  As a matter of fact, I have never even purchased a bottle of super red until about two months ago, specifically to compare it to tulip red for THIS POST!

I used tulip red for all of the pirate cookies you have seen this week, AND this set which in my humble opinion looks just dandy.

Another cool factoid for those of you who might be interested, different brands of tulip red yield different shades.  So, if you do get that all important wedding order, you may want to compare, Americolor tulip red, Country Kitchen tulip red, and Wilton’s no-taste red.  Chances are, on of them will do the trick!

 I almost ALWAYS order my color from Global Sugar Art because they carry 13.5 ounce bottles of Americolor, which was a necessity back in my cookie making prime.  These days, I don’t usually need that much at once, BUT I still shop there because of the color selection.

Tulip red works for me, and I hope it works for you.  Incidentally, this was SUPPOSED to be my Works for Me Wednesday Post, which I missed, but, it works for me on every other day of the week too, so I went ahead and shared it today.  I hope this takes some of the frustration out of yucky tasting red icing.

Speaking of frustration, here are a few tips when working with red:

  • Red is one of those colors {like black, brown, purple, and blue} that take a while to develop.  Making it a day or two ahead of time will really save a lot of color, and prevent the disasters that tend to happen with over-colored icing.
  • Red bleeds, so if you are using red, make sure that the bottom layer is dry before adding red on top.  I STRONGLY suggest using a fan to reduce the chances of bleeding.
  • Also {I learned this tip from a veteran cake decorator} if you’re going to need a lot a red icing, make a batch of icing using the liquid from maraschino cherries!  It adds flavor, and it gives you a good pink base to start with.
  • If you’re sensitive to bitter colors like I am, try mixing your own oranges and purples.  I combine tulip red and egg yolk yellow for orange, and electric or royal blue and tulip red to make purples.  One of my favorite pinks, is actually a very small touch of tulip red mixed with white. Obviously, you cannot get around ALL bad tasting colors, but you can certainly reduce how often you use them.  This tip comes in ESPECIALLY handy around Halloween which is the season of poopy icing colors!


Happy Friday y’all!

Join The Discussion



  1. 61
    Laura Armato Tyler says:

    I am super excited to read this, because I bought Americolor Tulip Red for the first time today! Can’t wait to try it! Thank you for the tips!

  2. 62
    Deborah Gullett says:

    What are the ingredients? I am tired of finding out food has petroleum in it!

  3. 63
    PartySweets says:

    THANK YOU! I am a professional cake decorator and I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I had no idea that tulip red was no taste. I have been searching for a bulk no taste red. I am so glad I came across this. I never leave comments but I just had to say THANK YOU!!

  4. 64
    Cecilia says:

    Loved the cookies , i am doing some pirate cookies for my
    Nephew birthday. And I was just wondering where did you get
    These cutters???

    Thank you!!

  5. 65
    Jing says:


    Could you please let me know how to make black color royal icing ?


  6. 66
    Tina says:

    so, just a question. The Super Red has a taste, but the Tulip Red does not?

    Also for Black, can you use Super Black? does it also have a taste?….


  7. 67
    Larissa Mendez says:

    I’ve studied Graphic Design and I had to take Painting lessons, so I had to learn how to mix a lot of colors to get other tones. This is just an idea I had when I saw the two “Reds” (Tulip Red and Super Red):
    Have you ever tried mixing the “Tulip Red” with a little bit of black? I believe you’ll get something close to the “Super Red” tone. Try it and let me know if it works for you.
    And by the way, thanks a lot for the tip for the no-taste Red for the Icing!


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