Sprinkles are rarely an option. Those colorful little bits of sugar and crunch can make just about any dessert as vibrant and fun as it should be. Today, I’m going to teach you how to make homemade sprinkles. True, there’s tons of varieties at the stores, but sometimes you need an extra-special color. You may be looking for a specific size or color combination, and making them from scratch is shockingly simple. If you’re up for the challenge, let’s dive in!
What Do I Need to Make Homemade Sprinkles?
Today we’ll be making three different varieties of sprinkles: jimmies, nonpareils/ sanding sugar, and flaked sugar confetti. Jimmies and confetti require the same simple list of ingredients: confectioner’s sugar, water, extract/flavoring, and meringue powder. Those few items get whipped together in a stand mixer until a thick royal icing comes together. While there’s a number of ways to make royal icing, I always find that using meringue powder is easiest. If you’re unfamiliar with this ingredient, look for it in the cake decorating section at craft and superstores. It keeps forever and makes royal icing in a cinch! Once your royal icing is prepared, we’ll use gel food coloring to make it your favorite hue and a piping bag or offset spatula to form your sugary bits!
Homemade nonpareils are a different story. Put simply, I don’t have a clue how to make a nonpareil from scratch, but I can teach you how to custom color like a boss. All you’ll need is plain white nonpareils, sanding sugar, or pearls and a bit of gel food coloring. More on that in a bit.
How Do I Make Homemade Sprinkles?
Let’s start with a large bowl or (preferably!) the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water and begin to whip on medium speed until the mixture has thickened to stiff peaks. You’ll notice the icing standing at attention, straight in the air, when the beater is removed from the bowl. Gently stir in extract and small amounts of gel food coloring until the mixture has reached your desired color. This recipe makes quite a few sprinkles, so don’t be afraid to make multiple colors. You’ll see I blended several bowls of icing so that I’d end with a bowl of richly-colored rainbow jimmies.
If you’re planning to make the basic jimmies, you’ll want to outfit a piping bag with a number two tip. You can go bigger or small here, but the number 2 size yields a diameter most similar to store-bought sprinkles. Line a few baking sheets or a clear work surface with parchment or wax paper and begin piping straight lines all over the place! Don’t worry about keeping them perfectly straight or an even flow. Just pipe away until your wax paper is full of lines. Allow the lines to dry completely- at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. Once dry, use a chef’s knife to cut uniform pieces, or roll the parchment/wax paper into a tube and gently crunch with your hands to break them up. I’ve found that the rolling method is easiest unless you are looking for a special size of sprinkles. Store in a sealed container.
For the flaky confetti, skip the piping bag and use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of icing all over your parchment and wax paper. You’ll want it to be super thin- not translucent but just barely thick enough to coat the sheet. Allow it to dry completely, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. Once dry, gently roll the parchment/wax paper to crunch the sugar shards. Crunch more for smaller pieces and less for larger ones! Store in a sealed container.
How Do I Custom Color Nonpareils, Sanding Sugar, and Candy Pearls?
This is shockingly simple. Grab a bag of white nonpareils, pearls, or clear sanding sugar. Put your desired amount in a small plastic bag and gradually add small dots of gel food color. Remember, you can add more food coloring but you can’t take it out! Go little by little and feel free to reference this coloring chart from Wilton! Seal and shake the bags liberally until the color is uniform throughout. Dump the contents of the bag onto a baking sheet prepared with wax or parchment paper and spread out. Allow them to dry for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. Once dry, use clean fingers to break up any clumped pieces and store in a sealed container.
Is That All There is To Making Homemade Sprinkles?
I feel like I should have more to write, but making homemade sprinkles is so simple! That’s all there is to it! Follow my recipe below to make your favorite assorted shades and let me know what you think. Feel free to check out local craft stores for oversized bags of nonpareils and sanding sugar so that you can make alllll the colors in the world. Get creative, have fun, and don’t forget to send me pictures. Tune in at the end of this week when I’ll be sharing a quick fun recipe for you to use all your new sprinkles with! Have a great week!
If you like these homemade sprinkles you should check out a few other tutorials:
How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Homemade Meringue Cookies
Painted Sugar Cookies
Gold-Splattered Sugar Cookies
How to Make Ganache and Chocolate Truffle
How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs
YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Homemade Sprinkles
Learn how to make homemade rainbow jimmies, confetti, nonpareils, sanding sugar, and sugar pearls in all of your favorite custom colors!
- Prep Time: 5
- Total Time: 360
- Yield: 2 Cups
- Category: Dessert
- 2–2/3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- ¼ cup water, plus more as needed
- Vanilla extract, if desired
- Gel food coloring
- Combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed using the whisk attachment until thickened to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. If your mixture is too thick and clumps, add water a teaspoon at a time until you’re about to beat it. Once stiff, color the icing with food coloring as desired. Keep in mind, it’s easier to add more but you can take it out if you add too much! Whisk to combine and begin to make your sprinkles.
- For homemade jimmies: Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a number 2 tip. Pipe straight lines onto a baking sheet prepared with a piece of wax or parchment paper. Allow to dry completely overnight and then cut or crumble into your preferred size pieces. Store in an airtight container until ready to use!
- For flaky confetti sprinkles: Prepare a sheet pan with a piece of parchment or wax paper. Use an offset spatula to smear a super thin layer of the icing on top of it. Once completely dried (preferably overnight) crumble into flaky bits and store in an airtight container.
9 thoughts on “YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Homemade Sprinkles”
Do these go soft/chewy when put on icing? More specifically, I’m trying to make texas sheet cake more “Easter-y” so it would still be hot when I put these on.
Just wondering how long you can keep these sprinkles? Thanks! Can’t wait to make them!!
Man, I don’t know the food safety answer to Share, but I’ll tell you mine have been lasting FOREVER.
Do you know how long these are stable for?
I don’t know the food safety answer to this question, but I’ll tell you that mine have been keeping their color and texture for quite some time. 🙂
Hi! I can’t seem to find meringue powder anywhere. Is there any way I can make these sprinkles without it?
yeah! just make a different variety of royal icing and proceed with the instructions!
This looks easy! And so fun! I always think of you anyway when I see lots of sprinkles. Love this post!
maybe a fun grand baby project in a few years!?!?!