How to dye rice naturally

December 21, 2008

in decorations,how-to

Well it’s not really “dyeing” rice, more like how to change the color of rice for your bento. I use these methods a lot to make Totoro, or backgrounds with rice. It’s not much, but since rice is white, changing the color of rice can make a quite difference in your bento.

[How to dye rice gray-ish] (used in “Sleeping Totoro”, etc…)
- rice
- black sesame seed (with a sesame seed grinder or mortar and pestle)
- salt

Japanese sesame seed grinder.

1. Grind black sesame seeds on hot rice (microwave the rice if it’s cold) and mix it well

2. Add a bit of salt as you mix the rice. Add more black sesame seeds to make it darker.

[How to dye rice yellow] (used in “God Warrior vs Ohmu”,“Professor Layton”)
- rice
- curry powder or turmeric
- ketchup

1. Mix a bit of curry powder into hot rice. (microwave the rice if it’s cold)

2. Put a bit of ketchup into the rice and mix it well.

I always put “a bit of” for the measurement of the ingredients, but it’s always safe to mix a small amount of spice/ingredients, and then add a bit more later if needed.

You can see more pictures of “How to dye rice” on my flickr page.

And if you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

AngelNo Gravatar January 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Thankyou I never thought of putting ketchup with rice. Hmmm I might try that since i don’t like the plain flavor of rice and usually want something more salty.


KayleighNo Gravatar January 20, 2009 at 5:27 am

annother one I use (at halloween for ‘maggots’ lol is putting a piece if beetroot in the rice cooker when cooking, it makes the rice go pink! and if you use brown rice makes it look like magots lol


personal_mythosNo Gravatar March 7, 2009 at 12:34 am

I would have never thought to add ketchup to yellow rice. I always just put the turmeric in with the rice when I cook it, and even brown rice turns bright yellow.

Obviously this isn’t convenient if you only want a little yellow rice, but something like 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per cup of (uncooked) rice seems to work well… I forget the exact amounts. Turmeric by itself isn’t very flavorful, either, which can be good or bad.


IsaiusNo Gravatar June 19, 2009 at 6:38 am

You can also dye rice and pastas naturally with cooked beets juice (and I suppose it also works for eggs). You’ll have a pretty pink !


MerNo Gravatar September 15, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Great ideas!


AngelinaNo Gravatar February 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm

YOu can mix boiled egg yolks and smush them together to make yellow rice too ^__^


LisaNo Gravatar August 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Last night I used beet juice to dye the rice pink for little piggies. It turned out perfect. I also bought chlorophyll at the local health food store. I’ll let you know if it makes a pretty green. Purple can be made with blackberry or blueberry juice. My children don’t tolerate artificial coloring so I’ve had to get creative.


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