Learn to make your own sprinkles (or “jimmies” or “hundreds and thousands”) and never run out! Customize the color and sprinkle them over your favorite baked goods.
Every Thursday the local radio station asks people to call in and talk about their simple pleasures. I’ve never called in (as one of my simple pleasures in life is being able to text and actually speak on the phone as little as possible) but it always manages to elevate my mood a notch or two.
I am definitely a person whose day can be made by a simple pleasure, and I do mean simple.
I consider my day made if a squirrel or a chipmunk scurries across my path while I’m walking (fuzzy rodents make my heart melt), or if I find my believed-to-be-lost tube of Carmex in my pocket.
Another simple pleasure? Sprinkles. Lots & lots of them.
Whether it’s ice cream, or cupcakes, or a buttercream lathed cake, sprinkles always make things better (hence why I have so many Funfetti recipes on my blog).
This weekend I needed sprinkles for a recipe I was making, but I very specifically (and for no good reason at all) wanted particular colors that I didn’t have on hand. Fortunately, a quick look at the ingredients on my bin of (so-called “rainbow”) sprinkles made me realize that they’re actually made of some pretty basic ingredients, and I could probably tackle the recipe on my own.
So now, many attempts later, I have a simple, easy sprinkle recipe to share with you.
I took a lot of pictures to walk you through the steps, though they’re not difficult. The hardest part is waiting for the sprinkles to harden (I suggest waiting at least 12 hours, though yours may be done faster, or take longer).
So let’s begin.
The first step is to combine your sugar, corn starch, water, corn syrup, and vanilla extract (or whatever extract you prefer!) in a medium-sized bowl following the recipe at the bottom of the post (don’t put all the sugar in at once, it becomes too difficult to stir). If you want, you can then divide the mixture into separate bowls and color each separately to have several different colors of sprinkles. I found that one batch makes about ½ – ⅔ cup sprinkles, so depending on how many sprinkles you want you may wish to do multiple batches rather than divide the one batch.
Add your food coloring of choice and stir well. I used a gel food coloring which gives a very deep, vibrant color. Just remember, the more food coloring you add, the more you will be able to taste it in the final product, I don’t recommend more than 1 ½ chocolate-chip-sized drops (max!).
Next, transfer your mixture into a piping bag fitted with a #4 Wilton tip. If you don’t have this specific tip, you could also get away with using a similar size, or with cutting a small (sprinkle’s-width) hole in the tip of a ziploc bag and using that. Just be careful using a Ziploc bag, as the sprinkle mixture is thick and may cause the Ziploc bag to burst if squeezed too hard.
Line two cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper and draw long horizontal lines across the paper. As you’re making them, take note that they are the width that you desire. Try to keep your lines as straight as possible, but don’t stress if they’re a little wobbly (like mine are). When you break them up you won’t be able to tell!
Also, as you can see here, I made some of my sprinkles into cute half-spheres by making small dots alongside the lines. I think it added some nice variety to the traditional sprinkle shapes.
Now comes the hard part — waiting. You are going to have to wait at least 12 hours for these to dry and harden completely.
Once they’ve dried, peel off any dots that you’ve made and then use a large knife to cut down your rows to make your sprinkles! You decide how long or short you want them to be. The ends of my rows were a little sloppy, so if yours are too you can cut them off first and discard (or shamelessly eat all of them).
And that’s it! Combine your colors as you please and sprinkle away. These keep well in a sealed airtight container.
More Recipes You Might Enjoy:
Who knew you could make sprinkles from scratch?
Scroll down below the recipe for a sneak peek at my next post where I used these sprinkles to their full advantage.
What’s your simple pleasure?
Make Your Own Sprinkles
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar divided
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 ½ Tbsp water not hot water
- 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (or any flavor you prefer -- vanilla goes with pretty much anything, though)
- Gel food coloring
- In medium-sized bowl, stir together 1 cup powdered sugar, cornstarch, water, corn syrup and vanilla extract until well-combined.
- Stir in the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar.
- Add food coloring and stir until well-combined and desired color is reached (remember, the more coloring you add the more you will be able to taste it in the final product).
- Transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a #4 Wilton tip*.
- Line two cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper and, using your piping bag, draw long, sprinkle-width horizontal lines across the paper. If desired, also make small dots (about the size of a pencil eraser) along the sides of the wax paper for some variety in shape.
- Allow to set undisturbed for at least 12 hours to dry.
- Once dried, peel off any dots or shapes you have made and then use a knife to cut down your horizontal lines to make sprinkles.
- That's it! Sprinkle over your favorite treats! These keep well in an airtight container.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
What on earth am I doing wrong? Followed the quantities, double and triple checked them and my mix can be rolled into a ball in my hand before even adding the remaining half cup of sugar 😩
Hi Nicola! I’m so sorry this is happening! You could probably thin it out a little bit with a little more water. 🙂
I am so excited to try this after seeing such high prices in Amazon for unique color sets. What are your thoughts on adding luster dust to give the neutrals some shine? Would it work?
Hi Staci! That should work just fine. 🙂
What gel food color would you suggest? I’m planning on making a sprinkle covered birthday cake..
I like Americolor food gels. 🙂
Thank you, I’ve placed an order for the same 🙂 I love your recipes!! They turn out exactly the way you say 🙂
This is such a smart and suprisingly easy recipe. It’s just that we in Australia don’t have light corn syrup or any corn syrup for that matter. I do have glucose syrup would that work? I should I just sit this recipe out
Lots of love x
Hi Morgana! I haven’t tried the glucose syrup, but I definitely think it’s worth a shot. If you do try it I would love to know how it goes. 🙂
Do the colours ever run? And can they be baked?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Tina! These sprinkles will hold up just like traditional jimmies will. If you are baking them, they are going to melt. If you are just dropping them on top of a frosting or something similar, they will hold and not bleed. Enjoy! 🙂
I want to use this recipe to make number sprinkles. Unfortunately since my mold only has two of each number I think this is going to take me a while. How do I keep the mixture I dont use from hardening.
Hi Paula! You could try pressing a piece of plastic wrap against the surface while it’s in the bowl, but honestly these typically take a like a day or so to harden so I’m not sure you’ll be able to save the mixture quite that long. 🙁
I just made some and after a bad batch (all I needed was 1 1/8 cups of powdered sugar to get the right consistency) all went amazing. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! One question I have: have you tried spraying once dried with some type of oil to give them a shiny coating? The dried ones appear too matted or dull on mine but yours seem really shiny and vibrant.
Hi Cindy! I wouldn’t say mine come out very glossy. I would say they are on par with store bought sprinkle colors. That being said, you can get a little more vibrant color by using gel food coloring. 🙂
Thanks for replying. I did use Americolor gel food color but wondering if you’ve ever attempted to coat dried sprinkles with a spray of oil to get them shiny.
I have not, but I think it may make them greasy and cause them to bleed so I would be a little hesitant to do it. 🙁
Hi can it be dried in the sun
Sure that should work. 🙂
Pretty excited about trying this! Buying sprinkles gets so expensive. Can I put these in a dehydrator to shorten the 12 hour dry time? If so how long in a dehydrator and at what temperature?
Hi Vicky! I have never tried it in a dehydrator so I’m not sure how to advise how it would go. If you do try it I would love to know how it turns out. 🙂
Hello can we do it without the corn syrup?
And of we don’t find corn syrup is there a substitute for corn syrup?
Hi Halima! Unfortunately I am not sure how to make it without the corn syrup. It’s a key ingredient here. 🙁
Just dropping a line to let you know that the corn syrup purchased at your local grocery store is not the same thing as “high fructose corn syrup” we hear such horrible things about. Regular ole Karo Corn Syrup is a very common ingredient in cooking/baking. Hope that helps!
I wana know if we can do it without corn syrup ???
Hi Hana! Unfortunately the corn syrup is a key ingredient here so I’m not sure how you would substitute it. 🙁
I’m not sure if it will work the same with these but I’ve used honey to make royal icing and it works perfectly.
Hi! This looks so good, I am going to try it. Do you think it would work with regular food coloring instead of gel? Also, do you think it would work with dark corn syrup instead of light?
Hi Walter! The regular food coloring will work your colors just won’t be as vibrant. Using dark corn syrup will definitely change the colors of the sprinkles as well but it will work.
Do you think these would hold up inside a cake? I am planning to make a funfetti cake
Hi Kaitlyn! These should work just fine in a cake. 🙂
Hello! I am just wondering how long these will last?
Hi Sarah! They should be good for several months in an air tight container. 🙂
Can you substitute the corn syrup for honey?
Unfortunately I don’t think it will work here. 🙁
Ryan Nicole Ealy
I am going to try and make these for Halloween. How long do they last? What is the beat way to store them? I will need to make them maybe two days in advance so I want to make sure they will still be edible. Thanks.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Ryan! They should be good for several months in an airtight container. Have fun and enjoy! 🙂
Made these with my kids! Various food allergies makes it hard to buy sprinkles that don’t have or have been near nuts/dairy/soy, so this was a great option! The only thing we changed was adding a lot more water to make it closer to a frosting consistency, so it was easier for the kids to make the lines on the parchment paper. It might have added a bit of drying time, but we made them in the afternoon and let them dry overnight, so you really couldn’t tell.
Can I sell them local? Shold I preserve it in fridge?
So excited to find this post and recipe!! I HATE buying items made in China, especially food items! I was trying to buy sprinkles for Christmas baking, but they all seem to be made in China. Well, guess what? I’m going to make my own and can make specialized colors to boot now! Thank you!!
I hope you love them, Joan! 🙂