Cooking with Kids: Homemade Sprinkles and a Birthday Party

It’s easy to make funky little homemade sprinkles to brighten up a bowl of ice cream or birthday cakes, doughnuts, cookies – whatever needs a hit of flavour, colour, and crunch.

Sprinkles, little round onesHomemade Sprinkles, Pink Long

Cooking with Meredith

It was birthday party time – Meredith’s to be exact. She turned nine last week. What fun for me to get invited to her party. Twelve happy girls having a blast!

A bouquet of balloonsbirthday cake candle blowing

They bounced like jumping beans in the bouncy castle, crafted little chef ornaments out of wooden spoons, decorated their own chef’s aprons, piled their plates high at the taco bar, and dithered happily over choices at the cake and sundae bar, but the highlight of the evening was the uproarious game of Musical Chairs – good old-fashioned musical chairs. The girls wanted to play again and again, shrieking and laughing with joy as they scrambled for chairs whenever the music stopped. It’s obviously a game that has stood the test of time, as I remember playing Musical Chairs at my own birthday parties when I was that age!

It takes time to pipe all those homemade sprinkles.

The week before Meredith’s birthday, she and I had a great cooking session making sprinkles for her party. We decided on little button ones, which are fairly labour intensive, but a lot of fun to make. Our project grew bigger than we’d planned as we kept deciding to make just one more colour. We decided to make the long pink sprinkles, too.

Homemade Sprinkles, Pink Jimmies

The homemade sprinkles were a party hit at the Cake and Ice Cream Sundae Bar for dessert. The girls piled the sprinkles onto their ice cream bowls and gobbled them up.

a bowl of kid fun - drown the ice cream with chocolate syrup, mound on the whipped cream, then shower with colourful homemade sprinkles

a bowl of kid fun – drown the ice cream with chocolate syrup, mound on the whipped cream, then shower with colourful homemade sprinkles

Meredith chose the colours we used, and we tried matching the flavourings to the colours – orange extract for the orange sprinkles, lemon extract for the yellow sprinkles, and raspberry for the blue sprinkles (I know, but close, eh?), we used chocolate flavouring for the pink sprinkles. You could also just use vanilla or almond extract, if that’s all you have.

Homemade Sprinkles, long pretty pink onesHomemade Sprinkles, Pretty Yellow Beads
The citrus extracts actually add lovely little bursts of flavour when you use these sprinkles to top ice cream, cakes, or cupcakes.

Homemade Sprinkles are pretty on cupcakes

pink sprinkles can dress up cupcakes for a party

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Kitchen Frau Notes: This homemade sprinkles recipe is basically a plain icing with a bit of flavouring and a tablespoon of syrup to keep it supple and not form a crust too quickly as it dries. You can drop the icing into little beads, or make long strands which you chop into short pieces to make ‘jimmies’. The beads are more time consuming but look lovely. The longer jimmies are quicker to make and look more traditional. It’s great to have some of both on hand. I think they’d keep for a long time in the cupboard. We made the pink ones with water instead of milk, so I think they should last almost forever!

I found a lot of different ways to make sprinkles online, but finally settled on a version of this recipe from Snixy Kitchen and played with it a bit. I found that the beads were easier to make when the icing was a bit runnier, and Meredith and I liked it with a bit more flavouring – the sprinkles are good enough to eat straight from the bag!

Homemade Sprinkles, Orange, Blue and Yellow Beads

Homemade Sprinkles

adapted slightly from Snixy Kitchen

  • 1 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon milk, water, or non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon golden cane syrup (we used Roger’s Syrup) or corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon flavouring, whatever flavour fits to the colour of the sprinkles
  • paste or liquid food colouring

Mix the icing sugar, milk, syrup and flavouring in a small bowl. Stir until all the lumps are worked out and the icing is smooth. You want a fairly runny icing, kind of like a pudding consistency. Add a drop more water if too thick, or a spoonful more icing sugar if too thin.

homemade sprinkles, making the icing

Add the colouring: if using liquid food colouring, add one drop at a time and stir after each addition. If using paste colouring, use a toothpick or skewer and add about a rice-grain-sized dab at a time, stirring after each addition. Use a new toothpick or clean skewer each time you dip into the container (it can go ‘bad’ if contaminated). Keep in mind that the colour of the sprinkles lightens as they dry, so tint them a deeper shade than you think.

Scrape the icing into a zip-top sandwich baggie (snack-sized works best). This is easiest to do with two people – one to hold open the baggie, and one to scrape in the icing. You can also use a piping bag with a small round-holed tip.

Line baking sheets with wax paper or parchment paper, or lay  the paper pieces  directly on the countertop.

Snip a teeny tiny corner off the baggie, and holding it straight above the paper, pipe rows of tiny dots, or long stripes.

a big batch of homemade sprinkles

Leave  the sprinkles on the counter to air dry for 24 hours. If you need to move the sheets of parchment paper, slide a rimless cookie sheet or a piece of cardboard under the paper to lift it and set it elsewhere. When dry, you can just pop the sprinkle beads off the paper. If you’ve piped lines, pop them off the paper and bunch them gently together. Slide a cutting board under the paper, and cut the bundles of strips into short pieces with a sharp knife.

Homemade sprinkles, easy pink jimmiesHomemade Sprinkles, Cutting up Pink Jimmies

Store the homemade sprinkles in airtight containers.

Homemade Sprinkles in baggies

we collected all the irregular blobs and bits and combined them for a batch of ‘misbits’

Makes ½ to ¾ cup of sprinkles, depending on the shapes you make.

Guten Appetit!


See what else we’ve been having fun with in our ‘Cooking with Kids’ section!


You might also like:

Homemade Honey Vanilla Ice Cream (would be yummy with sprinkles on top!)

Homemade Raspberry Marshmallows (easy no-thermometer recipe)

Cooking with Kids: Homemade Gluten Free Playdough

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Homemade Sprinkles, licking off the icing

if you get icing on your arm, you don’t want to waste the taste!

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2 Responses to Cooking with Kids: Homemade Sprinkles and a Birthday Party

  1. I am aghast.
    Stunning – and so so novel, to me!
    Where ever did you think about making your own sprinkles? It. never. crossed. my. mind. Yet, what a brilliant little labour of love – and what a fantastic way to bring meaning to the grand finale at the end of a little gal’s birthday.
    I want to taste every one of them.
    Very Very cool – and you have opened up my mind to the possibilities – that is for sure!

    • Margaret says:

      Aw, Valerie, thanks so much. It was quite a fun project to make these sprinkles. I had got it in my head to try to make some, but had been thinking more along the lines of using a homemade hard candy method. Some online searching brought up all kinds of ideas for different ways to make sprinkles. I picked this icing method and played around with it a bit, so I can’t claim it as my own. There are so many creative minds out there.
      And my little cooking buddy really got into it, too. She had lots of patience to make several batches. Now we’ll have to think up a few projects to sprinkle with those colourful little bits. Hugs to you, too!

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