A natural alternative to green food coloring on St. Patrick’s Day

I’m not Irish, but I like a good celebration and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. I’m happy to wear green. I might even paint my nails green. Green is pretty! But unnaturally green food? That does not make this mama feel festive.

I think that kale chips and pesto are a perfect way to celebrate March 17th, but my kids have a different opinion. They would much rather taste a rainbow (literally) or snack on leprechaun pudding, which leaves me with two choices: I can be a St. Paddy’s troll or I can get in the spirit.Given the artificial nature of most green colored treats, I’ve opted for trolldom in the past–but this year is going to be different. This year, thanks to all-natural matcha green tea powder, St. Patrick’s Day is ON in my house, green food and all.

Matcha is a powdered form of green tea traditionally used to make brightly colored tea for ceremonies. Or untraditionally used to make leprechaun pudding. You can sprinkle matcha powder, aka leprechaun dust, on kiddo’s favorite food for a small, fun touch or go all the way by mixing matcha into any white food. Just a pinch or two will turn anything from pancake batter to icing, yogurt shakes to mashed potatoes a celebratory hue. Seriously, all you do is stir some into your batter, icing, shake or potatoes… whatever.

High quality matcha green tea powder can be pricey, but you don’t need to get top o’ the line to go top o’ the morning; any matcha powder will do the trick. Check your local international or Japanese grocery store if you have one, or, even easier, search Matcha on Amazon for a wide range of options like this organic DoMatcha Green Tea.I guess it’s my kids’ lucky year.  -Stacie

Photo (and recipe!) of Mulberry Cupcakes with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting by Michelle of Une-Deux Senses. CMP is an Amazon affiliate.


Stacie Billis is Managing Editor of Cool Mom Eats. She's known for her focus on nutrition and organics, her salad-loving sons, and her non-judgy approach to feeding kids that does not preclude Nutella.


  • Reply March 14, 2012


    This is such a great idea! Do you know if changes the taste of the food to taste like tea a bunch?

  • Reply March 14, 2012


    You likely won’t add enough to impact taste that much. If anything, you’ll get just a hint of earthy green tea flavor (which pairs beautifully with chocolate, by the way! matcha chocolate chip pancakes, anyone?!)

  • Reply March 16, 2012

    Angela P

    Thanks just pinned this!

  • Reply March 16, 2012

    Kristen Stevens

    Wow! I didn’t know matcha could be used to turn food green, I only associated it with green tea, which I love. Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply March 5, 2013


    Would this work in mint chocolate chip cookies? Or would it end up a strange green color?

  • Reply March 14, 2013


    We compiled a list of natural green foods, too. Why use artificial colors when you can use natural and healthy foods? :)

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