How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream

How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream Easily with Exact Dye Quantities

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Let’s discuss how to make navy blue buttercream EASILY. Navy blue buttercream frosting is a desirable shade for many weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and birthday party themes. It is, indeed, a gorgeous color.

The problem many people face when attaining this shade is not getting a dark enough blue. Or, maybe their blue is too purple or too gray/black. I have some simple tricks for making navy blue successfully, including proper ratios for various frosting amounts.

You do not need to microwave the frosting to achieve a dark shade. While this is a popular method to achieve dark shades of icing, it can be scary for beginners. This is because melting the frosting gives more chance of your buttercream breaking.

Not microwaving the buttercream also saves a step. When you use the microwave method to achieve dark buttercream shades, you have to rewhip the frosting. I don’t know about you, but I think mixing frosting is the worst part of decorating with buttercream. So, let’s skip all of that.

*This tutorial uses a crusting buttercream frosting recipe, which calls for more powdered sugar than a typical buttercream frosting.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.*

How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream with Black, Violet, and Royal Blue

Food Gel Dye Needed to Make Navy Blue Buttercream One Cup Buttercream, Royal Blue, Violet, and Black
One cup of buttercream frosting undyed with Wilton Royal Blue, Violet, and Black shades of gel food dye

Let’s first look at how to make navy blue frosting with gel food shades in black, violet, and royal blue. All of these shades are available in the Wilton 12-Piece Food Coloring Set.

Luckily, the ratio to make this shade of frosting is easy to remember: 1:1:1. You will use equal amounts of black, violet, and royal blue gel food dyes.

The amount you will need of each color is 1/4 teaspoon for every one cup of frosting. So, to make one cup of navy blue buttercream, you will use 1/4 teaspoon of black, 1/4 teaspoon of violet, and 1/4 teaspoon of royal blue.

If you need more than one cup of navy blue frosting, use the same ratio. For two cups of frosting, use 1/2 teaspoon black, 1/2 teaspoon violet, and 1/2 teaspoon of royal blue. Continue this same ratio for three cups, four cups, five, etc.

How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream Ratios of Gel Dye Chart

Here is a photo progression of adding the black, then violet, and then royal blue. You can add all of these colors at once or add in steps. I just like to see the magic happen.

Adding Black for Navy Blue Buttercream
Adding 1/4 teaspoon of Wilton Black to one cup of buttercream frosting to form a deep base color.
Black Base for Navy Blue Buttercream
Black Base
Adding Violet for Navy Blue Buttercream
Adding 1/4 teaspoon of Wilton violet gel dye to the cup of buttercream frosting with 1/4 black gel already mixed
Violet and Black Base for Navy Blue Buttercream
Violet and Black Base for Navy Blue Buttercream
Adding Royal Blue for Navy Blue Buttercream Frosting
Adding in 1/4 teaspoon of Wilton Royal Blue to the cup of buttercream frosting that has been dyed with violet and black already
Navy Blue Buttercream Immediately After Mixing
Navy Blue Buttercream Immediately After Mixing
How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream 20 Minutes
Shade of navy blue buttercream 20 minutes after mixing
How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream Comparison to Shades of Blue
Shade of navy blue buttercream 20 minutes after mixing compared to Almost Famous navy blue DVD and Wilton Royal Blue gel food dye lid

Here is the navy blue buttercream once it developed for about 36 hours.

How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream 36 Hours Later

This is how the navy blue looks piped against white & red buttercream and after it has formed a crust.

How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream Color Comparison to Undyed and Red
Navy blue buttercream compared to red and undyed buttercream after it has dried for over 24 hours – you can see the color on the cookie is a bit darker than the color in the bag.

Tips & Tricks for Achieving Navy Blue Frosting

The biggest tip that I have for preparing navy blue frosting, or any dark shade of buttercream, is to make the frosting 24-48 hours ahead of decorating time.

When food gel color is added to buttercream frosting, it takes a while to fully develop. This is similar to developing color on your hair with hair dye and developing color with tie dye shirts. The same concept applies here.

My best advice is to make the buttercream frosting using one of these two methods above, depending on what you have on hand, and then covering the bowl of frosting with plastic wrap. Leave the bowl on the counter for one to two days.

As long as your house isn’t really hot, but closer to room temperature (around 70 degrees F), your frosting will be perfectly safe developing on the counter.

The color should be deeper and more saturated than when you mixed it one to two days ago. This is important to know because when you decorate with this frosting, it will develop to a darker shade no matter what. Allowing it to develop for one to two days allows you to more accurately predict the final color.

Waiting one to two days won’t get it all the way to the final color if you use a crusting buttercream like I do. When the crust is allowed to form, it will be darker.

This brings me to another tip, if you need a lighter navy blue, you will need to add in undyed buttercream frosting a bit at a time until your desired shade. 

If you need a darker navy blue at this point, add in just a bit of black. Remember, the color will continue to develop until it is fully crusted. This ratio yields a pretty dark navy blue.

My last tip is to add white liquid drops to white icing that may be coming into contact with this navy blue buttercream. The addition of white food dye will help protect the white frosting from being bled onto from the dark colors in this navy frosting.

FAQ About Navy Blue Buttercream

Does this navy blue buttercream stain your teeth and/or mouth?

My son was happy to be the tester for this experiment and the answer is yes, it does indeed color your tongue. This is expected anytime dark buttercream is eaten, especially buttercream that has black in it.

It may be worth experimenting with using a base of cocoa powder rather than black dye and then adding in violet and royal blue. Maybe this will be a future post.

Does this blue frosting bleed onto lighter colors, such as white frosting?

Darker shades of buttercream are always at risk of bleeding onto lighter shades, especially when temperatures fluctuate. To help prevent bleed, add white liquid drops to your lighter shades. This can help protect it from the navy blue buttercream but it isn’t guaranteed.

Can I use liquid food coloring drops to obtain navy blue frosting?

I do not recommend dying buttercream frosting with liquid food coloring to achieve any shade other than a pure white buttercream. Liquid food coloring changes the consistency of your buttercream frosting, which can be difficult to account for during the mixing stage.

Liquid food coloring is also not as potent as gel food dye. This means you will use more liquid color to gel, raising the cost as well as possibly not achieving the shade you desire.

To achieve navy blue buttercream with liquid food coloring, you would need a lot of liquid. I do not see this being successful at keeping the right consistency and achieving a dark shade. If you have done this successfully, let me know in the comments.

Can buttercream frosting sit out on the counter?

Buttercream frosting is best enjoyed at room temperature, so you will want to have your cake/cupcakes/cookies served as such. If you serve straight out of the refrigerator, your guests will be biting into solid chunks of buttercream as opposed to soft bites. The taste will also be more buttery when served too cold.

If you use a crusting buttercream frosting, you can store buttercream frosting on the counter for several days. This is due to the high sugar to fat ratio that helps the frosting be shelf stable.

Does buttercream frosting have to be refrigerated?

If you are using a crusting buttercream recipe, you can leave that on the counter for several days at room temperature. This is due to the high sugar to fat ratio that stabilizes the frosting.

If you believe your frosting is at risk of melting, say your house is consistently kept higher than a standard room temperature, then pop the buttercream into the refrigerator. This helps to prevent the buttercream from melting and separating.

You can also freeze as an alternative to refrigeration. The freezer tends to keep the cookie/cake/cupcake more moist than a refrigerator will.

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How to Make Navy Blue Buttercream on Your First Try






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  1. This was an amazing and detailed description. The navy I got turned out so beautiful. Thank you so much!

    1. Leah Buehler says:

      You’re welcome Amanda!

    2. Thank you so much ! Easy to understand and can’t wait to do my graduation cookies with Royal icing !

  2. Eleanor Gerrish says:

    Hi Leah,
    I’m based in the UK. I would love to us your method of colouring buttercream Navy for an upcoming wedding.
    How many grams does a cup of buttercream weigh please?
    Many thanks

    1. Leah Buehler says:

      Hi Elle,
      I’m sorry, I’ve never weighed my buttercream out. The recipe I use makes about 3 cups of buttercream, so dividing that by 3 gives roughly 238 grams. Again, I’ve never weighed it out but going by the weight of the ingredients and doing some math that is the number I get.

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