This Guide to Sprinkles is a MUST for any baker! Learn the differences between all the major types of sprinkles and what they are best used for. And, learn how to make your own sprinkle blend!
Ah, sprinkles. Is there anything better?! I think not.
I am a HUGE rainbow sprinkle fan. Not only are they an instant mood boost, but I love the crunch and texture they add to a dish – not to mention the happiness-inducing pop of color! But did you know not all sprinkles are created equally? Some are more prone to color-bleeding which will leave your baked goods muddied and streaky. Others are too hard for certain desserts and are best used as a garnish only.
This guide will break down some of the most popular sprinkle types so you know EXACTLY what everything is and what it is best used for! Then, at the end I’ll teach you how I make my favorite sprinkle blend. It’s SUPER simple – trust me!
First up, let’s talk sprinkles!
Quins: Quins are one of the most adorable sprinkles out there and one of the best ones to decorate with! These little guys are also called “sequins” or “confetti” sprinkles because they look like itty bitty sequins. Quins are easiest to make into shapes, so you’ll often find quins in all kinds of creative types, like flowers, stars, hearts, butterflies, and more. Because they are light and matte-finished, they are great for decorating frosted cakes or cookies since they are less likely to color-bleed. I have also folded them into pudding and while they do disintegrate a tad, they leave cute pockets of color.
Jimmies: Arguably the most popular of the sprinkle family, jimmies are the most common sprinkle you’ll see and probably the one you think of first when you hear the word “sprinkles.” These are the best, most all-purpose sprinkle in the family, lending themselves beautifully to be baked into goods as well as garnishing goods: that’s why they’re a popular fixture in Funfetti-type cakes or cake batter treats, as well as a must at frozen yogurt or ice cream shops. They are very unlikely to color-bleed and hold their shape pretty well. Likewise, they also come in chocolate jimmies, too!
Dragees: These are easily my least favorite sprinkles because they are notoriously hard to eat and are not soft at all (although they are darn cute!). Dragees are often called sugar pearls (though you’ll see what I call a sugar pearl next) but they are round and hard, almost like mini jaw-breaker candies. They can also come in other shapes or rods, of which one is pictured in the bowl above. These look gorgeous on cakes and as a finish to desserts, but they are hard, don’t break down/soften and because of the larger surface of them, can be prone to color bleeding.
Pearls: Also a type of dragee, but sugar pearls or “pearls” are smaller in size and easier to chew, although they are still quite hard. These are beautiful to finish with on frosted desserts such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies or bars but not so great to bake with. They come in a variety of colors but are usually this size.
Non-Pareils: One of my most favorite sprinkles are the non-pareils. These teensy tiny, itty bitty ball sprinkles are bouncy and fun and come in beautiful colored arrangements. Plus, they’re easy to find! Non-pareils are best used for finishing items, such as fudge, cakes/cookies, and frosting or glazes. I do not recommend baking with them (such as stirring into batters or doughs) because they are highly prone to color-bleeding and will disintigrate in the baking process, leaving behind a streaky, muddied mess. I love using these on my iced sugar cookies because they retain their crunch and pop of color without overwhelming the cookie.
Sparkling Sugar: Sparkling sugar is basically if demerara or turbinado sugar became a sprinkle. It is coarse and crunchy but easy to eat and most importantly, it’s sparkly and fun! This is definitely a good finishing sprinkle for a sparkly touch. It looks amazing rolled on the outside of a truffle for a shimmering effect, or sprinkled atop glazes, frosting, or chocolate-dipped desserts. I love that it comes in a wide variety of colors and always looks so pretty.
Sanding Sugar: Sanding sugar is a finer and more granule but still coarse sparkling sugar. (Think of its texture/coarseness like kosher salt). It is beautiful as a finisher to on hard glazes, like royal icing. Because it is so small, it is prone to color-bleeding so I recommend a harder-finish for these, like a glaze more than a soft buttercream frosting.
How to Make Your Own Sprinkle Blend
Sprinkle blends are all the rage nowadays, but I often find that while they’re beautiful, they’re expensive and have tons of dragees in them which I can’t stand. The last thing I want to do is cook an amazing dessert no one wants to eat because it is covered in tooth-breaking dragee sprinkles. Therefore, I love creating my own sprinkle blends which is more economical, is completely customizable and features sprinkles I enjoy the most!
First, I like to buy these tubs of rainbow jimmies – I find them at all stores, like Target, Walmart, or Safeway. They’re usually like $4 or $5 and last a long time! Plus, they’re a great base for the sprinkle blend.
Then, I’ll add in my favorite quins – here I’m pouring in a jar of star quins, but I love using the heart ones or confetti ones as well.
Lastly, you can add in edible glitter, non-pareils, pearls or dragees and you’ve got the best little sprinkle blend! Best part is, you can customize these to your preferences, say, by using your favorite sports team’s colors, varying shades of blue or pink for baby showers, or whatever suits your fancy! Just keep in mind, if you add in sprinkles that are prone to color-bleeding, I would use this as a finishing blend only. However, in my personal sprinkle blend, I only use quins and jimmies, so I am free to bake with the blend and use it as a finishing touch. I find for me, that is preferable so I can double the use of my blend.
And that’s that! Your ultimate guide to sprinkles and how to make your own fantastic sprinkle blend! Hope you found this helpful!
Have a super sweet day!