How To Prevent Sprinkles From Bleeding

How To Prevent Sprinkles From Bleeding: Answered

Last Updated on April 21, 2024 by Lori Walker

Creating designs for cakes or cookies can be a truly pleasurable activity, offering unlimited room for creativity, without the burden of aiming for perfection.

But things can get frustrating when sprinkles melt and stain your carefully-designed frosting. 

Here’s how to prevent sprinkles from bleeding and properly put them in different cakes. 

Top 3 Ways To Prevent Sprinkles From Bleeding

cake sprinkles on a mug

1. Let Icing or Frosting Dry Out First

Consider adding the sprinkles when the icing or frosting is still wet to the touch. You should not wait until the icing or frosting is too dry or stiff because the sprinkles will not stick to it. 

Leaving the right amount of moisture will let the sprinkles stick and prevent them from melting and messing up the decoration. 

Another thing to remember is that icing and frosting have varying consistency and setting times. But how can you get sprinkles to stick to dry icing?

2. Don’t Let Sprinkle Sit In For More Than 12 Hours

Letting the sprinkles sit for more than twelve hours makes them bleed more. It also applies to other garnishes like coconut, chocolate chips, and fruit slices. 

“Sliced strawberries, whole raspberries, pomegranate seeds or other fruit look nice too, but don’t add them until just before serving, or they will water down and possibly stain the frosting.”

– Melissa Clark, Food Writer

The best timing is to add the sprinkles right before serving the cakes. When the garnishes are left too long in the icing or frosting, they tend to water down and mess up the design.

3. Use High-Quality Sprinkles

Various brands offer sprinkles that do not melt easily, but the most commonly used are cylinder-shaped sprinkles. 

In some areas, these sprinkles are sometimes called “jimmies” or “decorettes” and have a firm but not hard texture [1]. They have food-grade colorful and waxy coatings, allowing them to melt slower than other types of sprinkles. 

On the other hand, the nonpareils tend to melt and bleed when added to the cookie dough batter. Some places call them “hundreds and thousands.”

Read: The 7 Best Cupcakes For A Gender Reveal

How To Properly Put Sprinkle

Fresh Frosting Cakes

The cake should be cooled while the frosting has yet to harden. Place the cake in the turntable and grab a handful of sprinkles. 

Then, add the sprinkles and make sure that your hand would not touch the cake all the way. This method requires you to work quickly to ensure the sprinkles will not bleed as the frosting sets.

But how can you fix the messed-up icing on your cake?

Fondant Cakes 

Rolled fondant, which has a clay-like texture, is more common than gelatinous poured fondant. 

However, decorating the rolled fondant with sprinkles is not difficult. You can moisten the fondant with water or piping gel before sprinkling. 

You will need to control the moisture as it could melt the sprinkles. 

Frozen Cakes

A completely frozen cake won’t let the sprinkles stick to it. So you have to thaw the cake the night before serving it by transferring it to the refrigerator from the freezer. 

Chill the cake the next day and start applying a thin frosting. Do the sprinkling in small batches to avoid messing up the cake’s frosting as it chilled and set.

Cup Cakes

Since cupcakes are smaller, adding sprinkles should not be that challenging. Prepare a cookie sheet first to catch the excess sprinkles.

After frosting your cupcakes, pinch some sprinkles and start decorating. Do it before serving, and avoid sitting the sprinkles in the cupcakes for a long time.

This method helps prevent the sprinkles from bleeding and staining the frosting. But should the cupcakes be flat or domed?

How To Keep Sprinkles From Bleeding On Cookies

You can keep the sprinkles from bleeding on cookies if you start adding them after the cookies have cooled completely.

Brush the cookies with egg wash or top them with frosting to let the sprinkles stick. 

Use pasteurized eggs with a splash of water to create the egg wash, but be mindful of the moisture, as it could make the sprinkles bleed.

Immediately add the sprinkle after putting the egg wash or before the frosting has set.

Do Sprinkles Bleed On Royal Icing?

Yes, sprinkles could bleed on royal icing. But royal icing has a hard and glossy finish with rich and thick icing [2], making it hard for the sprinkles to bleed.

However, the extra moisture needed to help glue the sprinkles could cause them to melt and stain the cake’s design.

What Kind of Sprinkles Does Not Bleed?

Cake with Sprinkles

The cylinder-shaped sprinkles do not bleed much if not exposed to icing or frosting for too long. They have a waxy coating that prevents them from melting and staining the design of the cakes or cookies. 

They have different names depending on the place and culture, but they are most commonly called “jimmies,” “decorettes,” or simply “sprinkles.”

How Do You Fix Bleeding Sprinkles?

You can fix bleeding sprinkles by incorporating another layer of icing to hide the stains. However, this method won’t apply to every baked good. 

As much as possible, use sprinkle brands that do not melt easily. Control the moisture of icing or frosting to prevent the sprinkles from staining the decorations.

Check out some essential steps to start baking as a hobby here.


Will sprinkles melt if you bake them?

No, sprinkles will not melt while you bake them. The heat will make them squishy, but they will firm back up after cooling down.

Do sprinkles bleed on whipped cream?

Yes, sprinkles will bleed on whipped cream if left too long. The colors of the sprinkles transfer to whipped cream because of the moisture that will develop over time. 


Sprinkles come in different shapes and textures, making them a fun and colorful addition to cakes and cookies. 

Although these decorations beautify our baked goods, they could also ruin the designs by bleeding or melting too much.

You can avoid those messy stains by letting the frosting or icing dry a little bit before adding the sprinkles. Only use high-quality sprinkles, but avoid letting them sit in the frosting or icing for more than twelve hours.


Lori Walker

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