The Truth Behind Sprinkles: The Ultimate Guide To Your Favorite Decorating Tool

Sprinkles are very little pieces of candy.

Whether you’ve seen them at the cake shop, on your favorite dessert, or use them in your own baked goods, you’ve probably seen sprinkles at some point in your life. Sprinkles consist of hundreds of small confectionery pieces and are used to add texture or decoration to dessert items such as ice cream, doughnuts, cupcakes, and brownies. 

Glucose, refined sugar, cornstarch, shortening, food-grade waxes, and coloring agents and flavour are used to make sprinkles.

This candy can be produced in tons of different colors, shapes, and sizes to fit the specific dessert item or project. So, where exactly did sprinkles come from, and how safe are sprinkles to consume? We cover everything you need to know about sprinkles in our guide below.

The History Behind Sprinkles

Understanding the history behind sprinkles can be a little confusing because they’ve been around for such a long time. While some claim it was an American invention, plenty others claimed it was the Dutch or French who invented sprinkles. Some argue that the history of sprinkles can actually be traced back to the 18th century when they were frequently used on desserts or bread.

However, the earliest recorded history of sprinkles was back in the early 1920s when they actually were named something completely different, otherwise known as jimmies. It all began in Brooklyn, New York City, when a young entrepreneur, named Samuel Born, started the Just Born candy company. This candy company has made some of the most famous candies still sold today, such as Hot Tamales and Peeps. Fast forward ten years, a worker at the Born Candy company, known as Jimmy, was the one who ran the machine that created what we know as sprinkles. Samuel decided to name the candy jimmies, after the producer of the invention.

jimmies sprinkles

While jimmies were just beginning to be distributed around the country, an ice cream shop called Brigham’s in Boston had heard about the invention. They became the first ice cream shop in the world to promote the addition of these candies onto the top of the ice cream dessert.

However, many articles and investigations have shown that the actual production of sprinkles came years prior. However, the Just Born Candy company still maintains credit for the creation of sprinkles, even if they weren’t the actual ones to create them. Wherever the name came from, sprinkles created a beautiful way to decorate our favorite treats.

What Are the Different Types of Sprinkles?

Interestingly enough, there isn’t just one type of sprinkles on the market. There are multiple sprinkles you can choose from. The best kind of sprinkles is the one that fits your project or what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are a few of the most popular types of sprinkles:

jimmies sprinkles
  • Jimmies: Jimmies are shaped like a rod and are typically what you’ll find when searching for the term sprinkles. Jimmies are sold in either chocolate or multi-color packs and can be found on the shelf of your local grocery store. These are perfect to add to the top of pretzels, cookies, or truffles.
quins confetti sprinkles
  • Quins: Quins closely resemble the look of confetti, imitating the small, thin, round shape of the confetti pieces. However, quins can come in various colors, sizes, and shapes. Quins are fun to add to goods that don’t require much texture but still need a “pop” of color.
nonpareils sprinkles
  • Nonpareils: Nonpareils are sometimes referred to as Hundreds and thousands and typically look like tiny balls that are multi-colored. They are usually used in recipes for cake pops or sugar cookies because of their texture.
gradees sprinkles
  • Dragees: Dragees are like nonpareils, except larger with a coating that resembles a pearl. Dragees are usually silver and created with metallic, making them unsafe to consume.
sugar rock sprinkles
  • Coarse Sugar: Coarse sugar resembles tiny glass beads and is more significant than sanding sugar or refined white sugar. They usually come in white or nude colors but can occasionally be found in brighter colors.
sanding sugar
  • Sanding Sugar: This colorful, granular sanding sugar is typically used on decorated cookies. Sanding sugar consists of crystallized sugar that is slightly larger than your regular white sugar.
star shaped sprinkles
  • Shaped Sprinkles:  Shaped sprinkles consist of all different sizes and shapes. This is one of the most popular sprinkle types due to its versatility and beautiful mixtures.

Now that you know the differences between the types of sprinkles, you may be wondering how they’re created. So, what exactly are these delicious sprinkles made of?

What Are the Ingredients In Sprinkles?

While there probably was a more straightforward way to make sprinkles back in the day, retail sprinkles you can find on the shelves of your local grocery store contain nine ingredients. These ingredients include:

  1. Carnauba Wax: Carnauba wax is made from carnauba palm leaves and acts as a waterproof coating.
  2. Confectioners Glaze: Candy companies use confectioner’s glaze to add a smooth, shiny finish to products. 
  3. Dextrin: Dextrin is a carbohydrate that helps enhance the crispness of food it’s added to or acts as a binding agent.
  4. Lecithin: Lecithin describes a fatty substance that is yellow-brown in nature and contains plant or animal tissues. Lecithin contains health benefits and is used to treat memory disorders and skin issues.
  5. Palm Oil – Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil taken from oil palm trees. 
  6. Corn Starch: Corn starch is taken from corn grain and used as a thickening agent.
  7. Shortening: Shortening is typically made from hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  8. Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is finely ground sugar.
  9. Food Coloring: Food coloring is one of the main ingredients in colored sprinkles. However, most sprinkles used a dangerous chemical, known as Red 40, to color their sprinkles. This is an artificial product that has been linked to hyperactivity in kids and cancer.

These nine ingredients are combined to create a single sprinkle, meaning that you’re ingesting a ton of these ingredients when you put retail sprinkles on your dessert.

Are Sprinkles Safe to Eat?

If you’re eating regular retail sprinkles, you’re not likely to be ingesting a product that is necessarily healthily or safe for you. While you might love the way certain sprinkles look on holiday cookies or cakes, there is one specific type of sprinkles that can be dangerous for your health, even labeled unsafe by the FDA, otherwise known as the sparkling balls or silver dragees.

gradees sprinkles

What are most sprinkles made out of?

Glucose, corn syrup, cornstarch, wax, and synthetic tastes and colors are used to make the multicolored edible sprinkles that we use on our cakes. This combination is formed into long, thin strands resembling noodles, which are then broken into lots of tiny pieces.

While you’re still able to purchase these types of sprinkles in supermarkets around the country, it’s recommended not to ingest any of these products because of the metallic component of the sprinkles. That’s because the sale of metallic food ingredients in the United States has been illegal since the beginning of the 1900s due to the poisonous nature of silver. However, distributers can still sell them in all 49 states, besides California, under the guise that they’re selling you a decoration, not an edible product.

Thankfully, if you’ve ingested them in the past, they likely won’t harm you. There have not yet been any proven side effects or health problems linked to these types of sprinkles. In order for you to see a significant difference, you would need to eat a ton of sprinkles. Due to the fact that it’s not FDA approved, none of Sprinklify’s sprinkles are created with the dangerous dragees.

Help! How Do I Find Safe, Organic Sprinkles?

While it might sound like there is so much going against sprinkles, there is some hope. Thankfully, companies like Sprinklify offer an all-natural alternative to stull enjoy the beauty of sprinkles without adverse side effects. Our selection of natural sprinkles is made in the United States, only using FDA-compliant food ingredients. The best part? They’re 100% edible, allowing you to enjoy the sprinkles without having to give up on design or taste.

Instead of finding fake flavors in your sprinkles, like many other store-bought sprinkles offer, ours are only colored with natural fruit and vegetables, giving you peace of mind before decorating your dessert item. Whether you’re looking for the perfect sprinkles to be used at events like engagement parties, weddings, birthday parties, gender reveals, or baby showers, Sprinklify offers a wide variety of sprinkles to choose from to add that special touch to your event. If you’re not hosting an event, our sprinkles make a beautiful addition to ice cream, cookies, brownies, cakes, and cupcakes. Shop our complete variety of high-quality, safe sprinkles today.

Benefits of Using All-Natural Sprinkles from Sprinklify


When you choose one of our multiple sprinkle options available, you’re getting a product that has a ton of advantages in comparison to other brands of sprinkles. Here are a few benefits our customers enjoy with our all-natural, organic sprinkles:

  • Delicious Taste: You know the difference between something tasting real or tasting artificial. Sprinklify is created with dyes made from vegetables and fruits instead of synthetic chemicals. Tasting a bite of our all-natural sprinkles is a treat for your taste buds.
  • Healthier Option: Were you as shocked reading the list of artificial ingredients contained in one sprinkle? We were too! The idea behind Sprinklify was to create gorgeous sprinkles that didn’t have to impact your health negatively. Why can’t we have our cake and eat it too? When you choose Sprinklify sprinkles, you’re making a better decision for you and your loved one’s health.
  • Better For the Environment: Some of the ingredients in regular sprinkles, such as palm oil, are very harmful to the environment. In fact, the palm oil industry is responsible for more than 40 billion dollars of damage from releasing carbon into the atmosphere, displacing indigenous people, and wiping out rainforests. To fight against this injustice, it’s essential to only support companies who use ingredients that don’t harm the environment, like Sprinkle’s sprinkles.
  • So Many Choices: We pride ourselves on having an extensive collection of all-natural sprinkles. Regardless of the event, you’re trying to celebrate, such as an anniversary, birthday, baby shower, or more, we have the perfect set of sprinkles to complete the party. We want to ensure that you don’t have to turn to non-safe, non-organic brands to complete your baked goods.
  • Supports United States Workers: All of our sprinkles are made in the United States with ingredients that are FDA approved. When you choose to purchase through Sprinklify, you’re supporting your local community.

How Do I Apply My Sprinklify Sprinkles?

Now that you’ve made the fantastic choice to purchase safe, non-toxic sprinkles through Sprinklify, it’s time to start decorating. The good news is that there is no absolute right or wrong way to decorate your baked goods. If it makes you happy and accomplishes your baking goal, then you’ve done it right. If you’re not sure where to start, follow these tips to ensure your sprinkles look fabulous every time!

girl applying sprinkles on cupcakes
  • Use Your Hands: The easiest way to apply your sprinkles is to use your hands. Take a handful of sprinkles and distribute them to your baked goods by spattering them around with your fingers. This will help distribute sprinkles evenly while still giving you complete control.
  • Dip Your Baked Goods: If you don’t want to touch the sprinkles, you can always pour them into a bowl and dip your frosted goodies directly into the sprinkles to get them thoroughly covered.
  • Use a Utensil: Grabbing a tool to help you, like a spoon, will assist you in distributing your sprinkles onto your baked goods.
  • Bake The Sprinkles: If you’re not interested in putting the sprinkles on top of your baked good, you can consider baking them into your cakes or cookies. You can simply roll the sprinkles into your batter before cooking. Make sure they’re evenly distributed, and then put them into the oven to bake.

Sparkle Vs. Sprinkle

Now, many people confuse sprinkles and glitter. Although they are both used for confections and many other things, they have many differences- but they are in some ways similar.

Edible Glitter

  • Glitter is a collection of tiny, reflecting particles that may be found in a wide range of forms, sizes, and colors. Glitter particles reflect light at different angles, creating a shine or shimmer on the surface. Glitter is a smaller version of confetti, sparkles, and sequins.
  • When glitter is consumed, there isn't really a taste to it. (Unless, you consume a huge portion of it, which, isn't recommended!)

The best edible glitters are found here on Sprinklify. Get them now to give your foods an eye-catching sparkle!

Free Red Glittered Wallpaper Stock Photo

Edible Sprinkles

  • Delicious Taste: Sprinklify is created with dyes made from vegetables and fruits instead of synthetic chemicals. Tasting a bite of our all-natural sprinkles is a treat for your taste buds.
  • So Many Choices: We pride ourselves on having an extensive collection of all-natural sprinkles. Regardless of the event, you’re trying to celebrate, such as an anniversary, birthday, baby shower, or more, we have the perfect set of sprinkles to complete the party. We want to ensure that you don’t have to turn to non-safe, non-organic brands to complete your baked goods.

Bottom Line: Sprinkles Are Amazing- When They’re Safe

Sprinkles add glamour, fun, and beauty to the products they’re applied to. Not only is it a great way to celebrate a big event, but it can add a special touch to any baked good they accompany. It’s essential to choose a safe, all-natural brand like Sprinklify to ensure you get all of the benefits of the sprinkles without the adverse side effects.

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