Sprinkles 101: Know Your Sprinkles - a baking basics guide to learning everything there is to know about sprinkles including baking and decorating with sprinkles.
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Who doesn't LOVE sprinkles? Nobody. Everyone LOVES sprinkles! #hookedonsprinkles 😉
Sprinkles are fun, colorful, and not just for kids! They're an excellent way to add color and texture to your desserts.
Have you ever been unsure what you're going to get when you order sprinkles? Or what exactly you are suppose to add when a recipe calls for jimmies or nonpareils?
Well, now you don't have to wonder anymore with this baking basics guide to sprinkles!
Sprinkles 101: Know Your Sprinkles Table of Contents
Sprinkles 101: Jimmies
Jimmies are tiny sugar strands of confectionery, typically in a rod shape, used to decorate desserts. They come in multi-colors or chocolate and are usually what people refer to when they say "sprinkles".
Jimmies aren't just for decoration either. They can also be used in and baked in recipes because their color bleeds minimally compared to other sprinkle options.
I love to use jimmies to decorate and give my desserts an added pop of color. A few of my favorite uses of jimmies are Patriotic White Chocolate Pretzels, Birthday Cake Oreo Truffles, and White Chocolate Confetti Cookies. You can even make your own jimmies, Homemade Sprinkles.
Sprinkles 101: Nonpareils
Nonpareils are very tiny multi-colored balls made up of sugar and starch. They're also known as Hundreds and Thousands, and are used as a decorative confectionery for desserts.
Nonpareils are one of my favorite types of sprinkles for decorating baked goods, but these buggers roll all over the place. They also should not be used in/baked in recipes because their color bleeds A LOT!
A couple of my favorite desserts using nonpareils include Football Game Day Sugar Cookies and Strawberry Lemonade Oreo Truffle Pops.
The term nonpareils is also used to describe flat discs of chocolate covered in nonpareils, Homemade Chocolate Nonpareils.
Sprinkles 101: Quins
Quins are super fun sprinkles that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They're also known as Sequins or Sugar Shapes and are used to decorate baked goods. They don't work so well to bake with, as they will melt and lose their fun shapes.
I am a BIG user of jumbo heart quins, so much so that I have no shortage of desserts on Sarah's Bake Studio that utilize them. You can see them in action with Love Bug Oreo Cookies, Grinch Pretzel Bites, and Red Velvet Oreo Truffles, to name a few.
A few of my favorite quins: Neon Bright Confetti Quins Mix, Easter Egg Quins, Jumbo Heart Quins, White Snowflake Quins, Pastel Confetti Quins Mix, Green Shamrock Quins, and Bright Star Quins.
Sprinkles 101: Dragees
Dragees, pronounced Drazh-AY, and also known as Sugar Pearls, are a confectionery with a hard outer shell. Dragees are like a very large nonpareil, that has a metallic coating or resembles a pearl. Dragees are for decorating purposes, with some, particularly the metallic versions being inedible.
I don't use metallic dragees since they are not edible. I really try to only use edible decorations on my baked goodies (this means I also stay away from cupcake picks).
I have on occasion used the pearl version of dragees, but don't use them too often because they seem like they could break a tooth. I've never actually met anyone who has broken a tooth eating these but I don't want it to be me or because of me. #justsaying
If you would like to see dragees in action, Little Mermaid Cakes & Cupcakes.
Sprinkles 101: Sanding Sugar
Sanding Sugar is clear crystal sugar that is larger than refined white sugar. It's clear-crystals will make your baked goods sparkle! The larger granules of sanding sugar will not melt in the oven. It also comes in oh-so-many colors. It's a win-win-win for decorating, especially decorated cookies.
I have a crap ton of sanding sugar. It's one of those things that grabs my eye when I am shopping for just about anything in the baking realm.
Sanding Sugar is used in these Valentine Peanut Butter Blossoms, Peanut Butter Candy Pumpkin Blossoms, and PEEPS Easter Bunny Sugar Cookies.
Sprinkles 101: Coarse Sugar
Coarse Sugar, which is also known as Pearl Sugar and Sugar Crystals, is larger than refined white sugar AND sanding sugar. It's shape and size is similar to the salt used on soft pretzels, except it's sugar.
Coarse Sugar also holds its shape when exposed to the oven and comes in multiple colors.
Coarse Sugar is not something I personally use very often. I of course have some, you know, pretty colors and obsessed with baking and all.
Sprinkles 101: Know Your Sprinkles Resources
A Few of My Favorite Sprinkle Mixes: Easter Confetti Sprinkle Mix, St. Patrick's Day Sprinkle Mix, Mermaid Sprinkle Mix, Rainbow Sprinkle Mix, Frozen Sprinkle Mix, Bright Rainbow Sprinkle Mix, Monster Medley Sprinkle Mix, and Fairy Galaxy Sprinkle Mix.
A Few of My Favorite Sprinkle Vendors: Cook's Cake & Candy, Fresh April Sprinkles and Sweets and Treats.
Sprinkles are the BEST!! Have you seen how I organize sprinkles? #sprinkleorganization
I have a recipe for confetti cheese cake I want to try but it says to mix sprinkles in the batter but don’t use nonpareils as they bleed. I’m confused.
Hi Sandra! I can't speak for someone else's recipe, as I am sure they have tried it and know what works best for the recipe they created. That being said, yes, it is in my experience that nonpareils bleed like crazy when used in baking. If the recipe says to use sprinkles and not nonpareils, they are most likely wanting you to use jimmies. I hope that helps! Thank you and Happy Baking!!
Oh my gosh, me too! I have beautiful teeth breaking sprinkles I want to use, but... I was looking for ways to soften them. Maybe baking on my cookies, rather than adding to baked cookie?
I ended up here in looking for sprinkles. I haaaaaate those pearl "sprinkles" and I absolutely fear tooth breakage! Every cute mix I can find online has those dumb pearls in them and I refuse to use them and I definitely refuse to pick them out of a sprinkle mix...
Susan Wilczak says
Sarah, thank you!! I'm so happy you have helped answer my question as I have been looking all over online for an answer with no luck. I'm planning to make cookies tomorrow so I truly appreciate your quick response. You are wonderful!!! Again, thanks so much!
You're welcome! 🙂
Susie Wilczak says
Thank you so much for sharing this information! I found it very helpful. Can you tell me if it is okay to mix nonpareil sprinkles throughout cookie dough instead of just on top of cookies before baking them?
Thanks, Susie! I am happy you found it helpful. No, I wouldn't recommend putting nonpariels into your cookie dough. They will bleed like crazy when you mix into the dough and even more when you bake them. I hope that helps. Happy Baking!!
Thank you for clarifying Sprinkles. I found it very interesting and helpful.
Hi Risa. No problem! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and commenting!