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Side Dishes9 Creative Ways To Serve Activated Charcoal

9 Creative Ways To Serve Activated Charcoal

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David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

Activated charcoal is made by treating regular charcoal with oxygen and processing it under very high temperatures. The process turns the charcoal into a porous black powder used to absorb toxins and chemicals in the body. Activated charcoal retains its original form and is safely released through excretion when ingested.  

Activated charcoal can rid the body of harmful substances and elements. Hence, this organic substance has been widely used across the globe for various purposes. Medical professionals, for instance, use activated charcoal as an emergency anti-poison and overdose treatment. Moreover, it’s also used as a key ingredient in cosmetics, cleansers and other health products.  

Aside from these, activated charcoal can now be consumed in food form. Several recipes and food products have been developed to include it as a key ingredient for its health benefits. Here are some ways food-grade activated charcoal is creatively served in dishes and beverages: 

1. Activated Charcoal Cheese 

activated charcoal

Charcoal cheese is made by infusing regular cheddar cheese with edible activated charcoal. The result is a creamy cheese product with a unique pitch-black color that can be a fun addition to cheese boards and sandwiches or an interesting topping for pasta and pizzas.  

Aside from its attractive colour, charcoal cheese also features a smoky and earthy taste that’s ideal for pairing with any bread or cracker. The recipe possibilities are virtually endless for this playful and healthy cheese treat, and you’re sure to delight your guests with its unusual look.  

2. Refreshing Beverages With Activated Charcoal 

If you’re taking activated charcoal to alleviate ailments such as gas, bloating or others, incorporating activated charcoal into sweet beverages may be helpful as it can effectively mask the taste and help with ingestion.

Activated charcoal can be mixed with cold drinks such as latte, lemonade and smoothie. To do so, you can follow your favourite drink recipe and mix an amount of food-grade activated charcoal in accordance with your doctor’s recommendations.  

3. Ice Cream With Activated Charcoal

You’re in for a treat if you’re an ice cream lover, as activated charcoal goes well with many flavours. The deep, nutty taste can complement coconut, coffee and chocolate flavours, while the dark powder would look great in contrast with vanilla or cookies and cream.  

You can further enjoy your charcoal ice cream by using black ice cream cones made with food-grade charcoal. The dark colours will surely be a delight to look at, and it’s a fun, new way to enjoy your favourite ice cream flavours.  

4. Black Breakfast 

You can also add activated charcoal to breakfast favourites like waffles and pancakes. Food-grade charcoal is a natural colouring agent that you can easily incorporate into the batter, giving your breakfast staples a deep, dark pitch-black colour. The creaminess of the batter will go well with the smoky taste of the charcoal, and you can use any sweetener you like.  

If you’re making pancakes, you can complete your black breakfast theme by using a dark berry compote and a few pieces of blackberries as toppings. For savoury waffles, you can top each piece with cream cheese, bacon bits, and black charcoal cheese to go with the theme.  

5. Charcoal Powder Bread 

Food-grade charcoal can also be safely incorporated with any bread and pastry, giving you endless options if you want to make your black bread at home.

For instance, you can make black hamburgers by baking your charcoal burger buns and using your favourite burger items. You can also have fun by putting black spots and stripes on your challah, sourdough, or focaccia, giving your morning toasts and grilled cheese sandwiches a fun twist.  

6. Dark Cocktails 

detox activated charcoal black lemonade

Activated charcoal can also be easily blended with booze, making it a fun way to make black cocktails. For example, you can mix food-grade charcoal with rum, lime juice and simple syrup to create a black daiquiri.

If you’re a tequila fan, on the other hand, you can make a black Brave Bull by mixing coffee liqueur, tequila and activated charcoal in an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. 

7. Charcoal Cake 

As activated charcoal is an effective food-colouring agent, you can use it to create intense, dark colours for your favourite cake and frosting. The taste can easily blend in with popular cake flavours such as coffee, chocolate or mocha, and you’ll also get an attractive black colour.

As with any other cake design, you can use your creativity to feature the pitch-black charcoal colour and create the visual appeal that you desire for your dessert creation.  

8. Black Pasta 

You can also use activated charcoal in savoury food items such as pasta dishes. To do this, you can blend a sufficient amount of charcoal into the pasta dough and prepare it as required.

Then you can pair your pasta with regular sauce or with one prepared using charcoal as well. Examples of cream-based pasta sauces you can mix with activated charcoal are alfredo sauce, garlic cream or tomato cream.  

9. Healthy Treats And Snacks 

Black-themed candies, treats, and snacks would delight trick-or-treaters or partygoers on Halloween. If you’d like to create homemade goodies for this occasion, you can mix activated charcoal with cookies, peanut butter cups, chocolate truffles, and toffee.

In no time, you’ll have an array of black treats that would look perfect for your grazing table or your Halloween candy bowl.  


Using activated charcoal as a food additive and colouring agent has increased in popularity across various cuisines in recent years. Food-grade charcoal has a flexible flavour profile, and it can be easily incorporated into many dishes and beverages, making it convenient to take the substance when needed.  

Aside from the health benefits it can bring, activated charcoal has become a fun, new twist that everyone can enjoy in different food items. The visual appeal of its natural pitch-black colour can instantly elevate any dish, making food-grade charcoal a great addition to your pantry. However, it’s essential to get your doctor’s advice if you’re planning to increase your intake of activated charcoal in any form to ensure safety. Your doctor may recommend a specific amount of activated charcoal safe for daily intake, depending on your health status. 

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