6 Sprinkle Types You Must Know

by Lavinia Drake

Sprinkles are those delightful and colourful bits that are used to add colour and crunch to your cakes and deserts. They come in many different sizes, colours, shapes and flavours. The average joe knows these small little bits of confectionary as just "sprinkles", but what do passionate bakers and desert makers call these gems?

Photo via Baking Time Club

Most people refer to sprinkles as just those small decorative bits that are used to garnish cakes and deserts... But within the category of sprinkles there are a number of names, shapes, and sizes: hundreds-and-thousands, nonpareils, sanding sugar, jimmies, dragees and pearl sugar. What do you put on your desert again?

What are all these different types of sprinkles and which ones should I use?

You are probably a bit confused, and rightly so, therefore we are going to answer your questions by breaking down all the different sprinkle types and which ones are best suited for what deserts.


Photo via Baking Time Club

Sprinkle Type Number 1 - Edible Pearls AKA Dragees

(Like these Dragees? You can get them by clicking here)

The first type of sprinkle that you may be using to decorate your cakes and deserts is Edible Pearls also known as Dragees. These sprinkles are those shiny, metallic-coated candy balls that are mainly used on cakes and cupcakes. They are very popular amongst the sprinkle collection because they add colour and bring your cakes to life with their shiny metal coating.

Most people are used to seeing these shiny pearls on cakes and many believe them to resemble ball-bearings (don't worry you won't break your teeth eating them!) So, yes they are edible and are perfect to apply on pretty much all cakes from angel cakes, wedding cakes, birthday cakes and more! They come in sizes 4mm, 6mm and 8mm.

wedding cake tiered dragees sprinkles

Cake by Sweet Cakes

Sprinkle Type Number 2 - Nonpareils AKA 100's & 1000's

(Nonpareils available at Baking Time Club)

Sprinkle type number 2 is simply referred to as "hundreds-and-thousands", but in the bakers lingo we know them as Nonpareils. These are probably the most common type of sprinkle that can be pretty much used on any desert... Cakes, ice creams... These tiny colourful balls not only add colour and life to deserts, they also add a nice crunch.

The funny sounding term "nonpareils" is a french derivative which means "without equal", and this is what happens when you crown your desert with these jewels.. Nothing will be it's equal. They are also known most popularly in the United Kingdom and other countries outside the US as hundreds-and-thousands.

Just look at this triple layer fondant cake by twofatcookies! The colourful rainbow nonpareils add vibrant colours and bring it to life! The bow ties also make it look really pretty.

Decorate your cakes just like this, with Baking Time Clubs wide selection of stunning nonpareils sprinkles!

Sprinkle Type Number 3 - Sugar Strands AKA Jimmies

(Can you see these on your cakes and doughnuts? Click here to get yours!)

These sprinkles are known as Sugar Strands because they are formed when a sugary paste is mixed up then extruded into long, skinny cylinder shaped ropes. These thin, long ropes of coloured sugar are then broken up into the miniature bits that you see before you, and then are finally coated with glaze or wax to give them a nice shine.

These sprinkles are most commonly used to decorated ring doughnuts but can also be mixed in with nonpareils and sprinkled on top of almost any cakes and deserts. This combination of cylinders and nonpareils is also used on ice creams..

Photo via cups and spoonfuls

They are also known as "Jimmies" and how did this come about you ask? Well, long story short, legend has it that in the 1930's there was a confectionary company in Pennsylvania called Just Born Candy, and they were producing these cylinder shaped sprinkles, and the man that was operating the machine was called Jimmie..

Photo via Baking Time Club

Sprinkle Type Number 4 - Sugar Crystal

Photo via Baking Time Club

These next sprinkles are pretty big, rounded, crunchy and opaque pieces of sugar. At first glance it looks like coarse sea salt (but who would put sea salt on cakes/deserts right?) plus once you taste these sugary crunch balls, you will realise that they are nothing like that. 

These simple sprinkles add an extra taste of sugar and a really nice crunch. Therefore they are mostly used to decorate cookies/biscuits, brioche loaves, braided loaves and even croissants! 

Sprinkle Type Number 5 - Sanding Sugar

Photo via freakedoutnsmall

The fifth type of sprinkle out there is the Sanding Sugar sprinkle. These sprinkles are transparent, medium-sized crystallised pieces of sugar which come in a variety of colours (some even come in metallic). The grain is slightly bigger than white sugar, and it's almost glitter type, in it's texture and the fact that it's very delicate.

These sprinkles are perfect to use for simple cakes and cookies, adding some colour and a very pleasing little crunch when applied. There are similar to Crystal Sugars, which are identical to sanding sugar but they are slightly bigger and more coarse.

Sprinkle Type Number 6 - Shaped Sprinkles AKA Quins

As you may know, in recent years symbol/iconic or character shaped sprinkles have grown in popularity. There are mini lumps of sugar which represent the moon, the sun, stars, animals, shoes... the list goes on.

Above is Baking Time Club's Pink and White Heart Sprinkles, a perfect sprinkle to apply on a Valentines Day cake, or a girls birthday cake or whatever you see fit. We also have some really cool Silver Star Shaped Sprinkles you can see below that you can apply on a space themed cake or a boys birthday cake.

Here are some cupcakes we made using a mixture of sprinkles, including these silver star shaped sprinkled.

That's it! Now See What Baking Time Club Has in Store For You!

That's it for our sprinkle types, as you can see there are 6 main sprinkles, and we suggest using all of them to really make your cakes and deserts stand out!. If you are a busy baker and are in need of a constant supply of unique, gorgeous and tasty sprinkles then you will be pleased to know of Baking Time Club's Monthly Sprinkles Galore Subscription! 

With this subscription you will never have to worry about running out of sprinkles, or buying the next best sprinkle type as we will fulfil all of your sprinkle needs! There are 3 sprinkles subscriptions, and in each one you will receive new exciting mixes of cake sprinkles, (which can't be found in the shops) each month through the post!

Are you ready to take your baking to the next level? Subscribe to our Sprinkles Subscription today!

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