||Solid-state SERS sensors are desirable point-of-care tools due to their portability. However, the level of SERS sensitivity achieved in liquid phase is rarely duplicated in the solid phase. We report herein the fabrication of a SERS sensor using alumina beads as the solid support and demonstrate its high SERS sensitivity with the model analyte 4-aminophenyl disulfide (4-APDS). The key to sensitivity is a hydrophilic-hydrophobic surface gradient constructed by sequentially coating with the surfactant cetyltrimethylammonium bromide and fluorous 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane. The surface gradient, together with chloride etching, allows the detection of 4-APDS at the low concentration of 10-15 M. The practicality of the sensor beads is evidenced by successfully tracking the SERS fingerprints of five food colorant standards in the SERS spectra of a popular candy product. These SERS sensor beads are easy to prepare, convenient to use, and highly responsive as a SERS platform for the analysis of colorants.