I love to decorate cookies, my friends call me “the cookie lady”. When I give cookies out on the holidays they are amazed by the intricate designs that can be elaborate on a single cookie. The comments that I receive is: “can I eat it” “I’m not eating this it , I’ll frame it instead” “this is a cookie right?”. I have met so wonderful people throughout the years and they all say the same thing can you teach me how to decorate cookies, so here it is this is very simple step by step tutorial, I hope you enjoy it if you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line.

Step 1.-  Draw your design on paper first before you begin to bake. This will help you to stay focus, use color pencils or markers to get a general idea on how your design will look from start to finish.

Step 2.- Start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. After you bake the cookies, be sure to let the cookies dry completely, preferably overnight so that the flavors can come together. Never ice warm cookies, the icing will.

Step 3.- Prepare your work station, In a recent post that I did the last week Cookie Decorating Basics I posted a list, here is a more detail list.

Decorating bags: featherweight or disposable bags. I prefer, disposable bags cost less and can be used over & over again, just make sure before washing remove the decorating tip and coupler.

Decorating Tips: You would need to use tips 1-5. Tip 1 is for more intricate designs, tip 2 is used for outline your cookie even I have used tip 3 depending on my icing consistency, tip 3 & 4 & sometimes is used for flooding in a design.

Couplers: Helps you to switch between tips for example: say you’re using electric pink color to decorate with tip 2 to outline first, then you want to flood in a pattern with the same piping bag, you can remove tip 2 and replace it with tip 3. Instead of making a new bag for tip 3 you can just use that one bag.

Squeeze bottles: You can purchase mini size 6 oz. pk/2, 12 oz., or 18 pk. each one is 4 oz. Can be used to flood cookies, just be sure to keep the red cap on the bottle so the icing won’t get stiff.

Small bowls-Use plastic or Tupperware containers to portion out the royal icing.

Toothpicks or Popsicles- Toothpicks are okay, but when you use them to stir the icing it breaks easily. The popsicle works much better.

Icing colors Wilton or Americolor. Wilton icing gel colors produce deep, rich color with a small amount. Wilton carries your basic colors from  1/2 – 1 oz. jars: black, yellow, red, sky blue, violet, and etc. Americolor carries from .75oz.- large squeeze bottles. It produces the same effect as Wilton with the exception of more funky and bold colors: electric pink, electric blue, teal, navy blue and etc.

Step 4: First things first, make a batch of royal icing check out my post on how to make royal icing. After you portion out the royal icing in small bowls, squeeze a very small amount of icing color, in the picture below I used only 2 drops of Americolor Teal


Step 5.- Outlining the Cookie. After coloring the icing, if you find that the icing is a little stiff you can add a little warm water(100-110 F) using 1/2 t. – 1 t. The picture on  the left is what the outline will look like, slightly thick. The picture on the right is piping with two colors, after piping let the cookies dry for @ least 15 minutes, use can also use a fan to dry cookies.

outline consistency piping with 2 colors

Step 6 – Flooding. Flooding is a method of frosting cookies that enables you to create a smooth, well-defined, glossy icing finish. Loose royal icing should have almost a runny consistency. Add water, just a little at a time 1/4 t.- 1 t., to stiff royal icing to achieve this effect. To test for the correct consistency, draw a knife through the icing; the knife mark should disappear after about 5 seconds. If it doesn’t add a little bit water, until you get the right consistency.

flooding consitency

In the below photo, you can use tip 3-5 or a squeeze bottle to flood, pushing the icing side to side, in a zig zag formation.


Shake the cookie from side to side so all the gaps can be covered. Once you flood the cookies go back with a  sewing needle to pop the air bubbles. Let cookies dry overnight.


be mine 2

If you look carefully at the above photo you will see that I used thick icing instead of running icing, to show you the effects of a dry-looking cookie vs. a glossy finish.

Some cookies may require 4-6 colors on one cookie let each design dry overnight. Working with black icing is tricky  because it “bleeds” runs into other colors. If your design requires you to outline with black icing let it dry up to 2 hrs. or overnight before filling in more details. I wanted to show you these Halloween cookies I made using, black icing in both outlining and flooding, the Witch took me about 3 days to complete. Don’t get discourage you can do this!