My Favorite Cookie Decorating Tools

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Are you ready to take your Christmas cookie decorating to the next level? These are my favorite tools and products, like rolling pins, cutters, and colors, to make gorgeous designs for any special occasion.

Sugar cookies surrounded by decorating tools.

When you’re ready to customize any cookie with simple or elaborate designs, endless tools, and cookie decorating kits are available to make the task easy and fun. These are the essentials I have in my collection for professional designs.

Whether you want to make fancy rolled sugar cookies, gingerbread, or simple frosted treats more festive, it’s all here. With a bit of imagination and creativity, my guide will help make the task effortless. Aside from a baking sheet and parchment paper, here’s what I use.

Adjustable rolling pin

Adjustable rolling pin.

Often recipes call for a specific thickness for sugar cookie dough. An adjustable rolling pin makes the task easy and consistent. Simply unscrew the knobs, and add the disc with the desired thickness (1/16″, 1/6″, 1/4″, or 3/8″), then reattach. No more guessing!

Metal holiday cookie cutters.

With a range of shapes and sizes, there are endless possibilities. They come in metal, copper, and plastic. I always have a set of different-sized round and fluted cutters, plus holiday-specific ones like Christmas trees and Valentine’s Day.

I always add several new cutters each year to switch things up! If possible, try to bake the cookies with similar sizes for even bake times.

Plastic piping bags

Plastic piping bags filled with colorful frosting.

The disposable plastic wrap bags, also called pastry bags, make it easy to pipe multiple colors and discard them. They typically come in 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 18-inch bag sizes. I like the 12-inch version because it can fit a little or a lot of icing.

Add the tips to the bottom of each bag or cut a small piece off the end to make detailed designs. It makes piping border icing and flood icing so simple!

Piping tips

Various sized metal piping tips.

They come in metal or plastic. Add these piping tips to pastry bags or resealable plastic bags to make different designs. Depending on the desired pattern and size, round, open, and closed star, basketweave, ruffle, petal, flower, or leaf tips can add a lot of texture and detail.

You can purchase a plastic two-part coupler that allows you to interchange the tips without changing the bag.

Icing bag ties

Reusable silicone ties are so handy! They easily secure the piping bag, keeping the contents from spilling out. It helps keep air out, adding pressure to make it easier to pipe and preventing the icing from drying out.

Small squeeze bottles with tops

Small food coloring squeeze bottles with tops.

These writer bottles with small tips in various sizes come in handy for intricate piping designs. It works best for thinner consistency royal icing or cooking icing. It also prevents the powdered sugar in the icing from drying out. It makes it much easier to store as well. These also reduce the amount of mess when decorating with young kids.

Liquid food coloring

Liquid food coloring bottles.

This is the classic food dye often used to color easter eggs. Because the color is suspended in liquid, you need a lot to make the icing or frosting more vibrant, diluting the consistency. If you plan to use this liquid type, wait to adjust the thickness of the icing with water until after adding the color.

Gel colors

Several small gel coloring bottles.

These concentrated products yield vibrant hues without diluting the icing or frosting. They come in numerous colors and shades, so you don’t have to do as much mixing. I use a toothpick to add a small amount of gel food coloring, mix, and adjust as needed. The small amount also doesn’t leave a residual dye taste.


Several small bottles of colorful cookie decorating sprinkles.

Add dimension and texture to any iced cookie with sprinkles! They come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. They are also called jimmies, nonpareils, dragée, coarse sanding, or sparkling sugar. Make sure to add them when the icing or frosting is still tacky, so it sticks. Shake off the excess after the icing has dried.

Edible glitter dust

Add some shine to dried decorating cookies! They come in colors like white, gold, silver, and more. They add a stunning luster to make the cookie subtly sparkly. Simple paintbrushes or clean makeup brushes work well to apply the glitter.

Edible color markers

Several edible color markers.

Food coloring markers add the finishing touches to dried iced cookie decorating ideas. The edible food dye in the markers gives you more control to add small details, color in areas, or write words.

Recipes to try out

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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