Cookie Decorating Tips

easy cookie decorating

Decorating Cookies

Decorating cookies can be fun or very tedious depending on what else is going on.  If you have helpers, these sugar cookies are brilliant covered in buttercream and decorated.

Your cookie jar will never be empty once you master any of these decorating techniques.

Roll in sugar

The easiest way to decorate cookies is to shape them into a ball and roll them in sugar before baking. That is how we make our Molasses Cookies (Treacle Ginger Cookies).

treacle biscuits uk recipe

We used the same trick for our favourite sugar cookies and it works a treat. Zero effort and makes a good looking cookie.

sugar cookie 1030

Two minute buttercream

Buttercream icing is easy to make and doesn’t really have a ‘recipe’. The ingredients are butter, icing sugar and a splash (just a splash) of milk (preferably full fat).

Melt the butter, add a splash of milk and then stir in icing sugar until you get the desired consistency.

If you are dipping, the frosting can be like a thick cream. If you are piping, you might want something more stiff so add more icing sugar. The best way to experiment. It will taste great no matter how it looks!

Add Colour

Add food colouring to the buttercream depending on your season. We make one batch of buttercream and then split it into smaller bowls and colour each bowl differently.

three green sugar cookies square

Make it a Zingy

By far, the easiest tip for cookie decorating is adding a bit of zest to the buttercream. Instead of the milk, add a squeeze of lemon or orange juice and some of the zest of the fruit. Our favourite is lemon sugar cookies!

sugar cookies sandwich lemon


When I’m feeling too lazy or rushed to decorate, I dip these cookies buttercream about half way up the biscuit and let it dry on a wire rack. Better yet, just add a dab of food colouring to the dough, bake and serve. Adjust your colours to the event or season.

Spread & Swirl

Use a simple palette knife and just make a pretty swirl in your spread of the buttercream on the cookie. Can’t get much easier than that!

Kitchen Craft Palette Knife


Make your buttercream and sandwich it in between biscuits. Check out these maple and walnut cookies to see a mix of dipping, sprinkling and sandwiching in action.

maple walnut decorated cookies

Sprinkles & Glitter

Sprinkles, edible glitter and Hundreds & Thousands all make easy and fun cookie decorating accessories. We adore our local Craft Company for specialist decorations.

sprinkles image

Candy, Nuts and Coconut

You can also use standard household ingredients for decorating.

  • Desiccated coconut for snow
  • Chopped nuts are always a winner and add texture to the melt-in-our-mouth sugar cookie
  • Mini chocolate chips make wonderful eyes on your character cookies

Here we simply crushed a candy cane and sprinkled it on some vibrant green icing for some Christmas sugar cookie magic.

christmas sugar cookie candy cane

Much easier than it looks and a wonderful show piece, this sugar cookie recipe using star cookie cutters makes a gorgeous Christmas Tree.

Image from

To be properly schooled in the art of cookie decorating, follow American Tradition Cookie Cutters on Instagram. Their creations are amazing!

We also adore these tutorials from Sharilyn’s Cookie Studio on YouTube.

We found these inexpensive KitchenCraft cookie decorating tools invaluable! Available on

kitchen craft cookie decorating set