Holiday Tips for Cookie Decorating

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is decorating tacky sweater cookies with my family. We’ve done it for years now. We schedule a whole day devoted just to decorating, pull out all our tools, and spend hours crafting the perfect cookies. It’s been a lot of trial and error for us over the years, and today I want to share my tips for cookie decorating!

Let’s dive right in shall we?

Tip 1: Roll your dough thin. My sister is really the master baker in our family, so she and my mom tend to get this job. I get lazy and don’t roll the dough thin enough then rudolph looks like he’s had one too many holiday fruit cakes. It get real real puffy and that’s hard to decorate. So roll it thin.

Tip 2: Use flour while you’re rolling. However much you think you need, double it. Heck, triple it. If you use flour constantly while you are rolling your dough, you will be able to get the thinness I was talking about. Also it will prevent the dough from sticking to the pin. Oh, and don’t forget to roll your dough on wax paper.

Tip 3: Use metal cookie cutters. Plastic cookie cutters don’t cut the mustard. Metal cookie cutters give you the well defined shape you are looking for and make it easy to cut the dough rather than having to jiggle it over and over to free the shape. Check out a few here, herehere, and here (these are fun because they have sweater vests and v-necks but they are a little smaller than the others.)

Tip 4: Use the proper tools. Just slathering on some icing tastes good, sure, but won’t give you the details you are looking for on your cookie. Bringing other tools to the table will help you create unique effects. Some of my favorite but simple tools are toothpicks, Ziploc bags with the corners cut off, and tweezers. I use toothpicks to create a marbling effect. Ziploc bags are a great cheap alternative (with a super easy clean-up) to piping bags. Tweezers help you with placing the details gently on your cookie.

Tip 5: Have a variety of decorations. Don’t just get red and green sprinkles. Think about the details. How would you make jingle bells, candy canes, Rudolph? One of my favorite cookies last year was the “Mele Kalikimaka” sweater cookie and it’s blue. Get lots of colors, sizes, and varieties of decor. You will probably have to walk down to the baking aisle rather than just park it in the Christmas section at Target. HOWEVER, do stop and get this pack of icing because it’s the best. The nozzle is the jam for cookie decorating. I always recommend white icing and food coloring to achieve the perfect colors.

Bonus tip 6: Have fun and don’t care about perfection. My brother’s cookies are always my favorites. While some of us are concerned with the details, he is having fun and crafting quite the concoctions. His “masterpieces” usually result with us rolling laughing, and simultaneously create my favorite memories.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?



Hel On Heels is an Atlanta-based life and style blog by Helen Gaillet Bailey. Hel On Heels is intended to be a digital magazine written by your best friend.

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  1. 11.30.18

    Oh my gosh you are so talented girl! These are beautiful! Admittedly I’ve never made sugar cookies but would love to try with my boys this year. These tips are super helpful so definitely saving this for later.

  2. 11.30.18

    Your cookies are so cute! I love baking cookies but I’m not good at decorating them. I’ll have to try these tips, but I’m so impatient, I’m not sure I can pull it off.

  3. 11.30.18
    Ashley Stephenson said:

    These are so good! My husband and I always make cookies each year but they always look like toddlers did them!

  4. 11.30.18
    Chloe Hamard said:

    I was looking at how to make good holiday cookies so this post is actually coming in handy!

  5. 11.30.18
    Trish said:

    Great tips! I love Christmas cookies, have metal cutters here, but have not done this the past few years. I think you have inspired me to do this soon!

  6. 11.30.18
    Kay R. said:

    Great tips girlie and those cookies look so good!

  7. 11.30.18
    Yulissa Rosario Santiago said:

    I love baking cookies with my daughter! She loves using loooooots of flour 😂 I’m concerned about perfection and her cookies are just masterpieces because she is just having fun.

  8. 11.30.18
    Amanda K said:

    These are all great tips! My mom and I make cookies like this every year!

  9. 12.1.18

    Love these tips! Making and decorating cookies is one of my favourite things to do, especially this time of year. I love my cookie cutter collection, I’ve even started making my own and it’s so much fun! Also I couldn’t agree more on the “need more flour” rule 😂🙌

  10. 12.1.18

    These are such great ideas! I had a lot of fun decorating Gingerbread Men Cookies with my Mom last year. They definitely weren’t as pretty as your cookies, but we had a lot of fun and spent time together, which is all that matters! 🙂 I’m looking forward to doing it with her again this year so these tips are really helpful! Thanks for sharing x

  11. 12.1.18

    So, so cute! I really want to do some baking this month – these are so fun!

  12. 12.1.18
    Shana Lee said:

    These cookies are too cute! My daughter would have so much fun making theses!

  13. 12.1.18
    Mar said:

    These are great! I can appreciate an ugly Christmas sweater.

  14. 12.1.18
    Nicole Pharr said:

    This is so cool, I know my girls would love to do something like this. Forming traditions like this are so important. I just love how you all make a day out of it.

  15. 12.2.18

    Oh we can’t to decorate gingerbread cookies.

  16. 12.2.18
    Adriana said:

    Love your tips! Cookie decorating is THE best ever!

Comments are closed.