How to ice cookies without a piping bag-Icing the easy way

The easiest way to ice cookies @createdbydiane

I love how pretty iced cookies look,

but often they are just so time consuming.

One day when I was in a real hurry to ice cookies,

I thought about how fast it seems a donut shop could get icing on all those donuts they sell so early in the morning…

and I decided to simplify and conquer.


These cookies were iced the EASY way, no piping bag. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if you would have told me so.Nope, just dipped them into the glaze icing and viola!

Below you will find a VIDEO I added so you can see exactly how to do this!

I’m so happy that I figured out a new way to ice cookies, especially since I had 6 dozen cookies baked and ready to be iced with an annoying pain that was preventing me from icing them. It did take me a couple of tries to get the icing correct along with the method of how to dip them and have the extra icing run off the cookies with out making a complete MESS.

Glaze Icing Recipe {printable}

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup

2 tablespoons water (more may be needed)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( or flavor of your choice)

a few drops of food coloring (I use Americolor gel colors)

Mix the powdered sugar along with corn syrup and water and extract until it’s smooth and creamy.

The glaze worked best when it’s was not runny. I ran my spatula through the icing and drew a line, it too about 5 seconds for it to fill back in where I drew the line. Adjust the water so it’s fluid, but not runny.

Extract and food coloring are both in liquid/gel form, so adjust accordingly if you add more, you may need more powdered sugar.

I placed the icing in an oval dish and strapped a lollipop stick with a rubber band going under the dish attaching to each side of the stick.

I love how pretty cookies that have been piped on look, but I’m dealing with some shoulder pain right now so, this is how I have be icing cookies. I was surprised how quickly it went, I finished dozens of cookies in a matter of minutes.

how to ice cookies without a piping bag VIDEO from @createdbydiane

The video below will show you just how to easily ice cookies.


I did not scrape the icing off of the cookie. I dipped the top edge of the cookies into the icing and then ran the majority of the excess of the icing off by holding the cookie about 1/4 inch away from the lollipop stick, as I moved the cookie from where I dipped it to the other side of the dish. Then I turned the cookies over onto a drying rack. After icing these, I realized if the cookies were just a little bit thicker, my fingers wouldn’t get in the icing. The cookies I did with the red icing were just a bit thicker and it worked, no icing on my fingers!

The lollipop stick helps remove the majority of the excess icing without having to wait for the excess to drip off without messing up the icing you want to remain on the cookie. It also allows for an even layer of icing to remain on the cookie, and when turning the cookies upright, no drips went over the edges of the cookies (iced in red, as that was the correct consistency of icing) the pink was too runny and ran over the edges-that is why I’m showing you both. Hopefully the photos will help you to achieve the consistency needed for smooth finished cookies.

The pink icing was the first batch I had tried to dip into icing and it was a little bit runny, so some areas ran over the edge of these Chocolate Cut-out Cookie which by the way are Super-Delicious, no wonder they are called the End All for Chocolate Cookies. I used special dark chocolate cocoa, that is why they are extra dark. The recipe if from Lilaloa.  The second time I tried dipping the cookies was the red icing in the beginning of this post, I made the glaze icing a bit thicker and it worked out great. So a little trial and error or the icing allowed me to see the difference.

* Cookies that are a little thicker (like the ones on top iced in red) were less messy as there was more cookie to grab onto and my fingers didn’t need to touch the icing.

**Glaze icing dries hard, if you let them icing air dry for 12 hours before stacking cookies or packaging them.

*** no piping the edge required

****Will work with Royal Icing as well

*How do I get red icing RED, I use Americolor Food Coloring.

HERE IS A VIDEO ON ICING CONSISTENCY, this is helpful for you to see how easily is it to make the icing thicker or thinner so you have the consistency you desire most.


TAKE a look here to see all the cookies I’ve made!


Enjoy this new method of icing cookies on the cookie recipes I linked below, so fast and easy iced cookies.


lemon cut out cookies

Lemon Poppy Cookies

Princess Emulsion flavored cookies

Bakery Cookies


heart cookies using Italian Cookie Recipe

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  1. 10

    Laura C says

    cute! I use this technique with Royal for smaller cookies, love how it’s so fast and clean. I find they dry a lot faster too.

    • 11

      Diane says

      I’m so glad it works with Royal Icing too, I had a few people ask that. (I found your message in my spam folder :( sorry doesn’t spam know I’m so happy you commented. For drying time, it really does depend on the cookie size and wetness of icing along with the weather I find, to package and stack I like to wait the 12 hours, but yes often they are dry before that time. I certainly didn’t want people who don’t ice cookies often think they can package them right away and thought 12 hours was safe :) Thanks again for commenting Laura

    • 13

      Diane says

      no just dip them, the other cookies that are piped on the edge are just cookie recipes I linked up. I will edit the post to make that more clear :) thanks Cheryl

  2. 17

    Lesley says

    This will be lovingly pinned to my Pinterest “cookies” board as it will be invaluable for those times when I just get to be the “colour mixer” when the kids get to do all the “fun stuff”. Thank you so much!

  3. 19

    Leanne says

    Fabulous! Arthritis (in my 30s no less!) keeps me from doing as many cookies as I’d like to, so getting that base layer on without a bag would be a real pain saver! Hope your shoulder pain gets better quickly!

  4. 21

    Erin in VA says

    This is the method I learned from my mother-in-law (same glaze icing recipe too). It does go very quickly and the kids can do this one easily too.

    • 24

      Christina says

      I think the stick was to help remove some of the excess icing without having to wait for it to all drip off

      • 25

        Diane says

        yes that is correct Christina. It helps remove the majority of the excess icing, or you would be holding each cookie for quite some time, for it all to drip off. It also kept them looking uniform, with the same amount of icing remaining on each cookie.

          • 27

            Diane says

            you don’t allow the COOKIE to touch the stick, you don’t want to wipe of clean of icing, you allow the excess icing to be gently be glided off by the stick, once you give it a try you will see it’s really not so hard.
            Happy Baking!

  5. 30


    OK< you made this sound too easy, but I know my cookies would not look as perfect as yours! I will try your method next time I make cookies (I guess Valentine's Day is fast approaching:). Wish me luck!

  6. 33


    Wow, love this method would of saved me hours when I did over 150 decorated sugar cookies. I am assuming they try to where you can pipe decorations on them like others? Love it and can’t wait to give it a go!

    • 34

      Diane says

      yes it will be a huge time saver for that, and yes you can pipe over the base color to make them more decorative.

  7. 35

    Yolanda says

    I am wondering how these dry. Are they much like royal icing? I’m excited to try this, but have some edible images to attach to the cookies.

  8. 48

    Jamie says

    Would this same method work with Regular royal icing if the consistency is correct? I don’t care too much for the shiny glaze icing, I like the more matte look of royal icing.

    • 49

      Diane says

      Yes I’m sure it will work with Royal Icing as well. I just haven’t tried it yet. If you do try it let me know how it went :)

  9. 60

    Katie J says

    Tried this tonight on Lilaloa’s chocolate sugar cookies. Worked beautifully!! Thank you so much for the time saver and gorgeous cookies. :)

  10. 68

    Christina says

    I can’t WAIT to try this. I use Glaze myself with Royal icing details and this will save SO MUCH TIME!!! Thank you.

  11. 70

    Honeykath says

    Exciting News! Thanks for blazing the trail for us! You are a brave cookie diva and a kind soul to share your creative genius! I am new to your work and saw it for the first time today at SweetSugarBelle..I am so glad I found you!! I will be making cookies this way today, Merci!

  12. 73


    I’ve have only ever done this with round cokies! I had no idea it would work as well for other shapes too!!

    I used to have the darndest time making my circles round and this always worked perfectly for that! I am going to have to try this with other cookies and see how much faster it makes the icing process!!
    Thanks Diane!1

  13. 74


    I love that you shared this, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I’m sure there are others out there who suffer from time to time with the carpel tunnel…this will be a good technique for them as well. Hope your shoulder gets better soon, and thanks for sharing.

  14. 76

    Cathey Bell says

    I have a glaze question: Do you use 4 cups of powdered sugar or 1 cup to 1 T corn syrup? I see two different amounts (one here and the other on the Lemon Poppyseed recipe.

    • 77

      Diane says

      sorry I confused you, at the time I made the lemon cookies, that is what I used. Typically I use 4 cups powdered sugar to one tablespoon corn syrup-that is my go to amount. The corn syrup seems to make it have a smoother texture and even out sheen when they dry, but sometimes I’ve added to much and they don’t dry quickly. ( could have been the weather I’m still not sure)
      So the 4 to 1 ratio is my most often used combination :)
      Happy Baking!

  15. 81

    Paula says

    Just tried this with mixed results(I am not a professional).had to add much more than the 2tb of water and I think it was still too thick. I was afraid of it being too runny!

    • 82

      Diane says

      yes the consistency of the icing is key. Once you find the perfect consistency for “you” to work with, it goes so fast. If it’s too runny and drippy, add more powdered sugar, if it’s too thick for you then yes you will need to add more water. Lots of variables on icing, temperature also I find plays a part, a hot kitchen=runny,cold kitchen=thicker. Since it’s in a bowl it’s very easy to add what you need, mix it up and try another cookie. I hope you find the right consistency that will work for you :) Whether you are working with the glaze icing or a royal icing it’s take a bit to find your way, but once you find it, this is an easy way to coat cookies.

  16. 83

    Kathie Kunz says

    Hi, Diane..thank you so much for posting this technique. :). I am just a little confused with the stick being one the bowl. I know you used it to level off the glaze on your cookies, but how exactly do you do this without messing up the glaze? Do you actually drag the glazed cookie over the top of the stick after you have dipped it in the glaze & let some drip off? I just can’t visualize how this works. ?????? TIA. :)

    • 84

      Diane says

      I used the stick to remove the bulk of the icing I didn’t want to remain on the cookie, no I didn’t scrape the cookie, I held the cookie about 1/4 of an inch off of the stick and let the stick take the excess off (while leaving plenty of icing on the cookie) once you try it, I’m sure it will make more sense.

    • 88

      Diane says

      I’m so glad you used it, and yes it’s not as precise but certainly goes fast :) and is easy on my shoulder. Thanks so much for linking back.

  17. 90

    Wendy says

    Ok, I feel silly asking, but you mention that you dip the top edge of the cookie in the icing. Does this mean you don’t dip the entire front of the cookie in the icing? When you hold the cookie over the stick do you just hold it in a stationary position or do you move the cookie back and forth over the stick?

    Any chance you could post a video tutorial??? 😉

    Obviously, I’m a royal icing newbie….

    • 91

      Diane says

      it sounds harder than it is, once you give it a try you’ll see how easy it is to do this. You start at one end of the dish and dip the top of the cookie (don’t dip too far in you don’t want icing on the sides of the cookie, they look prettier with just the icing on the top) as you move the cookie from one side of the dish to the other the excess icing will drip off and the stick help remove the majority of the excess without touching the cookie, so you don’t have to stand there so long waiting for it all to drip off. Next time you make cookies give it a try :) As far as the video goes, its’ on my “list” :) Hope that helps, Happy Baking ~Diane

  18. 92

    Theresa says

    Do you know if you can frost cupcakes the same way you did the cookies, I would like to do that if it will work!!!!

  19. 95

    lisa says

    How did you get the icing so red? I know its off topic, but I’ve never been able to get a real red. I really want to try this too.

    • 96

      Diane says

      I use Americolor food coloring, all their reds (and all colors for that matter) are very concentrated. If you are making icing and will end up with about 2 cups of icing, I’d guess 10 drops at least. The color red does darken over time, like an hour. So mix it ahead of time, pink I find does the same thing. Hope that was helpful :)

      • 97

        Diane says

        Oh I forgot to ask, are you using Americolor food coloring and not getting it red enough? or are you using a different food coloring?

  20. 98

    audrey says

    HI I have the same question as Lisa, above… no matter WHAT I do, I cannot seem to get red icing !!! I’ve tried everything ! Also, I am a tiny bit confused regarding the stick too ! If the cookie doesn’t touch it, why use it at all ? Thanks for any help with this, I love making cookies and always looking for easier ways to decorate them… yours are fantastic, well done Diane !

    • 99

      Diane says

      why use the stick?
      Because it helps get off all the excess icing without messing up the cookie :) and you don’t have to stand there for three minutes letting each cookie drip the excess icing off either.
      Once you try it you’ll understand why it’s there.
      Red Icing= I most often use super red, but I have other red colors from Americolor. My question is are you using Americolor food coloring and not getting it red enough. I don’t have any trouble with it, it’s the only red I use. I use at least 10 drops in 2 cups of icing.
      Hope that is helpful :)

  21. 101

    Cathy Kear says

    I used your bakery cookie recipe and this recipe/method for V-Day cookies to bring to my daughter’s daycare. They turned out amazing! Even the cookies that got a little well done were super yummy! And, I did run out of powdered sugar, so my icing was a litte runny, but I managed it so much better with that rubber-banded stick (chopstick for me) method ;). Thanks!

    • 102

      Diane says

      I’m so glad they came out great!! Yea I have a tendency of running out of powdered sugar too, no matter how many pounds I have on hand :) Glad you like the “new” method of icing cookies, I did some today too and love how quickly it goes. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

  22. 103


    I just found this on pinterest and came here in a flash. Wow I love what you’ve done. Makes so much sense. A really great tutorial. I could have used this last week with the Valentines cookies. OK a couple of questions…..I have never seen americolor. Where is it usually sold? Do you have to order it or do they have a website? Also I detest royal icing. Cookies are next to inedible with the icing being so hard. But I do like the glaze idea.I know you said it dries hard but can you still bite into it without cracking your teeth? (smile) I’m going to try your cookie recipes too. Everything sounds so good. Thanks for this great tutorial. Its one of the best cookie ones I’ve ever seen!! So easy and beautiful!


    • 104

      Diane says

      Americolor is available to me at local cake supply stores, they do have a website and I know it’s also available on Amazon.
      Glaze icing is not as hard as Royal Icing and doesn’t have the tangier taste as there are no egg whites. It does dry hard, but you can certainly bite into the cookies for a few weeks. I tested them once. At 4 weeks the icing was quite hard. But really who has them around for that long. LOL. Hope that is helpful, ~Diane

  23. 105


    Stopped by from a link on Sugarbelle. This looks like a great technique. I am brand new at decorating cookies, and am trying to read and try everything!! I am excited to give this a try on my next batch. Thanks for such a great tutorial!!

  24. 107



    You have a lovely blog….and i am totally drooling here seeing ur beautiful recipes and the clicks and as well as the easy techniques you use…..WOW!

    Luv this blog!!

  25. 108

    Vickie says

    I want to ice my son’s race car cake with a nice smooth finish…do you think this would work to cover it without hiding the details? Its a Disney Cars cake, one of the Wilton molds and I so do not want to have to spread the icing!

    • 109

      Diane says

      I don’t think glaze icing wupill give you he result you’d like, but m not sure, if it’s poured over a scone, the majority does slide off, so it may work, I almost think microwaved canned frosting may pour easier and it creamier and I think a better topping for cake.

  26. 112

    Barb says

    Do you think using the handle of a wooden spoon would work as well as the stick? Just found your site today, I love it! Thanks

    • 113

      Diane says

      Yes I’m sure any item placed over the bowl to help drain off extra icing will work. Staws, popsicle stick, chopstick, could work too.

  27. 114

    Maria says

    Thanks for this — my cookies however are drop cookies — so not sure this method would work for me as crumbs get into the icing. However, I think the secret weapon may be the corn syrup, which I have not used in the past…it must add enough texture to allow this all to happen. Thanks again, merry xmas

  28. 115

    Christi says

    Me and my family made this icing to top our sugar cookies for Santa this year. It worked great and was delicious!

  29. 116

    Janet says

    I use this same basic icing and use a NEW paintbrush to paint the icing on the cookies. it works really well and you can paint to the edges but not have it run off the cookies.

  30. 119

    raspberry keytones says

    Hi, all is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is
    sharing information, that’s in fact fine, keep up writing.

  31. 120

    Connie says

    I worked in a bakery for many years and this is the way we always iced our cookies. We used meringue powder instead of syrup and a clean finger to help with removing excess icing. Thanks for sharing.

  32. 121


    Diane, I just ran across your great tip! I haven’t decorated cookies in MANY years. Now that I have a little 4 month old granddaughter with a baptism coming up, I’ll be making christening gown cookies. I’ll use your glaze recipe and technique, and then I’ll attempt sweetsugarbelle’s lace technique. I admire you for pushing yourself through the shoulder pain and adapting. I’ve been dealing with elbow/shoulder pain for a year, so I can totally relate. I hope your shoulder issue has now resolved! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so generous with your talent. You are an inspiration to me.

  33. 122


    Diane, I make this frosting only with milk instead of water. After my cookies dry they seem to get spots on them. Is this because of the milk? They dry nice and smooth but the spots are kind of unsightly.

    • 123

      Diane says

      Yes, it is because of the milk. If you get spots with water, it’s because it’s humid usually. Milk can leave swirls and spots easily, that is why I prefer water.

  34. 127

    Mariana says

    Dear Diane, how fast will the royal icing harden on the dish? Do you need to stir it between cookies so that it remains usable? Thanks for sharing such a great idea! Kind regards, Mariana.

    • 128

      Diane says

      Once I have all the cookies ready to go into the icing, I just keep dipping them and placing them on a rack.The icing won’t crust over unless you stop dipping cookies, if you need to then stir it up. If you take a break, place plastic wrap on the dish (touching the icing) so it doesn’t crust over :)

  35. 130

    Margaret says

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I iced 140 cookies today using your tip. It was amazing. Saved me so much time, and they look better (in my opinion) than the outline flood method! So thank you again for sharing!!! This will now be the only way I will ice cookies!

    • 131

      Diane says

      So happy to hear it worked well for you and I agree it’s a huge time saver when icing lots of cookies!

  36. 132

    Jenna says

    Hi Diane, I have seen this method done in a bakery where the lady was glazing tons of cookies – I have always wondered how they did it, thanks for posting this(long ago) haha. I have a birthday party coming up and need to ice about 200 cookies. I have always used royal icing and the piping method but I am going to try this glaze method since the amount of cookies is so much. I want to save as much time as possible. I was wondering, after letting them dry completely (I also am going to pipe details on top with royal icing after) is it ok to freeze the completed decorated cookie until the party? I am planning to do them a week in advance.

    On the Bake at 350 blog she states it’s ok to freeze royal icing decorated cookies but I am wondering about this icing. Have you ever tried freezing cookies?

    • 133

      Diane says

      I have frozen cookies after icing them to see how they are. The glaze iced cookies I froze for a month, were defrosted and tasted just as if they were just baked and the glaze icing was nice on all of them. I’ve also baked and frozen the cookies, thawed them and then iced them will good results too.

    • 135

      Diane says

      I use Americolor colors and find I only have bleeding when the icing has extra water that was not mixed fully together. If it’s black or red and the cookie will have that color against another color I allow it to dry first. Also using a small space heater to dry them faster works well. The more practice the less bleeding I’ve had, sad but true.

  37. 136

    Teri says

    I may have missed it, but can you continue to add detailed decorating after cookies have been iced/glazed? Amazing tip. Thanks for sharing!

    • 137

      Diane says

      Yes you can add details on the wet icing if you want a wet on wet application or wait until the first layer dries before applying details to have a raised effect with the icing.

  38. 138

    Erin says

    Not sure if you still read this, but I am at a complete loss with your recipe. I end up having to add about 4-5 (maybe more) tablespoons of water in order to get any sort of liquid consistency. Otherwise it’s just clumped up powdered sugar. Am I doing something wrong?

    • 139

      Diane says

      It is difficult to mix, but before you add all that water….try a tiny whisk or mini spatula and just keep mixing it. If you add all that water the icing will slide off the cookies, it’s not supposed to be runny. Add a very small amount of water at a time and mix and mix and mix. putting water in a bottle that drops comes out of is helpful, an eye dropper too. This video I did may help let me know how those tips work out for you.

  39. 140


    I would love to learn how to make this kind of frosting. It appears to be a faster method than the way I’ve frosted cookies for over 50 years. Even at my age, I still bake lots and lots of cookies and one is never too old to learn.


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