How to Use Cookie Cutters: A Comprehensive Guide

Ah, cookie cutters! Aren’t they just the best? Whether you’re an expert baker or just starting out, these little tools can be a game-changer in your kitchen. But have you ever wondered about the best ways to use them? Dive in with me!

A Brief History of Cookie Cutters

Did you know that cookie cutters have been around for centuries? From ancient civilizations using simple wooden tools to the intricate metal and plastic designs we have today, cookie cutters have evolved but their purpose remains the same: to give shape to our delicious creations.

Choosing the Right Cookie Cutter for You

Choosing the Right Cookie Cutter for You

It’s not just about a pretty shape; picking the right cookie cutter is a bit of an art!

Materials to Consider

When choosing cookie cutters, the material can influence your baking experience just as much as the design.

  • Metal: Often made of tin, stainless steel, or copper, metal cookie cutters are durable, sharp, and give a precise cut. They’re great for intricate designs. However, they can rust if not dried properly and might have sharp edges that aren’t suitable for children.
  • Plastic: These are safer for kids and come in a variety of vibrant colors. While they’re less sharp than metal, good-quality plastic cutters can still give a clean cut. Bonus: they’re usually dishwasher safe!
  • Silicone: Flexible and non-stick, silicone cutters are relatively new to the market. While not as sharp as metal, they’re perfect for younger bakers and are often easier to clean.
  • Wood: Traditional and eco-friendly, wooden molds and cutters can impart beautiful designs. They require special care, though – always hand wash and dry immediately to prevent warping.

Shapes and Sizes

The beauty of cookie cutters lies in their vast array of shapes and sizes, suitable for any occasion.

  • Classics: Stars, hearts, and circles never go out of style. These are versatile and perfect for any occasion.
  • Holiday-specific: From Christmas trees to Easter bunnies, there’s a cutter for every holiday celebration.
  • Intricate Designs: Think unicorns, detailed flowers, or even city skylines. These may require a steadier hand and well-chilled dough.
  • Custom-made: Many businesses now offer bespoke designs, letting you create your very own shape, perfect for special events or branding.

Comparison of Handmade vs. Store-Bought Cutters

Comparison of Handmade vs. Store-Bought Cutters

Quality and Durability:

  • Handmade Cutters: Often more durable and precise, as they can be made from high-quality materials.
  • Store-Bought Cutters: May not have the same level of durability, especially cheaper plastic versions.


  • Handmade Cutters: Offer the possibility of custom designs, perfect for unique or specialized shapes.
  • Store-Bought Cutters: Typically come in standard shapes and sizes, with limited customization options.

Cost Consideration:

  • Handmade Cutters: Generally more expensive due to the craftsmanship and materials used.
  • Store-Bought Cutters: More affordable and widely available in a variety of price ranges.


  • Handmade Cutters: May require ordering in advance, not readily available in stores.
  • Store-Bought Cutters: Easily found in kitchenware stores or online, offering immediate availability.

Prepping Your Dough for Perfect Cutting

Prepping Your Dough for Perfect Cutting

The Ideal Dough Consistency

Getting the dough right is crucial for a smooth cookie-cutting experience.

  • Texture: Your dough should be firm but pliable. Too soft, and it’ll stick to the cutter; too hard, and it’ll crumble.
  • Flour: If your dough is a tad sticky, dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour. But be cautious – too much flour can make the cookies tough.
  • Testing: Before rolling out the entire batch, test a small portion. If it holds the shape well, you’re good to go!

Chilling: Why It’s Essential

Chilled dough is a baker’s secret weapon, especially when working with cookie cutters.

  • Holding Shape: Cold dough holds its shape better when baked, ensuring that your beautifully cut designs don’t spread out and lose their form.
  • Easier to Handle: Chilled dough is less sticky, making it easier to lift off the work surface and transfer to a baking sheet.
  • Flavor Development: Chilling allows the fats in the dough (like butter) to solidify. As they melt during baking, they create pockets of air, resulting in a better texture and more intense flavor.
  • Chill Time: While 30 minutes might suffice for some recipes, others might benefit from an overnight chill. Refer to your recipe, but when in doubt, longer is generally better.

The Art of Using a Cookie Cutter

The Art of Using a Cookie Cutter

A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Roll out your dough evenly.
  • Press the cutter down firmly.
  • Wiggle it just a bit to ensure a clean cut.
  • Gently lift and voila!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using cookie cutters seems straightforward, but there are pitfalls even seasoned bakers can fall into:

  • Overworking the Dough: Over-mixing can make your cookies tough. Once your flour is added, mix just until combined.
  • Not Flouring the Cutter: If your cutter starts sticking, dip it in flour before each use. This can prevent distorting your shapes.
  • Rolling Dough Unevenly: This can result in uneven baking. Some cookies might be overdone while others are under-baked. Aim for a consistent thickness.
  • Overcrowding the Baking Sheet: Cookies need space. If placed too close together, they might merge as they spread, losing their distinct shapes.

Creative Uses of Cookie Cutters Beyond Cookies

Crafting Projects

Cookie cutters aren’t just for baking. They can be a crafter’s best friend!

  • Clay Ornaments: Use your cutters to shape clay. Once dried or baked (depending on the type of clay), these can be painted and strung up as decorations.
  • Felt Crafts: Trace around cookie cutter shapes onto felt and cut out for simple DIY projects, from plushies to festive garlands.
  • Stencil Designs: Use them as stencils for painting or drawing projects, especially with kids.

Homemade Gifts and Decorations

Your creations can be the star of any event or a cherished gift:

  • Packaging: Presentation is everything. Invest in beautiful tins or boxes, line with parchment, and layer your cookies. Finish with a ribbon!
  • Gift Tags: Use smaller cutters to make gift tags out of dough or craft paper. Personalize with names or messages.
  • Edible Bouquets: Attach a stick to your cookie before baking. Once cooled and decorated, these can be arranged as a bouquet.

Caring for Your Cookie Cutters

Caring for Your Cookie Cutters

Cleaning Techniques

Taking good care of your cookie cutters ensures they last longer and stay in good shape:

  • Immediate Cleaning: Don’t let dough residue sit for too long. It hardens and becomes difficult to remove.
  • Soak but Not for Too Long: If there’s stuck-on dough, soak cutters for a few minutes, but avoid leaving metal ones submerged for extended periods.
  • Soft Bristled Brush: Use a soft brush to clean intricate designs without damaging them.
  • Drying: Always dry cutters thoroughly before storing, especially metal ones, to prevent rust.

Storing Your Collection

Keep them in a cool, dry place. A designated drawer or box works wonders.

DIY Cookie Cutter Making

Materials Needed:

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Measure and cut your material to the desired length.
  • Slowly bend the material into your chosen shape, using pliers for precision.
  • Once your shape is formed, ensure the ends are securely sealed.
  • Sand down any sharp or rough edges for safety.

Creative Ideas:

  • Experiment with various shapes beyond the basics – think of your favorite animals, symbols, or even abstract designs.
  • Combine multiple shapes to create layered or complex cookie designs.

Safety Tips:

  • Always wear protective gloves when handling metal.
  • Ensure all edges are smooth to prevent cuts.
  • If using tin cans, be extra cautious as the cut edges can be particularly sharp.

How to Make Custom Homemade Cookie Cutter

Elevating Your Baking Game with Decorations

Simple Icing Techniques

A beautifully baked cookie deserves equally stunning decoration:

  • Royal Icing: Mix powdered sugar, egg whites, and a touch of lemon juice or vanilla for a smooth, hard-drying icing. Use a thicker consistency to outline and a thinner one to “flood” or fill the cookie.
  • Piping Bags: These are essential for detailed work. If you don’t have one, a zip-lock bag with a tiny corner snipped off works in a pinch.
  • Practice: Use parchment paper to practice your designs before moving to the cookie.

Advanced Decorating Techniques

Detailing with Multiple Colors:

Method: To use multiple icing colors without bleeding, start with one color and let it dry completely before applying the next.


  • Use a thicker consistency for the base layer to prevent colors from running.
  • Outline first, then flood inside the lines.
  • Let each color dry for at least an hour before adding another color next to it.

Texturing Techniques:

  • Stippling: Use a stiff brush to dab at slightly wet icing, creating a textured look.
  • Marbling: While the base layer of icing is still wet, add a few drops of a different color and use a toothpick to swirl the colors together gently.

Painting on Cookies:

  • Materials: Use food-grade paints or edible markers for detailed artwork.
  • Technique: Once your base layer of icing is dry, paint or draw your designs. This is perfect for intricate details that can’t be achieved with icing alone.

3D Effects:

  • Creating Volume: Use thicker icing and pipe in layers to create 3D effects like a rose or an animal.
  • Layering: Allow each layer to dry slightly before adding the next to maintain the shape and volume.

Decorating with Sprinkles and Edible Glitter

Add a touch of sparkle or texture to your cookies:

  • While Wet: Always add sprinkles or glitter while your icing is wet to ensure they stick.
  • Mix and Match: Use a variety of sizes and colors for a festive touch.
  • Edible Glitter: This gives a beautiful shimmer to your cookies. Remember, a little goes a long way!
  • Stencils: Use your cookie cutters as stencils to create neat sprinkle designs on larger, base-iced cookies.


In conclusion, using cookie cutters is both an art and a joy. It’s all about creativity, patience, and enjoying the process. So next time you roll out that dough, think of all the possibilities in front of you. Happy baking!


  1. Can I use cookie cutters with other types of dough besides cookie dough?
    Absolutely! Try them with pie crusts, pizza dough, or even bread!
  2. How do I prevent rust on my metal cookie cutters?
    Dry them immediately after washing and avoid soaking them for prolonged periods.
  3. My cookie shapes keep distorting. What can I do?
    Ensure your dough is well-chilled and avoid overworking it.
  4. Can I design my own cookie cutter shape?
    Yes, there are many custom cutter services online. Let your imagination run wild!
  5. How thick should I roll out my dough for the best results?
    Generally, a 1/4 inch thickness works well for most recipes. Adjust based on your preference!




Hi, my name is Tamy White and I've been in love with decorated cookies since 2021. After taking many courses and working with decorated cookies for the last years, I decided to create this website to bring this enchanting world of decorated cookies to more people and thus bring information, techniques and tips about it. Here you'll find lots of content that I've lovingly created so that you can achieve incredible results with your cookies.

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