How to Paint Sugar Cookies

Take your humble sugar cookies to a whole new level using a technique that will enable you to customize your cookies for any occasion. Painting your baked goods is a sweet way to present dessert for any holiday, birthday or celebratory occasion.

(Image: Lucy Akins)
(Image: Lucy Akins)

Which Canvas to Choose?

There are two different ways to convert your sugar cookies into canvases.

  1. Place royal icing over them (allowing them to dry)
  2. Placing rolled fondant over the cookie

Both methods work similarly, however, the fondant takes less time to dry. For these cookies, we opted to use the fondant method.

Things You'll Need

  • Sugar cookie

  • Bowl of water, or clear vanilla extract

  • Royal icing

  • Fondant

  • Cookie cutter or glass

  • Rolling Pin

  • Parchment paper

  • Gel food coloring

  • New paint brushes

  • White icing

  • Plate to use as palette

Bake Your Cookies

Bake your favorite sugar cookie recipe and allow them to cool completely.


When making your cookies, omit the baking powder. Using baking powder causes the cookies to spread on the sheet, sometimes making them stick to each other. By omitting the baking powder, the cookies will keep their perfect circular shape as they cook.

Step 1

While the cookies bake, roll your fondant over parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness throughout.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 2

Use the same shape cookie cutter you used to cut the cookie dough and cut through the fondant. In this case we simply used a glass to cut circles out of the fondant. Allow fondant to dry for 1 to 2 hours.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 3

Place a thin layer of icing over the cookie and cover with fondant.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 4

Continue doing this to all the cookies and gently rub the fondant with the palm of your hand over the cookie.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 5

Place gel food coloring on a plate and mix to your desired color by dipping your brush in water or in the clear vanilla.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 6

Dip your unused brush in brown and paint a branch


Test your colors on a 'test' cookie or an extra piece of rolled fondant.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 7

Paint several leaves

(Image: Lucy Akins)

And fill them in. You might find this tutorial on how to paint leaves helpful.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 8

Add some berries for more interest.

(Image: Lucy Akins)
(Image: Lucy Akins)

You can make the cookies as intricate as you wish or use simple strokes.

You can also write a message on them to compliment the occasion. Have fun experimenting with the various colors. Happy baking !