How to Stencil a Professional Looking Cookie

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Stenciling on cookies is a quick, easy way to create beautiful hand-decorated cookies for pretty much any occasion from birthdays to graduation! In this tutorial, I will walk you through the process of stenciling your favorite cookies and share insider tips to help make it simple and fun!

I have included my favorite cutout sugar cookie recipe below…

Simple Cutout Cookies


  • 2 cups butter softened
  • 1 package 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat flour into creamed mixture.
  2. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to roll.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured 3-in. cookie cutters.
  4. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set (do not brown).
  5. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Choosing Your Cookie

Cut-out sugar cookies are the most common cookies used for stenciling, but almost any cookie with a flat, even surface will work, even store-bought bakery cookies.


Choosing Your Stencil

If you are a beginner, you may want to start with a simple stencil without too much detail. Stencils with a simple design and/or wording without scrolls or filigree will give you the best results.


Preparing Your Royal Icing

Royal icing is the best for stenciling since it dry’s quickly and leaves a crisp outline.

See Royal Icing Recipe Below…

Royal Icing


  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1 tsp. Cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons of warm but not hot water


  1. Add all ingredients to a stand mixer and mix on the lowest setting for 10 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and add additional warm water, a few drops at a time, until it is similar to a thick buttercream.


Stenciling Your Cookies Step-by-Step


Step 1: Prepare your cookies

Base coat or glaze your cookies with royal icing and allow them to dry completely before stenciling. For best results, make sure your icing is as smooth as possible before stenciling. (If your cookies have a rough surface, your icing may bleed under your stencil.)


Step 2: Practice

If you are a beginner, it may be helpful for you to practice on a piece of paper or cutting board, until you are comfortable with your technique. Follow steps 3-6 until you are ready to start stenciling directly on your prepared cookies.


Step 3: Placing your stencil

Center or choose the placement for your stencil, making sure your stencil is large enough to mask most of the remaining, exposed cookie to help avoid unexpected icing mess.


Step 4: Cover your stencil with icing
Using an offset spatula, spread on enough royal icing to completely cover your stenciled area without going past the edges of your stencil.


Step 5: Prepare to remove the stencil

Gently scrape off most of the icing, being careful not to remove the icing from the stenciled area. You may have to go over it a couple of times.

Step 6: Remove your stencil

Gently and slowly remove your stencil at a 45 degree angle (corner to corner) immediately, while the icing is still wet.


Step 7: Finish your cookie & enjoy!

Add any additional details to your design and your cookie is ready to enjoy!

If you are patient, follow these simple steps and remember to take the time to practice, you can create your own beautiful, custom stenciled cookies for next party, event or add a new creative method to your cookie or cake business.