How to Fill a Piping Bag

Learn the trick to making the best-looking cupcakes, cookies and cakes around!

If you’ve ever watched a professional work his or her magic at cake or cookie decorating, you’ll have seen a skilled hand moving ultra-fast, while making it all look so easy!
If you’ve ever tried your hand at cake or cookie decorating, you might have gotten stumped before you even got started. Because if you go into it without a plan, figuring out how to fill a piping bag can be a little bit tricky. You might end up with frosting on your forearms and in your hair. Ask me how I know.
The good news is how to fill a piping bag or pastry bag is actually really simple, which is why I’m here: to get you started so you can frost and fill like a pro.

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1 Get it Together

First things first, make your frosting or filling. I adore this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, and this Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is also a household favorite. You’ll need to choose your tip based on your task. There are different tips for everything. I am partial to a #30 tip, which is what you see pictured. Grab your disposable piping bag and a sharp pair of kitchen scissors. Snip off about 1/2 inch from the pointed end of your pastry bag. This cut will create an opening for your pastry tip.


2 Adjust Accordingly

You want the fit to be snug, so it’s better to have to play guess and check with your cuts than it is to take off too much to begin with. Push your chosen decorating or filling tip down into the cut end of your piping bag. If the bag is still covering any part of the cut-away design in your tip, you need to take the tip out and trim the plastic piping bag just a little more.
Note that it’s important not to stretch or pull the plastic.


3 Fold and Mold

Once you have your tip situated in the bag, you want to fold the plastic down about halfway. Then open it up (you’re getting ready to fill it with frosting). These bags are sturdy and will hold their shape pretty well. After you fold it down, you just want to mold it with your cupped hand so it will stay open.

It helps to cup your hand around the bag and under the part you folded back. It’s almost like a cuff. Having a good grip will help in the next step.

4 Fill It Up

Use a spatula to scoop and scrape the frosting or filling into the bag. See how my hand fits nicely up under the fold so it’s easy to hold onto but not a big mess? You’ll be glad we talked about that.

ONLY FILL THE BAG HALFWAY! You can heap your frosting or filling all the way up to the fold; you can even overfill it a little bit. But that’s where you stop. Your pastry bag is basically working like a big tube of toothpaste. That empty end gives you a mess-free place to hold the bag and squeeze the frosting out.

Once your bag is full, you can gently push your frosting or filling down into the tip by squeezing that open, empty back end.
Use multiple bags for different colors or flavors.
Bonus: By filling your bag this way, it’s easy to refill.


5 Frost Your Heart Out

Want more? Watch this video for start-to-finish cupcakes.

About Heather T.

Heather, who runs, has been making messes in the kitchen since she was a little kid when her mom handed her a cook book and told her, “If you can read, you can cook.” Today she serves up fresh, healthy eats, easy weeknight meals and decadent sweet treats.