Kitchen Tip: No Mess Piping Bags!

Happy Monday y’all!  We spent the weekend in Texas and I have been saying y’all way too much since then 🙂  I’m barely recovering from jet-lag, a 4 am (Boise-time) flight, and coming home to a couple of sick boys.  But we can’t ever leave you empty-handed (or is it “empty-posted?) especially on a Monday!  So I wanted to share a quick tip with y’all (YES, I said it one more time.)  I’ve been doing this lately and it’s been sooo convenient!  I love to share a good tip when I find one; this one came from Karen’s Cookies.



I thought that was a great little trick and if you work with frosting a lot, you’ll quickly find how useful it is!  Enjoy your Monday, and make sure to eat a cupcake.  Words of wisdom:  weeks that start out with cupcakes are always better than weeks that don’t.  Make sure to check in on Wednesday- I’m going to show you tons of behind-the-scenes fun from our weekend trip to Texas!


  1. Best tip ever!! I can’t wait to try it! I have two little ones at home with me all day, so anything to save time and frustration is a definite plus! I always buy the disposable bags but hate buying them for every project because of multiple colors, so now I might invest in a good bag and some plastic wrap! Awesome tip!

    1. You are a genius! I have all these canvas piping bag s without po!y lining. I was looking for directions on how to coat them inside This technique with the plastic wrap will work perfectly. Thank you so much!

  2. oh. my. word. Brilliant! I love cake decorating, but usually forgo the piping bag all together unless it’s a special occasion. It’s such a mess and hassle. But THIS! This changes everything! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. What a fantastic tip! Never will I fight an icing-covered spatula again as I try to fill an icing bag. Can’t wait to try this. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I love this tip. I used to work at Cookie Bouquet and this was how we did it there. We would make saran wrap rolls of every color and when we ran out of one, we’d just pull the used cellophane icing roll out of the bag and pop in a new one. It saves tons of time and money.

    Also, I discovered your blog just about two weeks ago and am basically obsessed. Your creamy chicken taquitos have literally changed my life. Every meal for this week is from your site. I can’t wait to try more of them. Cowboy Quesadillas tonight!

  5. I just did this with snack sized ziploc bags last weekend but I didn’t think of plastic wrap. Either way, it works great!

  6. I can’t wait to try this! I wonder if you could put several different colors in plastic wrap that way, put them in the same bag, and do swirly frosting. Hmmmm.

  7. AWESOME! I’m getting ready to decorate my daughters birthday cake and cupcakes this week. This could not have been more perfect timing! YEA!

  8. Oh my josh!!! I just love y’all. I’ve followed y’all for a while now and this is my first comment (I think?). Anyway this is worth commenting on! I would only decorate wedding cakes because of the bags and color mess! Thanks for expanding my world. I’m off to make your toffee bars from a couple of days ago. I might add for the 2nd time! Last night for the family, today for the patients who I cook for everyday. I’m a chef at a rehabilitation center. Thanks always!

  9. I was in Arlington at Time Out for Women!! I was so excited to listen to y’all speak. However, I woke up with my back killing me. I took Tylenol hoping it would ease the pain. When we got to the conference center, I made it up two stairs and couldn’t go any further. It hurt so bad. My mom ended up taking me to an Urgent Care facility and I miss the whole conference Saturday.

    My sister and her friend were able to attend all day Saturday and told me that you guys amazing. I’m glad that they at least got to attend so they could tell me about the highlights of the day! Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedules to come to Texas and be a part of Time Out for Women.

  10. Seriously brilliant…I’ve actually foregone piping when I last made such a mess that I ate almost all the frosting because it kept oozing out of the bag. Thanks!

  11. I HATE washing piping bags so I usually use the disposable ones, but LOVE this tip! Also, enjoyed seeing you this weekend in Arlington and thought you should know something I’ve learned after a few years in TX: “Y’all” is singular and “All y’all” is plural. 🙂

      1. actually, y’all is short for you all, so it is plural. all y’all is for five or more. southern drawl not required, lol.

  12. I love this idea! I always use the disposable bags, but this makes it super easy to change colors. Love it! Love it! Love it! Thank you!

  13. When I saw Karen’s video, I was absolutely blown away. I had to show my husband because I was so excited. He looked at me like I was completely bonkers. And then when we decorated our son’s birthday cake a few weeks later and used the technique, he was converted. BEST IDEA EVER. I’m so glad you’re passing this along to everyone!

  14. OH MY, this is the BEST tip I have seen in quite some time! I don’t normally comment, but had to today!! I love making cakes and cupcakes for people (I’m reallllly snobbish about cake and frosting), but hate the icing mess. You have just saved me hours and hours of time in the future!! Dear girls, how can I repay you?? Well, I make really good bread. Truly. And I have a Swedish Fennel bread (family recipe) that is revelatory alone but mind blowing with some kalamata aioli. Let me know if you want it. 🙂

  15. That. Is. Genius!!! So excited for my kitchen to be done so I can bake some cup cakes!! Oh and I lived in Texas for 6 years (my family still lives there) and unfortunately, my husband is from utah and LOVES it so im kinda stuck here, but I miss Texas so much! I still say y’all as much as I can. It’s my little piece of Texas I’m keeping with me. 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a great tip! Y’all are the best! 🙂

  16. FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!! what a great idea!!! I am going to try this.. I am making cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower and this will SO come in handy!! I am holding my breathe waiting for the icing tutorial… so hurry please, I can’t hold my breath much longer 😛 !!

  17. I saw that trick on Pinterest awhile back and thought it was the most genius idea ever! Definitely going to use it the next time I need to pipe frosting, which will be this weekend.

  18. I saw this a couple of months ago. It’s a great idea. I’m happy you had a good time in TX, and I hope you didn’t eat all that Blue Belle ice cream by yourself!

  19. I saw this on Pinterest from Karen’s Cookies and thought it looked great, but I had a really hard time pulling my plastic wrapped frosting down to the tip of the piping bag. Am I doing something wrong? It seemed like the plastic wrap kind of stuck to the inside of the piping bag. Has anyone else who has tried this had the same problem?

  20. So you girls should move to Tx. I am pretty sure we could he best friends! After your TOFW bit, pictures an all, I feel like we love the same lives, only I can’t cook and 400 meals and drive throughs are prob more regular for us too 😉

  21. Y’all IS really convienent. So is this trick. I hate washing out piping bags, it is so awkward and my hands get frosting all over them, and then I have to lick them off, it’s a mess, but this is awesome. Thanks y’all 😉

  22. Oh my gosh, this is so smart. Very helpful! Nothing like frosting bursting out of the top of my bag ( I guess I overfill). I’m making cupcakes this week, will try this handy tip! Looking forward to the tutorial.

  23. LOVE this idea!! I can’t count the times I’ve done something different just so I wouldn’t have to deal with a messy piping bag!! THANKS!!

  24. BEST. IDEA. EVER!!! This alone would make worthwhile every minute I spend looking at what you’ve sent to my inbox. THANKS!!!!!

  25. What a great tip!! I can’t wait to try it out! Also, I can’t wait for your new cookbook so I can try that chocolate frosting!! Your flour frosting is delicious, both chocolate and white! I haven’t made or used another kind since I discovered it!!

  26. Brilliant! It’s been,ahem,many yr since I took a cake decorating class. While I still have all the tips, couplers, disposable bags, etc. it’s still a pain to use them. Can’t even imagine trying to wash the reusable ones today: ugh, love to cook but hate to clean. The only way cupcakes get frosted here is with an off-set knife, and those of you who can do the simple swirls as well as fancy ones are to be admired. What an inspiration, tytyty.

  27. I want your frosting recipe!!! Looks so good! And funny thing is me and my hubby and our two boys spent all of last week visiting our fam’s in Texas! Wish I had remembered you guys were gonna be there at the same time. We could’ve gotten together or I could have at least met ya’ll! 😉 Oh well. Maybe next time. Hope ya’ll enjoyed your stay. Texas (and Texans!) are purty awesome! 🙂

  28. That has got to be the BEST TIP of the CENTURY!!! Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! It’s always so hard to get the frosting in the bag without it getting all over the place. You usually end up with more frosting out of the bag than in the bag. lol.

  29. Love, love, love this tip! I’m going to try it! Thanks –

    My cousins from Texas say Y’all.
    My cousins from Missouri say Y’uns.
    The Calif. cousins (I’m one) say You Guys.
    It’s all good!

  30. I’ve tried this technique and know it has the potential to be awesome and mess free! Make sure you wrap the blob of frosting tightly…as in you might want more than one layer of plastic. Mine slip open in the bag, therefore still made a mess.

  31. I just took a cupcake decorating class at Sur La Table(snooty upscale restaurant supply and cooking school in my area)and I won’t mention how much$ it cost,yes,I will,69 bucks,and did not learn anything anywhere near as valuable at that little tip! Wow! Also,I have one more for ya-if you want to pipe more than one color or flavor at a time,for example-chocolate,vanilla,and coffee,put small batches in three small bags and put them together in a larger piping bag,one tip,and you have a beautiful swirl effect at one time! I didn’t get that from the class either,but thought you might like it

  32. This is PERFECT!!!!! Just today I was walking the isles of Walmart dreading the fact that I have to frost a BUNCH of cupcakes this week!!! Now it won’t be such a huge mess!!!!

  33. I love the piping but I have shy’d away from it due to the cleanup. This is a great idea! I’m so excited to make cuter cupcakes next time!

  34. You are brilliant!!! My dad was a cake decorator all his life and I learned from him. He taught me how to make my own piping bags. This is a great time saver and creates less mess. He would have loved this idea!!! I know I will be using it the next time I make a cake! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful idea!!

  35. Justwhen I decided I wasn’t making any more cupcakes and frosting them, (because I just eat WAY too much of my own baking) I can notWAIT to try this!!! What would I do without your blog? I do not want to know!!! Love love love it!!!! THANK YOU!!!
    (now my lucky little CTR’s will be getting some cupcake loving!)

  36. That is probably the best tip about frosting, piping, etc. that I have ever come across. It is such a pain to clean pastry bags and have to use mutiple ones for different colors/flavors. I might make cupcakes this week just so I can do this.

  37. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This looks like an awesome idea & comes to me just in time. I have 10 dozen mini cupcakes in the freezer right now & will be making another batch 5 dozen or so tomorrow, with plans of frosting all of them on Thursday for an event on Friday. This will definitely come in handy for frosting almost 200 cupcakes with at least 3 different flavors…but it kind of makes my recent purchase of the Wilton icing bag holder seem unneeded now(it was on clearance). Oh well, I’ll still use it for my different colored bags of candy melts/chocolate when I make my holiday chocolates. Thank you again, I will definitely be trying this on Thursday!

  38. Oh my gosh, that is just the most clever idea! The clean up is always the thing that I dread the most when it comes using my decorating bags, thanks for the great tip!!!

  39. Unbelievable!!!! I can not wait to try this the next time. I make a mess all of the time and this trick will help me out alot. Thank you for all you do!

  40. Here’s a goofy question — when you do your cupcake decorating tutorial can you post a picture of how you hold the bag while you are doing it? I’m sure there are lots of ways to hold it and the way I do it might be normal, but I don’t know if it gives me the best control. Thanks. Y’all are the best!

  41. I want to share my failure with you and your other readers. I got overzealous with this wonderful idea that I put a HUGE dollop of buttercream into the plastic wrap, wrapped it up like instructed and started swinging. The momentum of the buttercream ended up ripping through the plastic wrap, onto me, the counter, and my kitchen curtains. So… lesson here, moderation. Limit the amount of frosting you use and don’t go crazy with the jump rope swinging. Will give this another try today. Wish me luck!

  42. Genius!! And perfect timing too. I piped about 30 buttercream roses this morning. I will definitely try this little trick out tomorrow when I frost and decorate my daughter’s birthday cake. Thanks!!

  43. I just used this trick to decorate my two-year-old daughter’s birthday cake. A-MA-ZING!!! That was the quickest cake cleanup EVER. Thank you!

  44. Two weeks ago I managed to bust my piping bag (that I only use once or twice a year anyway). Today was my daughter’s 4th birthday. Wanting to still pipe her cupcakes with a cute tip, I remembered this trick, and just used a snipped Ziploc bag, with plastic wrap stuffed into the tip!

  45. omg i cant believe no one has ever thought of this or has told me about thtis amazng idea. see i am in the 10th grade and i LOVE to bake but my mother gets mad at me because i like to bake but i dont like the clean up part but now that i know that i could have an almost mess free cake session she will allow me to bake so much more thanks a whole bunch!!!!!! <<<33333

  46. Love this idea!! Can’t wait to try it. I just bought your book at TOFW in Spokane, I love the picture of the cupcakes on the front but can’t find a cupcake recipe in the book. Is the picture just to show an idea or the icing? Would love to try your cupcake recipe. Thx

    1. Hi Sheila! We get asked about those cupcakes a lot! The cupcake itself isn’t in the book, it’s just a plain vanilla cupcake and it’s topped with the whipped buttercream frosting from the book and topped with fresh strawberries 🙂

  47. Thanks for the tip! I used it this past week for my daughter’s birthday. I’d even consider using it for only one color since it’s SO much easier to load the frosting into the piping bag. It worked like a charm!

  48. That is a great idea! What if instead of cutting off the end as close to the coupler as you can, you… Pull the frosting roll thru as you demonstrated and before you get to a section where the frosting meets the plastic wrap, cut it there (which would leave about an inch or so)… then unroll the plastic wrap and fold back over the coupler before screwing on the tip? (The tip would screw on over the plastic wrap.) This would keep the coupler clean with thinner frosting that might ooze back up?

  49. Wow, this is such an amazing idea. I have just started getting into decorating cakes and have been quite intimidated with it so far. What is your advice to avoid making your cakes and cupcakes look like a sloppy mess?

  50. Can you use this tip with your swirling frosting tip? Instead of several piping bags would it be several frostng logs? So amazing… love this tip!

  51. Just attempted this technique yesterday and I had a few snags. I had a very hard time pulling the plastic wrapped bundle down into place in my piping bag. I used a plastic disposable piping bag and the saran wrap stuck to it. Maybe wouldn’t be so bad using one of the reusable Wilton bags that are made from a different material. Also, I neglected to use a coupler and so the plastic wrap got all in the way of the star tip and it didn’t work. The coupler is key to making this work!

  52. This is great! And all those pre-decisions out the window. And I hate washing the bags. This is great in so many ways. Thank you! (repinned on Pinterest)

  53. This is seriously the best thing ever!! I made a whole mess of cupcakes for a school project – 4 different types for 30+ people = a whole lot of icing and icing headaches – and I wish I had read this post before! I’m going to be making cookies this weekend for a 20+ people pool party and I can’t wait to try this out!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  54. Gurl, this is a GREAT idea! You get my de Vinci seal of approval : ) This is as good as my great grandmother’s idea to cut cinnamon rolls apart with thread leaving perfect lil pinwheels in a split second. Thanks; I am converted. lm

  55. THIS IS GENIUS!!! I’ve been racking my brain for months to try and find a way to make the whole icing thing easier. This may have just saved my life and future business!

  56. OMG!!!! This could have save me so much time and trouble cleaning bags from all the years of decorating that I have done.This is truely one of those moments you say why didn’t I think of this!

  57. Awesome idea! I’ll definitely be doing this next time I need to pipe something! Re-usable piping bags always look terrible even after I try to clean them! Chocolate stains like no other!

  58. Thank you so much for that trick , I actually started a cake decor class today , hate a mess, so from now on , now I know this trick I shall be using it , hey ho my new silicone bag will stay clean . Thank you again xx

  59. This is the coolest idea every. I’ve been frosting cakes for years & never has seen this. How great is that. No more messy bags. Love it. Thank you so much.

  60. I think you just saved my life (and tons of time!) I’m getting ready to do two cupcake weddings and I’m going to be icing the cupcakes on sight. I was going to buy like 10 giant disposable bags and either 10 big couplers or 10 1M tips and probably have to take other batches of icing and a spoon and I was worried because of probably not actually having a kitchen facility available to me at either venue so I’d be covered in icing, etc. I’m going to go with a couple of bags and a couple of tips and a bunch of little icing logs! I’m am SO excited! This was my biggest concern and now it’s not a concern at all! You are truely a genius! I’ve got some icing left from a tasting that I can practice with – I can’t wait!

  61. The cling wrap ripped open as I was spinning it and I got frosting all over my clothes, my kitchen, and my living room. =[ No mess piping bag, mess everywhere else.

  62. Great tip! I recently tossed my piping bag because cleaning it was such a pain. I generally opt for freezer bags, which haven’t failed me yet, but I’d sure love to be able to reuse them. Thanks!

  63. Thank you! I hope to find transparent bags as shown – would make it easier to see the end of the wrap, but I was able to pull it through my medium star tip just using a toothpick. Sure cut down on the mess of filling a bag!

  64. I know. . .what does soap have to do with cupcakes. I get that a lot. I use bags and frosting tips to make soap cupcakes. LOVE this idea for adding design. This tip will help save me a lot of time cleaning up.

  65. I attach a coupler and frosting tip on the corner of a ziploc, press out the air, seal it up and toss the bag when I’m done. For thicker frosting, I use a quart freezer bag so the seems don’t bust while I squeeze out frosting.

  66. I’m another soapmaker who wants to use this wonderful tip for piping soap frosting onto my soap cupcakes, LOL! Since I am just now seeing this post, have you completed your tutorial and, if so, where can I find it?


  67. This is by far the best tip I’ve seen for piping! I am NOT a baker I can Cook pretty good but never mastered the art of baking however my 12 year old granddaughter loves loves to bake I feel so bad she’s learning from me or maybe I’m learning from her anyway she is getting pretty good does better when I leave her to it and just help with the oven etc. but piping she has such a hard time with never works like she wants and I always end up having to push the old school way of frosting with a good old flat knive. We’ve tried so many piping bags & tips only to have wasted frosting and messy looking cupcakes cakes cookies until she masters the art of piping this tip saves me so much messy cleanup! Love it thank you

  68. What a great tip,,I will be trying this one. I was wondering what piping tip you have fitted in the coupler in your demo pics, it gives a nice swirl..

  69. Dear lord when I saw this on Pinterest I could have sworn it was a tampon and almost died so thank God its not

  70. This is such a great hack! I use disposable bags for filling body butter samples but this is a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing!

  71. What a great tip! I would’ve never thought of that. It would definitely make my life in the kitchen a lot easier. Thanks for sharing, Sara! I might try this on my next baking project, so I don’t have to always throw out or wash my Chefast icing bags (which I got on Amazon) after each use.

    Using a parchment paper is also an attractive option for me… the less plastic, the better for the environment… do you think parchment paper will work for the trick you shared?

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