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How to Frost Cupcakes with a Ziploc Bag!

Ziploc icing bag made with colorful duck tape

You don’t need fancy icing pastry bags to make pretty cupcakes. Frosting your cupcake with a homemade piping bag can be accomplished with materials you already have in your kitchen– a Ziploc bag and Duck tape! Get ready to find your inner pastry chef and create beautiful iced desserts with this simple Ziploc icing bag trick.

Make a homemade piping bag with this Ziploc Bag Icing Trick

I first shared this post showing the Ziploc bag icing trick in 2012 and it has been one of my most popular posts because it is the easiest way to frost cupcakes. Who doesn’t love a kitchen shortcut! Materials as basic as a Ziploc bag and duck tape turn will transform how you decorate cupcakes and cakes.

Even if you usually use pastry bags for icing baked goods, you’ll turn to this trick on the odd day when your supplies run out. I know I have done just that! Let’s learn how to ice cupcakes without a piping bag. Ziploc to the rescue!

How do you make a frosting bag out of Ziploc?

  1. Fold the square Ziploc bag into a triangle.
  2. Secure the edge with duct tape.
  3. Fill the piping bag with frosting.
  4. Cut the corner and pipe the frosting onto a cupcake.

What is the best type of Ziploc bag for a Piping Bag?

My first few times using this kitchen hack turned out well and so I’ve refined the process along the way. Freezer Ziploc bags work better than sandwich bags. And this is not a promotion for Ziploc, but honestly, Ziploc bags work far better than their generic counterparts.

What materials are needed?

  • Freezer Ziploc Bags
  • Duck tape (or any brand of duct tape) works better than the stapling technique I first implemented. Scotch tape or packing tape work less so, but in a pinch, use what you’ve got!

What is the easiest way to frost cupcakes with a Ziploc bag?

The cake decorating aisle at craft stores can be intimidating. There are so many gadgets that appear to be necessary to pull off a bakery-worthy cupcake. Which icing tip to use?

How do you use those icing bags? Should I get washable decorating bags or disposable? Will my cupcakes really look like the ones in the picture? Do I need a baking class just to ice cupcakes? The list of wonders and frustrations go on. Simplify and use this Ziploc icing bag trick.

When can I use the Ziploc bag icing trick?

Obviously I use this trick for frosting cupcakes and cakes all of the time. The short cut is also a time saver (and a mess saver!) when it comes to making no bake cheesecake bites.

Materials needed to make an icing bag:

Start with Ziploc bags and duck tape. Scissors will be necessary too.

Ziploc Freezer Bag with duck tape and scissors on a marble countertop

Fold the Ziploc squares into triangles. You’d be surprised at the difference in ease of icing that this change makes. Secure the edge with duck tape and you are ready to go.

Ziploc Bag icing trick with triangular bag secured with duck tape

Filling the Icing Bag

Filling any type of icing bag– Ziploc or pastry– can be a messy process. Make it easier on yourself by placing the icing bag in a tall glass. Open the bag as wide as possible and use a spatula to fill the bag with icing.

Trying to hold the icing bag in one hand while wrestling with the spatula in the other simply doesn’t work for most of us! A glass frees up your hand and provides a steady place for the icing bag to rest.

Fill an icing bag by placing it in a cup and use a spatula

Once the Ziploc icing bag is filled, push any excess air out and seal the top. Cut the tip of the icing bag with scissors and you’re ready to decorate those cupcakes! Let’s move on to how to use an icing bag. Making a pastry bag is only half the task– using it to frost cupcakes is easy!

Icing Bag with the tip cut off

This icing bag will fill in for a purchased decorating bag in a pinch or all of the time if you find the method an easy one. You can either cut a hole in the bag and decorate as is –without the metal icing tips– or go ahead and add the tips the same way you would with a regular icing bag.

Ziploc icing bag decorating a small cupcake with white icing

Let’s Jazz up that Store Bought Frosting!

There’s no shame in using frosting straight out of the can– I’ve been known to eat it by the spoonful– but if you are looking for ways to dress up your store bought icing, you’ll find just what you need in this list of ideas. 

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Icing Decorating Techniques

Decorating techniques are the same with this Ziploc Icing Bag Trick as they would be with a pastry bag. Try decorating in a swirl from inside out like the cupcakes in the background of the above photo.

Another suggestion is to hold the bag upright and squeeze with equal pressure so that the icing covers the surface of the cupcake. Pulling the bag straight up and releasing the pressure will create that bakery-like finish with a point of icing on top.

Mini cupcakes iced with white icing and colorful sprinkles
 
Yield: 1

Ziploc Icing Bag Trick

Ziploc icing bag made with colorful duck tape

Decorate cupcakes and cookies with ease using this simple trick with a Ziploc Bag

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Materials

  • Ziploc Bag-- quart freezer size
  • Small piece of duct tape

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Optional - Icing Tip

Instructions

  1. Fold the square Ziploc bag into a triangle.Ziploc Freezer Bag with duck tape and scissors on a marble countertop
  2. Secure the edge with duct tape.Ziploc Bag icing trick with triangular bag secured with duck tape
  3. Fill the piping bag with frosting.Fill an icing bag by placing it in a cup and use a spatula
  4. Cut the corner and pipe the frosting onto a cupcake.Icing Bag with the tip cut off

Notes

Optional: Use an icing tip along with the bag

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Did you make this project?

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Three photos of how to use the Ziploc Bag Icing Trick to decorate mini cupcakes
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Please note that this post was originally published in March, 2012, and updated in September, 2018.
 
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Rhett

Monday 1st of June 2020

Do you think this will work when making sausage rolls, filling the bag with sausage roll mix.

Holly Baker

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

I think it would work-- just make sure to cut the hole large enough so that the mixture can get through easily.

Elizabeth H

Thursday 17th of October 2019

This DID NOT WORK FOR ME! I used quart freezer bag and the thicker plastic made manipulating bag difficult. This needs more info. Like don’t fill bag more than half way. Once frosting oozed into zip - would not close. I used canned, whipped chocolate - was still a bit too thick for piping easily.

Wasted a LOT of it stuck to sides of bag even tho i used the side of spatula to scrape it towards hole. Buy two cans if doing this since manufacturers’ claims of your quantity results are always lies. I used Betty Crocker cake mix & frosting. Filled liners 2/3 full and it only made 19 normally filled cakes and 6 half full below liner cakes. Due to wastage in these bags only 18 were adequately frosted.

Tips would be highly recommended if u can figure out how to cut bag so they fit. Good luck!

Erica

Wednesday 3rd of July 2019

I will never buy another pastry bag again! Thank you so much for all of the awesome tips. Speaking of tips, after cutting the hole in the duct-taped Ziplock bag and before filling it with icing, I inserted my decorator tip from the inside inside and it worked perfectly!!

Holly Baker

Thursday 4th of July 2019

That is fantastic to hear of your success! Thanks for sharing how you used a decorator tip with the Ziploc. It works great!

Tony Lee

Saturday 25th of May 2019

This gave me some pointers about decorative icing. I’ve used this hack for several years to fill my deviled eggs. Great site by the way.

Gabi

Friday 2nd of November 2018

I love simple kitchen hacks and yours is so easy to follow. Thank you for inspiring me, Holly:)

Holly Baker

Friday 2nd of November 2018

I am glad you found it useful!