Butterfly Cookie Tutorial from Janine of sugarkissed.net

Today Janine from sugarkissed.net is going to show us how to make some beautiful butterfly sugar cookies. When you done here make sure to hop on over to Janine’s blog to check out her cookies. She does awesome work.

Janine of sugarkissed.net

Hi there, sweets lovers! I’m Janine of sugarkissed.net, where creative sweets are made simple.

I’m thrilled to be guest posting at DJ’s Sugar Shack! Dawn’s blog is a great resource for sweet inspiration. I confess that I’m somewhat cookie obsessed, so I especially love her super cute Sombrero Cookies.

Today I will show you step-by-step how to make easy and stunning butterfly cookies. And I will share with you my go-to sugar cookie recipe and favorite recipe for royal icing that won’t dry rock hard.

You will need:

  • Cookies made from your favorite sugar cookie recipe*, cut using a butterfly cookie cutter
  • Royal icing in black and any other three or four colors you choose (I used white, green, yellow and pink.) I made all the icing the same consistency, a 12 to 15-count icing.**
  • Icing bags or bottles, couplers, and tips (I used a #2 tip for all the steps in this tutorial.)
  • A food coloring marker in any color (optional)

Before beginning, you may want to use a food coloring marker to sketch the outline of the shapes you want to create on your butterfly cookies. I did this with my first few cookies and then got comfortable with just free handing the shapes. The fact that butterflies are not perfectly symmetrical in natural is the perfect excuse legitimate reason to not make your cookies perfect either!

The first step is to use black icing to outline and immediately fill in the body of the butterfly and the shapes on the outer edges of the wings. Then, use two other colors to add dots to the wings. This is a wet-on-wet technique, so do it quickly before the black icing starts to dry. Continue decorating cookies this way, letting at least 20 minutes pass before going on to the next step so that your black icing is dry.

How To Make Butterfly Cookies

The next step involves a technique called marbling. It’s a really easy way to create a beautiful design that will give your cookies that “wow” factor. Start by outlining and immediately filling in the bottom section of one of the wings using one of your background colors. Then, while the background icing is still wet, draw a few contrasting squiggly lines and drag a toothpick through the lines at multiple points, creating a marbling effect. After completing the bottom section of one wing, do the same on the bottom section of the other wing. Continue decorating each of the butterfly cookies this way, letting at least 20 minutes pass before going on to the next step so that your bottom sections are dry.

How To Make Butterfly Cookies

To decorate the top sections of the wings on your butterfly cookies, use the same technique you used to decorate the bottom sections. Outline and immediate fill the top section of one wing, draw squiggly lines in the wet icing using a contrasting color (change the arch of the lines to match the shape of the area), and drag a toothpick through the lines to create a marbling effect. You may also want to use the wet-on-wet technique from step #1 to add dots to fill in any blank areas on the wings.

How To Make Butterfly Cookies

Simply set the cookies aside to dry for 24 hours and then they are ready for packing, shipping, or just for you to enjoy!

Butterfly Cookies

I hope you have as much fun making these butterfly cookies as I did! Below are my favorite sugar cookie recipe and royal icing recipe, which I use for almost all my decorated cookies. Both recipes get rave reviews for taste and are sturdy enough for decorating, packing, and shipping. If you don’t like royal icing because it dries “rock hard”, this icing stays somewhat soft in the middle so I encourage you to give it a try.

My Favorite Sugar Cookie RecipeSugar Cookie Recipe - sugarkissed.net

1-1/8 cup unsalted butter

1-1/4 cup sugar

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream together the butter and sugar. I set the butter out on the counter for about 30 minutes, chopped into small squares, to bring it to room temperature before beginning. (I have had bad luck with using the microwave to bring butter to room temperature.) Beat in the eggs (I set these out on the counter with the butter to bring them to room temperature too), vanilla, and almond flavorings. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. One cup at a time, mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Scraping down your bowl as needed. Divide dough up into three sections, Saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight. (For some reason cookies just taste better when the dough is refrigerated overnight.) When you are ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes so it’s not too hard to work with. After rolling and cutting your dough, set your dough shapes in the freezer for about 10 minutes before baking to reduce spreading. Bake on parchment paper lined baking sheets at 350 for 6 to 8 minutes. After removing the cookies from the oven, let them sit for a couple of minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Royal Icing Recipe - sugarkissed.netMy Favorite Royal Icing Recipe

5 tablespoons meringue powder

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup warm water

2 pounds powdered sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon glycerin

12 drops white gel food coloring

1 teaspoon oil-free clear vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon oil-free clear almond extract

1/4 teaspoon oil-free clear butter flavoring

Use a whisk to mix together the water, meringue powder, and cream of tartar for about 30 seconds, making sure there are no lumps. In a separate bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the water mixture to the sugar and mix for one minute. Add the corn syrup, glycerine, food coloring and flavoring. Beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks, approximately 6 to 8 minutes, pausing to scrape down the edges of the bowl if needed.

*The chocolate cookies in this tutorial were made using the same chocolate recipe that Dawn used for her Valentine’s Day Cookies, LilaLoa’s End All For Chocolate Cookies.
**For more information about icing consistency, please see Sweet Sugarbelle’s Four Consistencies of Royal Icing.


  1. JC Marc says:

    These are adorable. Can’t wait to try these with my grand daughter – huge fan of butterflies. Love the tutorial. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Lois Martin-Uscianowski says:

    I have a community garden, where I have a butterfly festival (2nd annual this year) low on funds so this will be a great alternative to the cupcakes with butterflies I had last year. thank you so much

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