Cooking with Kids: Cookie Painting

Want a fun project to do with kids? Try cookie painting! This easy and edible craft makes great decorated cookies for any holiday or just for a rainy afternoon’s art session. Kids of all ages can make these beautiful cookies.

Cookie Painting - painted cookies for Easter

Cooking with Meredith

cookie painting - Meredith hard at work, painting cookies

You can paint on paper. You can paint on wood. You can paint on metal or glass.

But you can also paint on cookies!

You can’t eat paper, or wood, or metal, or glass.

But you can eat cookies!

Cookie Painting - all kinds of painted cookies

emojies, lady bugs, frogs, and rainbows – anything goes on painted cookies

Painting cookies - Meredith and her painted cookies

Meredith and I did this project over a couple days. First we made the cookies, then iced them with Royal Icing and left them to harden. Then we had a blast painting cookies! Plain food colouring and a simple paintbrush is all it takes. You can let your imagination and inner artiste run wild.

Easter Cookie Painting - a basketful of cookie art

a basketful of cookie art for Easter

Paint cookies for any special holiday or party, or just paint fun designs because it’s a rainy day and you want a craft project to do. This painting project works with any age – young children can make simple splotchy designs and older children can get fancy or funny with their designs. Even adult artists can have a whole lot of fun with cookie painting! (I speak from experience.)

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Kitchen Frau Notes: Use your favourite cut-out cookie recipe, or the Rich Roll Cookie recipe we used, below. It’s only got 5 ingredients and makes great cookies – I’ve been using this recipe for years for any time I want rolled cookies.

You may need to play with the Royal Icing to get it to the right spreadable consistency for flooding the tops of the cookies in a smooth even sheet. Add a bit more water or icing sugar until it is right.

cookie painting - Easter basket of painted cookies

Rich Roll Cookies

adapted from The Joy of Cooking

gluten free variation included

  • 1 cup (225gms) salted butter
  • ⅔ cup (133gms) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2½ cups (350gms) all purpose flour (or for gluten-free use 2¾ cups/385gms of my gluten free flour mix + ½ teaspoon xanthan gum)

Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and creamy-coloured.

Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Add the flour and mix well.

Divide the dough into two balls. Flatten each ball into a disc about 1¼ inches (3cm) thick. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough discs for about 3 to 4 hours in the fridge, or 30 – 45 minutes in the freezer.

Sprinkle the counter liberally with flour. Roll out the dough quite thick – just under ¼ inch (about .5 cm). Cut out whatever shapes you like with a cookie cutter, or just cut the cookies into squares with a knife. Squish the scraps into a ball and roll them out again to cut more cookies. Keep doing that until all the dough is used up.

Place the cookies on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes until just turning golden at some of the edges. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then gently move the cookies with a spatula to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Ice the cookies with Royal Icing and allow the icing to harden completely.

Royal Icing

  • 2 large egg whites (or use equivalent amount of pasteurized egg whites or meringue powder)
  • 3 cups (330gms) icing sugar
  • juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • water, if needed

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and lemon juice and beat until thick and shiny – this can take up to 5 minutes. When you lift the beater, the icing should leave a ribbon that keeps it’s shape for three to four seconds. If the icing is too thick, add water, one tablespoon at a time and keep beating until it keeps its ribbon shape and is pourable. If it gets too thin, add more icing sugar, a bit at a time.

This icing will keep, covered, in the fridge for several days. Just stir before using again.

painting cookies - painted cookies on Easter grass


Spread the royal icing onto the cooled cookies, then allow them to air dry, uncovered, at room temperature for 24 hours – until the icing is smooth and hard.

Get started Cookie Painting:

Supplies you’ll need:

  • assorted colours of liquid food colouring
  • small dishes for each food colour, or use the wells of a styrofoam egg carton
  • clean paintbrushes with fine tips (you can buy these at a dollar store or craft store)
  • container of water to clean paint brushes between colours
  • small glass of water to dip your brush into for diluting colours
  • plate or wax paper to put your cookie on
  • wax paper or cookie baking sheet to put painted cookies on in single layer
  • paper towel

Use liquid food colouring, undiluted. Put a few drops of each colour into small separate dishes, or use the wells of a plastic egg carton.

Have a container of water nearby to rinse out brushes between colours, and have a small container of clean water to dip your brush into to dilute the colours if you want a soft wash of colour.

Lay the cookie on the plate or wax paper. Dip your brush into water, then into the drops of food colouring. Dab any excess paint off on a folded paper towel. Paint any designs you like onto the cookie. For lighter colours, dip your paintbrush into clean water and dilute the food colour a bit. Clean your brush between using different colours.

Let the painted designs dry.

Enjoy and eat your cookies or wrap them up as gifts.

For more fun cooking projects to make with kids, see the ‘Cooking With Kids’ series here.

Guten Appetit!

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A fun project to do with kids of all ages - Cookie Painting!


Other fun Easter Projects:

Rice Krispie Easter Egg Nests

Surprise Jellied Easter Eggs

Lemon Coconut Pavlovas

Strawberry Rhubarb Pavlova Cake

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2 Responses to Cooking with Kids: Cookie Painting

  1. What a lovely fun time in the kitchen with kids! I made my first Royal Icing Cookies for a Baby Shower last summer and this is the BEST idea – you could also just draw on them with edible pens if the children are younger, but I do think the painting would be so much more gratifying. Love seeing something I haven’t ever seen and I am definitely going to be doing this with my little grandchildren once they are old enough!
    Love it!
    Happy Easter!

    • Margaret says:

      Thanks so much, Valerie. It’s such a pleasure to do projects with kids when they are totally engrossed. I love watching their concentration and creativity. Your grandkids are going to have such fun doing craft and kitchen things with you! Happy Spring!

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