Updated: Jul 13
Okay, so you've made a batch of stunning sugar cookies using cool new royal icing techniques, but what now? How do you package these edible works of art in a way that keeps them safe (crying over broken cookies is a valid reason to cry), shows off all their details, and keeps them tasting fresh and yummy (they are going to be eaten after all!). These aren't the type of baked goods that can be popped into a zip-loc and sent on their way! These are little masterpieces, and you've poured your heart and soul into them! The packaging you place around your beautiful cookies should reflect just how special they are, and convey to your customer (or the lucky loved one receiving cookies) that you are a pro. Let's dive into my top sugar cookie packaging tips, tricks, products, and ideas. For an overview, check out the video below!
*Heads Up, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. These are just links that allow me to receive a small commission at no cost to you for recommending my favorite products.
Individual Cookie Packaging Ideas
Sugar Cookies are like bouquets and sand sculptures in that part of what makes them special is their fleeting beauty. There are here and looking fabulous for a moment, then we consume them, they're gone, and all we're left with are the memories (and the pictures that we posted on the gram). To make them last a little longer and make their beauty a bit less fleeting, individually packaging cookies and especially heat sealing them can dramatically extend their life and freshness.
Heat sealing is magic sauce when it comes to decorated sugar cookies. A heat sealed cookie that's completely protected from air can last anywhere from 4-6 weeks! In March of 2020 (we all know what was up that particular month) when everything shut down, I had cookies in the shop at Watson House. A couple months later when we got to return to the shop, Misty and I tried the cookies that had been sitting (heat sealed) all that time. They were still delicious and tasted fresh from the oven. It was crazy!
Heat sealing allows you to work ahead of your schedule a bit since cookies will stay fresh. I think its nice as a customer to be able to save cookies that may not be eaten at an event for later. To heat seal cookies, you'll need cellophane bags and a heat sealer. Wait until the cookies are completely dry (and photographed). Then, place each cookie into a cello bag, seal the bag with your heat sealer of choice, and cut the excess bag away. I like to seal the excess at the bottom to create an additional bag.
A Few Heat Sealers to Consider
I already had a vacuum sealer when I began decorating, so I just used the heat seal setting only and really like it. Being able to close the bags inside to seal while I fill other bags is really handy.
I haven't personally tried this one, but I've heard good things about it!
While this one is on the more expensive side, there is a cutter built right into the top of the sealer. So, as soon as you finish sealing, slide the cutter and you're done! I can see how that would be so helpful!
When looking for cellophane bags, I like to look for bags that lay flat. Some bags are made to store loose treats like candy and can look wadded up with a cookie inside. Flat lay bags like the ones below look nice and neat. The bags below are a 200 count, and you can choose the size you need. I prefer the 4X9 since I usually make cookies that are about 3-4 inches across. However there are larger and smaller sizes if you need them.
I love these little bags for mini cookies!
Self Seal Bags
If a heat sealer isn't an option right now, consider self sealing bags. They come with a strip of adhesive and still help cookies stay fresher longer. It won't be quite as air tight at a heat seal, so I recommend expecting these to stay fresh for maybe a week or so. Check out a few options here:
Twist ties are a great option for creating cookies that will be served as favors or an individual gift. leaving the top of the cello bag on after twisting and giving it a quick fluff makes this packaging style look so pretty and ready to gift. These are also a great way to add a ribbon to the top of an individual cookie. I tie the ribbon in a bow around a twist tie (you can do this ahead of time and keep a stock of ready to go twisty bows) then tie the who thing onto the top of the cello bag with cookie inside. If you want that cookie to be heat sealed and last a bit longer, just twist the top of the bag and pop that twisted portion into the heat sealer before adding the tie and the bow.
Individual Cookie Boxes
One of my favorite experiences from offering custom orders was a friend of mine asking me to create a cookie pregnancy announcement she could share with her husband. We placed a cookie with tiny piped baby feet into one of these individual boxes. It was such a sweet story, and I bet he hasn't had a dessert like that since!
Box Cookie Packaging Ideas
Many Cookie Decorators who offer custom orders will need to deliver larger quantities of cookies which will require a box to house all the cookies. I personally prefer a box with a window. Show those bad boys off! There are so many options when it comes to bakery boxes. From cutesy craft paper to clean and simple white. Check out a few options below.
Large Bakery Boxes for a Dozen or More
These are my absolute favorite box for delivering custom orders, DIY Kits, classes, and pretty much anything cookie related!
Some other great box options:
Boxes for Smaller Sets and Packages
These boxes are a perfectly giftable size and make a great option for bridesmaid proposals, holiday and special occasion sets, and samples.
Cookie Packaging Decoration Ideas
The information above is really helpful, but I know you came here to see cute ribbons and tie ideas (I see you). So, here you go. This is the fun part. Decorating your packaging with fun things like ribbons, tags, stickers, and all things beautiful!
You can create your own tag designs on a design software like Canva or Adobe or you can check out these free printable tags for all seasons that already made and ready-to-go. There are also great Etsy shops where you can purchase made for you treat tags, cards, and other adorable cookie packaging décor.
I love to shop the after the season sales at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, and Walmart to get seasonally themed ribbon on the cheaper side. I also ordered ribbon from Amazon a lot! Here are a few of my amazon favorites.
I tend to look for a fabric satin or grosgrain ribbon since they tend to be flexible and easy to work with. I always try to check the reviews of the ribbon to learn more about the texture. Sometimes a ribbon can be listed as satin but feel plastic and stiff which is really hard to make pretty when tying your bows.
I'm a believer in putting your brand on every single package you send out the door. When the ladies at the baby shower see your logo on the box of beautiful cookies, who will they call when it's time to order for their daughter's wedding or their next birthday party? You can use these Avery labels to easily upload an image of your logo. Then, print them off and use the stickers for future orders. You could also tie a business card (link to qr code biz card freebie) onto a ribbon with the help of a hole punch to make sure your info is included on the package.
You can use the stickers above and this online template to print your own branded stickers at home!