How to fill a pastry bag without making a mess
Baking Tips 0 comments

How Do You: Fill a Pastry Bag….without making a mess

How do you fill with a plastic pastry bag with frosting without make a giant mess over your kitchen counter? Keep on scrolling and reading for some very helpful tips and tricks. If you are just starting your baking journey, there will be a time you need to fill a pastry bag with frosting, icing, or a filling. Do not worry, it is easier than you think! And yes, you can do it on your own with no need for an extra set of hands.

How do you fill a pastry bag without making a mess

Tools You Will Need:

  • Plastic pastry bags | Find them online or at a cake decorating shop
  • Small spoon or spatula | You will need a small utensil to scoop the frosting into the bag
  • Tall drinking class | To hold your bag when filling. This is helpful if you are a beginner
  • Kitchen shears or paring knife | To cut the tip off
  • Piping tips (Optional) | If you are planning on decorating, you will need piping tips added to your pastry bag

Optional Tools:

  • Coupler | They are a two-piece plastic device to hold pastry tips at the end of a pastry bag. It is helpful if you plan on doing cake decorating. You can easily switch from one piping tip to another without making a brand new bag
  • Copious amounts of piping tips | New to decorating and baking? There is no need to buy that 100 piece piping tip set. Start with a few tips and go from there
Coupler; How do you fill a pastry bag without making a mess

Tools You Don’t Really Need:

  • Plastic, disposable bags | Some folks use these instead of legit pastry bags. Do not use these! They are simply not strong enough to hold your frosting.
  • Rubber brands | Some bakers use rubber bands to tie the top of the pastry bag, so the frosting does not leak out. If it is just you using the pastry bag, there is no real need. I would only suggest using a rubber band multiple people are using the pastry bags. Say, for a holiday decorating cooking party.
How do you fill a pastry bag without making a mess
Common times when you need a pastry bag filled

Common Questions About Filling a Pastry Bag:

How much filling do I add to the bag ?

The amount of filling of your pastry bag is important. You do not want to overfill it because it will leak from the very top. You do not want to underfill it because you will be constantly refilling your pastry bag. On disposable baking pastry bags, there will a printed line on the bag. The line indicates the fill amount. Once you filled the pastry bag to the line, do not add more! It will spill over and difficult to handle

What size pastry bag do I use? I see multiple sizes

The most common size is 12 inch, which is just over 30 cm. This size is desirable for most home baking. You won’t be decorating giant batches of cakes and cupcakes. There are more industrial sizes for professional use.

I recommend using a smaller bag, say 10 inch, if you are doing fine royal icing decorating. If you are, make my royal icing recipe. It will be nicer on your hands.

I recommend using a bigger bag, say 16 inch, if you are decorating or filling something in large batches. Have 100 cupcakes? Dozens of holiday cookies? This is time time to use a bigger bag.

I see reusable pastry bags, what about those?

Yup, they do exist! They are often made out of polyester. I recommend these if you use the same frosting or filling in the bag. If you constantly use them, they will stain especially if it is a dark color like chocolate-based. Over time, they do tend to wear down. I recommend tossing them once you see holes or frosting starts to leak out. Oh, be sure to hand wash them with soft dish soap.


Step 1: Gather your necessary tools. Grab your pastry bag, kitchen shears, tall drinking glass, piping tips (if you are piping), small spoon, and filling. If you are using a coupler, get it now.

Step 2: If using a coupler OR piping tip, insert it into the bottom of the pastry bag. Cut a small tip off your pastry bag. Push the coupler down, so the tip peaks out. If it does not peak out, cut another small step until it does. Not using a coupler or piping tip, simply cut a small tip off at the end.

Step 3: If using a coupler, add the piping tip and coupler ring to the outside tip and twist to tighten. Make sure there are no gaps.

Step 4: Twist the tip end of the pastry bag so when you fill it, it does not leak. Place it in a tall drinking class and place the wide end of the bag over the edges.

Step 5: Fill it with your desired frosting, filling or icing. Don’t over fill! About 2/3 is the max amount

Step 6: Grab the pastry bag by the wide end, and twist it to close it. If you want to use a rubber brand, this is the step to add it to the end of the bag. I gently massage the bag to remove any air bubbles.

Step 7: Start filling! Decorating! Piping! Remember to handwash all piping tips and reusable pastry bags.

Need more of a visual guide? Watch this video from Wilton, the expert in cake and baking supplies.

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