The best piping bag
If you’ve ever gazed longingly in the window of a fine bakery at all the delicately decorated pastries and cakes, chances are good you already know what a piping bag can do. The best piping bags are versatile and easy to use, accepting a variety of pastry tips to produce elaborate decorations.
Looking for a piping bag that will help you get the same professional results you admire? The Wilton Professional Decorating Bag is a great choice for bakers at all levels of experience.
What to know before you buy a piping bag
Most cake decorating kits come with piping bags, but if you want to buy them separately there are some important things to consider.
Disposable or reusable
Disposable piping bags have many benefits. You can cut each bag to the size of your piping tip — there’s no need to add a coupler to make them fit. You also don't have to clean a disposable piping bag. Simply discard when you are finished.
If you are concerned about adding single-use plastic to the landfill, stick with a reusable piping bag. These are often silicone-lined, cotton or canvas bags that can be hand washed after each use. They are much more durable and will pay for themselves in just a few bakes.
You can also use silicone piping bags. These are easy to clean, but some bakers find them difficult to fill and use.
The bag capacity of each piping bag is important. A 12-inch piping bag, filled two-thirds full, holds between 10-16 ounces of frosting (up to 2 cups). If you are frosting a bigger cake or many dozens of cupcakes, you might want a larger piping bag (a 16- or 18-inch bag).
The larger the bag, the more challenging it is to fill, hold and use. If you are just starting out in decorating with a piping bag, stick to the smaller 12-inch bags until you feel more confident.
Piping bag features
A coupler allows you to use piping tips from nearly any manufacturer. It screws onto the end of reusable piping bags and can be removed for cleaning in the dishwasher.
If you choose disposable plastic piping bags, you can also choose the size of the opening at the tip. This allows you to pipe delicate melted chocolate letters or to insert a piping tip to make beautiful designs.
Piping tips and other accessories
Even if your piping bag is not included in a decorating kit, some of the best piping bags come with a few starter piping tips and maybe even a flower nail. A flower nail allows you to pipe the petals of a flower as you turn the nail.
Easy-fill, wide openings
Look for piping bags that have a wide opening for easy filling. A wide opening also allows you to fold the top of the bag open over your hand to keep your hand clean as you fill the bag.
Piping bag cost
The cost of a piping bag varies greatly depending on if it’s disposable or reusable and how many bags are included. You will spend anywhere from $5-$15.
Piping bag FAQ
What are the other parts of a piping bag?
A. Yes, you can simply cut the end of a piping bag off and use it to write letters or freehand designs. However, if you want to explore the world of decorating, you'll need a few other parts.
- Coupler: A coupler consists of a base and a plastic ring and allows you to swap out piping tips easily.
- Striping bag inserts: Create swirls in multiple colors with this simple insert.
- Piping tips: Each separate tip can be used to make multiple designs.
Can you use a piping bag for anything other than frosting?
A. Yes. Use your piping bag whenever you want a decorative flair.
This might include:
- Piped rosettes of mashed potato
- Piping pâte à choux
- Creating non-edible decorations
What’s the best way to fill a piping bag?
A. If you have a tall, wide glass, place the piping bag in the glass, moving the bag so it lines the sides of the glass and folding the excess over the glass rim. Add your frosting, then unfold the bag from the rim, and squeeze the frosting down to the tip of the piping bag.
If you do not have a tall glass, place the bag in your non-dominant hand and fold the opening over your hand. This creates a small half circle between your thumb and forefinger as the bag drapes down between them. Add frosting and unfold the bag from your hand.
Twist the opening of the bag closed, and you’re ready to go.
Which piping bag should I get?
Best of the best piping bag
Wilton Professional Decorating Bag: available at Amazon
Our take: Wilton’s reusable piping bag is the standard for both home and professional bakers.
What we like: This 16-inch cloth piping bag fits most standard piping tips and can be used with or without a coupler. It comes with care and use instructions.
What we dislike: It’s a small thing, but this bag needs to be hand-washed after each use.
Best bang for your buck piping bag
Plateau Elk Piping Bags and Tips Set: available at Amazon
Our take: This is a great set for beginning bakers starting to explore the world of cake decorating.
What we like: This set comes with two reusable silicone piping bags plus cake combs, couplers, piping tips and bag closures. The silicone is slippery for evenly flowing frosting.
What we dislike: Some bakers reported a funky smell that did not go away, and there are no instructions for use included.
Honorable mention piping bag
Ateco Disposable Decorating Bags: available at Amazon
Our take: This roll of disposable piping bags is great for churning out lots of beautifully decorated cakes.
What we like: Bags are 18 inches and hold lots of frosting. The roll is easy to store. Plastic is BPA-free and is safe with hot and cold foods (so piping mashed potatoes on top of a shepherd’s pie is possible, too). They are available in two other sizes.
What we dislike: It's plastic, and it's disposable, so not the best choice for the environment.
Suzannah Kolbeck is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.