Spring is here!  Well, supposedly spring has been here for a few weeks but the weather hasn’t exactly been reflected that change.  This is normal for Indiana at this time of year, but it still doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  Finally this week some of the trees are showing their first tiny leaves and blossoms.  I love this time of year – not as much as I love fall, but almost.  I have been itching to create some spring-inspired treats and these cookies have been on my mind for a long time.  Really, ever since I bought this set of butterfly cookie cutters a couple of years ago.  I’ve just been waiting for my royal icing skills to catch up to my imagination :)

These cookies were really fun to make, though more time consuming than a lot of cookies with royal icing simply due to the number of different colors of icing I needed.  I’m no entomologist, so I didn’t try to make my butterflies all that realistic, but if you know more about butterflies I’m sure you could take the detailing to another level. Most of the time with royal icing, people try to avoid letting the colors bleed into each other, but in this case I think it created a gorgeous effect in some of the butterflies (the purple in particular).  Making one of the flooding colors a thinner consistency than the other flooding color helps the colors to bleed together.

These would be a beautiful favor for a spring baby or bridal shower, or a little girl’s birthday party.  If you want to make your own, see my favorite sugar cookie recipe and my royal icing tutorial to get you started.  Also, I used a lot of marbling technique in these cookies and that tutorial is available here.  Happy spring, everyone!

  • Just one word:


  • Wow, these might be the prettiest cookies I’ve ever seen!

  • These are so fun to look at…I think if I didn’t know how good the lemon cookie was underneath, I may never take a bite, I’d just sit and look at it all day and carry it with me and show everyone how amazing it looks…I’m a dork…I can own that.

  • Oh my!!!!!!! Those are just breathtaking!
    Great job!!!!!!

  • Wow! You put a lot of work into these. They’re gorgeous!

  • I thought Iv’e seen it all between your blog and others regarding sugar cookie and royal frosting designs. This tops them all.


  • These are stunning!

  • Wow. They look like artwork! I’m sure they’re super tasty, but I would want to keep them out as decoration! Fabulous idea for a spring party or shower!

  • Conna

    OK … now i’m speechless !!!!!!!!!!!

    These are masterpieces Annie !!! WOW !

  • These cookies are – quite simply – works of art, Annie. Absolutely stunning work with the royal icing! I’m sure they taste delicious, but I would almost be hesitant to eat them given how gorgeous they are.

    Hope all is going well with your new baby girl!

  • These are gorgeous! I am planning a spring luncheon for an open house in early June and these would be perfect! I will be making lots of royal icing until then to polish my skills! Thanks!

  • These are absolutely gorgeous! I can’t believe how intricate they are. I love the colors. I can only hope to ice like you.

  • these are so amazing!!!! I’m shocked! You just had a baby right? where do you find the time! youre my hero! ;) have a great weekend.

  • Beth

    WOW. Those are the prettiest cookies I’ve ever seen! Fantastic!

  • Haley

    These are absolutely beautiful!! Is there a trick to making the little circles that are not filled in? Or did you make those free hand? Thanks! :)

  • Annie

    I’m not sure which circles you are referring to, but you might want to check out this post as well – I’m guessing it will answer your question.

  • These are so pretty, Annie! Great job :) Oh, and I hope you and baby are feeling good!!

  • WOW. these are the prettiest cookies i’ve ever seen! so precisely beautiful.

  • Cate

    Those are beautiful! The Monarchs are just gorgeous!

  • Oh wow these are absolutely beautiful! I love butterflies! I think they are such beautiful creatures and you captured their beauty perfectly! You have great cookie decorating skills!

  • I am absolutely in awe at how stunning these cookies are. They are amazing. Well done!

  • Wow! Those cookies are BEAUTIFUL!!! :)

  • Wow, those are aaaamazing. Looks like spring is here!

  • Stacey

    These are absolutely beautiful! It makes me want to get out my piping bags and tips and get to work. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  • Stunning cookies!!

  • Amazing. Seriously. I LOVE butterflies and these are beautiful.

    I really want to practice my royal icing skills but I don’t want to waste the cookies. Any suggestions? Would practicing on parchment paper work as a “cookie” base? Or is decorating on a cookie much different than anything else?

    Maybe I’ll pick up some cheap bakery cookies at the grocery store and use those? Hmm..

  • Can’t believe how beautiful these are….I have one question-how do you find the time?

  • Annie

    Sure, practicing on parchment would be fine too. But even less than perfect looking cookies taste good and I’m sure your friends and family would be happy to help in your efforts to perfect your skills :)

  • Oh my gosh, those are gorgeous! Almost too good to eat…almost. :)

  • Danielle

    WHOA!! Those are gorgeous!! I just bought butterfly cookie cutters for my daughter’s 3rd birthday – we’re doing a fairy garden party. So thank you for the inspiration!! :)

  • Natalie

    Wow! These are beautiful! Where did you find the different butterly cookie cutters?

    PS – I know your friend Mark A. We went to high school together. Saw him in a photo of yours on your site and laughed out loud. Small world. Congrats on your baby girl! :)

  • Annie

    These were a set that came from Sur La Table. How funny that you know Mark! Small world indeed.

  • ninabean

    you’re an artist!

  • These are absolutely stunning! I would never have the patience for this – so awesome!

  • Linda

    I believe she’s talking about the circle at the bottom of the wings on the pink and green butterflies in the last picture. I had the same question. They are thin rings. I wanted to know how you did that as well.

  • Ummmm. You are just really amazing. Period.

  • Annie

    It’s just a dot on top of another dot of flooding icing.

  • These look INCREDIBLE! Artiste!

  • These cookies are way too pretty to eat! :)

  • Emily

    I just love these cookies and your post. Your positive energy is catching!

  • Those are the most beautiful cookies I have ever seen. I am going back for another look and to be very, very impressed again.

  • wow! amazing job!

  • Your cookies are amazing! I don’t know where you get the time or the patience to make these! My husband even thought they were gorgeous.

  • These are beautiful! I’m definitely going to need to try something like this. Thanks for sharing!


  • These are so beautiful and perfect for spring. Absolutely perfect cookies!

  • These look beautiful and perfect for spring! I am still working on my royal frosting decorating skills, so your tutorial definitely helps! Hope the baby is doing well :-)

  • Stunning!

  • christyd

    Absolutely beautiful! You are so talented!

  • These may be the most beautiful cookies I’ve ever seen, no exaggeration. I would NEVER have the patience for these unfortunately. I love them!

  • Amy

    Wow! Beautiful!

  • Think of them as fantasy butterflies and you are in the clear with the bug specialists… you should get a pass with cookies as beautiful as these!

  • these are the prettiest things EVER. I don’t think I could ever attempt these, but they sure are pretty to look at.

  • These cookies look way too pretty to eat! Gorgeous… Do I dare try my hand at these? :) Thanks for sharing… And congrats on Top 9! :)

  • OH MY GOODNESS! you are so creative! I wouldn’t want to eat these as they look so beautiful!! :)
    Charis x

  • Wow! These are absolutely stunning! It must have taken you forever to not only decorate them, but make all this royal icing and tint it afterwards. I can imagine your set-up, with all those little containers filled with all the different colors… the palette of a true artist!

    Beautiful, gorgeous work, Annie. I don’t think I’d even dare sinking my teeth into one of them. I’d probably have them framed or something! ;)

    I am real glad I found your blog. I might not eat sweets and cakes often, but when I do, (or when I feel like watching food porn), I sure will know where to go for inspiration…

  • Aimee

    Stunning cookies, Annie! I’m going to need a little more practice before I attempt these. Do you have a trick for making black royal icing or do you just use a LOT of food coloring?

  • Annie

    No special trick. I just add the gel color until it seems like it isn’t getting any darker. Let it sit for a minute or two and it will look a bit darker, but it will always look a bit gray until it dries just because it is still wet.

  • What a talent you have!!!! Your cookies look delicious, beautiful and unique.

  • Wow, these look absolutely amazing! Your detail on the wings is really beautiful. I wouldn’t want to eat them, they’re too pretty!

  • Sean

    Annie those cookies are beautiful! You are such an artist. I am in awe.

  • I love butterflies and these cookies made me so happy today….thanks for sharing these beautiful cookies, Just gorgeous!!

  • Those cookies are so adorable! I must make them for my kids. Hope you and your little ones are adjusting nicely — take care :)

  • Amazing! You are very talented girl!!

  • I can just imagine all the work that went into these! They look stunning!

  • Ahh! These are SO GREAT and IMAGINATIVE! :-) I want them all! So cool!

  • Beth


  • Gorgeous!!!

  • bttrflybabydoll

    Is it weird that I’m scared to try making sugar cookies like this. I’ve never done it, but I bake a lot! I’m not sure why I’m so scared to try it. These butterflies are REALLY making me want to try it though!

  • I tried the royal icing today…thank you SO MUCH for your tutorial-the cookies turned out amazing!!! thanks!!

  • Your cookies are absolutely beautiful!

  • Ann

    Hi Annie,
    I would like to make sugar cookies w/ royal icing for my daughters grad. party. Do you think I could freeze the cookies already decorated w/ royal icing? I would like to have them made about 2wks in advance, so I have time for other preparations.

  • Annie

    Please see the FAQ page. Thanks!

  • These are amazing!!! So intricately dedicated! The things I could do if I had that much patience…

  • Emma

    I spent my day off yesterday playing with royal icing marbling designs on butterfly sugar cookies (heavily inspired by yours). I had a blast! This was only my second time using royal icing, so it may have been a little crazy to try making these with so little royal icing experience under my belt, but they came out looking gorgeous. I credit my “beginner’s luck” to all of your incredibly helpful tutorials and hints pertaining to royal icing throughout the blog, which I read through several times before undertaking these. By the time I got to the last few cookies, I felt much more comfortable coming up with my own marbling designs. Can’t wait to try it again this weekend! Thanks so much, Annie. Your recipes and techniques have never let me down.

    My only issue was that I think I under-baked the cookies by a few minutes, so they were a lot more delicate than they would otherwise have been. I had a couple butterflies break down the middle when I picked them up after they were decorated. I’ve made your sugar cookies before, so I know that they’re not supposed to be this delicate. A stupid mistake that I’ll make sure not to repeat next time!

  • annieseats

    Awesome, way to go! It only gets easier (and faster!) with practice. Glad you decided to give it a try!

  • gabriela from mexico

    you are awesome!!! im your number one fan