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Delicate sugar cookies cut into intricate shapes is a holiday goal. Whether you’re baking cookies for the holidays, Halloween, or a special birthday, a cookie press is an easy way to make uniform cookies in festive shapes at high volume. However, finding the right cookie press is not so simple. Cookie presses come in different sizes, materials, and with different accessories that you may or may not need. Manual or electric, turn or trigger-style, extra discs or pastry tips, how do you decide?
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If you’re ready to purchase a cookie press, check out the matrix above for our top five favorites. For what to look for in a cookie press before you buy, just keep reading.
Manual cookie presses are the popular choice among home bakers.
Manual cookie presses are inexpensive. You don’t have to sacrifice quality for price with these presses.
A manual cookie press is easy to use. They are simple machines without electric components.
With a manual cookie press, you are not bound by an electrical cord when making your cookies. You don’t have to worry about dragging a cord through your baking area either.
Remove as much air as possible from the press. Press down on the trigger as you add dough or icing to prevent extra air from entering the canister.
Electric cookie presses also have their advantages.
Electric cookie presses release the same amount of dough every time. You end up with consistent results that can be difficult to duplicate with a manual press.
The timed release of each cookie lets you work quickly. With an electric cookie press, you can press a large number of identical cookies in less time.
Pressed cookies don’t expand as much as other types of cookies, but they’ll still need at least one to two inches of baking space.
Cookie presses come with die-cut discs to shape cookies into wreaths, trees, pumpkins, letters, and more. Of course, the more discs, the better. But take into account the quality of the discs. Metal discs hold up better to the pressure because they don’t bend or flex as easily as plastic. Discs shouldn’t be too flexible in order to get a clean cut.
Trigger-style compression releases enough dough for one cookie with each pull of a trigger. This style is easy to use and measures the dough for you. However, the trigger is usually a single-finger trigger, which can be difficult for people with weak hands or arthritis.
Some cookie presses come with discs for making savory items like cheese straws or crackers.
Compression style only applies to manual cookie presses.
Much of the time spent making cookies with a cookie press is in reloading the dough. The larger the canister, the less often you’ll need to reload the press.
Turn-style compression uses a handle that turns, pushing dough through the press. For those with arthritis or hand weakness, a turn-style cookie press is easier to use because it doesn’t require pulling a trigger.
If you have weak hands or arthritis, an electric model or turn-style manual press is best to relieve pressure on your hands.
Cookie presses can be used for more than cookies. With pastry tips, they can also be used to frost cakes or fill deviled eggs. Look for a cookie press that includes several pastry tips for the most versatility.
Cookie presses with dishwasher-safe parts and components are the easiest to clean. Some presses may have a few parts that are dishwasher-safe and a few that aren’t. Be sure to dry all parts before putting them away to avoid rust on metal or bacteria on plastic.
Dough should stick to the cookie sheet. An ungreased cookie sheet works best.
The body of a cookie press is often made of plastic even if other components are metal. Look for sturdy, BPA-free plastic. A plastic canister won’t rust and gives you a visual on how much dough is left to press.
Presses with plastic pieces are usually less expensive. Depending on the type of plastic used, these cookie presses may be dishwasher-safe.
Cookie presses made entirely of metal are more expensive but are also more durable. Make sure to dry metal presses completely, otherwise rust can be a problem. You can’t see the dough in a canister made of metal.
Metal presses are usually hand wash only.
Hold the press flat against the cookie sheet. Dough should not come out at an angle or be dropped.
For $20 or less, you can find a manual cookie press made of plastic and metal. Some come with up to 20 discs and several pastry tips, all of which are usually plastic.
In the $25 to $50 range, you’ll find manual cookie presses made of stainless steel or metal and plastic. They usually come with 20 to 25 metal discs, storage cases, and several pastry tips.
Wait a second or two before lifting the press to allow the dough to release and adhere to the cookie sheet.
From $50 to $100 are electric cookie presses and manual presses made entirely of stainless steel. The manual presses are likely to come with discs that can be used to make cheese straws and crackers. You’ll also find kits with eight to 10 pastry tips.
At $100 and up, you’ll find electric cookie presses that come in complete decorating kits, which include metal discs, pastry tips, and other decorating tools.
Only use recipes that are intended for a cookie press. The dough must be the right consistency to move through the press.
Practice makes perfect. It may take a while to get proficient with your press, but remember you can simply scrape off the dough and put it back in the press to try again.
Roll your dough into a log shape to help it fit in the canister.
Dough works best in a cookie press if it’s been refrigerated. However, if you find cold dough too firm, let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before using.
Do not use recipes that call for nuts or other add-ins that can get caught in the press.
Q. I want to make a lot of cookies to sell at bake sales and community events. What kind of cookie press would work best for me?
A. If you’re going to be mass-producing cookies, invest in an electric cookie press. They work quickly and will save your hands and forearms from fatigue. Electric cookie presses also produce the most uniform cookies for a professional look.
Q. I’m looking for a cookie press to use with my grandchildren. Is there anything in particular I should look for?
A. Cookie presses are a great way to bake with children. The biggest consideration for children is size. Holding the cookie press can fatigue the hands, especially if it is too big. Look for a press that would comfortably fit in a child’s hand.
Q. I have arthritis in my hands. Is there a cookie press that doesn’t take a lot of hand strength?
A. Electric models, though expensive, take much of the physical work out of using a cookie press. They also measure the amount of dough so that each cookie is exactly the same size. If you don’t have the budget for an electric model, consider a manual press with a turn-style handle. They are easier to grip and manipulate if you have limited hand strength and flexibility.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.