WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Bakery Management / Types of Pastry Bags and Tips
//cdnimg.webstaurantstore.com/images/guides/583/pastrybags_bg.jpg

Types of Pastry Bags and Tips

Commonly used for decorating cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods, pastry bags and tips are versatile tools that can be used for many different tasks in the kitchen. For example, you can use pastry bags for piping mashed potatoes, meringue, dough, and much more. In this guide we'll go through the different types of pastry bags and piping tips and what each is used for to help you find the perfect options for your bakery or catering business.

Essential Pastry Bag Parts and Accessories

There are several products that are essential for decorating with pastry bags and piping tips. We detail the products you need to get started and what they're used for below.
Restaurant Equipment

A nozzle that attaches to the end of the pastry bag

Restaurant Equipment

Holds and dispenses the food that you’re piping

Restaurant Equipment

Holds the piping tip onto the end of your pastry bag

Restaurant Equipment

A metal, nail-shaped tool that is used for piping roses and other flowers

Types of Disposable Pastry Bags

Disposable piping bags offer great product visibility, minimize cleanup costs, and are easy to trim. There are three types of disposable piping bags: high grip/tacky disposable bags on a roll, soft disposable bags, and striping bag inserts.
Baker icing cupcakes with a high-grip disposable pastry bag
Baker icing cupcakes with a high-grip disposable pastry bag

High Grip/Tacky Disposable Bags on a Roll

Pros
  • Offers the best grip
  • Easy dispensing and storage in roll form
  • Perforated to make equal-sided triangles
  • Microwave safe
Cons
  • No hanging loops or reinforced tips
  • Expensive over time
Baker holding a filled soft disposable pastry bag
Baker holding a filled soft disposable pastry bag

Soft Disposable Bags

Pros
  • Very pliable plastic
  • Thicker than other disposable options
  • Cut to fit any size tip
  • Microwave safe
Cons
  • No hanging loops or reinforced tips
  • Expensive over time
Baker decorating cupcake with a striping bag insert
Baker decorating cupcake with a striping bag insert

Striping Bag Inserts

Pros
  • Pipe multiple colors at once through one tube
  • Wider for easier filling
  • Microwavable
Cons
  • No hanging loops or reinforced tips
  • Expensive over time

Types of Reusable Pastry Bags

Reusable piping bags are a great way to reduce your establishment's environmental impact! There are six types of reusable piping bags: polyester (polyurethane-lined), thermoplastic polyurethane, canvas, plastic-coated canvas, polyurethane-lined cotton, and nylon.
Baker using a plastic-coated canvas pastry bag to pipe dough
Baker using a plastic-coated canvas pastry bag to pipe dough

Plastic-Coated Canvas

Pros
  • Great for heavy- and light-duty use
  • Economically priced
  • Easier to clean than traditional canvas pastry bags
  • Great for piping all types of food
  • Can trim tip
  • Winco brand is microwave safe
Cons
  • Can be slippery
  • Thinner material is not ideal for hot foods
  • Ateco brand is not microwave safe
  • Hand wash only
Chef using a polyester pastry bags to pipe mashed potatoes
Chef using a polyester pastry bags to pipe mashed potatoes

Polyester (Polyurethane-Lined)

Pros
  • Versatile, all-purpose
  • Strong and pliable for heavy-duty use
  • Easy to clean
  • Leakproof
  • Microwave safe
Cons
  • Can be slippery
  • Hand wash only
Baker using a thermoplastic polyurethane pastry bag to decorate cupcakes
Baker using a thermoplastic polyurethane pastry bag to decorate cupcakes

Thermoplastic Polyurethane

Pros
  • Flexible like silicone but doesn't stretch or balloon
  • Versatile, all-purpose
  • Thicker material makes it better for hot applications
  • Stain- and odor-resistant
  • Hanging loop for drying or storage
  • Microwave safe
Cons
  • Tips are not reinforced
  • Hand wash only
Chef using a canvas pastry bag
Chef using a canvas pastry bag

Canvas

Pros
  • Best for piping thicker foods like dough, thick frosting, mashed potatoes, and other non-greasy foods
  • Thick material makes it great for hot foods
  • Great grip and very durable
Cons
  • Fatty / oily foods may leak through
  • Harder to clean than other reusable options
  • Can accumulate stains
  • Cannot trim the tip
  • Not microwave safe
  • Hand wash only
Baker using a polyurethane-lined cotton pastry bag to decorate cupcakes
Baker using a polyurethane-lined cotton pastry bag to decorate cupcakes

Polyurethane-Lined Cotton

Pros
  • Heavy-duty for extended use
  • For the professional baker and pastry chef
  • Easier to clean than canvas bags
  • Thick, heavyweight coated cotton is great for hot foods and prevents contents in bag from seeping through
  • Double reinforced tip and hemmed top with hanging loop
  • Microwave safe
Cons
  • Pricier than other reusable options
  • Hand wash only
Baker using a nylon pastry bag to decorate a cake
Baker using a nylon pastry bag to decorate a cake

Nylon

Pros
  • Great for piping thick foods like dough, mashed potatoes, and other non-greasy foods
  • Extra flexible construction and durability
  • Microwave safe
Cons
  • Fatty / oily foods may leak through
  • Hand wash only

Types of Piping Tips

Having the right decorating tips is essential for any type of bakery, grocery store, or catering company because it gives you options when decorating baked goods. Piping tips come either individually or in sets, so you can order exactly the tip you need or a kit for getting started with decorating.

Piping bag tips are made of durable materials like stainless steel or nickel-plated steel to make them long lasting. But, they need to be hand washed and dried immediately after to prevent rust from forming. Additionally, you should never wash your decorating tips in the dishwasher.

Piping tips are also classified into different families based on the size and shape of their openings, and different families are used for different purposes. Below we list some common piping tip types and what they're used for.

Piping Tip Type
Most Common Uses
Outlining details, writing, adding dots, filling in flower centers, and completing complicated lattice and lace work
Making plain, ruffled, or stand-up leaves
Making one-squeeze flowers (the number of cuts on the tip determines the number of petals on the flower)
Making roses, ruffled flowers, cake borders, and more
Designing flower petals, curved decorations, and borders
Adding grass to cakes
Creating ribbons, ruffles, swags, bows, scallops, and edges
Adding basketweave and lattice lines
Adding shells, stars, rosettes, and flowers to baked goods
Creating shells, stars, flowers, and scalloped designs, as well as adding frosting on top of cupcakes
Frosting cupcakes and designing stars, fleurs-de-lis, and flowers
Producing borders and outlines
Creating St. Honore cakes
Adding delicate and intricate flowers to cakes and cupcakes
Quickly icing the sides of cakes
Filling donuts, cream puffs, and other pastries

Pastry Tip Sizes and Shapes

Decorating tips are assigned different numbers based on the shape and size of their openings. Below is a graphic that shows some of the most common pastry tip numbers and what the result of using them is.

Styles of cake decorating tips

Types of Couplers and Tip Compatibility

Make your piping process more efficient with couplers. These tools allow you to quickly switch between tip styles without having to change bags and refill your icing or pastry dough. With an array of sizes available, you can be sure to find a coupler that fits the bag and tip you need to use.

Restaurant Equipment
  • Allows you to interchange any small, medium, or large-sized piping tips
  • Works best with pastry tips that have a bottom diameter of 1/2" to 1 1/2"
Restaurant Equipment
  • Allows you to interchange large-sized piping tips
  • Works best with large-sized piping tips that have more than a 3/4" bottom diameter
Restaurant Equipment
Restaurant Equipment

Cake Decorating Bags and Piping Tips FAQs

Whether you're a master cake decorator or culinary student, you may run into some issues when using cake decorating products. We compiled some common questions cake decorators have about using pastry bags and piping tips and answered them so you can easily find the solution to your problem.

How to Hold a Pastry Bag

To hold a pastry bag properly, grip the bag with your dominant hand a few inches behind the coupler firmly. Holding the bag this close to the tip gives you excellent control, which is ideal when doing detailed decorating work. Then, with your non-dominant hand, hold the bag up and keep it closed and out of the way.

How to Clean Pastry Bags

To wash dishwasher-safe bags, simply turn them inside out and attach them to your dishwasher rack with a clothespin.

To clean non-dishwasher-safe bags, turn the bags inside out and wash them by hand with hot, soapy water. Then, rinse the bags thoroughly. Once clean, stuff the bag loosely with paper towels and allow it to stand up on the counter until it dries completely.

How to Fill Pastry Bags by Yourself

It can be difficult to hold your piping bag and fill it with product at the same time. To keep the bag stable, insert the bag into a tall glass with the tip facing down and fold the sides over the edge of the glass. Then, you can proceed to fill your pastry bag with ease.

How to Use Multiple Colors of Icing When Decorating

A frosting plug is a great way to use multiple colors of icing with only one pastry bag. Here are the steps you need to follow to use a frosting plug:

  1. Take a sheet of plastic wrap and lay it flat on your counter.
  2. Add some frosting and then wrap the plastic around it.
  3. Spread the frosting evenly throughout the plastic wrap and then twist both ends to form a sausage shape.
  4. Insert a coupler into your pastry bag and feed the plug into the bag until the end of the plastic wrap comes out of the coupler.
  5. Cut off the end of the plastic wrap, add your piping tip, and screw on the ring.
  6. Repeat this process for all of the colors and types of icing you have.
  7. Then you can simply remove the plastic wrap when changing colors and wash out the coupler and tip.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

Related Resources

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan

Starting your own bakery is no easy task . Many people have tried and failed to get their business ideas off the ground, or worse, their business flopped within the first year. So what sets a successful bakery apart from the ones that don't make it? A solid bakery business plan that can help you stay organized and obtain the funding you need. We'll talk you through every major part of a business plan, from creating a basic description of your establishment to offering financial projections to future investors. Why is a Bakery Business Plan Necessary? A bakery business plan can be used to garner interest from potential investors or loans from a bank. Additionally, it is helpful to you as an owner. Creating a bakery business plan allows you t

Different Types of Pastry Brushes

Are you looking for the best basting brush or pastry brush to keep your meat tender and flavorful or baked crusts golden on top? A pastry brush, also known as a basting brush, is a versatile tool that is a must-have for any kitchen. Consider the different types available and your intended application to find a brush that allows you to unlock the full flavor of your signature recipes. Shop All Pastry Brushes

Choosing the Best Commercial Bakery Equipment

Finding the right mix of bakery equipment to outfit your new bakery can seem like a daunting task. It's important to think about not only what you wish to produce, but how much, as those details will influence the specific pieces of equipment you should purchase. Whether you're looking to open a new business , expand your existing one, or simply replace some obsolete or aging pieces, you'll want to purchase the right equipment and get the most for your money. Below, we've provided a list of tips and suggestions to help you get the best bakery equipment for your needs! Plus, we've even included a downloadable checklist for essential smallwares to use in your bakery. Download Checklist PDF Dough Preparation The first step in making bread or a

Join Our Mailing List

Receive coupon codes and more right to your inbox.

Recipe converter
WebstaurantStore blog
Videos of demonstrations, how-tos and more