Chili Pepper Cookies- An Airbrush Tutorial

How to Shade Cookies with an Airbrush Gun via

I planned on making Cinco de Mayo cookies but, time slipped away. I can’t believe April has come and gone and Mother’s Day is almost here. I guess time flies when you’re having fun and we all know decorating cookies is definitely fun. How to Decorate Chili Pepper Cookies with Royal Icing via thebearfootbaker.comEven though my Cinco de Mayo cookies are late I thought better late than never. Then I decided since I am already late, why not turn this into a tutorial on how to shade Cinco de Mayo cookies? I will show more later but for now lets focus on airbrushing a few chili pepper cookies. It is very simple and it only takes a few seconds to achieve a shaded affect.

Supplies for Cinco de Mayo Cookies:

15 Second Icing in the following colors in a piping bag with a #2 tip:

  • Red Icing
  • White Icing
  • Yellow Icing
  • Green Icing

Airbrush gun with the following Airbrush Colors:

  • Brown
  • Green

Chili Pepper Cookie Cutter or a Gum Leaf Cutter  I used a gum leaf cookie cutter that was a given to me from the sweet  Mandy and Rebecca from Kool Cookie Cutters. They gave it to me at the first Cookie Con and I use it a lot How to Decorate Chili Pepper Cookies with Royal Icing

  •  Outline and flood the cookie with the red icing like in the picture above.
  • Then with the white icing, make a highlight on the top the chili pepper. You can add it to either side you want.
  • The last chili pepper has been airbrushed and I made a little video below to show you how easy it is to do. More on that after all the cookies are flooded and dry.
  • Make the yellow and green peppers the same way and let the cookies dry overnight.
  • Add a green stem to each chili pepper and let them dry for a few hours. (Sorry but, I didn’t get a picture of this step.)

How to Decorate Chili Pepper Cookies with Royal Icing www.thebearfootbaker.comI have received a lot of emails from you guys asking about how to use and airbrush gun. I have done a few posts on the basics, how to use and airbrush gun, and how to clean an airbrush gun and how to clean it with vodka, it is time I show you how to shade with it. How to Decorate Chili Pepper Cookies with Royal Icing with a cookie with an airbrush gun is fast, simple and it gives adds a lot of detail in just a few seconds. The first thing you need to do is think about the area that needs to be shaded. A simple way to do that is think about which direction the sun is shining. You can cut a little sun out of a piece of paper and place it at the top of the corner so you can visualize where the light will hit the cookies and reveal where the shadows fall.

Do you see the shadows on the background board? That is the side you need to airbrush with a color that is a little darker than the icing color.

Do you notice the yellow pepper cookie that the arrows are pointing at? The highlight and shadows are on the same side. That is not the correct way to shade. Now look at the green pepper to the right. See how the highlight is on top and the shading is on the bottom? That is the correct way to add shading to your cookie.

How to Decorate Chili Pepper Cookies with Royal Icing by thebearfootbaker.comNow that you know where the shadow needs to fall on the cookies, let’s talk about what color you need to shade with. These yellow peppers are shaded with yellow and it is hard to see. It is great if you want just a hint of color or to add shine to a cookie that is dull or flat looking.

How to Decorate Chili Pepper Cookies with Royal Icing by www.thebearfootbaker.comThese are the same cookies shaded with gold. I like this one better for this set of cookies. It is a little more dramatic but not over powering. See the cookie on the top left? It needs to be turned around to be shaded correctly. You could place a little paper sun on the top right and use that as your shading guide.


Here is a little video about airbrushing and how it should not be a scary thing. Be sure to watch until the very end.

How to Decorate Chili Pepper Cookies with Royal Icing via www.thebearfootbaker.comNow it is time for a little test. Some of these cookies are shaded wrong or facing the wrong direction for the picture. Can you see the difference? I hope this tutorial will help take the scary out of airbrushing. Stick around for more airbrushing tips and tutorial because I will be adding more very soon.

Bear hugs,



  1. I’m still getting used to my airbrush and appreciate any help I can get. Thanks for this tutorial!

    • I am glad you are here Anne. I am excited about making more airbrush videos. I hope I share things that help make airbrushing fun. I really enjoy adding shadows and detail with it and hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. Shoot me an email if you have anything specific you would like to see.

  2. Barbara says:

    Not just a fabulous cookier, but videographer extraordinaire as well! Great job!

    • Hahaha Barbara! The new computer did all the video work. It is so easy, fast and fun to make videos now. I should have bought it years ago!

  3. HA HA HA HA HA!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! That movie is the best!! I keep telling myself I should use my airbrush more often. I just need to find a home for it in my kitchen. Because apparently, my basement is too far to go. :)

    • I love YOU GEORGANNE! With your cookie decorating skills, I can only imagine all the wonderful things you will airbrush. I am now sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what you do.

      PS-Once I made a spot for the airbrush machine in my kitchen, it become a tool I like to use often. Maybe my KopyKake needs a home in the kitchen. Think I can make a lamp out of it or something?

  4. Fabulous!!!

  5. I love this!! Loved the video too – hahaha very funny!

  6. Jill FCS says:

    You are hilarious (and scary talented)!

  7. wendy s says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Love the movie tutorial; especially the end!!! Awesome…I have yet to get my airbrush out and I believe it will be this weekend! Got a KK to boot so I might as well step in deep!!! You are the best!!

  8. I don’t know how you did that video, but it was fantastic, I was waiting for a hand to come up out of the ground and grab a cookie! I nominate you for an Emmy! I want a room to just leave all my cookie stuff out ALL the time, maybe I’d be using my airbrush more often – (now that I know it’s not scary)!

    • If I had one wish for cookie decorators it would be that we had a space that was big, just for cookies and had perfect storage and space to create! It is hard to decorate when you are constantly moving your cookies and running from room to room to gather your tools.

  9. Now I have another reason to use my airbrush!! I love it!!! Thanks!! –Katy

    • Katy, you are a very talented decorator! I just “Liked” your FB page again. I don’t know why it vanished from my stream but, now I can stalk you and your cookie decorating! 😉

  10. Jennifer G. says:

    Hahaha very cool movie! The only bad part was that’s it’s too short!!! Loved it!

  11. This is just fabulous! I’m terrified of my airbrush and don’t even know why!

  12. Michael McIntyre says:

    I love my Air Brush would not leave home with out it. Oh I guess I do sometimes .

    • You are brilliant Michael! Maybe we can invent a brief case or a purse where we can carry our airbrush machines with us. You never know when you will have an airbrush emergency! LOL

  13. Awesome!! :)

  14. These are fun and colorful. I love them!

  15. Great tutorial – I’m still trying to get the hang of the airbrush – and also, to give myself enough time to actually use the darn thing! :)

    • I think that is the hard part Stacie. I wish everyone had time to schedule a day to play with the airbrush gun. It is amazing how fast we can get the hang of it. It is really a fun decorating tool and I can’t wait to see what you make.

  16. You are certifiable. Which by the way, is one of your qualities I love the most.

    • I am so glad Anita! Cause I love you too!

      PS- Don’t tell hubby I am certifiable. I have him fooled! LOL

  17. I just love ya Lisa! I share the same trait of being late to all these holidays. It’s rough. It’s like we need to start making Christmas cookies now. Lol! LMBO at your video. It was amazing! You make me want to start making videos again. Your editing skills are amazing :)

  18. Please do make more videos Melissa! You are very good at it and I enjoy watching them. I really enjoyed your swirl cake video. It is such a pretty cake!

  19. Cindy Horst says:

    Hi Jill,
    I love your website. Thank you! Can we speak privately on email about an idea I have that could be mutually beneficial? I’d appreciate the opportunity to share it with you.
    Thank you,

  20. Such a CUTE video!!

    I am FINALLY getting a little more comfortable with airbrushing. I have found that the position in which you hold the nozzle is key! When doing stencils, I would sort of do it from the side and get a lot of “fade”…I now hold it directly above the cookie and spray down. It has helped tremendously…still not a pro like you, but I know it just takes practice!!

  21. Lisa, you cracked me up! I love your movie trailer (especially the very end)! I don’t know why that little airbrush machine can intimidate the masses. Thanks for the funny encouragement! PS- Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Awe! Thanks Mike. I am glad you liked the crazy video. LOL I know you are not a mom but, I hope you had a great Mother’s Day yesterday. All my kiddos came over and we cooked out. It was a perfect day!

  22. carolyn @ccsweets says:

    Thank you for the tutorial and the giggles…. this video is so creative and funny!

  23. What kind of airbrush will you recommend ?

  24. Rocío. says:

    Hi! Not sure if you keep checking comments here, but I wanted to ask. I´m about to start testing my airbrush, and I have some questions about shadows. What if instead of using a darker shade of the same color I use black? What if I don´t have a darker shade? Should I just airbrush several layers? Do you airbursh wet-on-wet or do you wait for the icing to dry? Thanks for any advice :)

    • Hello! You can actually shade any color you want. You can use black for shading just keep in mind it can sometimes it can be too much of a contrast and look a little harsh. I like using brown for colors like red, yellow or orange. The best advice I can give you is to bake several cookies and icing them in a variety of colors. Try airbrushing them when the icing is wet and some after it has dried. You can also play with different airbrush colors and see what you like best.

      We are all different and have different taste so what works for me may not work for you. Play with your airbrush and colors and before you know it you will know what you like and your airbrush system will be your friend! 😉

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