Adorable Clownfish Cookies: Tutorial + Tips

These clownfish cookies or Nemo cookies are the perfect treat for a kid’s birthday party or to make on a warm summer’s day. The sugar cookie base is delicious and firm, so no crumbles, just fun!

I love this Nemo cookie tutorial so you can make your own clownfish cookies at home.

While it looks complicated, there are only two colors, and if you play around with royal icing a bit, even the beginning baker can figure these out.

To make a whole theme, check out my underwater animal cookies, including whale cookies, octopus cookies, and seahorse cookies.

In this tutorial for clownfish cookies, I’m going to walk you step by step through what you will need, how to make them, and how to decorate these clownfish cookies.


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These clownfish cookies are:

  • great for summer barbecue or pool parties
  • colorful and vibrant
  • great as a gift for a Nemo lover
  • delicious and tasty, with no crumbling

Must-Have Baking Tools (seriously)

What You’ll Need to Make Decorated Clownfish Cookies

To make clownfish cookies, you’ll need to make both the sugar cookie bases and the royal icing which is used to decorate.

The sugar cookie recipe can be found on my site, and is the best one I’ve ever found to make sugar cookies that hold their shape and don’t spread.

You don’t want them to spread, as if they spread then you’ll end up with a blob rather than a cookie.

The ingredients for the sugar cookie recipe are basic, like flour, butter, and eggs, but the real magic is in how you combine the ingredients and chill the dough, which you can read about more in the recipe.

For the royal icing recipe, you’ll need powdered sugar, meringue powder, water, and vanilla extract for flavoring.

I use meringue powder instead of egg whites for my royal icing because it’s safer for everyone to consume, including pregnant women who are advised against consuming raw egg whites, and I like the outcome better.

As for the tools and colors you’ll need, I recommend:

How Do I Store Clownfish Cookies?

Storing sugar cookies made with royal icing with meringue powder is easy, as you just need to store them at room temperature in an air tight container for a couple of weeks.

You don’t want to freeze them after they’ve been decorated as the royal icing may not hold up and you run the risk of ruining your designs.

You can refrigerate Nemo cookies if you really want to, but there’s no need as these cookies are meant to be enjoyed at room temperature.

Can I Substitute Ingredients in Clownfish Cookies?

Keep in mind baking is a science and that means that it’s a bit less able to be manipulated on the fly than in cooking where you can be a bit more creative.

This recipe is meant to be enjoyed as is, so substitute at your own risk!

If you do want a particular type of cookie, ie gluten free or keto or something else, you would be better off using a recipe that has been specifically designed for that purpose and then using my decorating tips.

How to Make Clownfish Cookies

Fish cookies start with a delicious base, and that’s the cut-out sugar cookie!

They’re called cut-out sugar cookies because they are meant to hold their shape in the shape you cut them out in instead of spreading like a regular sugar cookie would do.

If you use this cut-out sugar cookie recipe and follow the instructions for chilling, you’ll end up with gorgeous cookies that don’t spread and still look like what you intended.

It’s important to follow the recipe though, as if you try and skip steps like not chilling the shapes after you cut them, you increase your chance of ruining your batch in the oven.

Like I said, baking is a science and there is a procedure to follow for the best results!

I bake mine for about 8 minutes and then take them out when they are slightly looking golden on the edges.

I prefer my cookies to be soft when you bite into it – these aren’t melt in your mouth cookies (they wouldn’t keep their shape!), but they’re not crunchy either.

Just a nice blend between firm and deliciously smooth.

Once you bake them, you need to let them cool for as long as possible.

They shouldn’t be warm to the touch at all when you go to decorate, or you’ll have a mess on your hands.

How to Make Royal Icing for Clownfish Cookies

The component of the cookies that make it all come together, the royal icing, is important to play around with and get right to make sure you have a smooth finish!

Royal icing can be intimidating to new bakers, as it’s not as easy as buttercream to just slather on, but I guarantee you that it is really actually easy to make and once you practice a few times, you’ll be good to go.

You can also always make it thicker with powdered sugar or thinner with water so you can’t really ruin a batch of it.

Use my royal icing recipe to create the icing for this recipe.

I use 12 second consistency icing for this, whch means that if you drag a knife through the icing, it takes about 12 seconds for the line to disappear.

You can also do two consistencies, a thicker one for the “outline” and a thinner one for the “flood,” but I prefer the look of a single consistency better and it’s way faster to use.

When you’ve got the royal icing how you want it, separate it out into bowls to add the food coloring for the orange and then put it in piping bags.

I use tipless piping bags and just cut the end off instead of using different tips, but if you have a thin tip, you can use that too.

Must-Have Decorating Tools

How to Decorate Clownfish Cookies with Royal Icing

To decorate the clownfish cookies, you’re going to start by creating the patches of white icing, one towards the front of the fish and one towards the back.

Use squiggle lines so it’s not a straight divide, and outline your section first before filling it in immediately with the white icing.

You want to let this dry for a good 30 minutes or so in order to make it so that the orange icing you’re going to put on doesn’t bleed into the white.

When you’re satisfied it’s dried enough, go ahead and add an orange section in the middle of the white ones, as well as the orange section at the front (leave a little notch to look like a mouth).

You can also fill in the tail, the bottom fin, and the top fins.

However, instead of filling them in like normal, simply draw lines with your icing to give these more texture.

After all is dry for another 30 or so minutes, you can go in and fill any areas you’ve missed with orange or add more depth to the tail and fins.

Finally, using a dot of icing, add on the eye and enjoy your underwater creature cookie, a beautiful clownfish!

Yield: 24 cookies

Decorated Clownfish Cookies

Decorated Clownfish Cookies

These decorated clownfish cookies look like Nemo cookies and are fun royal icing cookies to make.

Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour


  • 24 cookies using cut-out sugar cookie dough
  • 1 batch of royal icing, separated in orange and white


    1. Bake the fish cookies using the sugar cut-out cookie recipe
    2. Make a batch of royal icing using the royal icing recipe
    3. Separate out the royal icing into orange and white icing as you want to decorate with and put into piping bags
    4. Outline and flood in the orange patches and add lines at the fins in orange
    5. Wait 30 minutes and outline and flood in the white patches and add more orange lines on the fins
    6. Pipe a dot of royal icing to stick on the eye
    7. Let dry for 12 hours.

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