How we tested
A cookie press works like a dough “gun”: You put a perforated disk for the desired cookie shape at the bottom of the barrel, fill the tube with cookie dough, and screw on a handle at the top. You place the press on the cookie sheet and squeeze the trigger to release a spritz of dough. It sounds simple, but some cookie presses are complicated and messy to fill and slow and uncomfortable to press; they spritz out too much or too little dough and make you struggle to produce identical, attractively shaped cookies.
When they work well, cookie presses can produce dozens of uniform spritz cookies in a flash, without the need for (or experience using) a pastry bag. We tested five models priced from nearly $13 to nearly $30, including our previous favorite and an updated version. After forming and baking multiple batches of buttery cookies, we rated each press on how easy it was to fill, use, and clean it and form appealing cookies with it.
Two presses were immediate failures, either producing irregular cookies or refusing to release cookies at all. Of the rest, we developed a clear preference for certain features, including a nonslip base for the press, which holds it steady while you squeeze dough—a big help in keeping cookies uniform. We also liked presses that let you attach the disk with either side up, and ones that had an indicator showing when the plunger was engaged and ready to press after you loaded the dough. When it came to cleaning, we favored presses with a tight seal that forced all dough through the disk, not behind the plunger or along the sides of the tube.
As a final test, we used every disk that came with each press to ensure that all the different shapes would come out properly. Here is where we crowned our winner. While the top three presses all rapidly and comfortably pumped out good cookies most of the time, only one made crisp, consistent shapes with every one of its dozen disks. Easy to load, with a nonslip base, its only downside was that occasionally dough squeezed in behind the plunger, but this was a small price to pay for simple, perfect cookies.