Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe

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1 hour 10 minutes

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These decorated Christmas Sugar Cookies will turn your kitchen into a winter wonderland. With whimsical shapes and festive colors, they’re the perfect way to celebrate the holidays with the whole family.

Christmas cookies on a cutting board.
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What better way to get into the holiday spirit than by baking a big batch of delicious, cut-out Christmas sugar cookies? With their soft and buttery texture and irresistible sweetness, they’re the perfect blank canvas for decorating with colorful icing and sprinkles.

This recipe makes cookies that aren’t just delicious; they’re a fun activity that brings the whole family together. Put on your favorite Christmas music, gather around the table, and let the fun begin.

If you’re looking for more holiday baking ideas, make sure to check out our Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies and these Christmas Donuts.

A group of decorated christmas cookies on a white surface.

Why We Love This Recipe

  • Simple dough: The dough is easy to work with, and the cookies hold their shape when baked.
  • Delicious flavors: These buttery cookies are infused with almond and vanilla flavors.
  • Easy icing recipe: The simple icing is made with just 2 ingredients, but it is so much better than royal icing.
  • Perfect for decorating: Whether you frost them with this icing recipe or a royal icing recipe, they’re great for cookie decorating.

Ingredients

A list of ingredients for a cookie recipe.

For the Cookies

  • Butter (softened)
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Egg
  • All purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Corn starch
  • Baking powder

For the Icing

  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Different colors of gel food coloring
  • Sugar pearls, festive sanding sugar and sprinkles-optional

How to Make Decorated Christmas Sugar Cookies

To Make The Cookies

Step 1. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

Step 2. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat until combined.

Ingredients for cookie dough in a glass bowl on a marble countertop.
A glass bowl with a yellow batter in it.

Step 3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, corn starch, and salt.

Step 4. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Stir together until combined into a smooth dough.

Step 5. Shape the sugar cookie dough into a ball with your hands, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.

Whisking flour in a glass bowl.
A bowl of cookie dough in a glass bowl.

Step 6. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the chilled sugar cookie dough until it’s about ¼” thick.

Step 7. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in a Christmas theme.

Step 8. Transfer shapes to a prepared baking sheet.

Tip: To prevent tearing the dough, use a thin spatula to transfer shapes to the cookie sheet.

Gingerbread cookie cutter and rolling pin on a marble countertop.
Gingerbread cookies on a baking sheet.

Step 9. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to turn a very light golden color but are not crispy.

Step 10. Leave on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 1. Mix together the confectioners sugar and milk until you have a smooth icing. It should be thick enough to pipe, but still pourable.

Step 2. Make the different colors by dividing the icing between a few bowls. Mix a few drops of the food coloring until you get the desired color.

Tip: If you need to make the icing a little thinner, add a few more drops of milk. If you make it too thin, you can just sprinkle in a little more powdered sugar.

A bowl of icing with a spoon in it.
Four bowls with different colors of icing in them.

Step 3. Using a piping bag and narrow nozzle, pipe lines around the edge of each cookie.

Tip: Practice your piping skills on parchment paper before you try to decorate sugar cookies with it. This will help you know how fast or slowly the cookie frosting flows.

Step 4. Using a wider nozzle, flood between the lines to fill them in. If adding a second layer of icing, allow the cookies to dry for at least 30 minutes first.

Step 5. Leave the cookies to dry in the open air at room temperature for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight, before touching or stacking.

A tray of decorated christmas cookies on a cutting board.

How to Store These Holiday Sugar Cookies

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3–4 days or in the fridge for over a week.

Tips for Baking the Best Christmas Sugar Cookies

  • Use softened butter: Make sure your butter is at room temperature so it will combine better with the sugar. You don’t want little pockets of butter remaining.
  • Measuring flour: When measuring flour, spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge. Don’t pack it, or you will end up with crumbly cookies.
  • Chill the dough: Chilling the dough is an important step in making it easier to roll and cut shapes without sticking.
  • Parchment paper: Always use parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking and to make cleanup a breeze.
  • Cooling Time: Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. This helps them set and prevents them from breaking.
Christmas cookies decorated with gingerbread men, snowflakes, and stars.
Can I freeze Christmas cookies?

If you’ve made too many cookies, you can certainly freeze them to enjoy later. Wrap them with plastic wrap and drop them in a freezer bag. They’ll stay fresh in the freezer for several months.

What if my dough is to stiff to roll out?

If the dough is breaking, it could mean it’s too cold. Before you try to roll out the dough, just let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Why did my cookies crumble?

Don’t move the cookies directly to the cooling rack when they come out of the oven. These are softer cookies, and they’ll need to sit on a cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving.

A group of gingerbread cookies with icing and decorations.
  • Extracts: You can make these cookies with different flavors of extracts. Lemon, orange, and peppermint are great choices.
  • Add some spice: Add warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to the cookie dough. Be careful though; those spices can easily overpower the flavors of the cookies.
  • Citrus zest: Add a little lemon or orange to the dough for a little pop of zest flavor.
  • Sprinkles: Instead of decorating the cookies with icing, sprinkle festive nonpareils, jimmies, or colored sugar on top of the cookies. Add them to the cookies before baking for a pop of bright color.
  • Cookie sandwiches: Skip the cookie cutters and create cookie sandwiches by spreading frosting between two cookies.
  • Frosting: Skip the frosting and serve the cookies with a dusting of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or edible glitter.
  • Cookie shapes: We used Christmas cookie cutter shapes, but you can use this recipe to make cookies for any holiday. Bunny or egg shapes are perfect for Easter.
A stack of decorated christmas cookies on a table.

Want More Christmas Treat recipes?

Find More On Pinterest!

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A tray of decorated christmas cookies on a baking sheet.
5 from 37 votes

Christmas Sugar Cookies


Course Dessert, Desserts & Sweets
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
With whimsical shapes and festive colors, these fun Christmas sugar cookies are the perfect treat for the holidays!

Ingredients
 

For The Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For The Icing

Instructions

To Make The Cookies

  • Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
    1/2 cup butter, 2/3 cup sugar
  • Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat until combined.
    1 large egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, corn starch, and salt.
    1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp corn starch, 1/4 tsp salt
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Stir together until combined into a smooth dough.
  • Shape the sugar cookie dough into a ball with your hands, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the chilled sugar cookie dough until it’s about ¼” thick.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in a Christmas theme.
  • Transfer shapes to a prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to turn a very light golden color but are not crispy.
  • Leave on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make Sugar Cookie Icing

  • Mix together the confectioners sugar and milk until you have a smooth icing. It should be thick enough to pipe, but still pourable.
    2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2-3 tbsp milk
  • Make the different colors by dividing the icing between a few bowls. Mix a few drops of the food coloring until you get the desired color.
    Food colorings of your choice
  • Using a piping bag and narrow nozzle, pipe lines around the edge of each cookie.
  • Using a wider nozzle, flood between the lines to fill them in. If adding a second layer of icing, allow the cookies to dry for at least 30 minutes first.
  • Leave the cookies to dry at room temperature for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight, before touching or stacking.

Notes

  • When transferring the cookie  shapes to the baking sheet, use a thin spatula to avoid tearing the dough.
  • If you need to thin the icing, add a few more drops of milk. If you make it too thin, just add a little more powdered sugar.
  • You may want to practice your piping skills on parchment paper first. It’ll help you know how quickly or slowly the cookie frosting flows.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

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