Christmas Sugar Cookies

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Christmas Sugar Cookies are the best cut out sugar cookie recipe for the holidays.  They’re soft and thick, and decorated with an easy vanilla icing and sprinkles.  They’re a must for Christmas!

christmas sugar cookies stacked on a plate with sprinkles

**The photos and text for this post were updated in December 2019.

I bake a lot of different treats for Christmas, but these Christmas Sugar Cookies are a favorite for most people that I bake for.   They’ve been a tradition for me for years, and it’s really not Christmas without them.

Nothing embodies the holidays more than these cut out sugar cookies.  Their fun Christmas shapes make me feel like a child again, and they’re festive and bright with sprinkles that shimmer just the way the holidays are meant to.  

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?

christmas sugar cookies featuring snowflake sugar cookie

This is an easy sugar cookie recipe that produces thick, soft sugar cookies that are decorated with an easy vanilla icing and festive sprinkles. 

If you’re looking for premium, beautiful sprinkles, try Sweetapolita Sprinkles.  I’m not being paid to promote this company, I merely love their products!

plate of Christmas sugar cookies with Christmas tree on top

Christmas Sugar Cookies ingredients

This cut out cookie recipe only requires a few basic ingredients that you already have on hand.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Sprinkles of choice

Why corn syrup?  It’s essential for giving the vanilla icing a beautiful sheen.

overhead shot of Christmas sugar cookies on silver plate with sprinkles

How to make Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Although sugar cookies are a bit labor intensive, they couldn’t be easier to make.

Prepare the dough

The dough comes together in mere minutes!  When it’s done, divide the dough into (2) discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill.

Chill the dough

Sugar cookie dough must be chilled as it’s easier to roll when it’s more firm.  Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes to 2 hours, or make the dough up to a few days in advance.

If the dough is very firm, remove from the refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll, about 15-30 minutes.

Christmas sugar cookies process collage 1

Christmas sugar cookies process collage 2

Roll out and cut the sugar cookie dough

You’ll need the following equipment for your Christmas sugar cookies dough:

  • Work surface (I prefer to use a marble board or silpat pastry mat)
  • Rolling pin
  • Flour
  • Cookie cutters

Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin.  

Roll the dough evenly to about 1/4″ thickness for thick, soft sugar cookies, and 1/8″ thick for thinner crispier cookies.

Cut into shapes, then gather up the dough and re-roll again until the dough has been used.  Repeat with the other disc.

rolled out sugar cookie dough close up

Bake the cookies

Place the cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1″ apart.  

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  If you like your cookies soft, be sure that you don’t over bake them.  As soon as the tops of the cookies are dry to the touch, they’re done.

Christmas sugar cookies process collage 3

Decorate your cut out cookies

I like to decorate my Christmas sugar cookies over a sheet of waxed paper to keep the mess to a minimum!

Whip up your vanilla icing and spread over the cookies.  It’s important to apply the sprinkles immediately after the icing as it dries very quickly.

Allow the decorated cookies to stand at room temperature until set, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Christmas sugar cookies overhead shot featuring green Christmas tree

How do you store frosted sugar cookies?

I make my decorated sugar cookies a few days in advance and store them in an air tight container at room temperature between sheets of waxed paper.

The cookies will stay fresh stored this way for up to one week.

Christmas sugar cookie recipe tips

  • Dough may be made a few days in advance stored in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes until soft enough to roll.
  • If you wish to freeze the dough, wrap the plastic wrapped dough in foil also and store in the freezer for up to one month. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight and let stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out.
  • Store decorated sugar cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

plate of Christmas sugar cookies with Christmas tree on top

Hungry for more cookies?  See all of my Cookie recipes.

More Christmas cookies you’ll love:

Biscotti

Chocolate dipped almond horn cookies

Gingerbread cookies

Greek almond cookies

Peanut butter blossoms

Seven layer magic cookie bars

Snowball cookies by Live Well Bake Often

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Christmas Sugar Cookies are the best cut out sugar cookie recipe for the holidays.  They're soft and thick, and decorated with an easy vanilla icing and sprinkles.  They're a must for Christmas!

christmas sugar cookies stacked on a plate with sprinkles

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Vanilla Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup (essential for a nice sheen)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt with a whisk. Add to the butter mixture, beating just until combined.
  3. Scrape half of the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk, wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hours or use within 3 days. Repeat with the other half of the dough. If freezing, also wrap in aluminum foil and place in the freezer for up to one month.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness for thick, soft sugar cookies, or 1/8" for thinner, crispier cookies.
  5. Cut into desired shapes using lightly floured cookie cutters. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1 1/2" apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, or leave plain and ice after they're baked.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. Be careful not to over bake -- the cookies are done as soon as the tops feel dry. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. For the Vanilla Icing, sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of hot water, corn syrup, and vanilla until continue to stir until smooth. Add more hot water one tablespoon at a time if necessary.
  8. Spread the icing over the tops of the cooled cookies, or pipe it with a pastry bag fitted with a fine tip. Immediately sprinkle with sanding sugars, and decorate with the candies of your choice.
  9. Let the cookies stand at room temperature until the icing has set, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes

  • Dough may be made a few days in advance stored in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes until soft enough to roll.
  • If you wish to freeze the dough, wrap the plastic wrapped dough in foil also and store in the freezer for up to one month. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight and let stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out.
  • Store decorated sugar cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

48

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made. This information does not include the sprinkles.

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