Thursday, November 26, 2020

Christmas Sugar Cookies + Video

These Christmas sugar cookies taste amazing and hold their shape without spreading. Make them today to give as gifts or leave out for Santa!

Title text (shown in a pile): Christmas Sugar Cookies
A good cut out sugar cookie recipe is a staple for any baker and makes for a fun and tasty family tradition.

Each bite is soft and chewy with just the slightest crisp around the edges. Plus, the vanilla and almond flavors create a lightly sweet base for plenty of sugary icing.

Eggnog Cookies are another great addition to any cookie swap or dessert table.

If you have lots of leftover candy canes, use them up in Candy Cane Crinkle Cookies and Candy Cane Peppermint Ice Cream.

Or, make Pecan Pie Christmas Crack Toffee for a perfect sweet and salty treat.

mixing sugar cookie recipe

Christmas Sugar Cookies - Step By Step Instructions

Make The Dough

Start by creaming the softened butter and sugar together. The texture should be light and fluffy, and the color will change to pale yellow.

Mix in the eggs and extracts until just combined. Then, add the salt and flour and blend until smooth.

Divide the dough into two even discs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

sugar christmas cookies

Roll It Out

Working with one disc at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.

Use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes, then carefully transfer them to lined baking sheets.

Next, place the trays in the refrigerator to chill for another 15 minutes before baking. This helps them to hold their shape.

rolling out cut out sugar cookie recipe

Bake And Cool

Transfer the baking sheets from the refrigerator straight to the oven, and bake until the cookies start to brown around the edges.

Let them sit on the pan for a few minutes to finish baking, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Finally, decorate them with my Sugar Cookie Icing for a beautiful glossy finish!

cutting out christmas sugar cookies

Helpful Tips and Tricks
  • Skip the leavening. Our favorite baker told us this trick years ago. It’s the secret to get cut out cookies to hold their shape.
  • Use all vanilla extract. You can skip the almond extract if allergies are a concern. Replace with more vanilla or another flavor like lemon or maple.
  • How to Prevent Sticky Dough.  Keep adding a little more flour until the dough is tacky, meaning it doesn’t stick to your finger when touched.
  • Making Gluten Free Christmas Cookies: You can use any cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten free flour with this sugar cookie recipe, and they will turn out amazing!
  • Dairy Free Alternative: Replace the butter with a plant-based alternative. Be sure to use baking sticks instead of spreads, as they tend to work better in cookie recipes.
  • Make In Advance: Feel free to make the dough a day or two ahead of time and chill until you’re ready to cut and bake.
cut out cookies on parchment paper

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
  • Stand mixer or large mixing bowl with hand mixer for making the dough.
  • Baking Sheets - Used for anything from cookies to roasting, a good baking pan will last for years.
  • Silpat Mat - There are so many uses! Roll out doughs, cut out cookies and biscuits, or make other desserts. It even provides a non-slip surface for transporting pots and pans.
  • Cooling Racks - I like these because you can cool a lot of treats without taking up a lot of counter space.
  • Star Cookie Cutter - This is the cookie I have been making snowflake cookies with for over 10 years.
  • Christmas Tree Cookie Cutter - The size of this cutter is impressive, and the comfort grip prevents sore hands.
sugar christmas cookies on cooling rack

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted?

Using unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt is in the overall recipe, which is why it’s recommended for any type of baked good.

If salted is all you have on hand, just omit the additional salt from the recipe.

Can I freeze homemade sugar cookie dough?

Absolutely! Form the dough into a ball, then gently flatten it into a disc. Wrap the disc tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe storage bag.

Thaw in the refrigerator and use within one month for best results.

flooding christmas sugar cookies

How can I ship these sugar Christmas cookies to family and friends?

We got this brilliant tip for shipping cookies from our friend who owns a cookie shop, and it works so well.

Package the cookies in individual cookie bags and tape them to a piece of cardboard. Wrap the cardboard in bubble wrap, and then stack multiple layers of cookies in your shipping container.

holding up a decorated sugar cookie

Enjoy!

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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decorated Christmas Sugar Cookies in a pile



Sugar Cookie Recipe Video

To see us make the recipe from start to finish, watch the video at the top of this page.


Yield: 36 cookies
Author: Donna Elick
Print
Christmas Sugar Cookies

Christmas Sugar Cookies

These Christmas sugar cookies taste amazing and hold their shape without spreading. Make them today to give as gifts or leave out for Santa!
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 11 MinTotal time: 21 Min (plus chill time)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Best Ever Sugar Cookie Icing
  • Pearl Sugar Balls (dragees)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar, on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond. Beat until combined. Add the salt and 3 cups of flour; beat until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is sticky (meaning when you touch it and pull your fingers away the dough sticks to you), add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  4. Remove half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) 
  5. Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to baking sheet.
  6. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking. Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you can sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sanding sugar at this point.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 9-11 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. 
  8. Decorate the cookies with Best Ever Sugar Cookie Icing if desired. Be sure to let the icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours or overnight.)


Title text (shown in a stack): Christmas Sugar Cookies

Originally published December 2012, updated and republished November 2020

https://amzn.to/2npi3zd

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110 comments:

  1. Those are just so beautiful - I'm not sure I could eat one!

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  2. I've been looking for a good sugar cookie recipe! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Where is the recipe? I've been searching for half an hour. The video doesn't give measurements.

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    2. Don't know how you could miss it. Look right below the picture of the pinwheel cookies. If you start seeing pictures of cookie cutters, you've gone right past it.

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    3. Don't know ! I'm looking as well, the video isn't cutting it for me!

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    4. Scroll up a little bit. It is right there

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    5. scroll up a little bit. It is right there

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    6. You have to click on the words cookie recipe & then it will come up

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    7. Looks so inviting, just beautiful! On my list of Christmas Cookies to make this year.

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    8. Under the photo of the cookie, it says print recipe. When you click "print recipe", the recipe shows.

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  3. Beautiful cookies! I love decorated sugar cookies at Christmastime. :)

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  4. Oh these look stunning my friend! Beautiful and delicious

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  5. So pretty! They look like they belong in Bon Appetit!

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  6. What's the secret to the glossy icing? My Royal Icing always turns a bit flat.

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    Replies
    1. This icing dries glossy. I will share a recipe later in the week. But, if you love your icing, you can also dry your cookies with a heat gun and that will leave a glossy sheen on them. Hope that helps! Happy Baking. XO

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    2. Did you post the royal icing? I can't find a link nor when I do the search?

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    3. Did you post the icing? I cannot find it.

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    4. Do you mean to dry the actual cookie with a heat gun or the icing on the cookie should be dried with a heat gun?

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    5. Dry the icing with a heat gun should leave it glossy. Here is the icing recipe: http://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2013/12/best-tasting-sugar-cookie-icing-recipe.html

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    6. how can you keep it glossy without a heat gun?

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    7. Use this recipe and you do not have to use a heat gun. http://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2013/12/best-tasting-sugar-cookie-icing-recipe.html

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    8. Where's the icing recipe??

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  7. Love this recipe! Will be linking back to this in my upcoming post :)

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  8. Donna, these are GORGEOUS!!! Love the sheen on them, too! Thank you SO much for sharing them at Wicked Good Wednesdays! Hope to see you again tomorrow!

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  9. Hi there! Did you ever share a recipe for your royal icing? I can't seem to find it and I need it desperately! lol

    Thanks!
    ~Wendy

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  10. Hi, are these cookies soft? Thanks! Kalli

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  11. Can I ask why unsalted butter? It's hard to find in my neighborhood stores:(

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    Replies
    1. That is what I use to create recipes. You can certainly omit the salt and use salted butter. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

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  12. Has anyone tried these with a gluten free flour blend.

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  13. I'm just wondering why your recipe doesn't call for baking powder?
    I thought it was necessary to use along with salt. I think if you use self rising flour you don't have to add it, but your recipe says all purpose...
    ?I know a little about baking but i'm no expert ;)

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  14. No baking powder or baking soda?

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    Replies
    1. I do not use leavening in any cut out cookie recipes. It helps the cookies keep their shape, a tip I picked up from a long time bakery in my town.

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    2. I made these cookies last night and they turned out amazing! I just bought the cookie icing, though.

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    3. I've always used this same recipe, I got it from my mother, except my recipe has 1 1/2tsp baking powder & they are delicious & they keep their shape just fine.

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  15. Ok well making them now as written and they smell yummy! Thanks

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  16. Im going to make these for the soldier boxes at church that we send. Any tip on how to store them when we mail it? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. That is an awesome idea Teresa. When I ship, I package the cookies individually and tape them to a piece of cardboard. The cardboard is wrapped in bubble wrap. You can stack the cardboard sheets, but my friend who owns a cookie shop taught me this and it works so well. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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    2. How long so the cookies stay in fridge to chill

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  17. What do you do to the icing to make some of it toothpaste consistency and some of it corn syrup consistency?

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    Replies
    1. I make the original batch thick and then add more liquid to the thin (flood) icing. Hope that helps!

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  18. Does the dough freeze well? Just thinking of making ahead and thawing when ready to make?

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  19. Does the dough freeze well? Just thinking of making it ahead and then thawing when ready to bake as an activity for the kids.

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  20. This sounds like a great cookie. Love the addition of the almond flavoring.

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  21. Could I just use Vanilla extract and not the Almond extract??

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    Replies
    1. Yes you can. They are delicious that way too.

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  22. In the process of making the cookies now. I took the dough out of the fridge after an hour and it's very sticky :/ should I chill it longer or does it sound like I did something wrong?

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    1. did you ever get a response on this?

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    2. How much flour did you add, Jessica? If the dough does not come together add more flour until the dough is tacky. I hope that helps.

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  23. Annie Baben Mathai CochinDecember 11, 2016 at 6:46 PM

    Great inputs..Tq so much for sharing live tips.wants to try this..but got to check if I can get good christmas red gel colour in my place..in India.

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  24. Hey I followed this recipe exactly, however the dough is a bit too soft. I manage to roll it out and cut with the cookie cutter, but it's not holding its shape when it's time to transfer to the baking sheet. Help please!

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  25. My dough came out sticky not nice and clean like your video...if I put it in plastic wrap, i will lose half of the dough from sticking to the wrap. Where did I go wrong?

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    Replies
    1. exactly...mine didn't end up a solid mass as in the video.

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    2. Mine came out sticky too! Not sure what or if I did something wrong!!

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    3. I just made the dough & it came out very sticky!! Not sure what I did wrong! Followed recipe!!

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    4. Mine was incredibly sticky as well. I chilled it for over 24 hours and as soon as I started rolling it, it got sticky and fell apart. I even tried rolling it between sheets of wax paper and re-chilling it but it was still a lost cause. Pretty disappointing that there hasn't been a response...

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    5. Just add about another 1/2 cup of flour, little more if needed.

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    6. yes, keep adding flour and mixing until it is not sticky. When I rolled it, I also sprinkled a little four onto the surface and on the rolling pin if it started to stick.

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  26. I made these cookies, and the icing, this weekend, and they came out amazing. Especially considering my limited baking skill set which was pretty much box-mix based. Lol. It was super easy, but I did have a few issues to work through. Getting clean cuts with the cutters, and I had a hard time getting the flood icing to match the outline, in terms of looking seamless. But I am still immensely pleased with both batches I made, and am giving them as gifts!!! I made little tags for the bags with "homemade by Jane, with a recipe from theslowroasteditalian.com!! Thank you!! I'd love to send you a picture!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jane! I am so excited to hear about your cookies. Your story filled my heart up and I am gushing with joy. Homemade gifts are absolutely the best gift ever. I would love to see your pictures.

      You can email me at donna {at} tsrifood {dot} com or you can send them via Facebook.

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    2. Hi Donna! I sent a few pics of my cookies to your email. In real life I am Katherine. it's a long silly story, but Jane is a nickname I use online. Thanks again for sharing these recipes! The cookies are delicious, everyone I gave them to raved about how much they loved them.

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  27. I made these last night and they are great! Very easy to make with ingredients that I had on hand. This is much better than the recipe that I have been using for the past forty years! Thanks for this recipe.

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  28. There look amazing! How long do you let the flood icing dry before adding the decorative details? It looks like the dragees are on while it's still wet? What about the decorative icing?

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  29. Can you double the vanilla extract and omit the almond extract for someone who has a tree nut allergy?

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    Replies
    1. I was wondering the same, I'm sure it would be fine.

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  30. Can you use a cookie gun with this Receipe?

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  31. Wheres the
    Recipe

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  32. These are the best sugar cookies I have ever made! They don't even need frosting! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

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  33. I'm making these right now but my dough is sticky. It's nothing like the video. Help please!

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  34. My grand daughter has a milk allergy. Can we make this with a type of margarine?

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  35. My kids are allergic to nuts, so I can't use Almond Extract. Will doubling the vanilla still make a good tasting cookie?

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  36. My kids are allergic to nuts, so I can't use Almond Extract. Will doubling the vanilla still make a good tasting cookie?

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  37. My daughter and I made these last night. WOW, they were amazing! We are saving the recipe. The frosting, that dried perfect. Thank you!

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  38. Oh my gosh these cookies are to die for and so is the frosting! This has definitely become a new Christmas tradition for me to make these! Everyone loves them!

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  39. Hi, um.....your video shows you adding butter and then eggs.
    Somehow the sugar was omitted in the video...for sugar cookies.

    I know it's in there, and you show how to cream the butter and sugar together. But it struck me as odd. Hopefully it's an easy fix if you want to go back and edit that into the video.

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  40. Hello. I have never made cookies from scratch before. I made these, though, and they turned out great. Thank you so much for the great recipe for both the cookies and the icing.

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  41. These are absolutely the most beautiful cookies ever! I must try this. Learning to decorate cookies like a pro is on my culinary bucket list. However, not THIS Christmas! (hee hee). I'll shoot for some awesome Valentine's day cookies instead. Much love for sharing the goodness!

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  42. Help! I followed the recipe exactly the way it was written, I even beat the butter and sugar for 3 minutes like it said. But my dough is still sticky. I have been chilling them since 6:45. Not sure where I went wrong.

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  43. Hello, I made your cookies and used your icing. The cookies came out tasty and beautiful! Thank you for the recipes. I have a long way to go have my cookies look as beautiful as yours but they were 100% better then where I started.

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  44. I made these cookies and the icing listed at Christmastime and now for Valentine's Day. They are wonderful!! I have made them with my teenage brother, who loves to decorate them. We have used these cookies for our cake decorating class too. Excellent recipe! So very glad I found this and tried it. Thank you!

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  45. Ca I reuse the scraps of dough?

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  46. How far in advance can you make the cookies before frosting them? Should I keep in the freezer, or just in a tin/tupperware?

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  47. How far in advance can you make the cookies before frosting them? Will they keep without going stale in a tupperware or should I freeze them?

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  48. So I've read all the comments and if I don't use a heat gun on the icing to dry it will it still come out shiny air drying naturally? You sure have beautiful decorating skills!! These cookies are a work of art!!

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    Replies
    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianNovember 30, 2017 at 6:54 AM

      Thanks so much! It will be shiny just letting it air dry. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  49. Have you ever stored the cookies in the freezer for a couple weeks to be decorated/frosted later??

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  50. After hours of searching for the "one" I have found the recipe I am SO excited to try :) Thanks for sharing and a BIG thank you for all of you who have left comments, which are always a big help!

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    Replies
    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianDecember 8, 2017 at 8:10 AM

      Thanks you, Steph9803! Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

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  51. Is it safe to refrigerate the dough overnight before rolling out, cutting and baking?

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    Replies
    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianDecember 9, 2017 at 8:33 AM

      I always refrigerate the dough overnight and it works perfectly! Hope that helps,enjoy!

      Delete
  52. What is the shelf life of the cookies decorated and shrink wrapped. Thanks

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  53. Hi, these look absolutely beautiful! I can hardly wait to try making them. Do you know if adding orange or lemon zest would change the stability of the cookie? I've never added zest to a cookie and wondering if it would be good. Thank you.

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  54. Does this flour need to be sifted? If so, before or after measuring?
    Thank you :)

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    Replies
    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianDecember 17, 2017 at 8:34 AM

      Hi Zia, no it does not need to be sifted. Enjoy!

      Delete
  55. Can they stay in the fridge for more than an hour?

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  56. I made two batches of these cookies and by far this is the best recipe for cut out cookies and royal icing. After a few unsuccessful attempts to make cut out cookies over the years, I gave up on making them.

    Until now.

    After finding this recipe, I decided to try again. This cookie dough is not temperamental. I call dough like this "forgiving." It rolls out well and tastes great without frosting. Most of the cutout cookies I have been given as gifts over the years have been thrown in the garbage because they tasted like a bag of flour and were hard as a rock.

    With tips like cutting them out and putting them in the frig on the cookie sheet before baking, the author of this recipe sets the user up for success. I made sure to roll the cookies relatively thin so they didn't puff out and lose their shape.

    Even after a few days, the cookies were not hard and tasted fresh. They were positively addicting and I was proud to give them as gifts. I put colored royal icing in various squirt bottles (like the ones they have in restaurants for mustard) to decorate the cookies.

    Both the cookie recipe and the royal icing recipe are worth the effort. Thank you Donna!

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    Replies
    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianDecember 27, 2017 at 5:57 PM

      We are so HAPPY to hear that!!! I am so glad they worked out for you. This is my favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe! Thank you so much!

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  57. I am so glad I found this recipe! It is amazing - the only one I will use from now on and the icing is lovely. I have a hard time rolling dough from the fridge, so instead of making them balls and chilling, I rolled the dough to 1/4 inch between two sheets of parchment paper and put those in the fridge - so much easier cutting out the cookies this way - perfect for people with limited strength in their upper body. Tonight I have just made my fourth batch this Christmas - the whole batch only lasts a day here with my adult men! Never, ever going to another recipe!! Sharon.

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  58. I’d like to hear a reply about freezing. I need to make 300 for a church event. Can I freeze? Should I freeze cut cookies and then bake or can I freeze baked cookies. Or does it matter.

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  59. The recipe calls for 3-4 cups of flour. What is best? 3 or 4 cups?

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  60. I am also wondering if the cookies can be made & baked ahead of time and freeze to decorate & eat later and/or freezing the dough to be baked later..?

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  61. These look awesome! Just wondering, about how many cookies does this recipe make? Thank you so much!! :)

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  62. what # tips do you usually use for the thick and thin iciing? rylee.elizabeth@gmail.com

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  63. Add a little more milk once you divide the icing. One should be like toothpaste consistency and the flood icing should be consistency of corn syrup. It doesn’t take much milk to get it thinner- try a teaspoon at a time

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  64. The sugar cookies remind me of my childhood. I’ve been searching for this recipe for years. Thank you, so much!!! My family made about dozens upon dozens already in two days.

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  65. Just made these delicious cookies! Just the perfect amount of sweetness. Thank you for the recipe.. This will be my go to sugar cookie recipe whenever I need! Can't wait for Christmas to bake more.

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  66. Everything about this recipe is great! Easy, tastes great, looks great...well, when someone who does it right decorates them. That would not be me. I just cant decorate with icing. I can cover the cookie fine but adding all the pretty bells and whistles, not happening. So i got some gel food coloring, added a drop of clear extract to thin it out and used a clean paintbrush to paint on evergreen branches and red berries. It was easy, didn’t take nearly as long as you’d think, no talent required and they looked great.

    ReplyDelete

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