Christmas Sugar Cookies + Video

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

christmas sugar cookies

Recipes like 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 cookie dough ingredients

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.

cookie dough sitting in mixing bowl

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 cookie dough

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!

cookie dough rolled out with shapes cut out

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.
cookie dough shapes

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.
cookies arranged on drying 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.

half iced cookie on white plate

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.

decorated sugar cookie

Enjoy!

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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decorated sugar cookies

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

stack of decorated christmas sugar cookies

Christmas Sugar Cookies + Video

Donna Elick
Our Christmas sugar cookies taste amazing and hold their shape without spreading. Soft and sweet – a fantastic cut out sugar cookie recipe!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 11 mins
Chill Time 5 mins
Total Time 26 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 36 Cookies

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, 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
 

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  • 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.)
  • Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to baking sheet.
  • 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 sparkling sugar at this point.
  • 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.
  • 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.)

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 121cal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 37mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
christmas sugar cookies

Originally published December 2012, updated and republished November 2020

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116 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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..?

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. I found your recipe last year when I got the idea to make Christmas cookies with my nieces and nephews. The cookies were delicious and I was extremely impressed with how great we all decorated them. I thought our cookies were too pretty to eat, however my 12 year old son disagreed and found them DELICOUS and ate all of them!! This year I am going to attempt to use your recipe to make a mini cookie advent calendar for at least 5 kids (which is a ton of cookies). My question is, if they are in an airtight jar, how long will the cookies keep for? Thank you for the wonderful cookie and icing recipe!!! Happy Holidays!!

    1. Hi Alyssa! I have made these cookies and frozen them until I am ready to decorate, they freeze really well. They should keep up to 4 weeks or longer in an airtight container, but they never last that long around here 🙂 Hope that helps!

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