Christmas Sugar Cookies are the absolute best cookies ever!!! They are buttery, sweet, and scrumptious. Decorated with a beautiful marshmallow tasting icing, these cut out sugar cookies are baked to perfection – soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the edges. They are the #1 most requested cookie every year. They’re literally the perfect cookies for the holiday.
There’s a helpful video in this post that you can watch to see the cookies being made! Watching the electric mixer combine the simple ingredients is soothing.
Christmas Sugar Cookies
I love that there’s so much that you can do with sugar cookies: have a cookie decorating party, package them as a gift for your loved ones, or leave them out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
The holiday season simply isn’t complete without Christmas sugar cookies! Top them with festive sprinkles and don’t forget to use your favorite cookie cutters.
Nothing beats the aroma of freshly baked cookies or the joy of decorating and sharing them with others.
I use this recipe every year, and it is the best sugar cookie recipe for decorating. The cookies hold their shape well and don’t spread out while baking.
With my best tasting sugar cookie icing, you can decorate the cookies with a delicous glossy shine.
Your soft sugar cookies will look professional and taste absolutely amazing. If you love this Christmas sugar cookie recipe, try my Christmas Pinwheel Cookies next!
Christmas Sugar Cookies Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Unsalted Butter – Using unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt is in the overall recipe.
But if you only have salted butter on hand, you can use that instead – just omit additional salt from the recipe.
- Granulated Sugar – Cream sugar with the butter, softened at room temperature.
- Eggs – This will bind your dough together.
- Vanilla Extract and Almond Extract – These add flavor to the dough. You can skip the almond extract or use imitation, if allergies are a concern.
Other flavors, including lemon or maple, make great replacements!
- Flour – Regular all-purpose flour is recommended, but you can use any cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten free flour with this sugar cookie recipe, and they will turn out amazing!
- Salt – Omit this ingredient if you decide to use salted butter.
- Best Ever Sugar Cookie Icing – Ready in just 5 minutes, you’ll love how easy this icing is to whip up!
Christmas Sugar Cookies – Step by Step Instructions
Make The Dough
Start by creaming the softened butter and granulated sugar together. The texture should be light and fluffy, and the color will change to pale yellow.
Mix in the eggs and extracts until combined. Then, add the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.
Divide the dough into two even discs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
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.
Bake, Cool, and Decorate
Transfer the baking sheets from the refrigerator straight to the oven, and bake until the cut out sugar 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! You can use any colors, sprinkles, or sugar pearls to get your desired look.
Use Decorating Squeeze Bottles for easier decorating and minimal clean up.
Tips and Tricks for Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Prevent Sticky Dough. Keep adding a little more flour until the dough is tacky, meaning it doesn’t stick to your finger when touched.
- Space Cookies Out. Place cookie cutouts at least one inch apart so that the heat of the oven has space to move and the cookies can bake evenly.
- Rotate Halfway Through. Not all ovens have perfectly even heat.
Rotating your cookie tray halfway through the baking time will help ensure that no cookies end up burnt or undercooked.
- Time Batches Carefully. Allow each baking sheet to cool a bit before placing new cut-outs on the tray.
This guarantees that the heat doesn’t melt your dough or cause it to lose its shape before it can start baking.
- Cool Completely. The cookies will firm up as they cool. Make sure they are completely cooled before you decorate or transfer them to a container.
How to Prevent Sugar Cookies From Spreading
First, don’t use any leavening agents! That means no baking soda or baking powder — it’s the secret to get cut out cookies to hold their shape.
This is a tip I picked up from a bakery over 20 years ago. Makes them perfect every time.
Next, allow your butter to soften before creaming it with the sugar for a smooth consistency. But, don’t use melted butter!
This will thin your dough and create flat cookies.
I also recommend letting your eggs sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you use them.
Room temperature eggs are best for baking as they are easier to mix and incorporate into a dough.
Finally, chill your dough twice. Refrigerate it for at least an hour before rolling and cutting, then chill your shapes again on the trays for about 15 minutes before baking them — this will ensure that the cookies hold their shape.
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 large batch of treats without taking up a lot of counter space.
- Adjustable Rolling Pin with Removable Rings – flattens dough to ensure uniform baking.
Christmas Sugar Cookies FAQ
Make sure to not over-bake the cookies in the oven. They are ready once the edges start to turn a beautiful golden brown color. Cookies naturally firm up while they cool on a pan or rack, so don’t worry about trying to get them crispy in the oven.
Store them in an airtight container after fully cooled so that they retain their soft, delicate texture.
Absolutely! This dough is perfect for preparing in advance and should be used within 1 month for best results.
Form the dough in 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 once you’re ready to use.
You can even freeze iced sugar cookies! Layer with parchment paper in an airtight container and store for up to 3 months. If you happen to store them in a freezer bag, make sure that you lay the bag down gently in the freezer so that the holiday sugar cookies don’t break.
You can freeze this family favorite cookie recipe without frosting, and then frost the best sugar cookies once you thaw them and are ready to serve. One of the best things about these baked sugar cookies is that you can make them for Santa’s favorite cookies, or make them for a cookie exchange with 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.
What other toppings can I add to this easy sugar cookie recipe?
You can add white frosting, powdered sugar, or even a simple glaze and lemon zest. That’s the fun thing about making these yummy homemade sugar cookies – they’re perfect with sweet icing or any other topping that you want.
Be sure to add this to your list of holiday cookie recipes because one batch of cookies isn’t going to be enough!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Recipe Links
Christmas Sugar Cookies + Video
- stand mixer OR
- 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
- 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.)
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.
Originally published December 2012, updated and republished November 2023
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