These classic sweet soft rich Christmas sugar cookies are a blast to make with kids, taste delicious, and make for a beautiful plate of cookies at Holiday parties, to leave out for Santa, or simply to enjoy!
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Iced Christmas Sugar Cookies
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! These iced Christmas cookies will bring the color and spirit of the holidays to your kitchen. My kids love baking and eating these cute, soft, rich sugar cookies. They are one of the easiest things to make around the holidays with your little ones and make a great homemade Christmas gift.
What we call a “Sugar Cookie” is actually based on the Nazareth Cookie which was created by German Protestant American settlers in the mid 1700s. The Nazareth cookie was adopted later as the official cookie of the state of Pennsylvania. This American classic is the perfect cookie to make some memories this holiday season.
How To Make Christmas Sugar Cookies
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
For the cookies:
- Butter – butter is the fat we will use to bring the dough together. The butter should be softened but not melted, use unsalted butter so you can control how much salt is added to the mixture.
- Sugar – I use refined white sugar for this recipe since it gives a pure sweetness to these sugar cookies and gives them a nice white color even when baked that is ideal for icing.
- Vanilla Extract – vanilla extract is made by combining any 80 proof alcohol with vanilla beans and waiting 6 months or more for the flavor of the vanilla beans to soak into the alcohol. It has a strong floral flavor that gives sugar cookies their distinct taste.
- Milk – milk gives these cookies a rich flavor and brings them together into a soft dough. Because of its fat content I use whole milk for my cookies.
- Flour – all purpose flour has the perfect protein content to make these cookies soft and chewy. If you pre-sift your flour you will get lighter cookies and less chunks of flour in your dough.
- Cornstarch – cornstarch is derived from corn grain and is basically a more intense thickener than flour. I use it in my sugar cookies to help them hold their shapes when baked. You don’t want to lose your cookie cutter shapes.
- Baking Powder – baking powder will make the cookies light and soft. It will give our cookies the perfect texture.
- Salt – salt will bring the sweet flavor out of the cookies. I always use fine grain sea salt for the best flavor and even distribution.
For the icing:
- Powdered Sugar – powdered sugar has a really fine grain which makes it ideal to make nice smooth frosting. Pre-sift your powdered sugar for smoother icing.
- Milk – the milk combined with the powdered sugar will bring the frosting together into a smooth icing that will spread well over the cookies. Make sure you measure the milk and powdered sugar correctly so your icing has a smooth consistency and isn’t too sticky or dry.
- Vanilla Extract – vanilla extract gives this icing a warm floral taste, it’s the main flavoring in the cookie and the icing so it really pops.
- Food dye – you can use whatever food coloring you want, I typically use food coloring gel since it gives a great color. Use sparingly, you can always add more for a darker color but cant take the dye back out.
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method:
- Step 1 – In a large bowl cream together the sugar and softened butter for 3-4 minutes before you stir in the milk and vanilla extract. Add 2 cups of flour and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Add more flour, ¼ cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.
- Step 2 – Spread flour on a clean surface and roll the dough out until it is under ¼ inch thick. Use your festive cookie cutters to cut the dough into all the shapes you want, my kids love this part best.
- Step 3 – Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cut cookies onto the paper with just a little space between them.
- Step 4 – Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes. See tip #1 below to see how to check for doneness. Place them on a cooling tray once they are baked and let cool completely.
- Step 5 – While the cookies are baking mix all the icing ingredients (besides the food dye) together to form the icing. Split the icing into 4 bowls and use a bit of food coloring to make 4 different colored icings. Put the icing in piping bags or plastic bags, snipping the corner of the bag once the bags are full.
- Step 6 – Cool the cookies and decorate them as you please, enjoy!
Tips and Tricks To Perfect Sugar Cookies:
Check out these tips and tricks for mastering this sugar cookie recipe.
Keep an eye on the cookies for a light color. Be sure to keep an eye on the cookies in the oven, they will go from white dough to golden in little time, start checking on them around 6 minutes, possibly delegating this task to an excited child who understands what to look for if possible.
Flour the top and bottom well when rolling. While rolling, be sure to flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin to help prevent sticking. You can also flip the dough over after rolling it initially, you want to make sure you can get the cookies up off the counter after cutting them.
If your cookies are darker than suggested, or have become golden but not burned, simply ice them and keep a better eye on the next batch of cookies you put in the oven. Check the next batch sooner and check on them more frequently. The darker cookies won’t be as soft as the ones that aren’t golden.
These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
This cookie recipe was tested without chilling it, so it does not need to chill. If you need to chill it for some reason, it will still be fine, simply roll and cut out cookies before chilling and lay some parchment paper overtop the cut cookies, stacking the cut cookies on top of each other with the parchment paper between the stacks.
It takes about 24 hours for the icing to set. However, they still taste amazing before the icing is completely set.
This tends to happen when the butter is softened enough. The butter should be soft enough to cream together with the sugar with a metal or wooden spoon. Next time be sure your butter is soft enough.
These have not been tested with gluten free flour. To make vegan, simply use non-dairy milk of choice (soy and almond work well), use plant-based butter, and be sure your food dye is vegan.
What to serve with Christmas Sugar Cookies?
If you and your littles loved making these Christmas Sugar Cookies you will also love, Christmas Candy Cookie Dough Fudge, Easy Iced Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies, Easy Wreath Christmas Cookies, Spiked Eggnog Mocha, Easy Gingerbread Truffles Recipe, Cranberry Moonshine, Easy Meringue Christmas Tree Pops.
Easy Iced Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe
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These classic Christmas sugar cookies are a blast to make with kids, taste delicious, and make for a beautiful plate of cookies at Holiday parties, to leave out for Santa, or simply to enjoy!
- ½ cup Butter, softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Milk
- 2 ¼-2 ½ cups Flour + more for rolling out dough
- 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 6 cups Powdered Sugar
- 8-12 tablespoons Milk
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- Food dye (colors of your choice, but green, red, black, yellow, and blue are great choices)
- Preheat oven to 350℉ and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the vanilla and milk.
- Add 2 cups of flour, the cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Stir until it turns into a dough. If sticky or too soft, add more flour, ¼ cup at a time.
- Flour a clean surface, or large cutting board, and roll out the dough to under a ¼ inch thick.
- Use your cookie cutters and cut out shapes from the dough and place on the lined cookie sheets until full. There does not need to be much room around each cookie, but they also should not be touching.
- Bake the cookies for 7 to 10 minutes. The thinner you made the dough, the less time they will take. Be sure to remove them before the tops start to turn golden. You will need to bake these cookies in batches.
- While the cookies are baking, make the icing by mixing together all of the ingredients, except the food dye, separating the icing into the number of colors you want into separate bowls, adding the food dye and stirring well. Then place each color in separate piping bags or plastic bags, snipping the corner of the plastic bags after being filled.
- Once the first batch of cookies are cool and the icing is made, decorate as you please before eating!
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KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, Empire Red
KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Red
Moukiween Christmas Cookie Cutters-9 pieces Holiday Cookie Cutters Set, Big Stainless Steel Christmas Fondant Biscuit Cutters for Christmas Holiday Party and Baking Gift
Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Half Sheet Size, 11-5/8 x 16-1/2
Kasmoire Reusable Piping Bags and Tips Set, Cake Decorating Tools with Icing Pastry Bags, Icing Bags Tips, Couplers and Frosting Bags Ties for Cookie Icing Cakes Cupcakes
Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin with Removable Rings, 13.6", Multi-Color
Amount Per Serving Calories 440Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 15mgSodium 187mgCarbohydrates 85gFiber 1gSugar 48gProtein 5g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.