These Holiday Sugar Cookies are the perfect treat. They’re easy to make, delicious, and fun to decorate with the whole family.
Sugar cookies are some of my favorites to make during the holiday season. This recipe makes the most perfect Christmas sugar cookies with a soft center, crispy edges, delicious frosting, and the perfect activity to do with kids!
Looking for more dessert recipes to share with the family this holiday season? Check out some of my favorites like Dark Chocolate Brownies, Snickerdoodle Hershey Kiss Cookies, or Candy Cane Hershey Kiss Cookies next.
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies Recipe
Tis’ the season to make cookies!
With the holidays coming and gatherings with friends and family just around the corner, now is the time to pull together all the recipes you want to show off this holiday season.
And what are holidays and gatherings without cookies?! These holiday cookies are soft, buttery, and ready for the perfect frosting and sprinkle combination.
Bonus: If you’re looking for a family or household activity, these cookies are the perfect way to get everyone in the kitchen and doing something together.
Holiday Sugar Cookie Activity
- Consider placing an order for all your ingredients.
- Order matching aprons for the whole gang!
- Buy cookie cutters perfect for each holiday you are preparing dessert for!
You can switch up the frosting colors, sprinkles, and cookie shape to go with any holiday.
Ingredients for Holiday Sugar Cookies
Dry ingredients: for the perfect sugar cookie base/flour mixture, you will need all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.
Wet ingredients: to get the desired soft and chewy center of a sugar cookie, you need the perfect combination of wet ingredients. To achieve soft sugar cookie perfection, grab your eggs, butter, vanilla, cream cheese, and food coloring.
Sprinkles: decorate your cookies with the perfect topping. Festive shaped and colored sprinkles are the best part!
How to Make Holiday Sugar Cookies
1. Preheat the Oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer, mix the butter with the granulated sugar with the paddle attachment on low speed until fluffy. Little by little add in the powdered sugar or confectioners sugar. Mix until combined.
3. Add wet ingredients. Mix in the vanilla, and one egg at a time. Then add the cream cheese and mix until combined.
4. Prepare dry ingredients and slowly combine. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until everything comes together. Do not over mix.
5. Prepare baking sheet and cookies. Place the mixture in the refrigerator in plastic wrap for at least an hour so it is easier to handle. With a small cookie scoop, shape dough into round circles on the prepared baking sheet. Place them on the baking pan about 2 inches apart. They really do expand, so keep that in mind.
6. Bake the cookies. Bake for 12 minutes or until they are starting to brown. Allow time to cool completely before removing.
You can transfer the cookies over to wire racks to cool.
Easy Sugar Cookie Icing
Icing is easily one of the best parts of a good holiday cookie. By using my easy sugar cookie icing recipe, you will have the perfect frosting for your Christmas cookies.
All you will need is 4 pantry staple baking ingredients and less than 10 minutes.
Sugar Cookie Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
Sugar: in order to make buttercream frosting, you won’t be using conventional granulated sugar. Instead, you will need to whip out the powdered sugar!
Vanilla: pure vanilla extract adds delicious flavor and balance to both the icing and the cookie. Don’t sleep on the vanilla; this is your frosting’s secret weapon.
Dairy: there is no frosting without butter and a touch of whipped cream!
Food coloring: I used red food coloring, but you can use whatever colors you like.
How to make Buttercream Frosting
- Prepare the frosting. Start by beating the butter with a stand mixer, until light and fluffy. Once you have achieved a light and fluffy consistency, add the sugar little by little until fully combined. Add the vanilla, whipping cream, and food coloring. Mix until combined.
- Decorate cookies. Once the frosting is done and your cookies are cool, you can decorate! Grab a spatula and spread some of the buttercream frosting over the baked cookies and top with sprinkles.
Let the frosting firm a bit before serving.
If you’re making multiple icing colors, divide the frosting into small bowls before adding the food coloring.
What is the Difference Between a Sugar Cookie and a Shortbread Cookie?
Both are incredibly delicious. However, there is a difference. Sugar cookies are much lighter, while shortbread cookies are more dense.
Shortbread is more hearty, rustic, and a favorite to the British. Sugar cookies, however, are lighter, chewy, and soft work best for cutting and decorating.
Another huge difference between the two: sugar cookies will have baking powder or baking soda while shortbread has a high ratio of butter to flour and no leavening ingredients.
What is the Difference Between a Buttercream Frosting and Royal Icing?
There is no denying that all frosting is good frosting. However, not all frostings are the same.
The biggest difference between buttercream frosting and royal icing comes down to texture. Buttercream is creamy and soft; a frosting many people (especially kids), love!
Royal icing, however, hardens to a candy-like texture which makes it harder to work with.
If you are looking to make cookies with the family, I highly recommend sticking to buttercream frosting, it’s easy to work with, tastes great, and can be stored in the fridge to use again!
What is the Best Thickness for Sugar Cookies?
Did you ever think you would be measuring how thick your cookie dough is? Well, if you are looking for the ideal cookie thickness, grab your rolling pin and rulers.
The ideal thickness of your holiday sugar cookie dough is 1/4″. This allows the cookie to be tough enough to be handled and decorated, but thin enough to stay a little crunchy, but also soft on the inside!
Why are my Sugar Cookies so Hard?
Oops! You may have over-baked your cookies! It’s really important to make sure you follow these steps to ensure you don’t have hard, over-baked, or burnt cookies!
- Watch the time; don’t over bake. Over baking causes too much of the liquid from the butter and eggs to evaporate.
- Measure your dough. Make sure when you roll the dough that it’s even. Uneven dough can cause some cookies to cook faster thank others allowing the thin ones to burn.
- Cover your cookies. Don’t leave them out on the counter uncovered. Leaving them out will cause the cookies to go stale. You’re better off storing them in an airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap.
How do you Keep Sugar Cookies from Spreading when baking?
Keep your cookies from spreading out and making shapes with other cookies by using a silicone baking mat or parchment papaer.
Don’t spray non-stick spray on the surface; it will leave your baking sheet too wet/greasy and cause the cookies to spread out too much.
I like to use a silicone baking mat because it allows the cookie to grip to the bottom and prevents the cookie from spreading.
WANT TO TRY THIS HOLIDAY SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE?
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Holiday Sugar Cookies
- 2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup cream cheese
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ½ powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- 3 ½ tablespoons whipping cream
- red food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a stand mixer, mix the butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy. Little by little add in the powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
- Add the vanilla, and one egg at a time. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined.
- In another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until everything comes together. Do not over mix.
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour so it is easier to handle. With a small cookie scoop, scoop round balls onto the prepared baking sheet. Place them on the baking pan about 2 inches apart. They really do expand, so keep that in mind.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until they are starting to brown. Allow to cool completely before removing.
- Meanwhile, prepare your buttercream frosting by beating the butter with a stand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the sugar little by little until fully combined. Add the vanilla, whipping cream, and food coloring. Mix until combined.
- Using a spatula, spread some of the buttercream frosting over each cookie and top with sprinkles. Let the frosting firm up before serving.
How pretty are these! My kids are going to have so much fun making these at the weekend.
These holiday sugar cookies look so scrumptious! Wish I can reach and grab one! Thanks for all the tips you shared.
Decorated sugar cookies are a must for my family around the holidays. This recipe is wonderful. Thanks for all the great tips!
These are really adorable! So fun to make and eat!
This was my first time making this recipe and they are so delicious! They stayed soft, not too crispy-just perfect! The icing is incredible. It is sweet, but no sickeningly sweet-as icing often is. I will be making these every Christmas.
Thank you Chandra!