These frosted Christmas Sugar Cookies are my grandma’s best recipe, so buttery and sweet! A family favorite. No Christmas is complete without them.

Frosted Christmas sugar cookies on a cooling rack.

These Christmas Sugar Cookies are legendary in my family.

My grandma makes them every year, without fail, and the family descends upon them like vultures (she skipped them one year and there were riots).

It takes time and love to make and chill the dough, roll out the cookies, bake them, cool them, and frost them. But if my 90-year old Grandma can pull it off, so can you!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled sugar cookie ingredients.

Ingredient notes

  • Butter: Cold butter generally softens up in about 30 minutes when left out at room temperature. To soften butter in the microwave, cut each stick of butter in half, unwrap, and place on a microwave-safe plate. Heat the butter at 10% power for 1 minute. Afterward, gently press on the butter with your finger. If it’s still too firm, cook for another 40 seconds at 10% power.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
Butter and sugar creamed together for cookie dough.
  1. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture and milk until just incorporated. Scrape dough on to a floured work surface, shape into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days in advance.
Cookie dough wrapped in plastic wrap to chill.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Roll chilled dough between parchment paper or wax paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with Christmas cookie cutters.
Sugar cookie dough rolled out to make Christmas cookies.
  1. Transfer to prepared baking sheets with an offset spatula. Repeat with the remaining dough. Scrape all remnants together and re-roll. If the dough becomes too soft or sticky, refrigerate an additional 10 minutes.
Unbaked Christmas sugar cookies.
  1. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes (if thicker than ⅛ inch, they may take 10 to 15 minutes). Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
Baked Christmas sugar cookies.
  1. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on high speed, or with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together. Add vanilla and milk and beat until smooth. Add more milk as necessary to achieve the desired consistency for writing on cookies. Divide frosting into small portions and color each with food coloring as desired.
White, green, and pink frosting for sugar cookies.
  1. Transfer to piping bags and decorate cooled cookies. 
Frosted Christmas sugar cookies on a cooling rack.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 48 cookies (depending on what size cookie cutters you use).
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Label, date, and freeze the wrapped disk of cookie dough. Thaw overnight in the refrigerate, then roll out, cut out, and bake the cookies according to the recipe (it helps if you write the baking time and temperature on the freezer package).
  • Decorations: In addition to the frosting, try cinnamon candies, crushed candy canes, cinnamon hearts, or colored sugar.
  • Royal icing: You can’t go wrong with a batch of royal icing instead of the version in the recipe card.

How to Make Royal Icing

Easy Royal Icing gives your sugar cookies the royal treatment; the results are pretty and polished. This tried-and-true icing recipe goes on like silk, dries firm, and tastes fantastic.

10 minutes
View Recipe

More classic Christmas cookies

Frosted sugar cookies decorated for Christmas on a baking rack.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

These frosted Christmas Sugar Cookies are my grandma’s best recipe, so buttery and sweet! A family favorite. No Christmas is complete without them.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 49 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 19 mins
Servings 48 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 144

Ingredients 

For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks, see note 1)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the frosting:

  • 2/3 cup butter cold and firm
  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk or cream, cold
  • Food coloring

Instructions 

To make the cookie dough:

  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture and milk until just incorporated. Scrape dough on to a floured work surface, shape into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days in advance.

To bake the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • Roll chilled dough between parchment paper or wax paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with Christmas cookie cutters. Transfer to prepared baking sheets with an offset spatula. 
  • Repeat with the remaining dough. Scrape all remnants together and re-roll. If the dough becomes too soft or sticky, refrigerate an additional 10 minutes.
  • Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes (if thicker than ⅛ inch, they may take 10 to 15 minutes). Transfer to wire racks and cool completely before decorating with frosting (recipe follows).

To make the frosting:

  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on high speed, or with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together.
  • Add vanilla and milk and beat until smooth. Add more milk as necessary to achieve the desired consistency for writing on cookies.
  • Divide frosting into small portions and color each with food coloring as desired. Transfer to piping bags and decorate cooled cookies. 

Notes

  1. Butter: Cold butter generally softens up in about 30 minutes when left out at room temperature. To soften butter in the microwave, cut each stick of butter in half, unwrap, and place on a microwave-safe plate. Heat the butter at 10% power for 1 minute. Afterward, gently press on the butter with your finger. If it’s still too firm, cook for another 40 seconds at 10% power.
  2. Yield: This recipe makes about 48 cookies (depending on what size cookie cutters you use).
  3. Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  4. Freezer: Label, date, and freeze the wrapped disk of cookie dough. Thaw overnight in the refrigerate, then roll out, cut out, and bake the cookies according to the recipe (it helps if you write the baking time and temperature on the freezer package).
  5. Decorations: In addition to the frosting, try cinnamon candies, crushed candy canes, cinnamon hearts, or colored sugar.
  6. Royal icing: You can’t go wrong with a batch of royal icing instead of the version in the recipe card.
  7. Adapted from the Wisconsin Electric Power Company Christmas Cooky Book.

Nutrition

Calories: 144kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 91mgPotassium: 14mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 211IUCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. I just discovered your website and it looks terrific. I love the way you’ve pictured all the ingredients. I’m going to make the Sugar Cookies. I’ll be back for more recipe ideas.5 stars

  2. Hi there! Will the frosting harden up or do these cutouts have to be stored very gently so as not to mar the frosting?

  3. Made these last night. They were soft, buttery and delicious.
    We cut, baked and frosted in 2 hours. It was really easy.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much, Juli! This is amazing!!! I am so glad you loved them. They are 100% my favorite cookies of all time.

  4. You say 2 eggs in the ingredients list and the beat in egg yolks in the instructions. Which is the correct ingredient?
    Thanks!

    1. It’s yolks!!! I actually saw this typo last Friday when I was making the recipe and forgot to fix it. Sorry about that! Thank you!!