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The only Christmas sugar cookie recipe you will ever need. These classic cut out cookies are easy to make, fun to decorate, and perfect your holiday party or Christmas cookie exchange.
Get out your cookie cutters and rolling pin because it is my favorite time of the year–holiday baking season!
Rather make drop cookies? Try these no roll sugar cookies instead.
Today I want to share my go-to cut out sugar cookie recipe and easy sugar cookie icing recipe.
These cookie cutter cookies are buttery and sweet, crisp on the edges yet soft in the center.
They don’t rise or spread much in the oven, holding their shape well for decorating.
And the easy glaze icing makes decorating a breeze and adds extra sweetness to the cookies.
Besides being great for Christmas parties and cookie exchanges, these beautifully decorated Christmas cookies make wonderful homemade gifts as well. Place them in a treat box or cellophane bag and give them to coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. The sweet gift will certainly make their day!
Give this recipe a try and I am sure that you will agree that they are the best Christmas cut out cookies!
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
For the sugar cookies:
- Butter – take your butter out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before you start to let it soften
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract – Use 100% pure vanilla extract for best taste.
- Egg – let your eggs come to room temperature on the countertop with your butter
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
For icing & decorating:
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Whole milk
- Light corn syrup– Makes the icing nice and shiny. Can be omitted but icing won’t have the same sheen to it.
- Gel food coloring – Optional, for coloring the icing red and green. You can skip this and just use sprinkles to add a pop of holiday colors.
- Sprinkles– Optional, for decorating
Substitutions and Variations
- Rather not frost your Chrsitmas sugar cookies but still want them to look festive? Sprinkle them with sanding sugar before baking!
- You can vary the flavoring in the cookies by cutting the vanilla to ½ teaspoon and adding ¼-½ teaspoon almond extract, peppermint extract, lemon extract, etc…
How to Make Classic Sugar Cookies
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Using a stand mixer or hand mixer and a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and mix till combined.
Step 2: In another bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Step 3: With the mixer set to low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
Step 4: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Step 5: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Step 6: On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately ¼ inch thickness (this rolling pin makes this a breeze). Sprinkle flour both under the dough and on top of the dough as needed to prevent it from sticking. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies into your desired shapes, gathering and rolling out scraps as necessary. Use a spatula to carefully transfer cut-out cookies to the prepared baking tray.
Step 7: Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are just begin to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before decorating.
Step 8: To make the icing, add the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and light corn syrup to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Divide icing amongst bowls and color as desired. Transfer to piping bags or squeeze bottles and frost cookies and top with sprinkles if desired.
Allow icing to fully harden before stacking or storing the cookies. This will take several hours but is necessary so that your beautifully decorated cookies do not get ruined.
Oh, and don’t forget to leave some of these beauties out for Santa!
Countertop: Cookies keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezer: Baked and undecorated sugar cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place the cookies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight freezer-safe container. Thaw cookies at room temperature for 1-2 hours before decorating.
- Yield will vary based on the size of cookie cutters used.
- This Christmas sugar cookie recipe can be doubled as needed.
- To ensure even baking, use similar size cookie cutters for all of the cookies on each baking sheet.
- If you are finding the dough becomes sticky and difficult to work with as you cut your cookies, place it back in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to firm up again.
- If you are anything like me and love the taste of sugar cookie dough do yourself a favor and make some of my delicious edible sugar cookie dough. It is egg-free and safe to eat, unlike the dough in this recipe.
Yes, this dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight when ready to use. If still too firm to roll out, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
After placing the cut-out cookies on your baking sheet, place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes before baking.
Yes! Don’t skip chilling your dough. It is necessary for easy rolling and cookie cutting.
More Christmas Cookies Recipes
- Gingerbread Men Cookies
- Hidden Kiss Pudding Cookies
- Classic Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies
- Christmas Cookie Bars
- One Cookie Dough, 4 Christmas Cookies
- Italian Amaretti Cookies
- Soft Frosted Christmas Cookies
- Christmas M&M Snowball Cookies
Classic Christmas Sugar Cookies
- ¾ cup butter softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Icing:
- 2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons whole milk
- 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
- gel food coloring
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer and a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and mix till combined
- In another bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- With the mixer set to low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately ¼ inch thickness. Sprinkle flour both under the dough and on top of the dough as needed to prevent it from sticking. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies into your desired shapes, gathering and rolling out scraps as necessary. Use a spatula to carefully transfer cut-out cookies to the prepared baking tray.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before decorating.