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Best Easy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Recipe (With Icing)

These really are the Best Easy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies recipe! Decorated with a delicious royal icing that literally shines on any cookie platter. Baked until they have the yummy crisp edges with the nice soft center.

They are perfect for showing off your decorating skills with icing for the holiday season cookie trays.


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If you have done much holiday baking then you have made cut-out sugar cookies and decorated them with your family and friends.

These crispy sugar cookies are one the of ultimate signs of the holiday season.

The amazing aroma of soft sugar cookies in the oven and icing on the counter ready to decorate.

I have cherished holiday memories of making easy cut-out sugar cookies with my Mom and my aunts in the kitchen. I have now have passed that along with my own family.

I think they are surpassing me in decorating skills now which is great, they will make these cut-out cookies with their own families one day.

They are the perfect easy sugar cookie recipe for holiday bake sales.

Also a favorite sugar cookies recipe for cookie exchanges, or as I love to do boxing up for Christmas cookie gifts.

Start making new traditions and memories with your family by making and decorating one of my Christmas easy cookies recipes together.

Why you’ll love these cookies

  • Must-bake family tradition holiday classic cookie
  • Show off your decorating skills for a show-stopper holiday cookie
  • So fun to decorate with the kids during the holidays
  • Best sugar cookie recipe to save time make-ahead during the holidays
  • Perfect sugar cookie recipe for holiday cookie exchanges and gift giving
Decorated sugar cookies on a wire rack with a decorated gingerbread man.

Ingredients for making the best cut out sugar cookies with icing

Labelled ingredients for sugar cookies in small bowls on counter.
  • Butter softened at room temperature
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract not almond extract
  • All purpose flour
  • Baking powder

Substitutions

This is one favorite recipe I do not recommend any substitutions as the measurements for sugar cookie recipes are exact for success. Once you start changing the ingredients or ratios, things can go wrong in a hurry.

Step by step instructions for making sugar cookies

Images for the first four steps of how to make sugar cookies.

STEP ONE – Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

Add the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat until combined.

STEP TWO – In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, corn starch and salt.

STEP THREE – Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until combined into a smooth dough.

STEP FOUR – Shape the dough into a ball with your hands, cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Numbered step-by-step images for rolling out the dough and cutting into shapes.

STEP FIVE – Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to approx. ¼” thickness and cut out shapes using Christmas themed cookie cutters of your choice.  

Place the cookie shapes on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until just starting to go golden around the edges.

 Leave on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

STEP SEVEN – Mix together the powdered sugar and milk until you have a smooth icing. It should be thick enough to pipe but still pourable. To make the different colors, split between a few bowls and mix through a few drops of the food colorings.

Numbered steps for how to decorate the sugar cookies.

STEP SEVEN (continued)

Using a piping bag and narrow nozzle, pipe lines around the edge of each cookie.

Using a wider nozzle, flood the middle of the lines to fill them in. If you need to make the icing a little runnier, add a few more drops of milk. 

If adding a second layer of icing, allow the cookies to dry for at least 30 minutes first. 

Leave the cookies to dry in the open air at room temperature for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight before touching or stacking.

Frosted sugar cookies on a wire rack waiting for the icing to dry.

Variations for decorating with icing cut out sugar cookies

These are so much fun to use you and your kids imagination to suit your holiday theme by adding different food colouring to the frosting.

Change up the sugar cookie icing with Buttercream frosting instead of the royal icing if your prefer.

You can also add in some chopped nuts like pecans, or some chocolate chips for a chocolate chip chewy sugar cookies.

The zest from citrus fruit would be terrific and also adding in your favorite spices to the cookie dough.

Decorate cut out sugar cookies without the icing

If you do not want to decorate with any icing you can still decorate before baking with your favorite holiday sprinkles or sanding sugar by giving the cookies a milk or cream wash with a pastry brush.

Decorate with sprinkles or sanding sugar after, they will stick to the milk wash and then bake, cool and serve.

Completed sugar cookies on a white board.

Top tips for no-spread sugar cookies cut outs

  • Pure vanilla extract will give the cookies the best flavor
  • Do not overwork the dough
  • Keep the dough cold until you bake them
  • You can make thicker sugar cookies by rolling them a bit thicker and adding a few minutes to the cooking time, watching closely for the golden brown bottoms
  • Know your oven if it bakes high or low adjust accordingly
  • Leftover scrap dough after cutting out the sugar cookies can be re-rolled to use again 2 times. You really want to handle the dough as little as possible and not have it get warm.
  • Allowing the decorated cookies with icing to harden is very important. If you touch the cookies before they harden you will have fingerprints all over the cookies and the icing will not be as shiny.
  • You can put them in the fridge to help make them harden faster
Several different decorated cookies on a wire cooling rack.

Chill for 1 hour.

How long can decorated sugar cookies stay fresh?

Decorated cut out sugar cookies stored in an airtight container can stay fresh for 7 to 10 days.

How to store decorated sugar cookies?

Store cooled sugar cookies in an airtight container for 7 days or in the fridge for 10 days. Separating the layers with pieces of parchment paper helps them not too sick to one another for easy serving.

Stars, gingerbread, trees and snowflake sugar cookies on a white board.

Yes can, this is a best practice for making these cut our sugar cookies ahead of time to save time during the holidays.

Place the sugar cookie dough in a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months.

Thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to then roll, bake and decorate.

To freeze cut out sugar cookies wrap the baking sheet with the cookies in plastic wrap and aluminum foil tightly and place in the freezer.

Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature then bake and decorate.

Yes you can! If you are going to bake them within 5 days you can also wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap or using an airtight container then place in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

When ready to bake allow the cutting out and baking.

Can you freeze decorated sugar cookies?

Yes you can. Freeze in a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months. Separate any sugar cookie layers with parchment paper.

Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before serving at Christmas time.

Try these other classic holiday dessert favorite recipes

Pecan Pie Cookies

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

No Bake Peanut Butter Balls

Cherry Shortbreads

Sandies

Snowball Cookies

Butter Cookies

Print
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Cookied on a cooling rack.

Best Easy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Recipe (With Icing)


  • Author: Sandra Flegg
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 16 cookies

Description

These really are the Best Easy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies recipe! Decorated with a delicious royal icing that literally shines on any cookie platter.

Bake them until they have the yummy crisp edges with the nice soft center. They are perfect for showing off your decorating skills with icing for the holiday season cookie trays.


Ingredients

1/2 cup butter (softened)

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp corn starch

1/4 tsp baking powder

For the icing/decoration-

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

23 tbsp milk

Food colorings of your choice


Instructions

Make the cookies-

  1. Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, corn starch and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until combined into a smooth dough.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball with your hands, cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to approx. ¼” thickness and cut out shapes using Christmas themed cookie cutters of your choice.  
  7. Place the cookie shapes on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until just starting to go golden around the edges.
  8. Leave on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Make the icing-
  10. Mix together the powdered sugar and milk until you have a smooth icing. It should be thick enough to pipe but still pourable. To make the different colors, split between a few bowls and mix through a few drops of the food colorings.
  11. Using a piping bag and narrow nozzle, pipe lines around the edge of each cookie.
  12. Using a wider nozzle, flood the middle of the lines to fill them in. If you need to make the icing a little runnier, add a few more drops of milk. 
  13. If adding a second layer of icing, allow the cookies to dry for at least 30 minutes first. 
  14. Leave the cookies to dry in the open air at room temperature for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight before touching or stacking.

Notes

Can you freeze the cookie dough? Yes can, this is a best practice for making these cut our sugar cookies ahead of time to save time during the holidays. Place the sugar cookie dough in a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to then roll, bake and decorate.

To freeze cut out sugar cookies wrap the baking sheet with the cookies in plastic wrap and aluminum foil tightly and place in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature then bake and decorate.

How long can sugar cookies stay fresh? They can stay fresh in an airtight container for 7 to 10 days.

Storage: Use an airtight container for 7 days or in the fridge for 10 days. Separate the layers with pieces of parchment paper.

Can you freeze decorated sugar cookies? Yes you can in a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months using parchment paper to separate the layers of decorate sugar cookies. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Best cut-out sugar cookies with icing, cut out sugar cookies, Christmas sugar cookies

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