These Christmas sugar cookies are roll out cookies that are frosted with an easy vanilla buttercream and decorated with sprinkles. A fun and classic holiday cookie that’s perfect for school parties and gift giving!

This is my absolute favorite go-to Christmas cookie recipe, I’ve made these cookies dozens of times and they always come out perfect! You can also use this dough to make stained glass cookies and heart shaped cookies.

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A serving plate of Christmas sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles.

Sugar cookies are a staple around the holidays and they come in so many different varieties. These Christmas sugar cookies are decorated with brightly colored frosting and festive sprinkles for an elegant presentation. Serve them alongside other treats such as M&M cookies for the perfect dessert offering.

How do you make Christmas sugar cookies?

This is a basic sugar cookie recipe with the classic ingredients including butter, sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla. The one thing these cookies don’t contain is baking powder, because baking powder will make the cookies spread and lose their shape. The cookies bake until they’re light golden brown around the edges, then you can decorate them with frosting and sprinkles.

Cookie dough cut into holiday shapes on a baking sheet.

Tips for Christmas sugar cookies

  • The great thing about this sugar cookie dough is that it can be made in advance, and stays fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. I often freeze this dough in small portions, and we bake up a few cookies at a time when the craving strikes.
  • It’s important to chill your cookies before you bake them, so you’ll end up with perfect cut-out shapes.
  • I use gel food coloring to tint my frosting. It takes quite a bit of food color to get the bold colors in these photos. You can add a few drops at a time, stir until combined, then keep adding a little more in increments so you get to your desired color.
  • Add the sprinkles to your cookies immediately upon frosting them, so the sprinkles will stick before the frosting has time to dry.
  • Baked frosted cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Cut out sugar cookies on a sheet pan.

How do you keep christmas cookies soft?

The best way to keep your cookies soft is to make sure you don’t over-bake them. The cookies should be faintly golden brown around the edges, but you don’t want to bake them any longer than that, or they’ll get crispy. You should also be sure to store your cookies in a covered container to preserve their soft texture.

Decorated Christmas cookies on a cooling rack.

Can you freeze Christmas sugar cookies?

I recommend freezing the unfrosted cookies in a resealable freezer bag for up to 2 months. Thaw the cookies and decorate them. This is a great way to start on holiday baking early in the season!

A selection of Christmas sugar cookies served on a plate, with holiday decorations in the background.

This is the only sugar cookie recipe you’ll need this holiday season. The cookies are tender and flavorful, and they hold their shape perfectly. Holiday sugar cookies make a festive and delicious addition to any dessert platter.

More Christmas treats you’ll love

5 from 19 votes

Christmas Sugar Cookies

AuthorSara Welch
A serving plate of Christmas sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles.
These Christmas sugar cookies are roll out cookies that are frosted with an easy vanilla buttercream and decorated with sprinkles. A fun and classic holiday cookie that's perfect for school parties and gift giving!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chill Time1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 30


For the cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Christmas sprinkles

For the frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream plus more if needed
  • gel food colorings


For the cookies

  • In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
  • Add the vanilla and salt, then slowly mix in the flour until thoroughly combined
  • Remove the dough from the bowl. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a disc. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day before you plan to bake your cookies.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. 
  • Divide the dough in half. Re-wrap one half of the dough and place it in the fridge. Roll the remaining dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle.
  • Using a 3-4 inch sized Christmas cookie cutters, cut out as many shapes as you can from the dough.
  • Re-roll the dough and repeat the process until you've filled your first baking sheet. Cookies should be spaced 1 1/2 inches apart on the sheet.
  • Place the pan of cookies in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are set and the edges are just barely turning brown.
  • Cool the cookies completely
  • Repeat the same process with the other half of the dough that you previously put in the refrigerator.

For the frosting

  • Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer. Beat for 1 minute or until light and fluffy.
  • Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla extract and heavy cream. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  • If the frosting seems too thick, you can add 1 teaspoon of heavy cream at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • If the frosting seems too thin, you can add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Divide the frosting into bowls, and add your desired food colors to each bowl; stir to combine.
  • After the cookies have cooled, spread a layer of frosting over each one and add sprinkles on top.
  • Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


  1. Dough can be frozen for up to two months; thaw in the refrigerator before using.
  2. Plain cookies can be frozen for up to one month, then thawed and frosted.


Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 19mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.6mg

This post was originally published on November 20, 2018 and was updated on October 7, 2019 with new content.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These cookies were so good! I added a tiny bit of almond extract, but I otherwise went by the recipe. At first, I thought I may have over baked them because immediately after frosting they were hard as a rock (like hurt your teeth hard), but the frosting softened them to the absolute perfect texture. So, if your cookies come out hard at first, don’t give up on them just yet! My family loved them. Thanks so much!

    1. You could add more flour, it should be a firm smooth dough. I wonder if there was a measuring error when you halved the recipe?

  2. I don’t have gel food coloring but I have liquid food coloring. Can that be a substitute? If so, how do I make adjustments?


    1. Yes that’s fine to use! If the frosting seems too runny from the liquid coloring just add a few more teaspoons of powdered sugar to firm it up.

  3. SOS question! There’s no baking powder or baking soda in these – correct? I’m making a huge batch today for Christmas and just want to double check. Please let me know ASAP thank you!!