Perhaps the MOST popular Christmas dessert is a basic rolled out sugar cookie recipe. My traditional Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts are incredibly easy to make and it’s a foolproof recipe I’ve been using for years. You’ll love this quick no-fuss, no chill cookie dough recipe that’s easy to make in a pinch. A fun Christmas craft for kids to decorate next to the Christmas tree using colorful Christmas sprinkles and edible toppings.
Making Christmas Sugar Cookie Dough is Easy
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good rolled sugar cookie recipe special baking occasions. A good sugar cookie recipe doesn’t require any special ingredients and is made without Crisco shortening. In fact, my recipe is made with butter, sugar, eggs, extracts, flour, salt, and baking powder; that’s it! The important aspect of rolled sugar cookies comes down to the portion of ingredients. You may even remember this recipe from my Italian Christmas Cookies. The secret trick to creating pillowy and doughy cake-like cookies is to use real butter and a good amount of baking powder.
- Mix butter and sugar.
- Beat in eggs and extracts.
- Add in flour, salt, baking powder.
- Mix until the dough comes together.
- Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin
- Use Christmas cookie cutter shapes to push through the dough
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F until tender
- Dip in icing/frosting/glaze
- Decorate with colorful sprinkles
Flavoring Sugar Cookies
If you have a lot of holiday baking to do, this big batch cookie dough recipe is sure to make dozens of cookies. The dough can even be divided into portions and flavored with extracts and flavorings. To create a classic bakery-style sugar cookie dough flavor, use almond extract and vanilla extract.
- Classic Flavors: Almond extract, good vanilla extract
- Flavorings & Extracts: Peppermint, almond, vanilla, butter flavor, mint, cinnamon extract, maple, lemon.
- Citrus: Orange or lemon zest.
No Chill Cookie Dough
My ideal go-to no-fail cookie dough recipe doesn’t need any chilling in the refrigerator and that’s exactly what you’re getting. This means the cookie dough can be mixed and immediately rolled out, shaped, baked, frosted, and decorated. Nowadays it seems like a lot of cookie doughs need to be chilled before baking. This is because most cookie connoisseurs prefer chewy cookies which means the moisture content is higher.
The cookies are rolled to 3/8-inch thick which is exactly between 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch on a ruler. The texture of this cookie is similar to other cutouts. They are thick and chewy, moist, soft and pillowy. The softened cookie is sturdy enough to handle during decorating but it also crumbles in the mouth when eaten. They are sturdy enough to stack and frost but can always be baked a little longer if you want a more crisp sugar cookie.
Sugar Cookie cut-outs are a popular and recognizable Christmas cookie because the dough can be rolled and stamped with fun Christmas cut out cookie designs that don’t spread in the oven. The crisp clean edges hold their shape making this dough recipe my trusted holiday source for baking. Big box stores usually sell a package with a variety of shapes but you can always buy them individually, especially if you’re looking for specific shapes. I like to use the classics which include a Christmas tree, snowflake or star, bell, mitten, stocking, candy cane, ornament, Santa hat, boot, wrapped present, snowman, angel, Santa sleigh, and gingerbread man.
The nice thing about using a variety of cookie shapes is that you can lay the shapes on top of the dough to fit them best before pressing it through. Not only does this save a ton of time but the dough won’t need to be scrapped and re-rolled a bunch.
Decorating Christmas Sugar Cookies
The icing on the cake comes together when covering the cookies in icing and decorating. TIP: Set up 6-10 bowls of different sprinkles, candy topping, nuts, and icing. This step can get messy so to keep things clean, I like to set cooling racks over rimmed sheet pans. Then, when I’m decorating and icing the cookies, anything that doesn’t stick will fill the sheet pan.
Icing and Frosting
Christmastime rolled sugar cookies are known for two things. First, the cookies come in hallmark holiday shapes. Two, they are iced and frosted and decorated in sprinkles and cookie decorations. I’m sharing my go-to cookie icing recipe with powdered sugar, corn syrup, water, and almond extract as ingredients. However, feel free to use your favorite frosting, royal icing, or glaze recipe for these cookies. Using store-bought frosting is great to use in a pinch. Plus, it’s easy to mix in food coloring to create vibrant colors.
Sprinkles and Cake Decorations for Rolled Cutouts
Cut-out sugar cookies are iconic, beautiful, and memorable because of the vibrant jimmies, colorful sprinkles, cupcake and cookie toppings used to embellish the dessert. Use sanding sugar in various red, green, white, and gold colors. Stock up on chocolate jimmies, rainbow sprinkles, and holiday shaped edible accents. Buy cinnamon candies, chopped nuts, dried fruits like cranberries and apricots, glazed red and green cherries, mini M&M’s, crushed candy canes, nonpareils sprinkles, confetti sprinkles, sugar pearls, and edible sequins.
Sugar Cookie Cutouts: Tips and Questions
Can I freeze the dough? While it is easier to roll the dough out and freeze it in sheets or cut out into shapes then freeze, the dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a freezer-safe bag then placed in the freezer for 6-8 months. Baked cookies can be stored in the freezer, but I don’t suggest it due to texture and flavor changes.
Can I refrigerate the dough to bake a few days later? Yes, you can make the cookie dough in advance. Although this sugar cookie dough is best used with no chilling, the dough may be refrigerated until it’s ready to be used. Be sure to bring the dough to about room temperature before using it.
Favorite Christmas Dessert Recipes
Skip Pillsbury premade cookie dough and opt to make your own desserts for your December 25th party, office holiday celebration, or school bake sale. For more Christmas cookie recipes, try these soft Gingerbread Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Pecan Snowballs aka Mexican Wedding Cookies Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies, Italian Christmas Cookies, Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies, Peanut Butter Cup Cookies, Cranberry Orange Glazed Bread, Christmas Wreath Cookies, Turtle Cookies, and these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
Classic Rolled Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter if using salted butter, skip the added salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2½ tsp almond extract see notes for more cooking flavors
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
Sugar Cookie Icing
- 1¾ cup powdered confectioners' sugar
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup several varieties of sprinkles to decorate
- 32 oz containers vanilla frosting see notes for frosting color steps
- 16 oz red frosting
- Cream butter and sugar just until mixed. Do not over mix as this will result in spreading.
- Beat in eggs and extracts.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- With the mixer on low, slowly beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
- Mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on to mix for a few seconds. Do not overmix the dough. TIP: Dough works best at room temperature. If making ahead and chilling, be sure to return dough close to room temperature before starting.
- Cover work surface with parchment paper and dust with a few pinches of flour.
- Take a large chunk of dough and roll it into a ball. Slightly push dough flat on the paper then cover the top with another sheet of parchment paper.
- Roll dough out to 3/8-inch or just under 1/2-inch thick.
- Press cookie cutters into the dough then transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet 1-inch apart. TIP: Freeze sheet pan with dough for no more than 10 minutes to extra prevent any spreading.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 9-10 minutes or until light golden brown in color.
- Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Scrapes of dough can be gathered and rolled out again.
- Combine icing ingredients. Scoop into a ziplock bag with the tip cut off (or piping bag/bottle). Fill cookie tops with icing then decorate in sprinkles. NOTE: To make with premade frosting, see notes for food coloring details.
- 1/3 cup white frosting
- 9 drops blue food coloring
- 2-3 drops red food coloring
- 1/3 cup white frosting
- 3/4 red food coloring
- 1/4 brown food coloring
- NOTE: I used gel color in a bottle so it was hard to measure. To make the basic color, start with white frosting and add red to it. Next, add a little brown until color desired is achieved.
- 1/2 cup white frosting
- 13 drops blue food coloring
- 2 drops red food coloring
- 3 drops yellow food coloring
- 3 drops green food coloring
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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