Sugar Cookies with Icing

Sugar Cookies with Icing

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! Sugar cookies with icing are necessary around here this time of year. It’s the only holiday treat my husband insists on.Β I’ve made these sugar cookies three times already this month and I want you to have the recipe in time to make them for Christmas. πŸ™‚

These sugar cookies are buttery and soft. The icing adds just the right amount of sweetness and warm vanilla flavor to balance them out. I love that it dries hard (enough to stack but not enough to chip a tooth) and shiny. And unlike some icing, it tastes great! There’s no chilling time required and they roll out smooth. It’s everything I want in a sugar cookie.

Baking sugar cookies is a great opportunity to get my kids involved in the kitchen. They love to cut out the shapes and help peel away the scraps. Lots of tasting along the way too! πŸ˜‰ Here’s a link to our favorite snowflake cookie cutter! This dough holds the shape really well considering that it needs no refrigeration.

The recipe is pretty simple but if you’re new to baking sugar cookies, here are a few tips:

1. Buy real butter and vanilla extract. Or make your own extract! You can really taste quality ingredients in this recipe.

2. Don’t overwork the dough. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined and don’t re-roll your scraps more than once. This aids in keeping the cookies soft and tender.

3. Use plenty of flour (or powdered sugar) on your work surface when rolling out the sugar cookie dough. Flour your hands, the rolling pin, and lightly dust the top of the dough to reduce tearing and sticking.

4. Don’t overbake! For soft cookies, they’ll still be pale when removed from the oven. You can tell they’re done when the tops are dry and slightly risen in the center.

A few notes about this recipe: it requires an extra egg yolk in order to tenderize the cookie without adding so much moisture that it spreads in the oven. It also calls for just vanilla extract, but if you’d like, try adding 1/2 tsp. almond extract instead of or in addition to the vanilla. I’ve also included instructions for a slice and bake version at the end, which is really simple.

I used natural food coloring here, so the colors aren’t as vibrant as you can get with other types of food coloring. There are also specks of vanilla beans from my homemade extract and kids helping with the decorating, so these aren’t the most pristine cookies. But for us right now, the experience and the taste are the most important. You can absolutely take the time to decorate these cookies beautifully. I’d love to see them if you do! πŸ™‚

If you have any sugar cookie questions, leave a comment below!

And I’d love to see your sugar cookies! Use the hashtag #thehomecookbook on Instagram and tag me @thehomecookbook.

Merry Christmas! πŸ™‚


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5 from 1 vote

Sugar Cookies with Icing

Buttery and tender vanilla cut-out sugar cookies with the perfect icing that not only dries hard and glossy but actually tastes good! No chilling required!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 3 dozen



  • 1 cup Butter softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg plus one yolk
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 3 cups Flour
  • Β½ tsp. Baking powder
  • Β½ tsp. Baking soda
  • Β½ tsp. Salt
  • Powdered sugar or flour for rolling


  • 2 T. Whole milk
  • 2 T. Corn syrup
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract



  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  3. Sift or whisk remaining ingredients then stir into creamed butter mixture.
  4. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  5. Roll out to about ΒΌ inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
  6. Arrange on parchment lined cookie sheets at least 1” apart.
  7. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the top looks dry and the cookie has risen slightly in the middle.

  8. Cool on racks until room temperature before icing.


  1. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Icing will be thick. Color as desired.

  2. Spread gently over cooled cookies and allow a couple hours to set and harden.

Recipe Notes

Slice and Bake Option

Roll into a log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375*F. Slice into circles about ¼” thick and arrange on a parchment lined cookie sheet 1” apart. Bake for about 6-8 minutes. Proceed with cooling and icing.

5 thoughts on “Sugar Cookies with Icing”

  • How did you color them naturally? Sometimes the imperfections of letting kids help is perfectly imperfect β˜ΊοΈπŸ˜‰

    • Haha yes, I often like the ones the kids decorate better than mine! πŸ™‚ I used Watkins natural food coloring, but honestly, I found the colors to be a little off. I tinkered with them a lot to even get these subtle colors. I’ve been pretty successful using dried beets and raspberries. I’d like to experiment more!

  • I’ve never done this before with my kids. Any tips for applying the icing? Put it in a sandwich plastic bag and cut the corner off to squeeze it out?

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