Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Welcome to my beginner’s guide to Christmas Sugar Cookies! In this blog I am going to be taking you through the sugar cookie basics starting at the perfect sugar cookie recipe to making and decorating with royal icing. I am so excited to share this recipe with you all, these cookies taste so nostalgic to the holiday season and have such a tender, not crunchy, texture. Along with the full recipe and instructions, I’ll also be sharing all of the products I use to get the job done. Let’s get into it!

Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer

Royal Icing Consistencies

The two most important consistencies you need to know about when it comes to Royal Icing is; outlining & flooding consistencies. They’re both pretty self-explanatory but as I remember when I started my decorated sugar cookie journey I understand how many questions reel through your mind. That’s what I’m here for 🙂 I want to help you all have as much fun and confidence in the kitchen as possible. So without further or do let’s get into it!

  • Outlining Consistency – The outlining consistency is the same consistency you’re left with when you’ve finished mixing the royal icing. It should be thick but not so thick that you’ll have hand cramps trying to pipe it. To test if your consistency is good to go or not, hold up your paddle after mixing over your bowl. The icing should very slowly ribbon in the bowl. If it’s too runny and falls very vast, try adding some more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it.
    • Once you’re confident in your royal icing consistency, the outlining icing is used as…you guessed – outlining our cookies! Use this icing to pipe the perimeter of our cookies so that we’re able to fill our cookies with thinner icing later and our outline will act as walls to keep the icing perfectly inside and on top of our cookies. Otherwise we have a soupy mess with icing overflowing over the sides of our cookies. It’s best to let the outlined icing sit for a few minutes before flooding our cookies.
Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer
  • Flood Consistency – Flood icing is made by adding just a few very small drops of water to our outlining consistency icing. A little bit of water goes a long way so you only need to add a small amount to start…I’m talking less than 1/8 tsp. just a few drops. You can always add more if needed. Flood icing should be thinner than the outline but not too thin that it’s almost watery. To test the consistency, after you’ve added a little bit of water, hold the spoon up over the bowl. The icing should ribbon in the bowl and you should be able to see the ribbons in the bowl for a few seconds before they disappear. If the ribbons disappear immediately then the icing is too thin and you should add a little bit of confectioner’s sugar to thicken it a bit. If this icing is too thin it can cause it to overflow over our outline.
    • When making royal icing colors, depending on how much you need of each color, place a few scoops of icing in a separate bowl, then add in your food dye. Once you’ve reached the perfect shade, take a small scoop of this colored icing out and place it into a piping bag. This will be our colored outline. With the remaining colored icing, add a few drops of water and mix until smooth. Place this into a piping bag and this will be our colored flood icing.
Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer
Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer

Best Brand Of Food Dye

Day in and day out I will recommend Americolor Food Gel. This brand of food gel yields the most vivid, beautiful colors for our tasty Christmas desserts. This food dye works incredible for dough, frosting, icing, batter, and so much more. To find them on Amazon, click here.

Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer

What Kind Of Piping Bags Should I Use For Royal Icing?

I recommend using tipless piping bags for decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. These are piping bags that don’t require a metal tip, a thin and easy to handle, and always allow you the option to use metal tips if you ever want to. They’re a versatile and helpful option. To find the ones I use on Amazon, click here.

How Far In Advance Can You Make Decorated Sugar Cookies?

Now that you’ve made such beautiful creations, you’re probably wondering, “How long are sugar cookies with royal icing good for?” Easy! Decorated Sugar Cookies can stay good for up to 1 to 2 weeks when stored in a sealed container. You must be sure that your royal icing has set before storing them stacked. It will take overnight for your decorated cookies at room temperature, not sealed, to set properly.

Decorated Sugar Cookies can last 2-3 weeks sealed in the fridge and up to 3-5 months sealed in the freezer. It is important to note that although they may last this log in the fridge or freezer the overall quality may decrease a bit as time goes on.

Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer

Do You Chill Sugar Cookies Before Baking?

Chilling our sugar cookie dough before cutting them out and baking them in the oven is an extremely important step in the recipe that should never be skipped. Chilling the dough ensures that it will be easier to handle and decreases the chance of the shape getting messed up from dealing with warm dough. It also ensures that while our christmas sugar cookies bake, they keep their shape perfectly and do not spread.

Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer

How To Roll Out Sugar Cookie Dough Evenly?

I use a rolling pin with guided rings on each side that help me get an even roll every time across the whole surface. This not only helps me to get every cookie the same thickness but without it I’d risk my cookies baking at different times due to the thickness varying. To find the rolling pin I use on Amazon, click here.

Christmas Sugar Cookies | The Squeaky Mixer

Whether you’re baking these as Christmas cookies or viewing this guide in the middle of summer to create a beach-themed cookie set, I hope that these tips help guide and inspire you. Never limit your creativity especially when it comes to decorating sugar cookies. GO throw some sprinkles on them, add a chocolate drizzle on top of the finished product, add your favorite extract for a different flavor – go crazy and just do what makes you happy.


Here’s how you can decorate Christmas Sugar Cookies this holiday season! 🤎 Find the full recipe on my website, link in bio 😊 #christmascountdown #cookie #cookies #recipe #christmascookies #recipes #christmasrecipes #thesqueakymixer #cookierecipe #sugarcookies #sugarcookierecipe #cookiedecorating

♬ original sound – The Squeaky Mixer

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Recipe by Maddison Koutrouba –
4.7 from 303 votes


Cooking time


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  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

  • 1 egg, room temp

  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • Royal Icing
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. meringue powder

  • 5-6 Tbsp. water


  • Using a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and confectioner’s sugar on low speed until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula throughout this recipe to make sure that everything is being evenly combined.
  • Add in the egg and vanilla. Mix for about 2 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. About 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookie dough on top of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thick. The key to getting these so soft in the center is the width. Rolling to 1/4″ thickness is what you want.
  • Once the dough is rolled out between two pieces of parchment paper, place onto a cookie sheet and let chill in the fridge for at least one hour. If you plan on preparing the dough ahead of time and will chill for longer, wrap the cookie sheet in plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.
  • Now that the dough has chilled and is nice and firm, use cookie cutters to cut out all of your shapes. You can ball of the scraps and re roll the dough to use all of it up.
  • Place the cut out cookies on a cookie sheet fit with parchment paper about 2″ apart. Let sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes before baking.
  • Bake the cookies at 400 degrees F for about 8-9 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Depending on the size of the cookie cutter you may need more or less time. Judge the doneness of the cookie based on the bottom side of the cookie – we want a nice golden color.
  • Let the cookies cool on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before decorating.
  • Royal Icing
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, mix together the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder on low speed.
  • Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the royal icing is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is mixing evenly together.
  • Judge the consistency of the royal icing by lifting up the paddle attachment and taking notice of the ribbons the icing falls in. You don’t want a thin, watery consistency or a super thick, hard consistency. The icing should fall in smooth ribbons that dissapear into the icing after a few seconds.
  • While you color your icing, or do the dishes, etc. be sure to keep the bowl icing covered at all times with a damp rag. This will prevent the top of the royal icing from hardening and crystallizing.
  • Dye however many colors you need and place into individual piping bags.
  • Pipe an outline around each cookie then use your flood icing that we learned about above to fill each cookie.
  • The cookies will take a few hours or overnight to set.
  • Allow the cookies to set completely at room temperature before stacking or storing .

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    1. Hi there! I’ve collected cookie cutters over the years and don’t have one link to all of them or remember where each one is from however I often purchase 3.5″ – 4″ cutters off of Amazon or I purchase Wilton cookie cutters online or from Michaels Craft Store. Those are your best options in my opinion! 🙂

    1. Hi there – I am sorry to hear that. This recipe should yield a nice soft dough that is easy to roll out. I recommend double checking and measuring all ingredients before baking so you aren’t measuring as you mix or aren’t loosing track of which ingredient needs which amount. Also make sure that your butter is at room temperature as recommended or softened to room temperature. A cold butter will not combine as easy with other ingredients which can alter the overall texture or the dough.

  1. I feel really embarrassed to ask this🫠 But I’m from Europe and I really want to try this recipe, but I was wondering what an 11/2 cup was?

    1. Hi Louisa,
      No worries. It means 1 and 1/2. We just shorten it to 1 1/2 or 2 1/2. Hope this helps! Merry Christmas!!🎄

    2. Don’t you ever feel embarrassed to ask anything here!! 🙂 We’re always all learning together and I am so happy you’re here 🙂 1 1/2 cups is our measurement for the confectioner’s sugar in this recipe. Converting cups to grams this should be about 180 grams. I hope this helps!!

  2. Hi! I’m planning on making sugar cookies with my students for our winter break. Can I make the dough the day before and chill it overnight before the next class or would it dry out too much? Thanks!

    1. Hi there! You can absolutely make this dough ahead of time! I recommend rolling out the dough as directed then stacking the layers of rolled dough on top of each other on top of a cookie sheet. Then I’d wrap the cookie sheet filled with layers of rolled out dough in plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.
      I hope this helps and that you all enjoy this recipe 🙂 Thank you and happy holidays!!

  3. Good recipe I made today the only change I would made next time is to add a little extract to the icing to mask some of the confectioner sugar taste. The consistency of the icing spot on. THANKS for sharing

  4. I used this recipe last year and it was great. Would this recipe still work if I freeze the cut out cookies and bake as needed?

      1. If you freeze the cutout cookies to bake when needed how would you go about baking them after frozen. Let them thaw out a tad? Bake directly from frozen and add a couple minutes? What has worked best for you with this recipe? I have 21 dozen sugar cookies due on Friday and I love this recipe and want to use it!!

        1. Hi there! You can bake the cookies from frozen, you do not need to let them sit out 🙂 If you’ve got cookies going in and out of the oven it’s fine if frozen cookies sit out for a bit before throwing in the oven! I hope this helps!!

  5. Gorgeous crumbly and soft cookie! I subbed 1/3 of the flour with cornflower and it gave it a beautiful, smooth and melty texture.

  6. Is there a certain confectioners sugar to use. Can it be regular or is it 10x? I’m not sure the difference I just see those types on the store.

  7. Hello!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and tips/tricks! I’ve noticed a lot of online cookie bakers keep their recipes a secret. I’m excited to try these and hoping never too old to learn!
    Happy Holidays!!!!

  8. In all my years of baking, i’ve never made royal icing before & have been waiting for the right recipe. I think this one is it. I just have one question. How hard is the icing after it dries?

    1. Hi Cyndy!! I promise you this recipe is so delicious and easy! This royal icing hardens completely after a few hours or overnight. It does harden so that the designs are set and you can stack cookies without them smudging however it is not the type of royal icing that cracks your teeth like the store bought ones. This royal icing has a slight “shell” but the icing underneath the set icing will melt in your mouth 🙂

  9. Hello. Your creations are absolutely gorgeous. I have a question though. I’ve recently moved into my new house and in the move process my stand mixer disappeared. With this recipe will a hand mixer work?

    1. Hi there – I’m sorry to hear that! Luckily this recipe works just as well with a hand mixer 🙂 I’ve used a hand mixer plenty of times with this recipe. Just be sure not to over mix/ to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix to ensure everything is being evenly combined! Thank you!!