Christmas Cut Out Sugar Cookies

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Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They’re thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookie exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

These rolled Christmas cookies are old fashioned, simple, and delicious!

If you have childhood memories of making cut out cookies with your Grandma or your family members, this is the recipe to bring back all that lovely nostalgia! 

My cut out sugar cookies are thin but soft. Best of all, this recipe makes cut out cookies that hold their shape. There’s nothing worse than making a batch of Christmas cut out sugar cookies, only to take them out of the oven and find that they’ve spread.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

The cut out cookie icing is a simple royal icing that’s made with just two ingredients. 

The royal icing is easier than you think to make! Sure, it takes a bit of practice if you want to become an expert piper, but it’s totally do-able.

It’s not about how “perfect” your cookies look. Rather, it’s how they taste and I promise you that everyone is going to love these!

Ingredients in Cut Out Christmas Cookies

These Christmas cut out sugar cookies are based on a classic recipe that uses common ingredients that you surely will have in your fridge and panty.

For the Cut-Out Cookies:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract

For the Royal Icing:

  • Eggs whites (pasteurized recommended)
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

How to Make Christmas Cut Out Cookies

Making royal icing Christmas cookies is much easier than you might think! Full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post, but here’s an overview of the baking process: 

Step 1: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set it aside.

Step 2: To the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy before adding the egg and vanilla, and beat just until combined.

Step 3: Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. It’s very important that you do not overmix the cookie dough after the dry ingredients are added because overmixing can cause the cookies to turn out crispy instead of soft.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Step 4: Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 6-inch round disc and wrap each with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour and up to one day.

Step 5: When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place one disc unwrapped on a lightly floured surface.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Step 6: Use a rolling pin to roll into an 1/8-inch thick sheet of dough and use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes. Repeat until dough is used up from both dough discs.

If the dough chilled for more than 2 hours, you’ll likely need to let it rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before rolling.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Step 7: Place the cut out cookies on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for an additional 15 minutes. The second chill is to help the cookies keep their shape while baking and cannot be skipped.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Step 8: While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven, and then bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, just until the edges are turning light brown.

How to Tell When Cut-Out Cookies Are Done

Take note that you do not want the edges to be golden brown or you will end up with crispy cookies.

Step 9: Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

For this old-fashioned cut-out sugar cookies recipe, I used royal icing to top the cookies. 

This royal icing is easily prepared by adding the egg whites and the powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beating on medium speed for 1 minute.

Then, you’ll need to increase the beater to high speed and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, about 4 to 5 minutes.

What Kind of Eggs for Royal Icing?

Use pasteurized egg whites in the frosting to avoid any potential issue with consuming raw egg whites. 

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Divide the icing and use gel food coloring to color as desired, fill your pastry bags, and then use a #2 or #3 piping tip to pipe a border around the cookie and let it set for 5 minutes.

If you don’t have a small piping tip, just cut a small piece off the bottom of the icing bags.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of water to the icing to thin it out slightly, then fill in the cookies. Use a toothpick to spread the icing out to cover fully.

Make sure to add your festive holiday sprinkles as desired before frosting hardens!

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Can the Egg White Be Omitted From the Icing? 

No, you cannot omit or skip the egg whites if you want the best royal icing both in terms of its final consistency, texture, and sheen.  

How to Store Cut Out Cookies

Allow the Christmas royal icing cookies to fully set at room temperature before packaging up in an air-tight container.

Cookies should remain soft and fresh for about 10 days when stored in a cool place, such as your countertop or pantry in the winter months.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Can You Freeze Christmas Cut Out Cookies?

Yes, you can and I have a variety of ways you can freeze them!

Freeze Non-Iced Cookies: Let the cookies cool to room temperature and place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Freeze Already Iced Cookies: Let cookies set overnight before packaging into individual bags and then freeze for up to 3 months.

Freeze Raw Cookie Dough: You can also freeze the actual cookie dough, before baking it, for up to 3 months. I recommend diving it in half and freezing the 6-inch discs separately. Allow it to come up to room temperature on the counter before rolling it out. 

Christmas Cut Out Cookies — These traditional cut out sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!

Other Frostings to Try

We prefer topping these Christmas cookies with royal icing. However, if you don’t mind using a frosting that’s a little less neat and precise, here are some more favorite cookie frostings: 

Tips for the Best Cut Out Christmas Cookies

Rolling the dough: Cut out Christmas sugar cookies come out best when rolled to 1/8-inch thick. You can roll them thicker but you risk them spreading during baking.

Cookie cutters: I use pretty standard size cookie cutters for this recipe, about 3 to 4 inches in size. However, you can use mini cookie cutters, but you’ll want to cook for a shorter time.

Bake time: Even though the cookies are thin, they are not crispy, as long as you only let the edges just barely turn light brown. 

This is a cookie recipe where you don’t want to over bake them and to err on the side of under baking because they will continue to carry-over cook while resting on the baking sheet and will continue to develop a bit of color even after they’ve been pulled from the oven.

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4.71 from 27 votes

Christmas Cut Out Cookies

By Averie Sunshine
These traditional sugar cookies are just like Grandma used to make!! They're thin but still soft, topped with a simple 2-ingredient royal icing, and loaded with sprinkles! So festive and perfect for cookies exchanges or hostess gifts!!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Servings: 24
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Ingredients  

Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Royal Icing

  • ¼ cup eggs whites, pasteurized recommended
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Holiday sprinkles, as desired

Instructions 

Cookies:

  • To a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • To a large bowl with handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream (a verb that means to mix; there is no cream in this recipe) together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Add in the dry ingredients while mixing on low speed just until combined, about 30 seconds. Do not overmix or your cookies may turn out crispy rather than soft.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 6-inch round disc, wrap each disc with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour, and up to 1 day (meaning you can make this dough ahead of time and keep in the fridge for up to 1 day).
  • When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place one disc unwrapped on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll into an 1/8-inch thick sheet of dough, and use cookie cutters (I recommend 3 to 4-inch stand cutters) to cut out your shapes. Repeat until dough is used up from both dough discs. Note: If the dough chilled for more than 2 hours, you’ll likely need to let it rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before rolling.
  • Place the cut out cookies on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for an additional 15 minutes.
  • While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, just until the edges are turning light brown. You do not want the edges to be golden brown or you will end up with crispy cookies. Remember that cookies will continue to firm up as they cool and due to carryover cooking as they sit on the baking sheet, they will continue to take on a bit more color.
  • After about 5 to 10 minutes, or when cool enough to move them, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting them.

Royal Icing:

  • Prepare the icing by adding the egg whites and the confectioners' sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then increase to high speed and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Divide the icing and use gel food coloring to color as desired, fill your pastry bags, then use a #2 or #3 piping tip to pipe a border around the cookie and let it set for 5 minutes.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of water to the icing to thin it out slightly, then fill in the cookies. Use a toothpick to spread the icing out to cover fully.
  • Add sprinkles as desired before frosting hardens. Allow the cookies to fully set at room temperature before packaging up in an air-tight container.
  • Cookies should remain soft and fresh for about 10 days when stored in a cool place such as your countertop or pantry in the winter months, and kept in an airtight container. See Notes below regarding freezing cookies*.

Notes

*Freeze Non-Iced Cookies: Let the cookies cool to room temperature and place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Freeze Already Iced Cookies: Let cookies set overnight before packaging into individual bags and then freeze for up to 3 months.
Freeze Raw Cookie Dough: You can also freeze the actual cookie dough, before baking it, for up to 3 months. I recommend diving it in half and freezing the 6-inch discs separately. Allow it to come up to room temperature on the counter before rolling it out. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 148kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 62mg, Sugar: 17g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Best and easiest cutout cookie recipe I’ve ever made! So got a question. I’m looking to make 3 times. Could I add the ingredients 3 times to make it triple? Like for instance I need it 3 times. Instead of 1 stick of butter would I add 3 sticks of butter and other ingredients to make the recipe triple your help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. 5 stars
    Such a simple way to add design to cookies. We all have stamps around the house. Love the presenters as well.

  3. 5 stars
    Such a simple way to add design to cookies. We all have stamps around the house. Love the presenters as well.

  4. 5 stars
    Such a simple way to add design to cookies. We all have stamps around the house. Love the presenters as well.

  5. 5 stars
    Eventually, a sugar cookie and icing recipe that actually looks simple! I love baking, especially around Christmas day. Thanks for demystifying the perfect appearance!

  6. 5 stars
    Eventually, a sugar cookie and icing recipe that actually looks simple! I love baking, especially around Christmas day. Thanks for demystifying the perfect appearance!

  7. 5 stars
    Hi I wondered if you could answer a question for me – can this icing be prepared ahead of time and kept for later use? For instance if made 2/3 days before using then kept in a small squeezy bottle in the fridge would that keep? Thanks

  8. 5 stars
    Hi I wondered if you could answer a question for me – can this icing be prepared ahead of time and kept for later use? For instance if made 2/3 days before using then kept in a small squeezy bottle in the fridge would that keep? Thanks

    1. I haven’t tried so I am not sure what to advise on this one. My gut is saying no because of the egg white but I am not sure since I haven’t done it.

    2. 5 stars
      Best and easiest cutout cookie recipe I’ve ever made! So got a question. I’m looking to make 3 times. Could I add the ingredients 3 times to make it triple? Like for instance I need it 3 times. Instead of 1 stick of butter would I add 3 sticks of butter and other ingredients to make the recipe triple your help would be greatly appreciated!

      1. Yes you would be tripling the recipe. So you would add triple of all ingredients. Note that unless you have a very big and powerful mixer, you may want to just make a double batch, and then a single batch, for ease.

  9. 5 stars
    Eventually, a sugar cookie and icing recipe that actually looks simple! I love baking, especially around Christmas day. Thanks for demystifying the perfect appearance!

  10. 5 stars
    Eventually, a sugar cookie and icing recipe that actually looks simple! I love baking, especially around Christmas day. Thanks for demystifying the perfect appearance!