How to Make Sugar Cookies | FoodByMaria Recipes

Vegetarian

How to Make Sugar Cookies (Holiday Themed)

Last Updated:

Prep

30 minutes

Cook

13 minutes

Yield

22-24

Have you always wondered how to make sugar cookies that will wow your whole family for the holiday season? Have no fear, I’m here to deliver you a simple recipe that will take you under 45-minutes to make and is easily adaptable for any cookie cutter or shape you want to make this year. 

How to make sugar cookies - sugar cookies of different shapes on counter

Why you’ll love these sugar cookies: 

  • Easy: This recipe is easy-to-follow can be ready for you in just 45-minutes 
  • Versatile: Make these cookies into any shape you like and decorate them however your heart desires
  • Delicious: These sugar cookies are everything you’ve loved about the classic cookie and are easy to make from scratch 

Ingredient Notes: 

Buttercream: Below you’ll find a simple buttercream recipe that you can whip up and use to decorate the cookies as you wish. Feel free to add natural dyes to the buttercream icing to change up the color. 

Baking Powder: This recipe has both baking soda and baking powder. Did you know that there is a difference? There DEFINITELY is so it’s important to get the measurements right here. Baking powder contains acid in the chemical mixture whereas baking soda needs an acidic ingredient to create the rising reaction.

Candy cane sugar cookie on cooling rack

How to make sugar cookies: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F, and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter and oil, with a hand mixer for 2 minutes until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the granulated sugar slowly, with a hand mixer on medium/high speed until light and pale in colour.
  5. Next, add the icing sugar and whisk until combined and light.
  6. Slowly mix in the egg, vanilla, and milk, and beat until combined. 
  7. Add the flour mixture and beat until no streaks or flour clumps remain, creating a smooth and uniform dough. Do not overmix. 
  8. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  9. Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and place it onto a gently floured surface, rolling out to 1/8 – ¼ inch thickness. 
  10. Use your favorite holiday cookie cutters to cut out your cookies and set them onto the baking trays. Continue these steps until you use all of the dough.
  11. Refrigerate the cookies for about 20 – 30 minutes prior to baking (you may need to place another sheet of parchment paper onto your baking sheet to layer the cookies for refrigerating).
  12. Space the cut-out cookies onto your baking sheets 2 inches apart from each other. 
  13. Evenly space the cookie dough 2-3 inches apart onto the baking trays. 
  14. Bake for 12 – 13 minutes, until slightly golden on the edges.
  15. Allow to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
  16. While the cookies are baking, prepare your buttercream. Bring a pot, with a few inches of water, to a strong simmer. 
  17. In a medium-sized stainless steel or glass bowl, combine egg whites and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine.  Set the bowl on top of the pot with simmering water. The bowl should remain higher than the water level.  Continuously mix and heat the egg whites and granulated sugar, until the sugar has dissolved. This will occur at 120F (50F). Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to a new medium or large-sized bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the egg whites and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks have formed. The meringue will look shiny. This will take 5 – 10 minutes. At this time, begin to add your soft butter in increments.  Add ¼ cup of butter at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to whip at high speed, scraping the edges of the bowl in between. Once you have added all OR most of the butter, continue to whip until it forms a light and fluffy icing (During the process of adding butter, it may seem soft OR look like it is curdled- continue adding your butter and whipping on high speed. The buttercream will come together.) Once the buttercream has come together, add the vanilla and whip on medium speed until fully incorporated. Divide your buttercream into small bowls and add your own colors or flavors! Prepare a couple of piping bags with small round piping tips, and add the buttercream to each one. 
  18. Decorate the cookies as you wish! Add candies, sprinkles, etc.! Have fun and customize your holiday cookies!!
  19. To decorate your cookies similar to the trees, squeeze a small dot of icing at the top of your tree and gently swipe down to create an upside-down teardrop shape. Next, create another row and overlap more dots, to fill the next row of the cookie, and remember to swipe down on the dots. It makes it look gentler. Then add some delicate gold sprinkles!!
  20. To decorate your cookies similar to the candy canes, Prepare a piping bag with white buttercream and one with red buttercream. Take the red piping bag and squeeze diagonal red lines across the entire cookie BUT leaving a small space (the side of the piping tip) to fill in with white. Pipe white buttercream lines in the empty spaces- in between the red buttercream lines!

Snowflake sugar cookie on sheet with other sugar cookies for my guide on how to make sugar cookies

Expert Tips & FAQ: 

How do I make the icing colored: Color your buttercream with freeze-dried fruit powder, food coloring, OR keep it white! Add any of your favorite holiday flavors to the icing-make it fun and delicious like peppermint or chai!

How should I decorate these sugar cookies? Decorate these cookies with your favorite holiday sprinkles, chocolates, etc.! Enjoy your cookies plain, if you would like! Press granulated sugar on top for a little extra fun!

How to make vegan sugar cookies: Use your favorite plant-based butter and milk in the cookies, and swap the butter in the buttercream with a combo of plant-based butter and shortening.

How to make gluten-free sugar cookies: Use 1 ¾ cup of Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour blend instead of all-purpose flour!

Storage: Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 – 3 days, 5 – 7 days in the fridge, or in the freezer for 2-3 months. 

Shaped sugar cookies on countertop

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How to Make Sugar Cookies (Holiday Themed)

  • Author: Maria Koutsogiannis
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 22-24 1x
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Baked Goods
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This sugar cookies recipe is the perfect recipe for bakers of any experience level. This guide will teach you exactly how to make sugar cookies to wow your family this holiday season.


Ingredients

Scale

1/3 cup butter (softened)

3 tbsp sunflower or avocado oil

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup icing sugar

1 egg (room temperature)

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tbsp almond or plant-based milk

2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1 ½ egg whites (room temperature)

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter (soft)

1 ½ tsp vanilla


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325F, and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter and oil, with a hand mixer for 2 minutes until thoroughly combined.

Add the granulated sugar slowly, with a hand mixer on medium/high speed until light and pale in colour.

Next, add the icing sugar and whisk until combined and light.

Slowly mix in the egg, vanilla, and milk, and beat until combined. 

Add the flour mixture and beat until no streaks or flour clumps remain, creating a smooth and uniform dough. Do not overmix. 

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.

Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and place it onto a gently floured surface, roll out to 1/8 – ¼ inch thickness. 

Use your favourite holiday cookie cutters to cut out your cookies and set them onto the baking trays. Continue these steps until you use all of the dough.

Refrigerate the cookies for about 20 – 30 minutes prior to baking (you may need to place another sheet of parchment paper onto your baking sheet to layer the cookies for refrigerating).

Space the cut-out cookies onto your baking sheets 2 inches apart from each other. 

Evenly space the cookie dough 2-3 inches apart onto the baking trays. 

Bake for 12 – 13 minutes, until slightly golden on the edges.

Allow to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

While the cookies are baking, prepare your buttercream. Bring a pot, with a few inches of water, to a strong simmer. 

In a medium-sized stainless steel or glass bowl, combine egg whites and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine.  Set the bowl on top of the pot with simmering water. The bowl should remain higher than the water level.  Continuously mix and heat the egg whites and granulated sugar, until the sugar has dissolved. This will occur at 120F (50F). Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the heat and transfer to a new medium or large-sized bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the egg whites and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks have formed. The meringue will look shiny. This will take 5 – 10 minutes. At this time, begin to add your soft butter in increments.  Add ¼ cup of butter at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to whip at high speed, scraping the edges of the bowl in between. Once you have added all OR most of the butter, continue to whip until it forms a light and fluffy icing (During the process of adding butter, it may seem soft OR look like it is curdled- continue adding your butter and whipping on high speed. The buttercream will come together.) Once the buttercream has come together, add the vanilla and whip on medium speed until fully incorporated. Divide your buttercream into small bowls and add your own colours or flavours! Prepare a couple of piping bags with small round piping tips, and add the buttercream to each one. 

Decorate the cookies as you wish! Add candies, sprinkles, etc.! Have fun and customize your holiday cookies!!

To decorate your cookies similar to the trees, squeeze a small dot of icing at the top of your tree and gently swipe down to create an upside-down teardrop shape. Next, create another row and overlap more dots, to fill the next row of the cookie and remember to swipe down on the dots. It makes it look gentler. Then add some delicate gold sprinkles!!

To decorate your cookies similar to the candy canes, Prepare a piping bag with white buttercream and one with red buttercream. Take the red piping bag and squeeze diagonal red lines across the entire cookie BUT leaving a small space (the side of the piping tip) to fill in with white. Pipe white buttercream lines in the empty spaces- in between the red buttercream lines!


Notes

Colour your buttercream with freeze-dried fruit powder, food colouring OR keep it white!

Decorate these cookies with your favourite holiday sprinkles, chocolates, etc.!

Enjoy your cookies plain, if you would like! Press granulated sugar on top for a little extra fun!

Use your favourite plant-based butter and milk in the cookies, and swap the butter in the buttercream with a combo of plant-based butter and shortening.

Use 1 ¾ cup of Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour blend instead of all-purpose flour!

Add any of your favourite holiday flavours to the icing-make it fun and delicious!

Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 – 3 days, 5 – 7 days in the fridge, or in the freezer for 2-3 months. 

ENJOY! These are the perfect cookies to decorate with your loved ones!!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 24
  • Calories: 112
  • Sugar: 8.9g
  • Sodium: 69.9mg
  • Fat: 8.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.1g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0.6g
  • Cholesterol: 24.7mg

Keywords: butter, homemade, scratch, baking, easy

Amanda

Hi! I tried making these. My dough is too wet after ~40 min in the fridge. Not sure if I over mixed? Should I put in fridge for longer or just put into balls and hope for the best? Thanks!

Maria Koutsogiannis

Hey Amanda! Can you tell me what type of butter you used and was it at room temperature? You might need to add more flour to the mixture to make sure it forms into a ball!

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