These easy Christmas sugar cookies are soft, tender & perfect for decorating with icing! They bake up smooth & flat for easy decorating or dipping. A simple, easy to make Christmas cookie!
These easy Christmas sugar cookies are the perfect cookies to make for the holiday season! They’re thick cookies with a soft, tender crumb that melts in your mouth.
They’re decorated with festive red and green cookie icing, topped with holiday sprinkles, and chocolate candy!
Why this recipe works
- Sugar cookies often have a problem with spreading in the oven, but not this recipe! Thoroughly chilling your cookie dough before baking helps prevent spreading as well as making it easier to handle.
- These Christmas cookies bake up soft and tender with the addition of cake flour. Cake flour has less gluten which makes gives these cookies a soft, fluffy texture.
- The smooth, flat surface makes it ideal for decorating with any kind of cookie icing, royal icing, glazes, and frostings!
- They’re rolled 1/3 inch thick so they keep their soft texture and don’t crisp up.
- Adding cream cheese to the dough adds moisture and more flavor!
- Add any flavorings you want to the cookie dough – peppermint extract, lemon extract, vanilla extract, and more!
- You can use Christmas cookie cutters to make festive cut outs or use a simple round mold.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Butter and cream cheese – soften at room temperature before mixing; adds moisture to the cookie
- All purpose flour and cake flour – this helps create a soft, texture crumb in the cookie
- Flavorings and extracts – add any of the following extracts: vanilla, peppermint, lemon, almond extract. Add any of the following flavorings – orange or lemon zest, cinnamon powder, clove, nutmeg.
Step by step instructions
Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Next, add in the eggs and flavorings and beat on high until it’s soft and fluffy.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and combine into a dough.
Chill the dough until it’s hardened. You can divide the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap or you can pre-roll the dough between two sheets of parchment and lay it flat in the fridge or freezer.
Dust the surface of the dough with flour and roll it out so it’s 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. The thicker the dough, the softer the cookie will be.
First, dip the cookie cutters in flour and then arrange them so that they’re placed close together and then press down firmly. Dip the molds in flour each time to prevent sticking.
Gently remove them and place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees F.
The cookies should be a pale yellow color and the surface should be smooth and flat without any cracks visible.
Let the cookies completely cool before applying any type of decoration.
You can dip the cookies in chocolate ganache or decorate with cookie icing!
Don’t forget to have fun with the decorations! The holidays should be fun and relaxing so don’t try to make each cookie perfect. Invite your friends and family for a day of decorating these easy Christmas sugar cookies!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make ahead and freeze the cookie dough and the baked (but not decorated) cookies. Wrap the dough or cookies in plastic wrap and then place them in an airtight container and store it in the freezer.
The dough can be frozen for up to 2 months and the baked cookies can be frozen for up to one week. Thaw the cookies completely and bring them to room temperature before decorating as there will be condensation when cold.
Cracks on the surface indicate the cookies have been over baked or the oven temperature was too high. Make adjustments for the next batch by reducing the baking time or oven temperature.
More Recipes to Try
- Giant Flourless Chocolate Cookies
- Christmas Yule Log Cake – Buche de Noel
- Rich & Creamy Homemade Hot Chocolate
Easy Decorated Christmas Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookie Dough
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
Optional flavorings (choose one):
- 1 Tablespoon orange or lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract leave out the vanilla and almond extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract leave out the vanilla and almond extract
- Soften the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. You can also microwave the cream cheese for 15 seconds at a time until soft.
- Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar with a mixer until the sugar granules have completely dissolved. The mixture should be pale and fluffy.
- Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add any optional flavorings at this time.
- Sift in the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix together until just combined.
- Next, chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. I recommend pre-rolling out the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper for easier handling and laying it flat in the fridge. Make sure the dough is ¼ inch to ⅓ inch thick. Any thinner and the cookies won't turn out soft and tender. See Note 1 for more details. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll the dough out to ¼ to ⅓ inch thick (if not already done). Cut out shapes from the cookie dough. Dip the cookie cutters in flour before each press so the dough doesn't stick.
- Bake for 8 – 9 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. The cookies should be pale in color and have a smooth, flat surface. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating with icing.
- Let the cookies cool completely before decorating with icing or dipping them in chocolate ganache. Add the sprinkles while the icing or chocolate ganache is still wet. Makes about 36 cookies.
- Option 1: Divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal parts and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Option 2 (Recommended): Working in two or three batches, roll out the dough 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Chill the rolled out dough in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes. Don’t roll the dough any thinner than ¼ inch thick – the cookies won’t be as soft and tender.
- Option 3: Cut out shapes from the cookie dough and place them on parchment paper. Chill the cut outs in the fridge for 15 minutes and then place them straight into a preheated oven. Dip the cookie cutters in flour in between cut outs to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Undecorated sugar cookies can be made a week in advance. Tightly wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container. Keep them in the fridge or freezer and let them come to room temperature before serving. Double wrapping the cookies help them stay soft and reduce their exposure to air.
- Unbaked sugar cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for 2 months.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.