How to Make Christmas Cookies

It's one of the best traditions of Christmas: making cookies. Whether you bake them as a family, in preparation for a cookie exchange party, or by the dozens as a wonderful food gift, Christmas cookies should always begin with a good recipe and some creative frosting ideas. Here's our top sugar cookie recipe, plus step-by-step tips on how to frost every cookie on your Christmas platter.

The Best Sugar Cookies

The greatest holiday treat may very well be the sugar cookie, and a really good sugar cookie is seemingly made of Christmas magic. You won't need magic with our expert advice for foolproof sugar cookies. It all starts with a great recipe. 

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

Comet sugar cookie

For the cookies (not the icing), you'll need:

  • butter
  • sugar
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • one egg
  • milk
  • vanilla
  • flour
Creaming butter and sugar

To make the cookies, you'll:

1. Beat the butter.

2. Beat in the dry ingredients (other than flour).

3. Beat in the wet ingredients.

4. Beat in the flour, using a wooden spoon to finish the mixing.

5. Chill the dough to make it easy to handle.


Sugar Cookies

6. Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.

7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes.

8. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Royal Icing Recipe


For the icing, you'll need:

  • powdered sugar
  • meringue powder
  • cream of tartar
  • water
  • vanilla
  • assorted colors paste food coloring (optional)
Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

To make the icing, you'll:

1. Combine the dry ingredients.

2. Add water and vanilla.

3. Beat until combined, then on high speed until very stiff. 

4. Add more water to make the icing spreading consistency.

5. If desired, tint the icing with paste food coloring.

Christmas Cookie Decorating Tips

Royal Icing

1. Start by using a piping bag filled with royal icing to outline the design. 

Royal Icing

2. Then flood the center of the cookie with icing and smooth it out to the piped edge. You may want to thin it out slightly to glaze the cookie. Editor's Tip: Use a food-safe brush to fill the design with icing. 


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