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 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

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

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

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.


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.

What'€™s the recipe for success for your holiday cookies? Royal icing!

Royal Icing Recipe

For the icing, you'll need:

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

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.

Frost your cookies just like the bakery -- our tips ensure success. Starting with the piping bag, we help you discover the little tricks you can use to make pretty decorated cookies for any occasion.

Christmas Cookie Decorating Tips

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

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. 

Sugar cookies are a holiday staple—make your best-ever sugar cookie recipe with our Test Kitchen’s secrets for rolling out the dough, using cookie cutters, and getting creative with the leftover sugar cookie dough.


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