Making decorated sugar cookies is a must during the holiday season, and these are the best sugar cookies you'll ever taste. Whip up a batch of these sugar cookies from scratch and decorate with royal icing to match any special occasion.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

35 mins
30 mins
7 mins
1 hr 12 mins
about 36 cookies


Royal Icing


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover; chill about 30 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough, half at a time, until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Using 2-1/2-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  • Bake about 7 minutes or until edges are very light brown. Transfer to wire racks; cool. If desired, frost with desired icing and/or decorate with decorative candies.

Royal Icing
  • In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add the 1/2 cup water and the vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until very stiff. Add the 2 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make an icing of spreading consistency. If desired, divide icing into individual bowls and tint with paste food coloring.


Meringue powder is a mixture of pasteurized dried egg whites, sugar, and edible gums. Look for it in the baking aisle of your supermarket or in hobby stores where cake-decorating supplies are sold.

To Store:

Layer unfrosted sugar cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If desired, ice and decorate before serving.

Sugar on Top

For a subtle sparkly touch, sprinkle colored sugar over cookie cutouts before baking. The sugar will bake into the dough for decoration, so the cookies need no icing.

Nutrition Facts

74 calories; fat 4g; cholesterol 14mg; saturated fat 2g; carbohydrates 10g; mono fat 1g; sugars 4g; protein 1g; vitamin a 97.2IU; thiamin 0.1mg; riboflavin 0.1mg; niacin equivalents 0.4mg; folate 12.1mcg; sodium 55mg; potassium 11mg; calcium 10.1mg; iron 0.4mg.