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Frosted Sugar Cookies are a favorite for any holiday! This sugar cookie recipe is the perfect balance of chewy with golden brown, slightly crisp edges. Frosted with a sweet buttercream icing that hardens just enough to make them stackable.Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
Why I Love This Sugar Cookie Recipe
- Perfectly Chewy – I love that these cookies are tender and chewy but still have that slight crisp edge.
- Make Ahead Friendly – To save time, you can make the dough a couple of days in advance and store in the fridge.
- Perfect for Cut-Outs – Make simple circle shapes by rolling the dough into balls or use the same dough to make festive cut-out sugar cookies.
How To Make Frosted Sugar Cookies
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Cream Wet Ingredients – Start by creaming the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer (hand mixer or stand mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, then mix until smooth and creamy.
Dry Ingredients – In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
Combine Ingredients – Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the butter mixture until a smooth dough forms. Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Prep for Baking – When ready to bake, get the oven preheating and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Shape Cookies – There are several ways you can shape the cookies: circular cookies, cut-out cookies, sprinkle cookies or slice and bake!
Bake – Bake the cookies until the edges are just starting to turn golden brown then transfer to a rack to cool.
For the Frosting – To make the frosting, beat together the softened butter with 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in the rest of the sugar, milk, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Frost the cookies and enjoy!
Cream of tartar helps makes cookies chewy because it keeps the sugar from crystallizing (which makes cookies crisp).
The first important thing to keep cookies from spreading is to properly measure and use the right amount of flour. But another tip is to chill the cookie dough before baking the cookies – this is especially helpful for cut-out cookies that you want to keep their shape.
When making cut-out cookies, I like to roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. This gives the perfect balance of chewy with slightly crisp edges. If you roll your cookies thinner or thicker, you’ll need to adjust the bake time.
You want to chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes to help prevent spreading. But you can chill cookie dough for a couple of days, or even freeze it to use later.
You typically don’t need to grease the baking sheet since cookies have butter in them. I do recommend using either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easier releasing after baking.
- Storing Cookies: Allow cookies to cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Freezing Cookies: Again, cool the cookies completely before storing. Place in an airtight freezer container. If you frosted the cookies you can still freeze them but you may want to flash freeze on a baking sheet for an hour before stacking and storing.
- Storing the dough: If you don’t plan on baking the cookies right away, you can wrap the dough in a couple layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 months. If freezing, wrap in plastic then place into a freezer bag to protect from freezer burn. Making cookie dough in advance is one of my favorite holiday hacks!
- Cookie Dough Texture – The final cookie dough should be like playdough. Soft and moist enough to roll between palms, but it shouldn’t stick. If it sticks to your hands, add 1 tablespoon of flour until you can easily handle it. If the dough is crumbling and not sticking together, you can add 1 tablespoon of milk until the consistency is correct.
- Cookie Bake Time – If you are baking rolled/pressed cookies at the same time as cut-outs, make sure the thickness is the same so they cook at the same time. Otherwise put different types of separate baking sheets.
- Sprinkles on Cut-Out Cookies – Because the cut out cookies have added flour, the sprinkles will not stick to the top like the rolled ones. I like to dip the edges in sprinkles and they will stick to the freshly cut edges.
- Frosting Consistency – To make frosting thicker, you can add more confectioner sugar. To make frosting thinner, you can add more milk.
- Colored Frosting – Add a few drops of food coloring to the white icing to match any theme.
- Stacking – The best part about this frosting is that you can stack the cookies for easier storage. It’s very important to make sure that the frosting is dry before stacking.
- Decorate – Sugar cookies are ideal for decorating to match any theme. Frost with the sugar cookie icing, then add sprinkles, finely chopped nuts or crushed peppermints.
More Cookie Recipes
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Eggnog Meltaway Cookies
- Red Velvet Cookies
- Molasses Cookies
- Cheesecake Cookies
Sugar Cookies and Frosting Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 room temperature egg
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Optional: Sprinkles
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 5 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 Tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and egg, continuing to mix until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt until fully combined.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, until a smooth dough has formed. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
Shape Cookie Dough as Preferred:
- For circular cookies: Use a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop and form dough between palms. Place on the prepared baking sheet and press down lightly with palms.
- For cut out cookies: Roll dough on a floured surface about ¼ inch thick and cut desired shape with a cookie cutter.
- For sprinkle cookies: Prepare using a circular method, dipping the top of the flattened dough ball into a small bowl of sprinkles.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 7-8 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown and the top of the cookies are opaque.
- Transfer to the cooling rack and cool completely.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixture on low speed to beat together the butter with 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the milk, vanilla and remaining confectioners sugar until a smooth and creamy frosting has formed.
- Transfer to a piping bag and frost cooled sugar cookies.
- Allow frosting to dry and set completely before stacking.