Iced Sugar Cookies


I have a confession. This is the very first time in my life I have made royal icing. It is the very first time in my life I’ve made iced sugar cookies. So please don’t be too critical I’ve got a few things to learn about the tricks of icing. The reason I haven’t made icing and iced sugar cookies up until now because I’ve tasted iced sugar cookies before and I’ve always liked the frosted puffy version better. But, iced sugar cookies can be decorated far prettier and they make better gifts so I decided it was the perfect season to give them a try.

The icing really wasn’t hard to make thanks to Annie’s wonderful tutorial (from her blog – Annie’s Eats). Before I reading that tutorial I didn’t even know what flood icing was. Her blog has always been one of my favorites. She does amazing work that always looks flawless.
These cookies are so delicious and are also so fun to make. Some of you may know by know how I love art and I love food so these cookies are made for me. I loved how I got to make each cookie unique just as you will never find an identical snowflake.
I don’t know why I was so harsh on iced sugar cookies in the past. They are basically a soft shortbread cookie with a sugary icing. How could that not be good? They reminded me of how I want to re-create one of my favorite cookies from my childhood, those Keebler pink iced animal cookies with their delicious nutmeg flavor. These taste nothing like those, these are far better they were just a fun reminder for some reason.
Keep in mind these cookies aren’t a batch that you can have made in 20 minutes, they take a bit of time but you don’t need to put as much time into them as I did. If you wanted to simply ice them with a solid color and maybe add some sprinkle then it would be faster than piping additional decorations among the tops. Either way I hope you have a chance to try these cookies soon. They are simply amazing with their delicate, buttery cookie flavor and that lightly crunchy shell from the icing. MMMM they are a cookie you’re going to remember. Enjoy!


Iced Sugar Cookies

5 from 2 votes

Yield: Recipe yield varies*


  • 1 cup salted butter , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 recipe Royal Icing from Annie's Eats


  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter, powdered sugar and salt on low speed until well combine, about 20 seconds. Mix in egg, vanilla and almond extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour and mix until combine. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate until firm about 1 1/2 hours (0r freeze folding dough once with a wooden spoon halfway through chilling until firm about 40 minutes - which is what I did).
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Roll dough out on a generously floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness then cut dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Carefully transfer cut shapes to prepared baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, edges should not brown. Allow cookies to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool cookies completely then frost with icing.

For the icing

  1. For a wonderful tutorial on how to decorate with Royal Icing see the link at Annie's Eats here and follow her recipe for Royal Icing here.
  2. *I got 26 cookies, I made about 1/2 of them large snowflakes and half of them small snowflakes so it will just depend on the size of your cookie cutters.
  3. Recipe Source: Sugar Cookies adapted slightly from Annie's Eats


  • Kathleen: These look absolutely gorgeous!!! December 10, 2012 at 6:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Kathleen =)! December 11, 2012 at 4:45pm Reply

  • Loretta E.: I don’t see anything to criticize here! They all look too gorgeous to eat to me! December 10, 2012 at 6:43pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Loretta! Thanks for all the nice comments you’ve been leaving on my blog, I love to read them! December 11, 2012 at 11:33pm Reply

  • Chloe West: For your first time, these look incredible!

    – Chloe December 10, 2012 at 8:36pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Chloe! December 11, 2012 at 11:29pm Reply

  • Debs Dust Bunny: Your cookies look beautiful! I confess, I recently made Royal Icing for the first time and was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted. I think I was judging it by those horrible hard store bought iced cookies. With cookies this lovely all I can say it let it snow! December 11, 2012 at 11:06am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much! I agree, the store bought ones are pretty gross they don’t even compare to homemade. I’m glad I finally tried them. December 11, 2012 at 11:30pm Reply

  • Anne Gratton: beautiful-i wouldn’t want to eat these!! December 11, 2012 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Anne, if I ever make food that I think is pretty I will usually take a picture before I eat it that way I feel great about eating it because then I can remember how it looked and tasted =). December 11, 2012 at 11:32pm Reply

  • Susan: Amazing for a first try…close to perfect :D December 11, 2012 at 4:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Susan! December 11, 2012 at 11:32pm Reply

  • angela @ another bite please: critcial…are you crazy…they look so perfect, pretty and like you’ve done this a thousand times! I am afraid I will go with snowballs…lol December 11, 2012 at 4:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Haha you should give them a try =), thanks for the compliment! December 15, 2012 at 1:46pm Reply

  • Julie @ Table for Two: for your first time, these are absolutely breath-taking and gorgeous!! December 11, 2012 at 6:10pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Julie! December 11, 2012 at 11:29pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: I can’t believe this is your first time – they are perfection! They’re almost too pretty to eat actually. December 12, 2012 at 3:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Chung-Ah! December 15, 2012 at 1:46pm Reply

  • gramyflys: So beautiful, Jaclyn! I am an old high school friend of your Mom’s and saw this link on facebook. Think I will actually try these…they are just so pretty! Thanks for the inspiration! December 15, 2012 at 10:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks! I hope you do try them, they were so fun to make. Merry Christmas to you! December 16, 2012 at 5:07pm Reply

  • Loreen: Beautiful work! What size decorating tip did you use? December 16, 2012 at 2:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks! Since it was my first time working with royal icing I tried the 1, 2 and 3 tips and I liked the 2 the best so I used it for pretty much all of them. December 16, 2012 at 5:06pm Reply

  • Noelle: okay, NO WAY this is your first time with royal icing! these cookies are beautiful! December 21, 2012 at 8:48am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Noelle =). I’ve always loved art so maybe that helped a little but I think they could definitely use some work. I need to learn how to get the perfect consistency of the icing, over time I guess. December 21, 2012 at 2:12pm Reply

  • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes): Holy moly, these are some gorgeous cookies! And I love the new look of the blog by the way. Very nice design!! December 21, 2012 at 9:17am Reply

  • Merry Christmas! » Anel Keys: […] Sugar cookies. Loved this recipe. The icing part, however? Never again… not easy for me! NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies. I added white chips too and macadamia nuts. The recipe is fantastic. […] December 25, 2012 at 10:50am Reply

  • Kathryn: Hello! I made these cookies for practice for my daughters birthday coming up and now the guinea pigs I had try them to make sure I got your amazing recipe just right want me to make some for them for Valentines Day! So now that I’m going to be making lots more, I wanted to know how far in advance I could make them?? I am going to be packaging them in individual plastic baggies tied closed with ribbons. How long can I prep them in advance? February 3, 2013 at 6:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Kathryn – I think 2 – 3 days max is what I would recommend. Yeah you could probably let them go longer but I like fresher baked goods, they just taste better =). February 4, 2013 at 8:29pm Reply

      • Kathryn: Thank you so much! They were a huge hit!! :) This recipe is delicious! February 13, 2013 at 9:19pm Reply

        • Jaclyn: So glad you enjoyed Kathryn! Thanks so much for your comment =)! February 14, 2013 at 9:07am Reply

  • Annie: Totally gorg! Cannot believe this is your first time with royal icing. It took me a couple of years to get anything looking even close to this good! Glad you are converted now though :) November 4, 2013 at 7:16am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Annie! I adore your blog and thanks for teaching me how to make these :)! November 16, 2013 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Charleen Francis: These are so gorgeous! I’ve never made sugar cookies but I’m making these tomorrow and can’t wait. December 21, 2013 at 9:16pm Reply

  • Brittney L.: Thank you so much for sharing this! It took me a couple times to get it right but my most recent batch come out perfect and I have several requests to do them again! Thanks! They were amazing! February 2, 2014 at 1:40pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear they came out perfect for you Brittney! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment! February 11, 2014 at 10:26am Reply

  • Susan | Suz Bakes: I can’t believe this was your first attempt!! I’m looking for good (as in tastes good!!) recipes for this holiday when my nieces come to visit – this looks perfect. Thank you so much for sharing!! December 15, 2014 at 11:42am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the compliment :)! I hope you love them! Happy holidays! December 15, 2014 at 4:53pm Reply

  • Mimi: These cookies just popped out of my oven, and the house has that delicious, sugar cookie candle scent! I am drooling! I can tell that these are sturdy cookies, great for decorating; and delicious too… just by the bits of dough I was sneaking from the bowl. My squirrel shaped cookie actually came off the baking sheet without its head breaking off. Thanks for the great recipe. This will be a christmas cookie staple from now on. :) Thanks! December 15, 2014 at 5:26pm Reply

  • Jen: Help! I have no idea what I did wrong but my dough isn’t really dough it’s just crumbly. I followed the recipe exactly. I put them in ththe freezer now to see if it helps but I just had them In the refrigerator for the 11/2. Any idea what I did wrong? :( on a side not they smell good. December 19, 2016 at 3:16pm Reply

  • Cathy: These are the best sugar cookies I have tried and I have made several recipes over the years. The flavor is wonderful and the cut outs retain their shape. This will become my go to recipe in the future as received many compliments on the taste and texture. January 3, 2017 at 2:43pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Cathy! February 16, 2017 at 12:46pm Reply

  • Lindsey: I just baked this recipe and barely let my cookies cool. They taste *pretty* dang close to Smith’s! Thank you so much for blogging this recipe for us :) September 20, 2017 at 4:10pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad to hear it Lindsey! September 22, 2017 at 10:41am Reply

  • Chris Murphy: I tried this recipe for a big get-together, and the cookies were a huge hit! One friend (who’s usually the baker in our circle of friends) said that these were the perfect sugar cookies! I’m so thrilled that I’ll make this my go-to cookie recipe from now on! November 19, 2017 at 8:41pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad to hear it Chris! November 20, 2017 at 10:22am Reply

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