The Best Sugar Cookies for Christmas

Can you catch the faint jingles of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’? Yep, it’s that time – the holidays are creeping up on us. So, let’s kick up the festive vibes a notch with these Christmas sugar cookies. They’re not just making your kitchen smell like Christmas Eve; they’re practically a holiday on a plate!

There’s not a person who’s tried these cookies and not fallen head over heels for them – they are hands down the best Christmas cookies I’ve ever had! And here’s a bonus – unlike some recipes that demand hours of chilling in the fridge, these cookies only need 30 minutes and they’re ready to go!

For this recipe, grab your favorite cookie cutters (whether they’re Christmas-themed or not), some vibrant food coloring, and don’t forget the piping bags + tips for when the decorating fun begins.

This recipe is adapted from Preppy Kitchen – props to John for sharing this gem of a recipe! 

What do these cookies taste like?

These cookies are tender, buttery, and soft – the perfect texture for a spectacular sugar cookie. As for the taste, these sugar cookies have a citrusy and orangey flavor, with an almond undertone, that simply tastes like Christmas. They aren’t overly sweet, but the sugar icing on top adds that extra sweet kick. If you decide to make these cookies without the icing, then you can add some extra sugar to reach the perfect sweetness (about 20-30g should be enough). 

Why should you make this recipe?

  • It’s a fun festive activity that you can enjoy, especially with your little ones. 
  • Decorating these cookies is not only entertaining but also incredibly relaxing. A word of advice: a smidge of patience will go a long way in perfecting your decorating skills.
  • Get ready to be the cookie champion at your next gathering; these treats are like your secret weapon for winning hearts. 


Cookie dough

Flour – I used all-purpose flour for this recipe.

Cornstarch – The secret weapon for that melt-in-your-mouth texture. The cornstarch also helps the cookie dough keep its shape. 

Salt – The unsung hero, elevating all the flavors of these cookies.

Butter – The star player, bringing richness and that irresistible buttery taste.

Sugar – Gives the perfect taste and sweetness to the cookie.

Eggs – The binding agents, ensuring your dough comes together in perfect harmony.

Vanilla & Almond extract – The flavor duo that transforms these cookies into aromatic wonders.

Orange & Lemon zest – The combination of these two zests adds so much delicious flavor to the cookies and gives them complexity. Not to mention, they give a scent that teleports you right to Christmas paradise. 

Sugar icing

Powdered sugar – The base for your sweet and smooth icing. Do not confuse or substitute with caster sugar. 

Light corn syrup or honey – The secret to that glossy finish, ensuring your icing is as beautiful as it is delicious.

Vanilla extract – Adds a layer of flavor to your icing. Do not add too much as it will overpower the taste.

Milk – To thin the icing, use a bit of milk or water for the perfect consistency. 

Food coloring – I prefer using gel food coloring as it doesn’t alter the consistency of the icing and you won’t need to use as much as liquid food coloring to achieve those perfect colors. 

Tips for recipe success

  • Before you start, read the entire recipe from start to finish. This will give you a clear understanding of the steps and help you avoid surprises along the way.
  • Prep all your ingredients before you start baking. Don’t forget to bring your butter and eggs to room temperature. 
  • Do not skip dough chilling. While these sugar cookies don’t need a lot of chilling time in the fridge, they do need at least 30 minutes to help solidify the fat in the dough. This prevents the cookies from spreading in the oven. 
  • Keep a close eye on your oven temperature. Take the cookies out of the oven as soon as their edges start turning golden. 
  • While the classic citrusy and almond flavor is delightful, feel free to experiment! Add a hint of different extracts or spices to customize the flavor profile. 

The Best Sugar Cookies for Christmas

Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Step into a world of festive delight with this delicious Christmas Sugar Cookies recipe! These tender, buttery cookies are a holiday sensation, boasting a unique citrusy and almond flavor that screams Christmas. Bring the magic of the season to your kitchen, and become the star of your next cookie exchange with these delightful treats!


  • Cookie dough
  • 480g flour

  • 40g cornstarch

  • ¾ tsp salt

  • 230g softened butter

  • 180g sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp almond extract (optional, but highly recommended)

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • Sugar icing
  • 120g powdered sugar

  • 2 tsp light corn syrup or honey

  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

  • 3-4 tsp milk or water

  • Food coloring of your choice


  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer, for about 1-2 min.
  • Add the eggs one by one, mixing in between each addition.
  • Add the extracts and zests and mix until combined.
  • Pour in the dry ingredients in 4 parts, mixing between each addition.
  • Using your hands, form the dough into a round ball and tightly wrap it in plastic foil. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 min.
  • Once the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 190C/375F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Cut half of the dough and place it on a well-floured surface, then roll it into a rectangular sheet (about 5 mm or 0.2 inch thick). Cut the dough using cookie cutters and place the cookies on the baking tray, leaving some space in between each cookie. Re-use leftover dough to cut new cookies. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough (you can keep it in the fridge while you work on the other half).
  • Bake for 10-12 min. or until the edges start turning golden. Once done, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, first sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the corn syrup or honey, and vanilla extract, and whisk them together. Add 2 tsp of milk and mix, then add more until the desired consistency is reached (it should be similar to the consistency of honey, but a little more runny).
  • Color your icing with food coloring as desired, then place the icing into piping bags to decorate. After decorating your cookies, allow the icing to harden before stacking them – this can take up to 24h!


  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before you start decorating. This is very important because otherwise, the sugar icing will melt.
  • This recipe yields about 50 cookies.
  • The dough can be made in advance and can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Just make sure to allow it to warm up at room temp for 30 min. before making it into cookies.
  • The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to 5 days. You can also freeze undecorated cookies for up to 3 months.

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