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How To Make Beautiful Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Last Modified: November 22, 2023
Published: November 22, 2023

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They Taste As Great As They Look

frosted sugar cookies

These beautiful frosted sugar cookies are so perfect-looking; they are inspiring without a doubt. You may be thinking you could never achieve results like this, but you need to think again. You can.

My friend Katie, a retired grade school principal, has found a way to make these beautiful frosted sugar cookies doable. Katie considers herself a "newbie" at baking, but she is excited to share her discoveries with as many people as she can! Thank you so very much, Katie! We love that trait in educators! They never quit learning and finding ways to teach, guide, inspire, and encourage.

Let's begin with her terrific frosted sugar cookie recipe. As you can see, it's pretty basic, but if you follow the extra steps, they are virtually foolproof! The flavor is outstanding; the cookies do not spread very much as they bake, and you can cut them easily into any fun shape! The complete recipe with instructions is on a printable recipe card for you.

sugar cookie frosting recipe

If the dough seems too soft and sticky, add a tablespoon or so of flour and knead it into the dough.

Next, divide the dough into four balls and place each portion on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Dust the rolling pin with flour, too, and roll each ball of dough out to 1/4″ thickness.

Stack the layers of the cookie dough circles on a baking sheet with parchment paper between layers. Cover the stack with plastic film or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut out the shapes you want and arrange them about one inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until they are lightly brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack.

Gather up the dough between the shapes and form it into a ball. Roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut more shapes! When our kids were little, we used the last bits of dough to form their initials by hand, and we baked them right alongside the fancy shapes! Good memories!

beautiful sugar cookies

The Queen Of Royal Icing Recipes For Frosted Sugar Cookies

sugar cookie frosting recipe

Now the fun begins! It's time to decorate! This recipe will give you royal icing that's easy to handle and dries with a beautiful shine, thanks to the corn syrup. There is a printable recipe card included in this post.

Although there's milk in the icing, it can sit out in tightly covered containers all day while decorating. You don't need to refrigerate the frosting but try to use it all within several hours. You can even finish up the next day.

Beautiful Frosted Sugar Cookes Begin With Great Gel Food Colors

Katie's other secret is AmeriColor Gel Paste Food Coloring. She swears by it. Here are some of the advantages of gel-type food coloring.

  • It's consistent from batch to batch.
  • It won't separate or weep and doesn't harden.
  • Has coloring strength superior to any other food color.
  • Does not thin the icing.
  • Base ingredients allow the color to disperse immediately, so you actually use less product.
beautiful sugar cookies

Great Tools Are The Secret To Outstanding Frosted Sugar Cookies

Katie calls herself an amateur but her amazing sugar cookies look very professional! The secret to her seemingly flawless results is the tool she uses. Silicone bulb dispensers allow for tidy, easily dispensed icing.

Katie loves her Prepworks by Progressive brand dispensers. The dispensers appear in the top photo. You can find them in kitchen stores, online, and major retailers.

The bulbs were designed for children, but Katie says they fit her hands perfectly. Each bulb holds about 3/4 cup of icing, and they're dishwasher safe, so they're very easy to clean.

They are much more user-friendly than pastry bags for the average user and use the same tips. Katie quipped that dispensing frosting with a pastry bag "drives her to drink," although I think it's just a figure of speech in her case!

More Tips From Katie

Katie uses the tip that a toothpick would fit into (with a little extra wiggle space) to outline the icing. It's a Wilton #2. Between colors, she puts a toothpick into the tip and lays the bulb on its side to keep the frosting fresh and ready to use. She uses the same Wilton #2 tip to spread icing inside the outline.

Another Key from Katie: "I put all the white icing on every single frosted sugar cookie before adding any colors."

She struggled with tiny dots like buttons or eyes until she taught herself another trick. She uses a long toothpick to puncture the surface of the icing, then twists and lifts when applying color. This technique helps prevent dragging icing "goobers" across the cookie. You may want to practice this move a few times on a test cookie, then eat it!!

There's no end to what amazing sugar cookies you can make with all the great sprinkles and edible glitter that are available today! Sugar cookies aren't just for Christmas! There are cookie cutters for every occasion! Have fun with it!

Take a look at these amazing sugar cookies! Every single one is a show-stopper! There's no end to what amazing sugar cookies you can make with all the great sprinkles and edible glitter that are available today! Sugar cookies aren't just for Christmas! There are cookie cutters for every occasion! Have fun with sugar cookies for every holiday and occasion!

When our kids were little, we were in retail, and December was crazy, but we always dedicated one Sunday afternoon to making and decorating sugar cookies. It is one of my sweetest memories. Today, our grandkids gather, usually on Christmas Eve morning, to decorate cookies with their cousins. It makes my GB heart so happy.

Yield: 8 dozen

Katie's Beautiful Sugar Cookies

Valentine's sugar cookies

A simple but delicious sugar cookie recipe that ensures you will have beautiful results. They will cut and bake beautifully.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 41 minutes


  • 4 1/2 cups flour plus more for dusting
  • t tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks) at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 t vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract


  1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium-size bowl
  2. Cream butter and sugar on high speed in a large bowl until fluffy.
  3. Add the extracts and eggs to the butter-sugar mixture and beat on high until all ingredients a blended thoroughly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two in the process.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture and mix until everything is combined.
  5. The dough will be relatively soft. If it seems too sticky for rolling, knead in a tablespoon or so of flour.
  6. Divide the dough into four balls. One at a time, place each ball of dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  7. Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 1/4" thickness. Lay the parchment sheet with a circle of dough on a baking sheet.
  8. Continue with the next three dough balls and stack them on a baking sheet with parchment paper between each layer.
  9. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil or plastic film and refrigerate for two hours or up to two days.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  11. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Cut out shapes and place them on parchment-covered baking sheets about one inch apart.
  13. The number of cookies this recipe makes depends entirely on the size of the cookie cutter you use.
  14. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are very lightly browned.
  15. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  16. Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating them.


Key from Katie: The baking sheets should be completely cool before using them for baking another batch. At Christmas time, Katie sticks them outside between batches!

Yield: About 2 cups of frosting

Katie's Perfect Royal Icing

Valentine's sugar cookies

An easy royal icing recipe with a shiny finish that dries to the touch.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla or to taste
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • Gel or paste-type food coloring as desired


  1. Whisk or beat ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Divide into as many colors as you want to make.
  3. Add food coloring and mix well.
  4. Put the icing into squeeze bulb dispensers with Wilton's brand #2 tip.
  5. Decorate cookies as desired, and add sprinkles to your heart's content while the icing is still wet.


Although there’s milk in the icing, it can sit out in tightly covered containers all day while decorating. You don’t need to refrigerate the frosting but try to use it all within several hours. You can even finish up the next day.

Did you make sugar cookies growing up? If you make some cookies using Katie's hints, we would be over the moon if you would share some pictures with us!

There are times when we need to come up with some cookies fast! Like when your son tells you, he is supposed to bring two dozen cookies to school tomorrow! Here are a couple of ideas when speed is what you need! Fast Peppermint Brownies, and Four-Ingredient Desperation Cookies.

Hint: In a situation like that, almond bark is your friend! Dip any ordinary cookie (yes, even store-bought!) halfway in melted almond bark and add a few sprinkles before it sets! They look and taste amazing!

If you liked this recipe, you are my people! And if you like this recipe, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! It would sure tickle me, and I would be ever so grateful!

If you haven't already, please look for me on Facebook and Pinterest, where I will share easy, delicious, family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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