Chocolate Cutout Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 1 hour + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


about 5 dozen

Updated: Dec. 22, 2023
I love gingerbread cookies, but my grandchildren don't like the ginger flavor. Now I use chocolate and watch them smile as they take that first bite of these chocolate cutout cookies. —Nancy Murphy, Mount Dora, Florida
Chocolate Cutout Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ICING:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
  2. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured 3-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until blended. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, 1-2 minutes. Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
  6. Using pastry bags and small round tips, decorate cookies as desired. Let stand at room temperature until frosting is dry and firm.
Chocolate Cutout Cookies Tips

How can you prevent chocolate cutout cookies from spreading while baking?

An accurate oven temperature is important when it comes to keeping cookies from spreading. Preheat the oven, and wait to put the chocolate cutout cookies in to bake until it's fully up to temp. If you’ve noticed frequent inconsistencies in your baking, a simple oven thermometer will provide a reading of the actual temperature inside the oven. After double checking the oven temperature, consider refrigerating the chocolate cutout cookies for 15 to 20 minutes before baking if it's a hot day. Check out our guide to baking cookies for more tips.

How can you tell when chocolate cutout cookies are done?

When done baking, the chocolate cutout cookies will have a smooth, dry top without any doughy, moist areas. Set your timer for the minimum bake time in the recipe. Add a few more minutes if needed, but don’t exceed the maximum bake time.

Can you make chocolate cutout cookies ahead of time?

Mixing today and rolling out tomorrow? No problem! Chocolate cutout cookie dough can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to roll and cut out, remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes to soften up a bit. Once baked, the chocolate cutout cookies can be enjoyed for about a week or frozen for up to 1 month. When you're ready to serve them, try making our royal icing to bring your cookies to the next level.

Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 91 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 43mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.