Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Total Time
Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min.
Who says cutout Christmas sugar cookies need to be difficult? These subtly spiced cookies have a bit of tang from sour cream. They're soft, sweet and perfect for the holidays.

Updated: Mar. 01, 2024

Christmas sugar cookies come in many shapes, sizes and colors, but this recipe is the one you’ll go back to time and time again. These easy, beautifully flavored cutout cookies are pretty enough to share for cookie exchanges yet simple enough to make a few batches throughout the season.

These Christmas sugar cookies don’t use the classic butter dough you’re used to. This is a softer dough, thanks to sour cream and honey. And there’s a hint of spice that’s not present in your everyday sugar cookie. You can ice these cookies or not, but why skimp on decorations? A quick candy drizzle is all you really need for a festive cookie.

And, for more inspiration and tips, here’s our handy Christmas cookies baking guide.

Christmas Sugar Cookies Ingredients

  • Butter: The best sugar cookies start with great butter. Make sure your butter is room temperature but not melted. If it’s too soft, it will result in a cookie dough that spreads in the oven. Here are our Test Kitchen picks for the best butter brands.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Powdered sugar melts better into the cookie dough than granulated sugar would, and it helps give these cookies a soft, smooth texture.
  • Sour cream: Not all Christmas sugar cookies use sour cream, but it gives these cookies a soft texture, and maybe even a subtle tangy flavor.
  • Honey: Honey contributes to the soft texture of these cookies and lends a different type of sweetness to the flavor profile.
  • Baking soda: When you combine baking soda with an acid, it creates carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles to help dough rise. Here’s how to store baking soda to keep it fresh for more uses (and there are a lot of them!).
  • Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar and baking soda mixed together actually create baking powder. It helps give these cookies a slightly poofy texture.
  • Mace: An oft-overlooked spice, mace is like a milder nutmeg, with a hint of citrus and cinnamon. It adds a lovely flavor to these cookies, especially welcome during Christmastime. If you’d prefer another spice like nutmeg or cinnamon, go for it.
  • White candy coating: White candy coating is easy to melt, color and pipe, easy to drizzle and spread on your cookies. It is not white chocolate, however; there’s no cocoa butter in it. White candy coating, also known as “candy wafers,” is easy to find in grocery stores and online.

Directions

Step 1: Make the cookie dough

creamed mixture in a large bowl being mixed with hand mixerTMB Studio

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the sour cream, honey and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking sida, cream of tartar, mace and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat well. Cover the dough, and chill for two hours or until easy to handle.

Step 2: Roll out the dough, and cut shapes

A person rolling the dough ightly floured surfaceTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 325°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness.

Cutting the flour with cookie cutterTMB Studio

Cut out cookies using floured 3-inch cookie cutters. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Editor’s Tip: When cutting out cookies, keep the cuts close together, and reroll scraps to cut out more. If the dough becomes too sticky, just chill it again for a bit.

Step 3: Bake the cookies

Bake the cookies until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Step 4: Decorate the cookies

Decorating Christmas Sugar Cookies with food coloring on a cooling tray TMB Studio

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white coating, and stir until smooth. Stir in food coloring,if using, and drizzle over the cookies.

Recipe Variations

  • Add some flair: When it comes to decorating sugar cookies, the possibilities are endless. Dress up your cookies with colorful sprinkles, nonpareils, crushed candy canes and other fun embellishments. Here are more tips for decorating Christmas cookies.
  • Use royal icing: Royal icing will turn your sugar cookies into edible works of art.
  • Make drop cookies instead: If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, these drop sugar cookies come together with a few ingredients and little time.

How to Store Christmas Sugar Cookies

Store these sugar cookies in an airtight container. They’ll last at room temperature for four to five days.

Can you freeze Christmas sugar cookies?

Don’t freeze cookies already decorated with frosting or coated in chocolate or confectioners’ sugar. But you can store undecorated sugar cookies in the freezer. If the cookies lose some of their character in the freezer, you can usually restore them to life with a short stint in a moderate oven. Let them cool, then decorate.

Christmas Sugar Cookies Tips

Christmas Sugar Cookies on a wooden tableTMB Studio

Should I chill the cookie dough before baking?

Yes! You should chill cookie dough before baking to prevent the cookies from spreading out too quickly once they are in the oven. Popping your dough in the fridge allows the fats to cool. As a result, the cookies will expand more slowly, holding on to their texture. If you skip the chilling step, you’re more likely to wind up with flat, hard disks instead of soft, chewy cookies. Cookies made from chilled dough are also much more flavorful. The dough becomes hydrated as the dry ingredients soak up moisture from the wet ingredients. This subtle hydration makes the dough less wet, concentrating the flavors.

How do I make sugar cookies softer or crispier?

If your cookies are too soft or pale, it’s possible you added too much flour. Use the exact amount the recipe calls for, and be sure your oven temperature isn’t set too low. If they’re too hard or crispy, soften cookies by adding a slice of white bread to the storage bag. The cookies will absorb the bread’s moisture, making them soft again.

Watch how to Make Christmas Sugar Cookies

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield about 8 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • White candy coating
  • Green paste food coloring

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Beat in the sour cream, honey and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 3-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white coating; stir until smooth. Stir in food coloring; drizzle over cookies.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 48 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 7mg cholesterol, 33mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

This is my all-time favorite Christmas sugar cookie recipe. The addition of sour cream makes them extra moist. To dress them up, I drizzle or dip the cookies in tinted white chocolate, then sprinkle them with crushed candy canes. —Lisa MacLean, Winslow, Arizona
Recipe Creator