Save on Pinterest

Holiday Sugar Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


about 9-1/2 dozen

Updated: Dec. 10, 2022
I add a hint of lemon to these delightful Christmas sugar cookies. For make-ahead convenience, freeze the dough up to three months, then thaw in the fridge before baking and decorating them. —Katie Koziolek, Hartland, Minnesota
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.


  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • Green food coloring
  • Red Hot candies


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into three 10-in. rolls; wrap each in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap rolls and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Remove to wire racks.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, milk and food coloring until smooth.Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip; drizzle over cookies in the shape of a Christmas tree. Place 1 Red Hot at the top of each tree.

Can you freeze Holiday Sugar Cookies?

Freeze dough for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in refrigerator before slicing, baking and decorating as directed.

Christmas Sugar Cookies Tips

How can you make this Christmas sugar cookie recipe your own?

Want to give your Christmas sugar cookies your own unique twist this year? You have many options if you get a little creative. Switching up the zest is one of the easiest ways. Swap in orange zest for the lemon, and maybe add a pinch of cinnamon, too. Grapefruit zest and cloves is also a nice combination. If you want to make your Christmas sugar cookies feel Scandinavian, try adding a healthy dose of cardamom. And don’t forget the world of extracts—there is more than vanilla at your disposal. Try coffee, orange blossom, peppermint or rum extract!

How else can you decorate Christmas sugar cookies?

While these sugar cookies are cut into circles, you can switch it up by rolling out the chilled dough and using almost any cookie cutter you have on hand. Try different shapes and sizes; just be sure to keep the dough rolled to about 1/8-in. thick. When it comes to frosting them, you can spread the frosting on with a small spatula to cover the top of the whole cookie, or put a star tip into a piping bag, and pipe small green stars around the outside edge to form a holiday wreath.

How should you store Christmas sugar cookies?

These Christmas sugar cookies store beautifully in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature. If you want to hold onto them longer, you can freeze the cookies for up to 6 months. If you frost them before freezing, some of the frosting may fall off when they thaw—so plan on frosting them after they thaw out.

James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Culinary Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 169 calories, 7g fat (4g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 97mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.