Thick Sugar Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Total Time
Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
Homemade frosted sugar cookies are like a cozy hug in a handheld bite!

Updated: Jan. 04, 2024

I don’t shy away from buying cookies at the store, but there are some treats that just taste better homemade. That includes one of the all-time best classic cookie recipes: frosted sugar cookies. These buttery, cake-y cookies, slathered in sweet frosting, are easy and fun to make at home, especially when baking with kids.

Here’s an easy method for making sugar cookies, including tips for rolling out the dough and decorating the cookies as simple or elaborate as you’d like.

Ingredients for Frosted Sugar Cookies

Ingredients for Frosted Sugar Cookies TMB STUDIO

  • Butter: Creamy, rich butter is in both the cookie batter and the frosting. It makes for a meltingly tender cookie crumb, as well as a flavorful frosting. Use the best butter brand you can find.
  • Eggs: Both whole eggs and egg yolks contribute flavor, fat and structure to the cookie batter, resulting in a cake-y, rich cookie that keeps very well.
  • Shortening: Adding shortening to the frosting makes it easier to work with than a frosting made with butter alone, which can get too stiff when cold and too soft when warm.
  • Sugar: Naturally, sugar is the star ingredient in our homemade sugar cookie recipe! This recipe calls for two types of sugar. Granulated sugar adds sweetness to the cookie batter, while soft confectioners’ sugar flavors the frosting.


Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, five to seven minutes. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla and almond extracts.

Editor’s Tip: This step aerates the butter, adding volume and lightness to the cookies.

Step 2: Add the dry ingredients

Mixing dry ingredients in a large bowlTMB STUDIO

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture until combined. Don’t overbeat the batter, or the cookies may be tough.

Editor’s Tip: Combining the dry ingredients separately ensures that the baking powder and salt are evenly distributed in the flour.

Step 3: Chill the sugar cookie dough

Tip the dough onto the counter, and shape it into a disk. Wrap the disk, and refrigerate it until it’s firm enough to roll, about one hour.

Step 4: Roll out the dough

Circular Cookie dough cutter on doughTMB STUDIO

Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the dough with a floured 2-inch cookie cutter in the shape of your choice. Place the cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Editor’s Tip: Scraps of dough can be combined and rolled again until all the cookies are cut out.

Step 5: Bake

Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Err on the side of slightly underbaking, as the cookies will continue to solidify after coming out of the oven.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for five minutes, then move them to wire racks to cool completely.

Step 6: Make the frosting, and decorate

In a large bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar, butter, shortening, vanilla extract, almond extract and 2 tablespoons of milk. Slowly add a bit more milk (about 1 tablespoon, but you may need more or less) until the frosting is the desired consistency—not too runny but not too stiff. If you add too much milk, simply stir in a little more confectioners’ sugar.

Decorating cookies with frosting and colourful sprinklesTMB STUDIO

When the cookies are completely cool, spread with frosting. If desired, top with sprinkles.

Editor’s Tip: While cookies taste delicious with a simple slather of frosting, there are endless creative ideas for decorating cookies. To turn these frosted sugar cookies into Christmas cookies, pipe on festive designs or use themed cookie cutters.

Frosted Sugar Cookies Variations

Frosted Sugar Cookies decorated with sprinkles on topTMB STUDIO

  • Add citrus: Sugar cookies are easy to adapt! Add the zest of one lemon, orange or grapefruit to the batter for a bright citrus flavor.
  • Shake in sprinkles: Mix in your favorite type of sprinkles for a funfetti-style cookie.
  • Change up the frosting: Just about any frosting or glaze tastes great with these cookies. Try chocolate frosting or creamy peanut butter frosting, or add jam to the frosting for fruit flavor and a bit of color.
  • Make sandwich cookies: Layer one sugar cookie with frosting or Nutella, and press a second cookie on top.
  • Add a sweet sprinkle: A shake of cinnamon sugar or chunky pearl sugar adds sweetness without the effort of icing.
  • Experiment with toppings: After dipping the cookies in icing or slathering them with frosting, add a topping for texture and flavor. Think shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts or sugared citrus peel.

How to Store Frosted Sugar Cookies

Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing. One cooled, keep the frosted sugar cookies in an airtight container, or tightly wrapped, at room temperature. To prevent the frosting from smudging or sticking, place wax paper between layers of cookies. Frosted sugar cookies will keep for up to two weeks, though they will soften over time.

You can store frosted sugar cookies in the refrigerator, but they will dry out much more quickly than if kept at room temperature.

Can you make frosted sugar cookies ahead of time?

To make frosted sugar cookies ahead of time, prepare the unbaked dough, and keep it tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to three days before shaping and baking off.

You can also freeze the unbaked cookie dough, tightly wrapped, for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding to roll and bake the cookies.

How to Freeze Frosted Sugar Cookies

To freeze frosted sugar cookies, allow the frosting to set completely, then arrange the cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Stack the cookies, and seal them in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag. They will keep for up to three months.

You can use this same method to freeze unfrosted sugar cookies. You’ll get the best results if the cookies are not frosted until after thawing.

Frosted Sugar Cookies Tips

Frosted Sugar Cookies on serving trayTMB STUDIO

How can I keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin?

Sprinkling the dough with a bit of flour will usually stop the dough from sticking, but if stickiness is persistent, the dough may be too warm. Return it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to let it harden up a bit.

Rolling out cookie dough between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap makes it even simpler and less messy.

What if my sugar cookie dough cracks as I roll it?

If your dough splits while you’re rolling it out, that usually means the dough is too cold. Allow it to sit for another 10 minutes at room temperature before continuing to roll.

Thick Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield about 3 dozen.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • Assorted colored sprinkles, optional


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in eggs, egg yolks and extracts. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Shape into a disk; wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. cookie cutter. Place cutouts 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake until edges begin to brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, shortening, extracts and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Spread over cookies. If desired, top cookies with sprinkles.

Nutrition Facts

1 frosted cookie: 220 calories, 11g fat (6g saturated fat), 46mg cholesterol, 103mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (19g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.

This thick and cakelike sugar cookie is similar to those sold at bakeries. My children often request these for their birthdays and are always happy to help decorate them. —Heather Biedler, Martinsburg, West Virginia