A Spicy Perspective

Best Cut Out Sugar Cookies + Sugar Cookie Icing

Don’t have the time or skills to make fancy pipe-decorated sugar cookies? Today I offer you my absolute favorite EASY Sugar Cookie Icing and Best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe for parties, picnics, and holiday baking endeavors.

Best Cut Out Sugar Cookies + Sugar Cookie Icing

You Can Make Amazing Cut Out Sugar Cookies… Yes, You Really Can.

We all love the look of those intricately decorated sugar cookies that have been piped and filled with royal icing. When you buy them at a bakery you can tell a true artist has been at work!

Yet most home bakers don’t have the time, or practice, to make cookies like this when they need them for a party or event.

Our SUPER EASY Cut Out Sugar Cookies are dipped in my personal favorite Sugar Cookie Icing, then lightly decorated with sprinkles. No piping skills are required!

Decorated sugar cookies with bunnies and birds

This is my most beloved cut-out sugar cookie recipe and sugar cookie icing, because it’s a sad truth that most “pretty” cookies don’t taste that good… And I hate that!

Here’s Why You’ll Love Our Recipe

  • This recipe makes delicate tender cookies with a mild spice flavor that can still hold up to being rolled and cut. *You can omit the spice if you like, for a true vanilla-flavored sugar cookie, but the faint “pumpkin spice sugar cookies” flavor really makes these cookies stand out!
  • The cookie dough can be made days in advance, so it’s easy to roll and bake when you need it.
  • The Sugar Cookie Icing is silky and dries with a satin sheen.
  • The icing can be flavored with any extract and colored to use for any occasion.
  • You can dip the cookies, instead of piping them, then wipe the edges with a toothpick to remove drippage.
  • This method is great for bakers of all ages!
Best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe perfect for fun dessert decorations

Here’s What You’ll Need…

Cut Out Sugar Cookies Ingredients

  • Butter – Make sure to set unsalted butter out in advance to let it soften naturally. Softened butter beaten with sugar is what creates the delicate cookie texture. Do not melt the butter, just soften.
  • Sugar – Super-fine granulated white sugar is best.
  • Salt – Table salt or sea salt.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice – This spice blend offers a light spicy note that really makes these cookies taste amazing, no matter the season. You can skip the spice blend if you like, for a simple vanilla cookie flavor, or swap the 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice with an apple pie spice blend.
  • Eggs – Use two whole eggs, plus one extra yolk, to give the cookies extra richness.
  • Vanilla Extract – For the quintessential comforting undertones.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Make sure to stir and fluff the flour. Then scoop it into measuring cups and level.
  • Half & Half – AKA half milk and half cream, for a silky smooth texture and appearance.
  • Flavor Extract – Use any extract you like! Almond, rum, lemon, and vanilla or my personal favorites.
  • Powdered Sugar – To thicken and sweeten the cookies. If the icing is too runny, you can always add a little more powdered sugar.

Pro Tip: This icing combination creates a light glaze-style icing that can be used as a dip, spread with a butter knife, or even piped. It does not hold its shape quite like royal icing, but it tastes so much better. To make a slightly stiffer version for piping, add an extra 1/2 – 1 cup powdered sugar.

Necessary Baking Equipment

Here’s what you will need to make this recipe…

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Electric Mixer – either a stand mixer or hand mixer with a large mixing bowl
  • Plastic Wrap – to wrap in chill the cookie dough in small sections
  • Rolling Pin
  • Cookie Cutters – any shape or size
  • Baking Sheets
  • Parchment Paper – this helps with even baking and makes it easy to move the cookies off the sheets after baking
  • Baking Wire Rack/Cooling Rack – (optional) helpful for drying the cookies after dipping, but it’s not necessary
  • Bowl(s) – for mixing the icing
  • Whisk
  • Food Coloring and Sprinkles – (optional) for decoration
  • Toothpicks – for decorating
  • DON’T OVERMIX. It’s important to beat (cream) the butter and sugar together long enough to break down the sugar crystals and fluff the butter mixture. Don’t skip this step! However, once you add the flour you can over mix the dough and make the cookies tough. Once all the flour is well incorporated, turn off the mixer.
  • COLD DOUGH. In order to produce cut out cookies with the perfect shape and texture EVERY TIME, the dough MUST be cold. Wrap your dough into several small disks, so you can take one piece out of the fridge at a time for rolling.
  • FLOUR WELL. Don’t be shy when flouring your work surface. More flour means you will have an easier time moving the cookies to the baking sheets. Keep a small flat spatula nearby in case of counter-stickage.
  • CUT CLOSE. The most tender cookies are the cookies that are cut out on the first roll. Try to leave as little space between your cutting as possible.
  • GATHER & REROLL. The cookies on the second and third roll will still be soft and tender, just ever so slightly less so. After each roll and cut, gather the dough, re-roll, and cut out as many cookies as possible.
whisked sugar cookie icing recipe
  • WHISK. Mix the icing with a whisk to remove all clumps.
  • TAP. Although the whisking is necessary, it creates a lot of bubbles. Once the icing is well combined, tap the bowl on the counter a few times to bring most of the bubbles to the surface.
  • COLOR. If desired, split the icing into several smaller bowls and add food coloring for decorating.
  • DIP. Yes, you can spread or pipe this icing, but the easiest method is simply dipping the face of the cookie into the icing, then tilt the cookie to the side and let the excess icing drip off back into the bowl.
  • TOOTHPICKS! Toothpicks are a highly underrated tool when it comes to cookie icing. Use a toothpick to pop any unwanted bubbles in the glaze, before the icing dries. Also use a toothpick to wipe off excess icing around the edges, before laying the cookies on a baking rack.
  • DRY. Our best sugar cookie icing is pretty delicate the first couple hours, and will crackle when touched, but it does set up over time. For best results, allow the cookies to dry on racks for 3-4 hours after decorating.
dunk cookies in icing then set on a rack to dry

But What If I’m A Decorating Expert?

This cookie glaze is a fabulous tasting icing, but it does crackle a little under pressure, a bit more than traditional cookie icing. If you want a thicker sturdier icing for meticulous piping use classic Royal Icing.

Royal Icing Recipe

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 10 tablespoons water

Combine in an electric mixer and beat for approximately 2 minutes. It should be thick and smooth.

After decoration, allow the cookies to dry 2-3 hours before moving.

Notes

You can also pipe this icing if you like. It is not quite as firm as royal icing, but the taste and texture are MUCH better! Add 1/2 – 1 cup extra powdered sugar if needed.

roll out sugar cookies decorated and served on a plate

We are crazy over the barely-there pumpkin spice sugar cookies flavor. But if you want to switch things up…

  • Skip the spice blend for classic vanilla-flavored cut out cookies.
  • Swap the spice blend for cocoa powder for a barely-there chocolate note in the dry ingredients.
  • Swap the vanilla extract for almond extract or lemon extract.
  • Jimmie sprinkles can be added to the cookie dough for confetti cookies.
  • Cookie Pops! Gently press a lollipop stick into the side of each cookie before baking. Then ice and decorate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Store The Extra Cookies

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Freezing Instructions

You can freeze this recipe at various stages and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • Wrap and freeze the dough for later use.
  • Wrap and freeze the baked undecorated cookies, to decorate at a later time.
  • Wrap and freeze fully decorated cookies. Wrap each cookie individually in plastic to protect its appearance.

Can I Use Frosting Instead of Icing?

I use icing for this recipe because it is thin, therefore less sweet than frosting. Yet you can make sugar cookie frosting instead. Use our buttercream frosting recipe and add gel food coloring to change up the designs from cookie to cookie. 

How Do I Double This Recipe?

If you are looking to make more than one batch of cookies, the recipe card at the bottom of the post has a serving scale that you use to adjust how many cookies you want to make. So no matter how many you choose to make, you will end up with perfect sugar cookies!

best iced sugar cookies

Check the printable recipe below for nutritional information including calories, carbohydrates, protein, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin percentages.

Best Cut Out Sugar Cookies + Sugar Cookie Icing
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5 from 3 votes
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Best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe with Sugar Cookie Icing

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Try our absolute favorite Sugar Cookie Icing and Cut Out Cookie Recipe for your holiday baking endeavors. Make them as simple sugar cookies or mix things uo and make delicately spiced "Pumpkin Spice" Sugar Cookies for extra flavor!
Servings: 72 small cookies (36 large)

Ingredients

For the Cut Out Cookies:

For the Sugar Cookie Icing:

  • 2/3 cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon extract flavor of choice
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

For the Cut Out Cookie Recipe:

  • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy—5 minutes. Add the salt, pumpkin pie spice, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat to combine.
  • Slowly add the flour until the dough in smooth. Then separate the dough and wrap it in 4 separate pieces. Place in the fridge and chill for at least one hour. (Could be made weeks in advance.)
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove one disk at a time. Flour a work surface and roll the disk out to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Work fast and cut the cookies as close together as possible. The more times you roll out the dough the tougher it gets. Use a thin spatula to transfer the cookies onto the baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 6-9 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheets before moving.

For the Sugar Cookie Icing:

  • Whisk the half & half, extract and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Dip and face of each cookie into the icing. Use a toothpick to wipe the excess icing off the edges of the cookie and to pop the air bubble in the surface of the icing. Then set on a rack to dry.

Notes

Is this cookie icing good for piping designs? You can also pipe this icing if you like. It is not quite as firm as royal icing, but the taste and texture are MUCH better! Add 1/2 – 1 cup extra powdered sugar if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 105kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 69mg, Potassium: 13mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 135IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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69 comments on “Best Cut Out Sugar Cookies + Sugar Cookie Icing”

  1. These are amazing! I made them for a treat for my niece’s leadership team(they loved them!).

  2. Great Post. All photos amazing. cookies are absolutely wonderful.

  3. These are seriously so creative!! Love the Sugar Cookie Icing.

  4. These cookies looking so cute and delicious. I really love your post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. sugar cookies with icing
    looking delicious

  6. Pingback: Molasses Spice Cookies With Toasted Marshmallow

  7. Wow, amazing blog structure! How lengthy have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The total glance of your site is fantastic, as well
    as the content!

  8. Can you tell me where I can find the lamb cookie cutter that you used? Thanks.

  9. Those are adorable, and what a creative technique! I can’t wait to make these! Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. I am laughing hard at that story! Too funny and such cute cookies :)

  11. Sommer, these are the cutest and most innovative (for decorating) decorated sugar cookies I have ever seen for spring and the Easter holiday! So very sweet…just like the story in this post! Pinning… xo

  12. These cookies are so adorable and I love anything pumpkin flavored. I got really excited to try them out but I can’t find a whole vanilla bean anywhere around me, do you know how much extract I could use instead? Thanks!

  13. Can these be made the day before? And, if so, should they be stored in the refrigerator because of the half and half?

    • Hi Terry, I make them ahead and will leave them out on the counter a few days. But I’m not a health inspector. ;) We’ve never had an issue.

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  15. Love the cookies and the lamb certainly made me smile. Where I live in the UK we have free roaming sheep so nothing surprises me there as they always go where you don’t want them too :-)

  16. My mother in law caught a live chicken in the grocery store parking lot last week, and I thought THAT was an adventure. Y’all win.

  17. what a hoot! you sure do showers to the hilt! love the cute little lamb cookies…will def remember these recipes when it’s time to do Christmas cookies with the grandgirls!

  18. Those cookies are absolutely adorable, and the Rice Krispies are a great idea!

  19. These are some cute little lambs. Best part? So easy! Thanks for sharing :)

  20. Hahaha~ That’s so funny and so cute at the same time!

  21. Seriously, this might be the cutest sugar cookie I have ever seen. And the cereal didn’t burn??? So amazingly cute!

  22. Oh, those lamb cookies are just adorable!

  23. Such a beautiful shower and these lamb cookies are precious!

  24. What adorable cookies. It sounds like the shower was truly unforgettable…not just for the wonderful food. Glad you could call the farmer to get the lamb.

  25. I just stumbled upon your wonderful post. The lamb story made gave the post 5 “bonus” stars to your already 5-star recipe (darling cookies, beautiful photos). I realize how difficult the lamb made the day, but your story certainly made mine.

    Thanks for posting! I’ll surely be back.

    Warmly,
    Sharon Anne

  26. Oh my goodness! I loved this post… from the cookies to the adorable little lamb. This brought a huge grin to my face!

  27. That’s hilarious! And the rice krispies trick is just plain genius! So cute…

  28. delicious looking cookie looks wonderful

  29. Wow, what an amazing shower. I loved that the lamb eluded you all for that long. Let’s hear it for working dogs! Now we know how they earn their keep. You sure no one caught the chase on film? As for the cookies; they’re gorgeous. Thanks for sharing both your icing recipe as well as the rice krispies trick. That’s pure genius.
    +1

  30. These are so cute!! Great idea on the rice crispies :)

  31. By far, the cutest post I’ve seen all day. Adorable!

  32. Unforgettable is right! LOL That must have been one heck of a day!

  33. Outstanding looking event! Fantastic cookies!

  34. Beautiful cookies and what an adventure with that little lamb.
    I adore cut out cookies but I cannot make them for the life of me.

  35. What a funny story although it might not have been so funny when it first happened. Love the texture on your cookies from the rice krispies.

  36. Wow! I love these. I have been shopping for a baby or rattle cookie cutter to make cookies for my daughters baby shower. The rice krispie addition is fantastic! Another great recipe and oh so funny post!

  37. Lamb on the loose!! It looks like the shower was a success!!

  38. Those are the most precious cookies. I love the little lamb theme.

  39. How funny are those pictures of everyone chasing after that lamb?! Love it! And I love these cookies even more, they are so cute and look perfect for a baby shower!

  40. Awww – such cute, sweet cookies!

  41. I follow Kitchen aid on FB

  42. What a fabulous blog post! I laughed (great story) and I marveled (I’m loving that rice crispy technique!) Thank you for sharing with me (as always, I’m leaving your blog with a smile!) I hope you are doing well. Love and blessings form Austin!

  43. These are so adorable. What a wonderful post!

  44. OMG those cookies are adorable. I will heed the warning on livestock at a party! Ahhh…memories :) Looks like it was a wonderful baby shower.

  45. These are too cute and I love the texture the rice cereal gave the cookies. Genius! I can’t get over the lamb escaping! I can just imagine how much fun that was. ;)

  46. totally cute lambs, totally cute shower, totally cute story.

    can i be super lame and use a pun? okay, i will.

    this post is lambtastic. ha!

  47. YOu have NO IDEA how much I love this!!! I am a little bit biased of course, but the textures, OM goodness!!! And still laughing about the “never invite livestock to a baby shower” YOuu can always say you planned it as a shower game, LOL!

  48. The looks are adorable.

  49. Looked like a fun baby shower. Chasing lamb story is a great read. The cookies are lovely. I’m saving the recipe for when my daughter’s time comes.

  50. Those lamb cookies are AWESOME! I enjoyed mine while the real one ran around. :-)

  51. These are absolutely adorable!! I’ve got to find this lamb cut out for my Easter cookies!!

  52. Those are the cutest cookies. What a great post. The shower looked like it was just wonderful.

  53. These are the cutest lamb cookies ever!! I love the shower theme, great tip with the cereal!!

  54. Your cookies are just adorable!!! And so glad that they don’t taste like cardboard! Such a cute shower…and one she’ll never forget with the lamb on the lam :)

  55. BRILLIANT! I love the addition of the rice cereal for the 3D effect. This are so darn cute!!!

  56. Look at that! I might invite that little lamb over to my house today. You know, just for fun.

    BAAAHAHAHAH.

    sorry.

  57. Haha! “Never invite livestock to a baby shower” So funny! These are so stinkin’ cute! It makes me want to host a baby shower!

  58. These cookies are absolutely adorable and the idea to use rice krispies for the wool is inspired! Love the story about the runaway lamb. It sounds like it had no intention of being anyone’s “wow” factor. Too funny.

  59. I love your escaping lamb story. And you are a genious…..thinking up a way to make the wool with RiceKrispies. I can imagine that it offered a nice crunch surprise with every bite. I must try it soon.

  60. What an adorable shower and definitely MEMORABLE : )

  61. Love these cookies – adorable!

  62. Those are the most darling cookies and what a funny story with the lamb running free. Everyone will remember that baby shower for sure.

  63. Absolutely adorable, Sommer! I love the escape artist lamb at the baby shower. :)

  64. Wow, what an amazing shower. I loved that the lamb eluded you all for that long. Let’s hear it for working dogs! Now we know how they earn their keep. You sure no one caught the chase on film? As for the cookies; they’re gorgeous. Thanks for sharing both your icing recipe as well as the rice krispies trick. That’s pure genius.

  65. i cannot get over how CUTE those cookies are! i really love the recipe too, must try.