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Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

5.0 from 34 votes

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing: A Festive Treat for the Holidays!

When it comes to holiday baking, nothing quite compares to the classic Christmas sugar cookie. These buttery treats are a staple in many households, often served at holiday parties or given as gifts to friends and family. And while there are many variations of the recipe out there, one thing remains constant: the importance of a good royal icing.

Royal icing is a type of icing made from powdered sugar, egg whites, and flavorings. It is known for its smooth, hard finish that is perfect for decorating sugar cookies.

Whether you want to create intricate designs or simply flood your cookies with a solid color, royal icing is the way to go. And the best part? It’s easy to make and can be customized to your liking with different flavors and colors.

If you’re new to decorating sugar cookies with royal icing, don’t worry. With a little practice and patience, anyone can create beautiful and delicious holiday treats. In this article, I will share some tips and tricks for making the perfect Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing.

Ingredients for Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

To make delicious Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing, you will need a few key ingredients. Here are the ingredients you will need to make these cookies:

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Royal Icing

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Food coloring (optional)

The sugar cookie dough is made with unsalted butter, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. It is important to use unsalted butter in the recipe to maintain the balance of flavors. The dough should be chilled before rolling and cutting into shapes.

The royal icing is made with egg whites, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice. The icing can be colored with food coloring to add a festive touch. Meringue powder can be used in place of egg whites if desired.

How to Make Christmas Sugar Cookies

Making the Dough

To make the perfect Christmas sugar cookies, I start by making the dough. In a mixing bowl, I cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Then I add in eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, I whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. I gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until the dough forms.

I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour or until it is firm enough to roll out.

Baking the Cookies

Once the dough is chilled, I preheat my oven to 350°F and line my baking sheets with parchment paper. I roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut it into shapes using cookie cutters.

I place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.

I let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Preparing the Royal Icing

To decorate the cookies, I make a batch of royal icing. In a mixing bowl, I whisk together the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth and thick. I divide the icing into small bowls and add gel food coloring to achieve the desired colors. I transfer the icing to piping bags or squeeze bottles fitted with piping tips.

Decorating the Cookies

To decorate the cookies, I use a variety of piping tips to create different designs. I start by outlining the cookies with a thick consistency of royal icing. Then I flood the cookies with a flood consistency of royal icing and use a toothpick to spread the icing evenly.

I let the cookies dry for a few hours before adding any additional decorations. Once the icing is dry, I use piping bags or squeeze bottles to add additional designs and details. Finally, I sprinkle the cookies with festive sprinkles or sanding sugar to add some extra sparkle.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you create the perfect holiday treats.

  • Texture is key: When making royal icing, the texture is crucial. You want it to be thick enough to hold its shape when piped, but thin enough to spread smoothly. If your icing is too thick, add a bit of water or lemon juice. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  • Don’t skimp on the sugar: Sugar cookies are all about the sweetness, so don’t be afraid to use plenty of sugar in your recipe. I like to use a combination of granulated sugar and powdered sugar for the perfect texture and flavor.

Christmas sugar cookies are the perfect canvas for your creativity. Use different colors of icing, sprinkle on some edible glitter, or add other festive decorations like mini candy canes or chocolate chips.

Christmas sugar cookies make a great gift or a fun addition to any holiday gathering. Consider making a big batch and sharing them with friends, family, or coworkers. It’s a great way to spread holiday cheer and start a new tradition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between royal icing and sugar cookie icing?

Royal icing is a type of icing that is made with egg whites, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. It is known for its smooth and hard texture, which makes it perfect for decorating cookies. Sugar cookie icing, on the other hand, is made with powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. It has a softer texture and is not as durable as royal icing.

How to decorate Christmas cookies with royal icing?

To decorate Christmas cookies with royal icing, you will need a piping bag, a small round tip, and food coloring. First, outline the cookie with the royal icing using the piping bag. Then, fill in the outline with more icing. You can use different colors to create designs and patterns. Let the cookies dry completely before storing or serving.

What is the best way to apply royal icing to cookies?

The best way to apply royal icing to cookies is to use a piping bag with a small round tip. This will allow you to create precise outlines and fill in the design with ease. Make sure to let each layer of icing dry completely before adding another layer or design. This will prevent the colors from bleeding and smudging.

How long do decorated sugar cookies last with royal icing?

Decorated sugar cookies with royal icing can last up to two weeks if stored properly in an airtight container. It is important to let the icing dry completely before storing the cookies. If the icing is not completely dry, it can cause the cookies to become soft and mushy.

Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe

Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe

Recipe by Adore Foods
5.0 from 34 votes

Best sugar cookies decorated for Christmas with Royal Icing and lollies.

Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


Chilling Time


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  • 1/2 cup 1/2 unsalted butter

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 honey

  • 1 Large 1 egg

  • 2 cups 2 all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp 1 baking powder

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 brown sugar

  • 1 tsp 1 vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp 1 cinnamon powder

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 all spice

  • Royal Icing
  • 1 1 white egg

  • 2 cups 2 powdered sugar

  • 1 tbsp 1 freshly squeeze lemon juice


  • Cookies
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In the mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, honey and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together and sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and allspice.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mix gently until the dough comes together.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let the cookies chill in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Royal Icing
  • In a medium bowl combine the sifted powdered sugar with 2 egg whites and mix with a fork until incorporated.
  • Add the lemon juice and mix on low speed with a stand mixer for five minutes until firm.
  • Separate the mixture in two different small bowls. One to make the edges of the cookie and the other to fill it. (Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to avoid the icing dries out)
  • Decorate Cookies
  • Put icing in a piping bag and make a small hole in the edge. Decorate the cookies drawing the edges.
  • To fill the edges, add just a 1⁄4 teaspoon of water in the second bowl of icing and beat for two seconds to get a watery consistency. Fill another piping bag and finish decorating
  • While the icing is still wet, add the candy decorations on top of the icing.
  • Once the icing is dry, use a gel or powder black food coloring to dye 5 tablespoons of the thicker icing. Fill a piping bag and draw lines in zigzag, mimicking the shape of the wires. Before the wires harden, put colorful candy drops on top to simulate the bulbs.
  • Allow the icing to dry completely (about 3 hours minimum) before serving.