Christmas Cut-Out Cookies


My cousin Kelley has reminded me from time to time that the only cookies I would eat at holiday get-togethers were my own mom’s cut-out cookies. I never touched any other cookies that were present.

What can I say?! I like what I like!

I’m happy to share this recipe with you today because this is the most delicious and light sugar cookie recipe for cut-outs. If you like a crunchy cookie, roll the dough thinner, and if you like a softer cookie, keep it a little bit on the thicker side.

They only take 5 minutes to bake so the frosting can start happening pretty shortly thereafter (as long as they are cool!)

I envisioned a sweet family time of making the cut-outs with the boys one evening, imagining us all laughing and enjoying one another while baking perfectly shaped cut-outs. As it turns out, they pretty much massacred the dough and hacked away at the shapes they used with a spatula, so I quickly decided I would make the cut-outs that we would actually frost later that evening, and we could frost them together!

That went much better, the boys loved shaking the sprinkles over the frosting and David kept “accidentally” breaking the arms of the ginger bread men and eating them! It was a fun time and I hope it becomes something we do annually!

So let’s get onto the recipe!

Christmas Cut-Out Cookies // makes 24 -30 cookies, depending on size of your cookie cutter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

–Preheat oven to 375.

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg together in a mixer until combined. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours (do NOT skip this step).

After the dough is completely chilled, generously flour the surface you will be rolling the dough out on, flouring the rolling pin or pastry roller as you go. It’s okay to work a bit more flour into this dough. Work quickly, the colder the dough the easier it will be! The thickness I like is about 3/16th of an inch, which leaves me with a soft cookie that holds its shape well.

Using cut-outs of your choice, create the cookies and bake on parchment paper on a high rack in your oven for 5 minutes. Let cool on the baking pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

After they are completely cool, it’s time to frost!

Christmas Cut-Out Cookie Frosting 

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

about 2-3 tbsp milk

Mix sugar and butter until it resembles small rocks, like a pie dough. Add vanilla and at least 2 tablespoons of milk, mix on high until the frosting comes together. Add more milk for a thinner frosting, or leave it on the thicker end by not adding additional milk. Generally, I add 3 tablespoons of milk to my frosting.

Add food coloring, and enjoy frosting the cookies! My tip is to shake the sprinkles onto the cookies over a large baking sheet so you aren’t vacuuming up sprinkles for the rest of your life!


p.s. Check out my gift guides for him and her!






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Comments (53)

  1. Fran says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    Can’t wait to make these! Not to sound daft, is powdered sugar actually icing sugar or caster? I’m in the UK! I’ve got my cup to grams converter ready to go though, grabbing the ingredients on my lunch break! Thanks x

    • Kate says
      Posted December 14, 2017

      I’m sorry I don’t know what caster is!

      • Fran says
        Posted December 14, 2017

        That’s okay Kate, Nicole has helped me out, thank you both! X

    • Nicole says
      Posted December 14, 2017

      For this recipe you would use icing sugar in both the cookies and the icing itself. Typically sugar cookies use caster sugar, but this is the first time I’ve seen icing sugar in the cookies themselves!

  2. Erinn says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    These are so sweet! Thanks for the tip about using the baking sheet to catch the sprinkles! What a neat trick.

  3. Posted December 14, 2017

    These must be the most photogenic cookies out of all the recipes out there. I love the pastel colours you did! Such family fun! 🙂

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  4. Allie says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    This recipe sounds delicious! And that baking pan trick for the sprinkles is genius! Thanks for sharing! xAllie

  5. JNJxn says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    Question! Do they stack after the frosting sets? Could you put a bundle of them in a cute gift bag for a teacher gift or something like that? These look beautiful, and thank you for sharing your recipe!

    • Kate says
      Posted December 14, 2017

      They do!

  6. Terri Leigh Armstrong says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    Can’t wait to try these with my boys! Also, can’t wait for the tips on getting ready … I’ve been nervous drying my hair needing to know how to do it right! Ha ha Thanks!

  7. Posted December 14, 2017

    Christmas baking with little boys is so fun!

  8. Eva says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    This makes me want a cookie so bad!

  9. Allison Roberts Smith says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    Hi Kate
    What type of butter (unsalted I’m guessing) and milk (skim/2%/1% Whole) does the recipe call for ? Can’t wait to make these

    • Lisa says
      Posted December 16, 2018

      Used cheap margarine and whole milk and it worked perfect.

  10. Caity hanson says
    Posted December 14, 2017

    I have followed you for years. When I was looking for hairstyles…my baby boy turns 4 in a week and I have another boy and a 3rd baby on the way. But this blog just makes me smile. I bake and decorate custom sugar cookies for a living and not kidding this is the recipe I use. I’m pretty sure it was a recipe my mom used when we were growing up..

  11. Joyce Sandusky says
    Posted December 15, 2017

    Powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar in the cookie recipe? I only ask because I’ve never seen powdered sugar in a recipe that goes in the oven. But, I’m not an expert.

  12. evelyn says
    Posted December 15, 2017

    do you mean put parchment paper on a baking sheet? Or just put the parchment paper directly on the oven rack?

    • Kate says
      Posted December 15, 2017

      yes, parchment paper on the baking sheet. You never put it right on the oven rack, just FYI!

  13. Hannah Braswell says
    Posted December 16, 2017

    I wanted to see how your Christmas cookie recipe compared to mine and it’s the EXACT SAME ONE!!! These are the BEST cookies. I use a slightly different icing recipe. I’ve made these twice already and plan to make two more rounds. SO GOOD.

    • Allison Roberts Smith says
      Posted December 16, 2017

      Hannah ,
      Trying to make these this weekend and I Havent gotten a reply from Kate (tried Insta DM and story tag, and commented here ) does your recipe use whole milk and unsalted butter ? Thanks

      • ShannonATX says
        Posted December 16, 2017

        Following for answer on butter.

      • Kate says
        Posted December 17, 2017

        Salted butter and whole milk, but I think you could swap out either of those.

        • Allison Roberts Smith says
          Posted December 17, 2017

          Thanks Kate !

  14. kara says
    Posted December 16, 2017

    can you refridgerate or freeze the dough to use later.. or does that dry it out? Thanks!

  15. Monica says
    Posted December 16, 2017

    We made these today, and they puffed up so huge that they lost their shape. Any experienced baker know why? They tasted yummy though, and the kids didn’t even care about decorating blobs. 😉

    • Kate says
      Posted December 17, 2017

      They may have been too thick? Try rolling them thinner next time!

  16. Tara Shae Hershberger says
    Posted December 17, 2017

    Thanks for the recipe! I baked your cookies with the family today. Super messy, but also great memories for my littles. Delicious too!

  17. Kelsie says
    Posted December 17, 2017

    I love reading your blog, I was so excited to make these cookies! Made them this weekend for our holiday party and they were a hit. 🙂 I did have some trouble with the frosting, I had to add a whole extra stick to make mine crumble up (I’ve never made frosting before) 🤷🏼‍♀️ But thankfully they still turned out awesome!

  18. annie says
    Posted December 18, 2017


  19. Susan Hudson says
    Posted December 18, 2017

    Does the frosting harden up or stay creamy?

    • Kate says
      Posted December 18, 2017

      It hardens!

  20. Brittney K says
    Posted December 19, 2017

    Made these this past weekend. Loved them so much and were so quick to bake. A definite keeper in my house!

    • Kate says
      Posted December 19, 2017


  21. Alane says
    Posted December 22, 2017

    Is the butter left out to soften or is it straight from the fridge?

    • Sarah O says
      Posted December 22, 2017


  22. Michaela says
    Posted December 22, 2017

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I made it a few days ago and I’ve declared it my official “Christmas cookie” recipe! I loved the touch of almond extract, 5 minute bake time, and the way the frosting sets up. I have a baby on the way (due in June! my first!) and it makes me smile to think about future cookie baking endeavors with my little one. Merry Christmas!

    • Kate says
      Posted December 22, 2017


  23. Mackenzie says
    Posted December 22, 2017

    I tried out this recipe a few days ago and they were a huge hit! I dropped some off to my grandparents and they loved it so much that they asked for the recipe to make them. This is easily my favorite cutout cookie recipe I’ve tried!

    • Kate says
      Posted December 22, 2017

      love to hear this!

  24. Sarah O says
    Posted December 22, 2017

    Just made a batch of these with my kiddos! They turned out great. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  25. Stacey says
    Posted December 23, 2017

    I really enjoy your hair and makeup tutorials so thought I’d give this recipe a try. So happy I did. My son has a severe dairy allergy and I’ve tried other recipes with dairy free butter and milk substitutes but have never been too happy with the result. These were perfect! The cookies are so soft and delicious. The frosting was yummy and hardened nicely. Great recipe!

  26. Rhonda says
    Posted December 26, 2017

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! My mom, sister, my 2 daughters and I made these on Christmas Eve. They were delicious and created a fantastic memory/tradition that we’ll have forever! I LOVE your blog and all the fabulous hair/make up knowledge you share regularly. But this little treasure was super special!

  27. Kirsten says
    Posted March 28, 2018

    We loved these cookies so much at Christmas that we’re going to make them for Easter too! Thanks for the great recipe!

  28. Megan says
    Posted December 8, 2018

    Can’t wait to try! Love the part about your boys hacking the dough- exactly what my kiddos would do.

  29. Nicole says
    Posted December 10, 2018

    I made this tonight and my dough turned out crumbly before rolling them into the ball and putting them in the fridge. Is that normal?

    • KG says
      Posted December 11, 2018

      yes! it will get better once cold – will harden but still kind of moist so you’ll need a lot of flour to roll it.

  30. KG says
    Posted December 12, 2018

    I made these yesterday – with two other recipes that I was testing for an upcoming cookie party – and WOW. These have a wonderful crumb, and are truly light and delicious. I made some changes in that I creamed the butter and sugar for about 5 or so minutes till it was super light and fluffy. I also softened the butter a little. Like 20 seconds in the microwave. Also, I found that they baked better at 350 for 8 minutes but you know, ovens vary. While these lose their shape a bit after baking, particularly edges, they will be the main cookie dough at our party because they are simply delicious. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Kate says
      Posted December 12, 2018

      Thanks for sharing your tips!!

  31. Helen says
    Posted December 17, 2018

    Question, can this dough be made the day before and put in the fridge? Or is that too long in the fridge?

    • Kate says
      Posted December 18, 2018

      24 hours in the fridge should be totally fine!

  32. Amy says
    Posted December 12, 2019

    What kind of flour?

    • Lisa says
      Posted December 13, 2019

      I used just regular all purpose and they turned out great.

  33. Stephanie Ferber says
    Posted December 13, 2019

    I have 7 kids and my youngest is 18. I’ve tried making sugar cookies with my kids for years and failed miserably so I just gave up! Bella heads off to college next fall so I thought I’d give it a go one more time with your recipe. They were perfection!! We had so much fun and it was such a special memory for us to share! Thank you so much for giving us a new holiday tradition and a recipe that she can share with her children…and I can pass along to my older sugar cookie deprived kids!