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soft sugar cookies with red and greed sugar cookie icing

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe with Sugar Cookie Icing

  • Author: Deborah Harroun
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 16 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: approximately 30 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


This is the best sugar cookie recipe – the one I’ve been making for years and years! It also has the perfect sugar cookie icing that makes the cookies perfect for stacking.




  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until lighter in color.
  2. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until combined and scraping the bowl down as needed.
  3. Add in the milk, baking powder, vanilla and salt.
  4. Start adding in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until the dough is soft but not sticky.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.
  7. Sprinkle a counter with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on the floured counter. Roll the dough until it is 1/4” thick, using extra flour as needed.
  8. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes, then transfer to the prepared cookie sheets, keeping the cookies about 1 inch apart.
  9. Re-roll any dough and cut into shapes, adding flour as needed.
  10. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 8 minutes, or just until set. Do not overbake.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  12. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar, water, corn syrup, vegetable shortening and vanilla in a bowl and beat well. The icing should be a little bit stiff.
  13. If coloring the icing, split into bowls (if needed for multiple colors) and stir in food coloring.
  14. Start by placing half of the icing in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. (You can also use a ziplock bag and cut a very small hole in the corner but it’s much easier with a piping bag and tip.) Pipe the outside shape of the cookie. This acts as a dam so that the icing doesn’t drip off the sides.
  15. To the remaining icing (and you can add back in any icing that didn’t get used from piping the edges) add a little more water. Start small, about a teaspoon at a time, and stir. You want a thinner consistency that is easy to spread, but you don’t want it too runny. Using a spoon (or another piping bag), put some icing in the middle of the cookie. Using the back of the spoon, spread the icing to the borders that were piped on earlier. The border should keep the icing from spilling over. If using sprinkles, sprinkle the cookie while the icing is still very wet.
  16. Leave the cookies in a single layer until they are completely dried. Once dried, you can stack the cookies.

Recipe Notes:

I love to substitute the vanilla extract with almond extract for more flavor.

The biggest things to remember with these cookies is to not roll them too thin or bake them too long so that they will remain soft.

I like to keep them on the baking sheet until they are not hot to the touch at all anymore, about 10-15 minutes.

After you have piped the edges and you go to thin out the icing, it may separate a bit at first. Just keep stirring it until it all comes together smoothly again.

When you are filling the cookies with the icing, work with one cookie at a time and add the sprinkles right away. The icing will start to set up pretty quickly and if you try to go back and add the sprinkles, they may not stick if the icing has already started to set up.

The amount of cookies depends on how big you cut them and how many times you re-roll the dough.

Nutrition information provided as an estimate only. Various brands and products can change the counts. Any nutritional information should only be used as a general guideline.


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 120
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 77 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 20 mg

Keywords: sugar cookie recipe, sugar cookie icing