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Sweets 05.18.11

{Recipe} The Best Frosted Sugar Cookies*

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Frosted Sugar Cookie Recipe

When I was in the 4th grade, my class put together a cookbook as a fundraiser. Everyone submitted recipes from their friends and family, and the illustrations for the chapter dividers and front/back covers were all done by the members of my class… so of course it was a true work of art *wink*… at least to our mothers!

One thing that is arguably a work of art in the kitchen though… the sugar cookie recipe that I first discovered in that book! I honestly can’t remember who originally submitted it and it seems that what I’d thought was a “beloved” cookbook was somehow a casualty of one of our moves growing up (hmmm…), but I started making these little gems regularly around the 6th grade for school functions, friends’ birthdays, holidays, etc… and it kind of became one of my “things”. MANY years later… I can’t tell you how many of my jr. high and high school friends still come out of the woodwork on facebook around the holidays or their kids’ birthdays and ask for “the sugar cookie recipe“. “THE” is all the description that I need to know what they’re talking about. =)

Frosted Sugar Cookie Recipe

I think it’s finally time to post about these – so that instead of countless emails the recipe will be easily accessible in one spot. It’s really a “back to basics” recipe… eggs, sugar, flour, BUTTER… but the secrets to making them great are the cook time (you almost want them undercooked so they’re super soft), and GENEROUS amounts of frosting. No skimping with this one!

Frosted Sugar Cookie Recipe


{*in my own humble opinion}

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400º.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl & set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until mixed well. Add the dry ingredients in slowly & mix well. Chill for at least an hour to stiffen the dough. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin & cut shapes with cookie cutters OR form dough balls and flatten into thick circles with your hands.

Bake 8-10 mins or until just the edges of cookies start to turn a very, very light golden brown. Don’t over-bake. For an extra-doughy consistency, remove the cookies before the edges start to brown.


1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 Tbsp milk
1 egg yolk (optional)
5-6 cups powdered sugar (thicken to desired consistency)
food coloring

Whisk butter, vanilla, milk and egg yolk together. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. If it gets too thick, add more milk in very small amounts, about 1 tsp at a time.



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POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

40 responses to “{Recipe} The Best Frosted Sugar Cookies*”

  1. Oh my yummy! I want to make some today.

  2. mini coach says:

    Cookies are my favourite and they look cool in the pic too.

  3. These look delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe and the lovely images… your little cookie fan is adorable!

  4. Mae says:

    Aww this is apt for kids! Yum

  5. Leslie Swan says:

    I can attest to these cookies being THE best sugar cookies on the planet! I can recall eating way too many of them in college. Thanks for making the recipe readily available forever!

  6. Katrina says:

    Who cares about the cookies! Look @ the sweetheart. She has more sugar than any cookie could have :) Such a cutie!

  7. Carolyn says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe?! However, does anyone know a good way to package the cookies individually so the frosting doesn’t get all smushed and look gross?

  8. I have had success in packaging cookies and cupcakes with soft icing in boxes. I would recommend a 4″ x 4″ x 2″ box lined with a piece of cello or parchment paper (line bottom & sides only) for a single sugar cookie. If you use a deeper box lay a bed of shred down. I slip frosted cookies in the freezer so the frosting hardens and they can be handled without finger prints.

  9. thuy says:

    i just made these last night and they are delciious. i don’t usually like soft cookies but these are good. now if only the icing wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the other cookies…thanks for the fab recipe!

  10. Kim says:

    So, normally I hate sugar cookies. The only ones I would eat were those super sweet and soft ones from the grocery store. BUT, I saw these and since my husband loves sugar cookies, I decided to make them. And lets just say that out of a 12 cookies, My hubby only ate 3 because I ATE ALL THE REST! They were so good! I guess I can say that I officially love sugar cookies now! -but only these ones. :)

  11. Audrey says:

    Do you personally think the icing is better or not as good with the optional yolk?

    • jenn s. says:

      Hi Audrey –
      I like using the yolk and do think it makes the icing richer. I think the recipe makes it optional for people that aren’t comfortable with the idea of even a very small amount of raw egg. I’ve never had an issue with it in 20 years though! :)

    • Trina says:

      Have you tried with meringue powder ? 2 tsp meringue powder+ 2 tbsp water = 1 egg white.
      These look delicious ! Can’t wait to try them ~ thanks!

  12. Marisel M says:

    I love this! I’ve been looking for a good sugar cookie recipe for my daughter’s first birthday party. Her color scheme is these exact colors, but I have been troubled finding a blue like that. What did you use for coloring?

    • jenn s. says:

      Hi Marisel –
      I used the Gel Colorings by Wilton. You can get them in the baking aisle at Michaels or right here on I used the Pink, Golden Yellow, and Sky Blue for these cookies :)

  13. Gayle T. says:

    Do you use real butter?

  14. Kendall says:

    THESE ARE THE BEST! Thanks, Jenn! I am always asking you for a reminder on how to make them…so happy that the recipe is here for me to refer to! Can’t wait to make my next batch!

  15. Heidi says:

    Hey!I just wanted to let you know that I made these cookies last night and posted the results on my blog. My photos didn’t turn out that great but the cookies themselves were some of my favorite! Gosh they were super delicious! I will definitely keep this recipe. Thank you so much.

  16. MaryAnne says:

    I can not wait to make these! I would make them tomorrow and let you know how it goes!! Thanks for sharing:)

  17. Do these cookies freeze well?

    • jenn s. says:

      Hi Sarah –
      I’ve only frozen them unfrosted before, so I’m honestly not sure about how well they’d do with the frosting, but without frosting they did freeze well :)

  18. Sarah says:

    Hi. This recipe looks delicious! I am planning to make these cookies for a holiday party later this week. Just wondering about how many cookies it makes though? I am sure it depends on the size of the cookie but any estimate would help me know if I should double the recipe or not. Thanks so much!!

    • jenn s. says:

      Hi Sarah –
      You’re right in that it depends on the size of the cookie. I’d say this makes about 24 medium-sized round sugar cookies, give or take a few. If you want to be on the safe side and need to serve a lot of people I’d double the recipe. Pretty sure the “extras” won’t go to waste! ;)

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Just took these to my daughter’s first grade class to RAVE reviews! It is a keeper…also I did not chill the dough and they rolled and cut out fine. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Megan says:

    The cookies are good, but the frosting is terrible! I followed the recipe exactly…I’m not sure why everyone says these are so good? Would be great cookies with a different frosting.