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Easy Christmas Sugar Cookies

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close up overhead shot of grandma's christmas sugar cookies piled on top of each other on a white plate
Grandma's Christmas sugar cookies are a soft, buttery treat that will be a new holiday favorite.
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Table of Contents
  1. SUGAR CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPE INGREDIENTS
  2. SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
  3. HOW TO MAKE GRANDMAS SUGAR COOKIES
  4. CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES FINISHINGS
  5. HOW TO SERVE THE BEST CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES
  6. HOW TO STORE THESE EASY CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES
  7. SUGAR COOKIE CHRISTMAS FAQs
  8. More You’ll Love
  9. JUMP TO RECIPE

Everyone will love these wonderfully soft, festive Christmas sugar cookies! Make a batch of this super easy sugar cookie dough, sprinkle the cookie dough balls in colorful sanding sugars, then sit back and enjoy the cozy smell of cookies baking.

close up overhead shot of grandma's christmas sugar cookies piled on top of each other on a white plate
grandma's christmas sugar cookies raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need: 

  • ½ cup salted butter, softened 
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened 
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract 
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • Red and green sanding sugars 

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

SANDING SUGAR: Sanding sugar in red and green colors is very easy to find around the holiday season. Check the Christmas baking displays in your grocery store, but you should also be able to locate these colorful sugars right in the regular baking aisle any time of the year. 

ALMOND EXTRACT: Some people strongly dislike the flavor of almond extract. If that is you, then feel free to leave this ingredient out of the cookies. This extract is very strong, so only a small amount is used in the sugar cookie recipe, giving it a delicious and subtle hint of almond flavor. 

FROSTING: Although these easy Christmas sugar cookies are perfectly sweet themselves, you can frost them if you wish. One cute idea would be to use white frosting to pipe bows, stars, and other simple decorations onto the colorful sugar-dusted cookies to make them look like Christmas ornaments. 

CHRISTMAS TREE: Pile sugar cookies that have been sprinkled with green sanding sugars onto a large platter to form the shape of a Christmas tree. Arrange cookies with the red sanding sugar on the cookie tree to look like ornaments. You can even have one cookie sprinkled with yellow sanding sugar to represent a star at the top of the tree. What a beautiful table centerpiece for a holiday dinner; nothing better than edible décor! 

HOW TO MAKE GRANDMAS SUGAR COOKIES

STEP ONE: In a large bowl, add the butter, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Using an electric mixer, beat the ingredients together until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so that you don’t end up with any lumps in your soft cookies.

grandma's christmas sugar cookies process shot of ingredients being blended together in a bowl

STEP TWO: Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Turn the hand mixer to low speed and combine the ingredients just until a soft dough forms. 

grandma's christmas sugar cookies process shot of ingredients being folded together in a bowl

STEP THREE: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

PRO TIP:

This is a fantastic cookie dough to make ahead! The dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours after you make it, then baked when you are ready. Or form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then form the dough balls and bake as directed. 

STEP FOUR: Once the dough has been chilled for 2 hours, remove it from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F.

STEP FIVE: Use a 1-inch cookie scoop to portion the dough, and use your hands to roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place the dough balls on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart.

grandma's christmas sugar cookies process shot of cookie dough rolled into balls and placed on a sheet

STEP SIX: Using a fork, make a crisscross pattern pressing down lightly into the cookie dough. 

grandma's christmas sugar cookies process shot of a criss cross made on top of each cookie with a fork

STEP SEVEN: Sprinkle the top of each cookie with green or red sugar. 

grandma's christmas sugar cookies process shot of sanding sugar sprinkled on top of each cookie

STEP EIGHT: Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes. Be sure to not overcook these cookies. They should not brown on the edges at all. You want them to be soft, and they should look a bit undercooked when you pull them out of the oven.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cookies at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

grandma's christmas sugar cookies process shot after cookies are baked

STEP NINE: Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to continue cooling. 

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES FINISHINGS

These sugar cookies are slightly too soft to cut with cookie cutters. We do have a great no-spread sugar cookie recipe that would be great to cut into shapes. If you prefer to decorate the cookies, check out our sugar cookie icing recipe.

HOW TO SERVE THE BEST CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES

Grandma’s soft sugar cookies are perfect for holiday snacking, a Christmas party, Christmas cookie exchange, or giving as gifts. Don’t forget to leave a few out for Santa! Don’t forget our Grinch cookies and snowball cookies for even more delicious treats.

Speaking of simple homemade recipes for the holidays, these M&M pretzel hugs are really easy, tasty, and absolutely adorable! We’re also big fans of this Christmas Chex mix for a holiday movie night snack. 

HOW TO STORE THESE EASY CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES

IN THE FRIDGE: Keep the Christmas sugar cookies in an airtight container with a lid or in a zip-top bag. Refrigerate for up to five days.

IN THE FREEZER: Freeze these classic sugar cookies in zip-top freezer bags for up to three months, then simply thaw before serving.

close up shot of grandma's christmas sugar cookies piled on top of each other

If you’ve been looking for the best sugar cookie recipe around, look no further! These soft, buttery cookies will be a new favorite holiday treat. From-scratch Christmas cookies are so easy to make, you’ll be enjoying them with a mug of hot chocolate before you know it! 

Can I freeze this Sugar Cookie Christmas Dough?

The dough for Grandma’s sugar cookies can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge and bake as directed.

Does the dough have to be chilled, or can I bake the cookies immediately after mixing?

This simple recipe needs to be chilled for at least a couple of hours to ensure they bake up nice and soft and don’t spread too much on your cookie sheet.

Can I use cookie cutters for these sugar cookies?

These cookies are slightly too soft to be the best too choice for cutting out shapes. Our no-spread sugar cookies would be the ideal choice.

How far in advance can I make Christmas Cookies?

These cookies can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for three months.

What makes a cookie moist and chewy?

Adding both eggs and cream cheese to cookie dough will give you moist and chewy cookies.

How do you make sugar cookies keep their shape?

Giving your cookie dough time to chill in the refrigerator will help the cookies to keep their shape. Starting to bake your cookies when the dough is at a lower temperature will prevent them from spreading.

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close up overhead shot of grandma's christmas sugar cookies piled on top of each other on a white plate

Christmas Sugar Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Grandma's Christmas sugar cookies are a soft, buttery treat that will be a new holiday favorite.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 36 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • red and green sanding sugars

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, add butter, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Using a hand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.  
  • Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Turn the hand mixer to low speed and combine the ingredients until a soft dough forms.  
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  
  • Once the dough has been chilled for 2 hours, remove it from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.  
  • Use a 1-inch cookie scoop to portion the dough and use your hands to roll into 1-inch dough balls. Place the balls on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart.
  • Using a fork make a criss cross pattern pressing down lightly into the cookie dough. 
  • Sprinkle sugar with green or red sugar. 
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Make sure not to overcook these cookies. They should not brown on the edges at all. You want them to be soft, and they should look a bit undercooked when you pull them out of the oven.  
  • Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to continue cooling. 

Video

Notes

  • Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so that you don’t end up with any lumps in your soft cookies.
  • This is a fantastic cookie dough to make ahead! The dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours after you make it, then baked when you are ready. Or form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then form the dough balls and bake as directed.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cookies at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Judy – here are the storage instructions:

      IN THE FRIDGE: Keep the Christmas sugar cookies in an airtight food storage container with a lid or in a zip-top bag. Refrigerate for up to five days.

      IN THE FREEZER: Freeze the cookies in zip-top freezer bags for up to three months, then simply thaw before serving.

  1. Celina Parins says

    5 stars
    They were the best sugar cookies I have ever tasted and you’re right, the easiest. Thank you very much for the recipe. I have already shared this recipe with 3 friends. My daughter was the one that told me about it. Celina Parins