Secure your spot on Santa’s nice list with these easy Christmas cookie decorating ideas. Made using our simple roll-out sugar cookie dough recipe, these easy Christmas cookies are sure to make holiday wishes come true!

Roll-Out Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe

Our roll-out cookie dough recipe is great for making Christmas sugar cookies in all shapes and sizes. With no refrigeration required, this dough is literally ready to roll in no time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Step 1: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F.

Step 2: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

Step 3: Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extract. Continue mixing until well combined.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, use a fork or a whisk to mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. 

Step 5: Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, about 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Divide the dough into two equal portions. 

Step 6: Place one portion on a lightly floured surface. The remaining portion can be kept in your mixing bowl at room temperature, there’s no need to refrigerate it.

Step 7: Using a rolling pin, roll your dough into a circle, about 12 in. in diameter and no more than 1/8 in. thick.

Step 8: Now it’s time to start cutting our cookies! To prevent your dough from sticking to the cookie cutters, dip your cutters in flour before each use. The flour that sticks to the edge of your cut cookie will also help it keep its shape in the oven.

Step 9: Transfer your cookies to an ungreased nonstick baking sheet and bake for 8 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned. Once they’re done baking, let them cool on the sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling grid to cool completely. 

Step 10: Repeat with the other portion of dough.

Tips and tricks for making the best Christmas cookies

  • This recipe will make about 36 (3 inch) cookies. It can easily be doubled if you need more or cut in half if you need less. You can also freeze half of the dough to use at a later time.
  • One of the best secrets to Santa-approved cookies is making sure your ingredients are all at room temperature, especially the butter. Room temperature butter is much easier to mix and prevents large clumps of butter from showing up in your dough.
  • Try to cut your cookies as close together as possible to avoid wasting any dough. Dough scraps can be rerolled, but we suggest rerolling only once, as the more you handle it, the more gluten develops…which results in tougher cookies. 
  • For easy rolling, use our 20 inch fondant roller with the orange guide rings to roll your dough out to the perfect thickness!
  • If you’re cutting out intricate cookie shapes, roll out your cookie dough on a sheet of parchment paper. Use a cutter to cut your cookie shapes, but then remove the excess dough around the cookies rather than the cookie shape itself. Then transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet and pop it in the oven!
  • Do not grease your nonstick pan. This dough has butter in it, which will help your cookies release. Too much nonstick surface could cause your cookies to spread and lose their shape. If you’re worried about sticking, bake your cookies on parchment paper or a silicone mat. 

Check out our post on How to Make Sugar Cookies for even more helpful tips and tricks!

How to freeze cookies

To freeze dough: Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Stored this way, dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to use, let it thaw completely in the fridge.

 

To freeze baked cookies: Layer undecorated cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag with parchment paper between the layers. Freeze for up to 4 months. Let cookies defrost and come to room temperature before decorating.

How to Decorate Christmas Cookies

Now comes the fun part – decorating! Whether you’re looking for simple, kid-friendly Christmas cookie ideas or you’re aiming to gift cookies to family and friends, decorating sugar cookies for Christmas is sure to be a holly, jolly time if you keep these tips and tricks in mind!

 

All of these cookies begin with our tasty roll-out cookie dough recipe above, but you can also use these techniques on chocolate roll-out dough, gingerbread or your favorite roll-out cookie dough recipe. 

Best icings and frostings for decorating

  1. Sugar Cookie Royal Icing
    Pros: easy to make, lactose-free, endless decorating possibilities, dries hard for easy cookie transportation
  2. Buttercream Frosting

Pros: easy to make, versatile, fan-favorite flavor, ideal for topping with sprinkles 

  1. Wilton Cookie Icing

Pros: pre-made and incredibly easy to use, matte-finish, does not dry hard

 

Learn more about these icings and frosting with our Christmas cookie icings guide.

How to Decorate Christmas Cookies

Now comes the fun part – decorating! Whether you’re looking for simple, kid-friendly Christmas cookie ideas or you’re aiming to gift cookies to family and friends, decorating sugar cookies for Christmas is sure to be a holly, jolly time if you keep these tips and tricks in mind!

 

All of these cookies begin with our tasty roll-out cookie dough recipe above, but you can also use these techniques on chocolate roll-out dough, gingerbread or your favorite roll-out cookie dough recipe. 

Tips and tricks for cookie decorating

  • Before decorating with royal icing or buttercream, make sure your cookies are at room temperature. If your cookies are still warm, the heat from the cookie can melt the frosting.
  • If you want your cookies to dry hard for easy gifting or packaging, use royal icing. But keep in mind that royal icing takes time to dry, sometimes as long as 24 hours, so plan ahead when you’re decorating your cookies.
  • Use a toothpick to help guide icing into smaller areas of your cookie.
  • If you’re decorating with kids, put their cookies on disposable paper plates to help contain the mess!
  • Since royal icing has a high water content, it can cause sprinkles, sparkling sugars and nonpareils to bleed. Instead, use sprinkles on the cookies you decorate with buttercream or bottled cookie icing.

For even more helpful tips and tricks, check out our post on How to Decorate Cookies Like a Pro!

Sugar Cookie Decorating Ideas

Christmas Tree Cookies

White Polka Dot Christmas tree Cookies
  1. No cookie cutters needed to make these Pop Art Christmas Cookies. A simple decoration of royal icing and sugar pearls is all you need to make these retro treats!

 2. Bold and vibrant shades make these Lush Winter Green Cookies a lovely addition to your holiday cookie platter.

Snowman Cookies

3. Build a snowman from the comfort of your own kitchen with these Snowmen Sugar Cookies.

    4. Almost too cute to eat, these Melting Snowmen Cut-Out Cookies are sure to delight kids and adults alike. Serve them with a cup of hot cocoa for the perfect post-snowman-building treat!

Snowflake Cookies

5. Turn any holiday gathering into a shimmering celebration with these blue and white Snowflake Sugar Cookies. Topped with piped snowflakes, these lovely winter cookies are great for Christmas, Hanukkah and everything in between!

6. No need to step out into the cold to catch these Buttercream Snowflake Cookies on your tongue! Decorated using a variety of star and round piping tips, these cookies are just as beautiful as the real thing!

7. Though we used gingerbread to make this Snowflake Cookie Wreath, it can easily be done with any roll-out cookie dough recipe you’d like! A striking display for your holiday table, this Christmas cookie project is great for decorators looking for a little challenge. 

Christmas Wreath Cookies

8. Whether you’re making a cookie platter for the holidays or hosting Christmas dinner, these Christmas Wreath Cookies are sure to be a lovely addition to your table.

9. These Best of the Season Wreath Cookies are a simple project for beginning decorators. Arrange holly sprinkles into a wreath shape for an easy and festive holiday treat.

Santa Claus Cookies

10. Santa himself is sure to love these Santa Face Cookies! Use Red and White Icing Pouches to decorate these fun Christmas cookies, then arrange on a plate for Santa to enjoy on Christmas eve!

11. I mustache you, do you love these Santa’s Whiskers Winter Cookies? This project shows you how to make 8 different mustache cookies using a variety of decorating techniques. These also make fun (and edible!) photo props for holiday parties!

What tips are used to decorate Christmas cookies?

For outlining or piping facial features (like faces on gingerbread cookies), we suggest round piping tips. Smaller numbers, like 1 through 5, are great for tiny lines and fine details, while larger numbers, like 6 through 10, are good for thicker outlines and flooding.

 

Small star tips, such as numbers 16 through 21, can be used to pipe stars, rosettes, swirls or hair on a Santa cookie. You can also use petal or leaf tips to decorate Christmas tree and wreath cookies. 

 

You can learn more about round, star, petal and specialty piping tips in our post, Piping Tips 101 – A Guide to Get You Started.

You can write messages on cookies using royal icing and a very thin round tip (tips 1 or 2 work well for this). You can also use edible FoodWriter Markers to color, outline or draw your design on hardened royal icing.

Are you decorating cookies for Christmas this year? Need some help getting started? Check out our huge list of cute Christmas cookies or our collection of unique Christmas cookies for an added dose of inspiration.

And when you’re done, be sure to post a picture of your completed cookie platter on Instagram and tag us @wiltoncakes so we can see how awesome everything turned out! ​

 

11 Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas

Celebrate the holiday season with these 11 easy Christmas sugar cookie decorating ideas.