Homemade Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies have a hint of orange zest, baked with crispy edges and a slightly soft middle, uniquely decorated to perfection!

Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Friends, we’re enjoying a white December here in our little mountain home. Which means we’re snuggling up by the fire, and doing a little baking to get into the Christmas spirit. (Last year we made this White Chocolate Peppermint Bark recipe — so good!)

Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies - fireplace

How do you make Christmas cookies from scratch?

Do you have Christmas music playing in your home? I love to turn on Pandora and sing away while we’re making Christmas cookies.

Making Christmas cookies from scratch is all about the dough. It needs to be soft (and buttery), but not too dry.

My adaptation of the recipe is to add orange zest, which makes the cookies much more flavorful.

These are the familiar cookies, with crispy edges and a slightly soft middle. The have a slight puff to them, without spreading too much and losing their shape.

HOMEMADE Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies

Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies

These Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies … always a favorite. I have my mother’s cookie cutters in a ziplock bag, and I still love to pull them out and decide on what shapes to make! This is about the age that my sisters and I were when we started making Christmas cookies with our Mom!

Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies - sisters

How do you make Christmas cutout cookies?

Making homemade frosted cookies is quite the production, and quite the mess to clean up, but it’s worth it, because it reminds me of my childhood. 

  1. Make your dough ahead of time and refrigerate.
  2. Clean off a large surface where you can roll the cookie dough.
  3. Bake and cool the cookies.
  4. Make frosting and put into small bowls (if you want to use different colors).
  5. Frost and decorate cookies when the cookies are completely cool.
  6. Allow to sit on the counter and harden up before plating.
  7. Store in a cool place. You can freeze Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies!

Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies - trees

So special. The Christmas trees were always my favorite.

Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies - variety

Make and give away

My problem is this: I cannot stop at just one.

So, it’s better to not make them – HA. Or, bake and give away!

Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies - holly

Priorities at Christmas

I’m also thinking about this busy time of year. I like to make a list and decide on what’s really important, and what I can cross off my list. Even though you’ve done things a certain way for years doesn’t meant you can’t change things up a bit. Or, try something new!

I’m reminded of Jen Hatmaker’s words …

“You have permission to make your home a sanctuary. There is no amount of crazy you are required to bear the brunt of. You do not have to go to everything, help at everything, host everything, or do everything. You can set your own odometer. Whatever takes you further away from Jesus and love and generosity and goodwill, shelve it. The earth will not spin off its axis and you will not retroactively prevent the birth of Baby Jesus.”- Jen Hatmaker

So here’s to keeping things SIMPLE this holiday season, doing the things you love (like baking Christmas cookies) that make your family happy (not stressed)!

HAPPY Christmas baking!

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Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies
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Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 24 -30 cookies
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  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp.  baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp.  salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • Frosting: 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup meringue powder
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. milk, or more if needed
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Sprinkles


  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
  • Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minute.
  • Beat in the egg, then the vanilla and orange zest. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium-low speed until mixed together.
  • Divide the dough in half, pat into 2 round discs about 1/4 inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Let the dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes, and then roll out 1 disc of dough at a time, between 2 pieces of parchment paper, until 1/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and arrange about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets, and then transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
  • Gently gather any scraps of dough into a ball and press back together into a disc; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the disc until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour. Cut out as many cookies as possible and bake.
  • For the frosting: Beat the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder and 1/3 cup water with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, in a large bowl, until stiff peaks form. Add the food coloring if using.
  • Decorate the cookies with the icing; top with sprinkles if using.


Post originally posted December 2015
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Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies Recipe