Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

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Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing. These are not only beautiful, but will hands down be the best sugar cookies you ever eat.

Sugar Cookie with Royal Icing

My mom makes these sugar cookies at Christmas every year. They are a holiday staple for our family. So to me, they taste like home and holidays.

When I was pregnant with my son, I wasn’t able to travel to see my family for Christmas, so my parents came to visit. While they were visiting, my mom baked these cookies and then set out all the cookie decorating supplies so that I could sit at my kitchen table and take part in my favorite Christmas activity – decorating the cookies.

When we first started making these cookies I used my mom’s cookie frosting, but in recent years I changed to royal icing, because a cookie that tastes as delicious as this one, needs an exterior to match.

They are perfect for every holiday or event you can think of. Post updated 6/24/18 with new cookie photos. I foresee that each time I make these, I’ll probably add photos of new designs!

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Delicious sugar cookies decorated beautifully with royal icing.
5 from 5 votes
Course: Dessert


Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp meringue powder
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 4-6 tbsp warm water
  • Gel food coloring


Cookie Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In a large bowl, using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  • On medium speed, beat in egg, vanilla and almond extracts. 
  • Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Gradually beat into butter mixture, about 1/2 to 1 cup at a time. 
  • Divide into two balls. On a floured surface roll a ball to about ⅛  inch thickness.
  • Dip cookie cutters into flour and use to cut out cookies. Re-roll as needed, and once done with first ball of dough, repeat with the second. 
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 6-7 min or until lightly browned (I use a silicone mat on an AirBake sheet).
  • Let cookies cool on pan for 2-3 minutes. Remove and finish cooling on wire cooking rack.

Icing Directions:

  • Stir together powdered sugar and meringue powder. Gradually still in water.
  • Pour in vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Diving icing into number of bowls corresponding to number of colors you want to use.
  • I recommended adding 1-2 extra tbsp of powdered sugar to one of the bowls to make a thicker icing. This thicker icing is good for piping edges that you can let dry, and then flood the inside with a less viscous icing.
  • Add gel food coloring and mix until desired color is reached. NOTE: Liquid food coloring does NOT dry well, the icing comes out looking marbled.
  • Cover bowls with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 10 minutes to get the air bubbles out.
  • Icing can be applied using a pastry bag or bottles. I prefer Wilton 6oz squeeze bottles. NOTE: The icing can be tough to get into the bottles. Using a funnel with a tip as wide as can fit in the bottle opening is helpful.
  • If you are using more than one color, let the first one dry for 12-24 hours so the colors will not mix.
  • It is helpful to squeeze a thicker icing outline, then flood the center with icing. Working quickly, a spoon works well to spread it out, and a toothpick can help with fine details.


Royal Icing: recipe minimally adapted from
The sugar cookies freeze well, but the royal icing does not look the same after it has been frozen. It still tastes great though!

Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe?Mention @SugarSpicesLife or tag #SugarSpicesLife!


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