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best decorated christmas cookies.
5 from 1 vote
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Decorated Christmas Cookies

This Christmas cookie recipe will show you how to effortlessly decorate beautiful soft and chewy sugar cookies with royal icing and sprinkles. Perfect for throwing a Christmas cookie decorating party, these festive cookies are approachable and fun to make!
Servings 20 servings
Prep 30 mins
Cook 11 mins
Total 1 hr 11 mins
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Author : Cambrea Gordon


  • 12-inch piping bag
  • Small round #4 Wilton tip
  • rubber spatula
  • Stand mixing bowl with whisk attachment
  • pastry brush
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!


Soft Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Royal Icing

  • 2 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp meringue powder
  • 3-4 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten
  • sanding sugar white and red
  • assorted sprinkles


Make the Sugar Cookie Dough

  • Instructions on how to make the No Spread Sugar Cookies are HERE!

Bake the Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.
  • With a pastry brush, lightly brush some of the egg white on the top of each frozen cookie. Dip the brushed top into a medium bowl with the sanding sugar sprinkles and place the cookie back on the tray. Keep in the freezer until ready to bake.
    1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten, sanding sugar
  • Spread the frozen cut out cookies spaced two inches apart. You may need to bake them in batches. Keep any cookies not being baked in the freezer until ready.
  • Bake them for 11-12 minutes, or until the tops look matte, dry, and slightly wrinkled. The edges should not be brown.
  • Allow the tray to cool completely on a wire rack before removing and decorating.

Make the Royal Icing

  • In a stand mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of the water.
    2 ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon meringue powder, 3-4 tablespoon water, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mix with a whisk attachment on medium speed for 3 minutes until the meringue powder is dissolved and the icing is light and fluffy. Add the rest of the water in a little bit at a time so that the icing stays thick, but thin enough to settle back into itself within 10-20 seconds.
  • Scrape the icing into a container or bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to use.

Decorate the Cookies

  • Once the cookies are coated in sprinkles and baked, fill a 12-inch piping bag with some of the royal icing. You can also split the royal icing into smaller bowls and color it with a bit of gel food coloring. 
    assorted sprinkles
  • Use a small round #4 Wilton tip for precise lines. You don't want to use a tip that has a large opening as the icing will likely not keep its shape.
  • Outline or create lines and shapes on your cookies with the icing, then add more fun sprinkles on top.


Step by step process photos are provided above, in the body of this post.
  • Meringue powder- this ingredient is an egg white substitute that makes the icing safe for anyone to eat. This ingredient can not be substituted or left out or the icing will not set properly.
  • Vanilla- I recommend using a high-quality real vanilla extract and not artificial extract as you will taste it more.
  • Assorted sprinkles- the options are limitless! I love using a combination of Christmas colors like red, white, and gold, but no sprinkle is off-limits ;) You will need sanding sugar sprinkles in order to color the entire cookie.

Decorating Tips

  • Under-bake the cookies- under-baking the cookies will keep them extra soft for a few days after baking.
  • Don't let royal icing sit uncovered- when you are not using it, make sure to tightly cover the bowl or it will start to harden and make it unusable.
  • Split the icing- split the icing into small bowls and color them with your favorite gel coloring!
  • Make the icing thinner or thicker- you can add more water to the icing while mixing to thin it out, but know that a thinner consistency will not be able to hold intricate lines. If you added too much water no worries! Add more powdered sugar to the bowl and keep mixing until it's thick again.
  • Decorate the cookies before displaying- if you are decorating cookies to display or pack in a bag or box, give yourself time to decorate them ahead of time or the icing will not be 100% dry and could break or ruin.


  • Once baked and decorated, keep the cookies tightly wrapped on a baking tray or in an airtight container.
  • Do not stack the cookies right after decorating, let the icing dry completely or you could ruin all your beautiful decorations!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 2.3g | Fat: 9.6g | Saturated Fat: 5.9g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 100mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 27.1g