‘Tis the season for Christmas Cut Out Cookies!
Make these easy cut out cookies anytime a cookie swap or holiday party is on the calendar. This recipe is made with ingredients you probably already have on hand, and it’ll be your go-to cookie recipe all season long!
Cut Out Christmas Cookies
This sweet cookie recipe is one of the best holiday treats ever (and a little bit richer than a traditional sugar cookie recipe)! Break out those fun cookie cutters to make these perfect for any occasion.
Ingredients and Variations
It doesn’t take many ingredients to make these festive cut out cookies!
MAIN INGREDIENTS Fresh butter, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, some flour, and salt are blended together to create a light, crispy, sweet cookie that’s ready for frosting!
VARIATIONS Mix it up by adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the mixer for chocolate cookies, or add a dash of ginger for an extra bite of flavor!
How to Make Cut-Out Cookies
- Cream butter & sugar (per recipe below). Add egg yolks & vanilla. Mix in flour & salt.
- Chill in the refrigerator at least an hour but up to 48 hours.
- Roll out the dough to a ¼” to ½” thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
- Bake until just barely browned on the edges. Let them cool completely on a wire rack.
MAKE AHEAD: Make the dough in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for whenever you need a fast and fancy holiday cookie.
How to Ice Cut-Out Cookies
Here comes the fun part! In addition to colored icing, set out bowls of other decorations like colorful sprinkles, chocolate jimmies, nonpareils, or crushed peppermint candies.
As the cookies are cooling, prepare sugar cookie icing or your favorite frostings. We love sugar cookie icing because it hardens quickly and makes such pretty cookies!
Once cookies are fully cooled, outline the shape of each cookie with icing and allow to harden. Then fill in the outline and sprinkle on toppings. Let the cookies harden completely before serving.
PRO TIP: No piping bags or tips? Spoon icing into small sandwich bags and snip off one corner.
Important Tips for Success
- Ensure all ingredients (including egg yolks) are at room temperature.
- Cream the butter and sugar for the full 4 minutes (this is very important).
- When measuring the flour, gently spoon it into the measuring cup and then level it. (Scooping the flour with the measuring cup can pack it in and add extra flour causing a dry dough).
- Be sure to mix the dough thoroughly.
- Don’t skip chilling or the cookies will spread.
How to Freeze Cut Out Cookies
- Layer cooled cookies on parchment paper and place them in zippered bags (be sure to squeeze the excess air out). Frozen cut out cookies (decorated or undecorated) will keep about 3 months.
- Freeze uncooked dough by wrapping it in parchment paper and plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator.
- Easy Gingerbread Fudge – a holiday favorite
- Eggnog Cookies – tastes like real eggnog!
- Favorite Toffee Recipe – made from scratch
- Rugelach Cookies – jam & nut filled pastry
- Nanaimo Bars – a Christmas favorite!
Did you love these Christmas Cut Out Cookies? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below!
Christmas Cut Out Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 batches Sugar Cookie Icing https://www.spendwithpennies.com/sugar-cookie-icing/
- Colored sugar or other sprinkles optional
- In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour and salt and mix for an additional 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
- Divide the dough in half and shape each half of the dough into a ball and chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Remove from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll one of the balls of dough out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface so it’s between ¼ and ½ inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out the cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Repeat with the other half of dough until used up.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are just turning golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Prepare the icing according to the recipe directions and use a size 3 piping tip with a pastry bag to outline the cookies with icing and let it set slightly filling in the middle.
- Add sprinkles to the iced cookies before it hardens, if desired.
The dough may be a little stiff after removing from the refrigerator but just continue to work it out with the rolling pin. Ensure all ingredients (including egg yolks) are at room temperature.
Cream the butter and sugar for the full 4 minutes (this is very important).
When measuring the flour, gently spoon it into the measuring cup and then level it. (Scooping the flour with the measuring cup can pack it in and add extra flour causing a dry dough).
Be sure to mix the dough thoroughly. It’s very important that this dough chills for at least 1 hour.
The dough can be frozen by wrapping in parchment and placing in the refrigerator then removing the parchment and wrapping in plastic wrap and then placing in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. After freezing, let the dough thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or about 1 hour on the counter just until soft enough to slice then bake as directed.
Cookies should be consumed within 5 days and stored in an airtight container.
You can freeze full cooked or decorated cookies in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)