Holiday Sugar Cookies for Christmas & Thanksgiving
Decorated Sugar Cookies for the Holidays
How to Make Cut Out Christmas AND Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies!
Sugar cookies are a holiday classic, but why limit them to December? I’ll show you how to make holiday sugar cookies with icing for Christmas AND Thanksgiving.
Just use your favorite, festive cookie cutter shapes! Sweet, soft cookies that are made for rolling out and perfect for decorating—even while being mindful of your sugar and calorie intake.
This simple roll out cookie dough requires only a few basic ingredients and is really easy to work with. Made with all-purpose flour, real butter, and an egg, it rolls out beautifully.
Then, simply cut out your holiday sugar cookies into whichever seasonal shapes you like! For a make ahead option, you can even freeze the prepped dough until you’re ready to work with it.
Personally, I’m a cookie fanatic and I love a real cookie, so I didn’t want to make this recipe gluten free or vegan or without butter. Instead, I opted to cut down on the sugar in these Christmas sugar cookies.
Each of these are 1-to-1 substitutes for granulated and powdered sugar respectively.
So, they’re super easy to use, and my holiday sugar cookies turned out tasting like the real deal. I’ll walk you through how to make cut out sugar cookies for decorating. Plus, my simple DIY icing recipe!
Holiday Sugar Cookies Ingredient Notes
- Flour: I made this recipe with all-purpose flour. But, I haven’t personally tested it with a gluten free flour, oat flour, or any other alternative flour. A 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour might work, but you’d have to experiment to find out! (Or, try my keto sugar cookies recipe made with almond & coconut flour.)
- Butter: Similarly, I have only made this recipe with real butter. So, I can’t speak to whether or how cookies made with coconut oil might turn out. (I do have another sugar cookie recipe made with oat flour & coconut oil.)
- Egg: Once again, this recipe works well with a real egg. But, I’m not sure if an egg replacement would work in this recipe or how it might affect the texture of the dough.
- Sweeteners: To reduce the added sugar but keep my cookies sweet and satisfying, I used Truvia® Sweet Complete™ All-Purpose Sweetener in my dough and Truvia® Confectioners Sweetener in my decorating icing in place of sugar. Both products are zero calories per serving AND measure cup-for-cup with traditional granulated and powdered sugar in recipes –a major holiday game changer!
How to Make Thanksgiving & Christmas Sugar Cookies for Decorating
In general, cut out sugar cookies are simple to prepare. They just require a bit more time than your average cookie.
There’s making the dough, rolling it out, cutting the shapes, baking the cookies, decorating them. It’s a few extra steps but a lot more fun!
And, for me, with holiday sugar cookies in particular, I love to go all-out with the festive shapes and decorations.
Prepare Dough for Roll Out Sugar Cookies
The dough for these Christmas sugar cookies is pretty straightforward, and you can find the full step-by-step recipe below. First, I just wanted to share a few tips and insights about the dough making process:
- Mixer: Personally, I cream together my wet ingredients in my stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Or, you can also do it in a bowl with a hand mixer.
- Dough Texture: The dough should be relatively soft and pliable. But, if it looks too sticky to roll out, you may want to mix in another few tablespoons of flour.
- Rolling the Dough: I recommend working with half of the dough at a time and rolling it out between pieces of parchment to prevent sticking. This means lightly flour a sheet of parchment, then add the piece of dough and sprinkle it with flour. Then, place another sheet of parchment on top of the dough and start rolling—until it’s ¼-inch thick.
- Chill before Cutting: Once rolled, stack your parchment-wrapped dough sheets in the fridge and chill for at least 1-2 hours. This will give the dough a chance to firm up a bit before you start cutting out your cookie shapes!
Cut Out Sugar Cookies & Bake
After chilling your rolled sheets of dough, you’re ready to cut out your cookie shapes.
Simply peel back the top sheet of parchment and press your desired festive cookie cutters into the dough sheet. (I used both fall/Thanksgiving and Christmas shapes!) Then, I recommend peeling away the outer edges of the dough to reveal the cut cookie shape.
As you go, transfer the cut out holiday sugar cookies onto prepared baking sheets that are lined and sprayed. Be sure to collect and re-roll any dough scraps.
Then, continue with this cookie cutting process until all of your remaining dough is used. Finally, pop your trays into the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 11-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned.
Decorate Holiday Sugar Cookies with DIY Icing
Now, once your Christmas sugar cookies are baked and browned to your liking, be sure to let them cool completely before you start making the icing and decorating. My DIY decorating icing is amazingly simple to make. But, if you make it too far ahead of time, it might seize up and become more difficult to work with!
So, when you’re ready to decorate, whisk together some Truvia® Confectioners Sweetener and a splash of milk to make the icing. You don’t need much milk, addd just a splash at first and mix to combine. Then, add more as needed until you’ve got the texture that you want for your decorating icing. Once it’s ready, have fun with it!
Keep your icing plain for decorating, or try making multiple batches and use food coloring to create different festive colors. For me, my holiday sugar cookies always need a healthy dose of sprinkles!
Cut Out Holiday Sugar Cookies with Icing
Cut Out Sugar Cookie Dough
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup butter, softened/room temperature
- ¾ cup Truvia® Sweet Complete™ All-Purpose Sweetener
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup Truvia® Confectioners Sweetener
- 1 Tbsp milk of choice, adjust to desired texture
To make & roll dough:
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and beat on high until combined, for another minute or so. Scrape down the sides and beat again as needed.
- Gradually add dry ingredients into the wet mixture, mixing on low speed until integrated. (The dough should be relatively soft—but if it seems too sticky to roll it out, mix in another 1-2 Tbsp of flour.)
- Remove dough from stand mixer or bowl and shape into a ball, then divide dough ball into 2 pieces.
- Add half of dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment, sprinkle dough with flour, and place another piece of parchment on top. Roll out dough between the sheets of parchment, until about ¼-inch thick. Set aside, leaving flattened dough between parchment.
- Repeat and roll out other piece of dough. Place one sheet of rolled dough on top of the other and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or up to 2 days, before cutting into shapes.
Options for freezing dough:
- Option 1: Divide dough ball into 2 pieces and shape each piece into a round disc shape. Wrap each piece in plastic and freeze. The day before you want to bake, transfer frozen dough discs into fridge to thaw. Roll out as directed.
- Option 2: After rolling out dough between parchment, stack rolled sheets of dough and wrap in plastic. Freeze until ready to use. The day before you want to cut and bake, transfer frozen dough sheets into refrigerator to thaw.
To cut & bake cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Working with one sheet of dough at a time, place on a flat surface and remove top sheet of parchment. Using desired cookie cutter shapes (I used fall/Thanksgiving and Christmas shapes), press into dough to cut and peel away outer edges of dough to reveal cookie shapes. Transfer cut cookies onto prepared baking sheets, lined and sprayed with cooking spray.
- Collect and re-roll any scraps until remaining dough is used. Repeat with other refrigerated sheet of dough.
- Bake in preheated oven for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire baking rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Decorate with icing (see below) and finish with festive sprinkles!
- Cover decorated cookies or store in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 10 days.
- To freeze, allow icing to set completely then layer decorated cookies between sheets of parchment in a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.
To make decorating icing:
- Add Truvia® Confectioners Sweetener to a large bowl with a splash of milk of choice.
- Whisk to combine, adding additional milk as needed to adjust texture for decorating.
- Option: Add food coloring or gel coloring into batches of icing to create unique colors.
- Dough yields 25-28 sugar cookies, depending on size of cookie cutter shapes.