4th of July Cookies

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These 4th of July cookies are fun festive treats. Tender shortbread cookies shaped like stars and flags are decorated with royal icing in red white and blue. Celebrate America’s birthday with patriotic stars and stripes cookies. They’ll be the star attraction on the dessert table!

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4th of July cookies in the shape of stars and stripes, decorated in red, white and blue.

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🇺🇸 Why We Love These Patriotic Cookies

  • Assembling the shortbread cookie dough is quick and easy.
  • The cookies are tender and delicious with the perfect crumb.
  • The royal icing is super easy to make, and it tastes incredible.
  • These patriotic cookies look gourmet, like they came from a bakery.
  • Making 4th of July cookies is the perfect activity for kids and teens. Invite them into the kitchen to help roll out, cut out, and decorate the cookies. It’s a great family tradition and a way to create new memories.
Stars and stripes 4th of July cookies.

🛒 Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter: This is the base of our shortbread cookies. It adds richness and moisture while helping to hold the cookie dough together. Make sure the butter is fully softened to room temperature or it won’t incorporate smoothly with the other ingredients. My preferred brand of butter is Kirkland from Costco.
  • Powdered Sugar: Same as confectioners sugar. It adds a bit of sweetness to the shortbread cookies.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients while providing a bakery taste and aroma. If preferred, you can use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon almond extract.
  • All-Purpose Flour: This gives the cookies structure. Make sure to measure using the spoon-and-level method, as adding too much flour will result in dry crumbly cookie dough.
  • Sea Salt: Brightens the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Royal Icing: I use this easy homemade recipe 👉🏻 royal icing.
  • Gel Food Coloring: I highly recommend AmeriColor gel food coloring. I used Red-Red and Royal Blue for these 4th of July cookies. But feel free to use a different shade of blue if desired. Do not substitute liquid food coloring for the gel as it will affect the consistency of the icing.
  • Silver Stars Edible Glitter (Optional): I prefer Wilton. I sprinkle these edible stars over the blue icing on the star-shaped cookies. It makes them look glittery and super special.
Ingredients for 4th of July shortbread cookies.

📖 Recipe Steps

  1. Add powered sugar, softened butter and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Cream them together until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour and salt to the butter mixture. Mix just until the shortbread dough comes together. Be sure to not overmix.
  4. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disc. Tightly wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and firm.
How to make the shortbread cookie dough for Fourth of July Cookies.

RECIPE PREP: Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Put them aside. 

  1. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out 1 disc of chilled dough to 1/4-inch thick. With a star and a rectangle cookie cutter, cut out as many 4th of July cookies as you can. Transfer the cut-out shapes to the prepared trays. Leave at least 2 inches between the cookies. Gather the scraps of dough together. Re-roll and cut out more cookies until all the dough is used. Repeat with second disc of dough. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the baking sheets with the cut-out cookies in the fridge or freezer (either one will work) to chill for 30 minutes before baking. Bake the chilled cookies for approximately 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden blonde. Remove the cookies from the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to bake and decorate stars and stripes cookies for the 4th of July.
  1. When the cookies are ready to decorate, put 1 cup of the white royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #3 tip. Divide the remaining icing between 2 bowls. Place 5 drops of blue food coloring into one of the bowls of icing. Stir to combine, adding more food coloring if needed to achieve your desired color. Transfer the blue royal icing to a piping bag also fitted with a Wilton #3 tip. Add 5 drops red food coloring to the last of the icing and stir to combine. Again, add more food coloring if needed and then transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #3 tip.
  2. To decorate the stars, pipe an outline of blue icing around the edge of the cookie. Then fill in the center. Gently tap or shake the cookie to flatten and evenly distribute the icing. Allow the blue icing to set (about 10 minutes), and then sprinkle edible star glitter over the icing. Or you can pipe small stars onto the cookie using the white icing.
  3. To decorate the rectangle (flag cookies) with stripes, pipe 3 rows of red icing onto the cookies and allow them to set completely (about 10 minutes). Fill in the space between the red rows with white icing. Then allow it to set. Let the icing harden completely (for 2 hours) before storing. Place any leftover cookies in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days.
American flag cookies and star cookies for the 4th of July.

👩🏻‍🍳 Recipe FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions for making beautifully shaped and decorated 4th of July cookies, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Can I use salted butter for 4th of July cookies?

Yes, if that’s what you have on hand. Just omit the extra salt in the recipe. For baked goods we usually call for unsalted butter and then add in the desired amount of salt separately. This is because different brands of butter use different quantities of salt in their products. By adding salt separately, we ensure the exact amount needed is used.

Can shortbread cookie dough be made in advance?

Yes, shortbread cookie dough can be made in advance. Wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap, then slip it into a zip-top kitchen bag and press out the air. Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Before using, allow the dough to become just warm enough to roll out and cut with cookie cutters – but it should still be chilled.

What cookie cutters to use for stars and stripes 4th of July cookies?

I used the second smallest sized star cookie cutter from the set shown in the recipe card. For the flag cookies, I used the smallest rectangle size cooke cutter. View Amazon affiliate links for these in the recipe card.

How to create very sharp edges on shortbread cookies?

For super clean sharp edges on shortbread cookies, use a microplane grater. After the baked cookies have cooled completely, gently shave off the the edges until they’re straight.

How to decorate cookies without piping bags and tips.

Use a plastic zip-top kitchen bag. After transferring the frosting to the bag, use a pair of scissors to snip off one bottom corner. Cut off just a very tiny piece as you can always cut a larger hole if needed.

Shortbread 4th of July cookies in flag and star shapes decorated in red, white and blue.

More 4th of July Desserts

Round out your 4th of July dessert menu with these popular treats. Each is time-tested family favorite. Put out the treats on a cake stand or tray and watch them quickly disappear!

Stars and stripes 4th of July cookies on a small metal tray.

Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Flavor testers rated these the BEST 4th of July cookies. They loved the gorgeous look of these festive stars and stripes cookies. They were delighted with the tender texture of the shortbread, and the yummy taste of the icing.

If you agree this recipe’s a keeper, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with friends. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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4th of July cookies in the shape of stars and stripes, decorated in red, white and blue.

4th of July Cookies


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 20 Cookies 1x
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Description

These patriotic 4th of July cookies are shaped like stars and stripes. They’re tender shortbread cookies decorated in red, white and blue. The perfect dessert for celebrating America’s birthday. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 batch (about 3 cups) flood-consistency royal icing
  • Red and blue gel food coloring
  • Edible silver stars glitter (optional)

Instructions

Make the Shortbread Cookies

  1. Assemble the dough. Add powered sugar, softened butter and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream them together until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour and salt to the butter mixture. Mix just until the shortbread dough comes together. Be sure to not overmix.
  2. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disc. Tightly wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and firm. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Put them aside.
  3. Roll out the dough, and cut out the shapes. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out 1 disc of chilled dough to 1/4-inch thick. With a star and a rectangle cookie cutter, cut out as many 4th of July cookies as you can. Transfer the cut-out shapes to the prepared trays. Leave at least 2 inches between the cookies.  Gather the scraps of dough together. Re-roll and cut out more cookies until all the dough is used. Repeat with second disc of dough.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Chill the cut-out cookies. Place the baking sheets with the cut-out cookies in the fridge or freezer (either one will work) to chill for 30 minutes before baking. 
  5. Bake the chilled cookies for approximately 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden blonde. Remove the cookies from the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate the 4th of July Cookies

  1. Reserve white icing. When the cookies are ready to decorate, put 1 cup of the white royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #3 tip. Divide the remaining icing between 2 bowls. 
  2. Tint remaining icing in blue and red. Place 5 drops of blue food coloring into one of the bowls of icing. Stir to combine, adding more food coloring if needed to achieve your desired color. Transfer the blue royal icing to a piping bag also fitted with a Wilton #3 tip. Add 5 drops red food coloring to the last of the icing and stir to combine. Again, add more food coloring if needed and then transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #3 tip.
  3. Decorate the stars. Pipe an outline of blue icing around the edge of the cookie. Then fill in the center. Gently tap or shake the cookie to flatten and evenly distribute the icing. Allow the blue icing to set (about 10 minutes), and then sprinkle edible star glitter over the icing. Or you can pipe small stars onto the cookie using the white icing.
  4. Decorate the flag cookies with stripes. Pipe 3 rows of red icing onto the cookies and allow them to set completely (about 10 minutes). Fill in the space between the red rows with white icing – a total of 2 rows of white icing. Then allow it to set.
  5. Let the icing harden completely (for 2 hours) before storing. Place any leftover cookies in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Notes

Which size cookie cutters for stars and stripes cookies? I have the 2 sets of cookie cutters – stars and rectangles – shown in this recipe card. I bought them on Amazon. From the sets shown, I used the second smallest size star and the smallest size rectangle.

How to decorate cookies without piping bags and tips: Use plastic zip-top kitchen bags. After transferring the frosting to the bags, use a pair of scissors to snip off one bottom corner of each bag. Start by cutting off just a very tiny piece, as you can always cut a larger hole if needed.

  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Chill Time: 1 1/2 Hours
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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