Best Sugar Cookie Recipe + Frosting and Royal Icing

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You’ve just discovered the best sugar cookie recipe for beautiful cut-out cookies that hold their shape! Included are essential recipes for sugar cookie frosting used for glazing, and royal icing for making fine decorative touches. This past weekend my daughter Brooke and her fiance Darin enjoyed a fabulous couples wedding shower hosted by both families. A special touch to this stylish event were gorgeous bakery-style sugar cookies in the shape of a diamond wedding ring. With great love and attention, each was artistically decorated to perfection!

Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing Recipe

About This Sugar Cookie Recipe

UPDATED SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE + NEW PHOTOS! Do you remember the last time you made beautiful cut-out sugar cookies only to have them expand into unrecognizable blimps in the oven? Or maybe your sugar cookie frosting didn’t hold up when your desserts were carefully stacked? Say goodbye to those baking fails! Today I teamed up with popular Sacramento baker Melanie to share her best sugar cookie recipe along with fabulous recipes for sugar cookie frosting and royal icing. So tie on your apron and let’s get baking! (If you live in the greater Sacramento area of California and would like a professionally-made batch of these gorgeous treats, I can connect you directly with Melanie.)

Ingredients for Sugar Cookie Recipe

Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe Ingredients

These are the simple ingredients needed to make cut-out sugar cookies that actually keep their shape: butter, margarine, cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, and baking powder.

Cut-out sugar cookies

Ingredients for Sugar Cookie Frosting

These are the basic ingredients for making glaze to frost your sugar cookies: meringue powder, confectioners sugar, warm water, and colored food paste (desired color).

Decorated sugar cookies recipe

Ingredients for Royal Icing

The ingredients for a batch of royal icing (to put fine decorative touches on your cookies) include: meringue powder, warm water, confectioners sugar, vanilla, cream of tartar, and food coloring paste in desired color.

The best glazed sugar cookies

How to Make Sugar Cookies

In a mixing bowl with a paddle, beat the butter, margarine and cream cheese. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg. Mix until combined. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder. With your mixer on slow speed (so a white dust storm doesn’t erupt in your kitchen), gradually add the flour to the main mixing bowl.

Frosted sugar cookies with royal icing

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

Scrape the sides of the bowl, as needed. Divide the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours. On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. With a floured cookie cutter, cut out desired shapes. Place sugar cookies one-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool on a wire rack.

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

Here’s how to make delicious sugar cookie frosting: With a fork, beat together meringue powder, about half of the sifted confectioners sugar, and warm water until smooth. Add in additional confectioners sugar until the consistency is smooth and spreadable, not runny. Tint with food paste colors, as desired. Once the sugar cookies are completely cooled, spread the glaze over each cookie. Allow the glaze to dry completely before stacking between pieces of waxed paper, or proceeding to decorate with royal icing.

Wedding ring pinata

Royal Icing Recipe for Sugar Cookies

This yummy royal icing recipe is easy to make! Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until combined. Raise the speed to high and continue beating for 7-10 minutes until very stiff. Divide the royal icing into small bowls. Tint with various colors, as desired. Use the royal icing to make all fine decorative touches to your sugar cookies. This is done directly over the set and dried sugar cookie frosting.

Sugar Cookies glazed with sugar cookie frosting

Best Kitchen Tools for Sugar Cookies Recipe

If you’re a collector of beautiful cookie cutters like me, then you enjoy making sugar cookies all year long! This yummy sugar cookie recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Fall, Christmas, wedding showers, baby showers, birthday parties and more. Fabulous cookie cutters are not always easy to find, so whenever I happen to stumble upon a great one I’m quick to add it to my growing collection.

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Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Recipe + Frosting and Royal Icing


This is the best sugar cookie recipe for producing bakery-style cookies that are glazed with a yummy frosting and decorated with royal icing! These special cut-out sugar cookies hold their shape. The frosting and icing harden up nicely so the cookies can be carefully stacked in even layers, using long sheets of waxed paper in between.




  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons), room temperature
  • 1 stick margarine (8 tablespoons), room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese (full fat), softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 31/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar), sifted
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • food coloring paste in desired color(s)


  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 16-ounce box powered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • food coloring paste in desired color(s)



  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, margarine and softened cream cheese on medium-high speed for 30 seconds until combined.
  2. Measure out the flour and baking powder. Add them to a small bowl. With a wire whisk, mix these two ingredients together. In 3 to 4 small batches, add the flour mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix well after each addition, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Divide the sugar cookie dough in half, and form two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap (or put them in zip-top kitchen bags with the air pushed out) and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours to 24 hours (or overnight) until the dough is easy to handle.
  4. Adjust your oven rack to the center position. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  5. On a lightly-floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out each disk of dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters that have been lightly dipped in flour.
  6. IMPORTANT BAKING TIP: After the initial rolling and cutting of the two disks of dough, gather together the scraps to form another disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill it. After chilling, roll out the dough and repeat the cookie-cutting process. This second chilling of the scraps is very important! Otherwise the dough will become too soft and the sugar cookies will lose their shape while baking.
  7. Place the cookies 1-inch apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are firm and the bottoms are lightly browned. Carefully remove the cookies and cool them on a wire rack. This recipe yields about 36 sugar cookies (2-1/2- to 3-1/2-inch cookies).


  1. Using a fork, beat together the meringue powder, half of the sifted powdered sugar, and warm water until the texture of the glaze is nice and smooth.
  2. Gradually stir in the remaining sifted powdered sugar until the consistency of the glaze is spreadable, but not runny.  Divide the batch, as desired, and tint  with food paste coloring. This recipe yields about one cup of sugar cookie frosting.
  3. When the cookies have fully cooled, glaze them by evenly spreading frosting over each cookie. Scrape off excess frosting from the edges. Allow the the frosting to completely dry and solidify before stacking the sugar cookies between waxed paper, or applying decorative touches with royal icing.


  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the food paste coloring. Beat with an electric hand mixer on low speed until combined, then mix on high speed for 7-10 minutes or until the mixture is very stiff. Divide the royal icing and tint with desired colors.
  2. Fill a disposable decorating bag fitted with desired tip. Use the royal frosting to outline or add details to your batch of glazed sugar cookies.
  3. When not using, cover the royal icing with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. This recipe yields 3 cups of royal icing.
  • Prep Time: 1 hours
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Brunch, Snack, Tea Time, Dessert, Party
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: sugar cookie recipe, royal icing, best sugar cookies

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com


Save this essential sugar cookie recipe right now! Pin it to Pinterest.

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe + Sugar Cookie Frosting and Royal Icing

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe


Turn back the clock! Bring back fun childhood memories with these delicious CIRCUS ANIMAL COOKIES! Make them for yourself or for someone who’s young at heart.

Animal Crackers served on a platter.

Today’s the perfect time to bake a fresh batch of SOFT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! Who would you love to share them with?

homemade soft chocolate chip cookies

Lovely, scrumptious, PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS are the perfect addition to any dessert table! They’re gobbled up faster than lightening, so I suggest doubling this recipe.

How to Make Peanut Butter Blossoms from scratch.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com


What do you think about these beautiful glazed sugar cookies decorated with royal icing? This recipe is perfect for special occasions! Would you love to make these cookies for an upcoming event? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Join the conversation in the comments below.

52 thoughts on “Best Sugar Cookie Recipe + Frosting and Royal Icing”

  1. Hey! I own a small bakery in the town I live in and was wondering if the icing is okay to freeze. My client need them for a wedding and she stated they must be able to be frozen. So will the cookies be okay in the freezer?

    • Hello Eva! I’ve never tried freezing these lovely cookies before. Although I think they would be okay, I can’t say for sure. A wedding is such an important event. I would test it out by making a half batch, freezing them, and then letting your client decide.

  2. Love love love this recipe. I’m new to baking so just wanted to not a couple of things: I don’t use margarine. I used Crisco and added 1/2 tap salt. Also, I couldn’t find in step one the addition of sugar, egg and vanilla- just assumed and add it it as with other cookies. Dough is refrigerating- taste is amazing and can’t wait till tomorrow to bake! Thank you!!

  3. As a gramma, I am always on the hunt to make cute cookies. I have a collection of cookie cutters that I need to use. This looks like a GREAT recipe. Decorating is the fun part. This icing looks fantastic.

  4. Such gorgeous cookies! I love this recipe and I can’t wait to use it for our Christmas cookies this year!

  5. OMG these are just the cutest sugar cookies and are perfect to set out on the dessert table at any wedding! These sound delicious. I cannot wait to make these sugar cookies!

    • Hi Christa,
      Thank you so much. If you put love into your recipe, I promise they will come out looking amazing!

  6. These sugar cookies not only look but sound amazing, so cute and perfect for a bridal shower!

    ~xo Sheree

  7. Hey Denay, the sugar cookie is just soo cute, no wonder those trucks used to come for more everytime. I also thought that they were complex to make, but from your recipe and procedures I feel that I could make some. Thanks for the great share.


    • Hi Cindy! Thanks so much for your kind comment. Sugar cookies are a year-round favorite. I hope you’ll try out this recipe for St. Patrick’s Day or Easter. You’ll love this delicious sugar cookie dough and how easy it is to work with. :-)

  8. I totally cheat and toss mine in the freezer for just 20minutes. It works just as well. Cooling them down makes such a difference.

  9. I almost never make sugar cookies because of the work it entails, but I just might have to try this one! I love that you add almond extract. I add almond extract to SO many of my baked goods and it makes a huge difference! I love it!

  10. I’ve been meaning to find a good sugar cookie recipe! I couldn’t have come across your blog at a better time :) I need to try these for Easter :)

  11. I always wondered what the heck I was doing wrong… my sugar cookies are ALWAYS messed up when I cook them! I pinned this and I cant wait to try it!


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