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Holiday Sugar Cookies

Holiday Sugar Cookies

Best Holiday Sugar Cookie Recipe


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and orange juice until combined. Slowly add the flour and the baking powder until mixed.
  3. Split dough into thirds, wrapping in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  4. Once the dough is firm, roll out onto a floured surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies into desired shapes at ⅛-inch thickness, and place on baking sheet 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly brown on the edges.



  • 2 tablespoons Wilton® Color Flow Mix
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon water
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted


  • Piping bags
  • Decorating couplers
  • Wilton® icing tips size 2, 3, or 4
  • Rubber bands
  • Gel food coloring, colors of your choosing
  • Tip covers
  • Squeeze bottles with covers


To prep

  1. Prepare your piping bags with the couplers. Cut off a small tip of the bag, and remove the ring from the base of the coupler. Put the coupler base inside of the bag, and attach the desired tip size (2, 3, or 4) to the outside of the bag. Secure with the ring to lock the bag in place, and repeat with the remaining couplers and bags.

To make icing

  1. Make the icing by beating all ingredients in stand mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes.
  2. If using white, place some of the plain icing into one of the piping bags, and secure with a rubber band to maintain the consistency.
  3. Take another small amount of white icing, dilute it slightly with small amounts of water until it flows easily, and place into squeeze bottles. (Tip: Make sure to keep icing covered with a damp cloth or paper towel to avoid crusting throughout the decorating process.)
  4. For colored icing, separate the remaining white icing into different bowls, and add gel food coloring. Add water in 1/2 teaspoon increments until thin enough to spread easily.
  5. Add the thinner, colored icing into squeeze bottles.

To decorate

  1. Make sure the cookies are cooled before you begin decorating, and then start outlining your cookies with chosen color from the piping bag.
  2. Next, take the thinned icing from the squeeze bottles and squeeze into the inside of the cookie. Using a toothpick, spread around to make icing even. Allow the first layer to dry a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Once dry, add any additional designs on top of the first layer, using the same technique, or drawing on with the piping bag. Allow all new layers to harden overnight. (Tip: Always keep the piping bags covered when not in use.)

One of my favorite memories as a child is going to my Great Grandmothers house and baking sugar cookies, the baking was almost as sweet as eating them.  I remember carefully choosing my sprinkles and laying out each cookie as if it were a canvas.  We always made a day of it and when I grew up it then became my holiday tradition that I did with my children every year. 


Picture of Carrie Ann Kilpatrick

Carrie Ann Kilpatrick

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