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Cooling rack of decorated cut out sugar cookies.

Grandma's Christmas Cookies - My Family's Holiday Tradition

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Helen Henderson)
  • Prep Time: 75 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: About 6 dozen cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


My grandma's classic roll-out cookie recipe makes deliciously soft cookies that hold their shape well for decorating. A Christmas tradition!


Units Scale

For Cookies:

For Icing:

For Decorating:


  1. For Cookies: In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer (or use a stand mixer), cream together 1 cup softened butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Scrape down the edges of the bowl, add 3 eggs, and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Add 3 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Beat until combined.
  3. Divide dough in half and place each in a sealed container, or wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour (see shortcut tips in my post above).
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Take 1 portion of dough out of the refrigerator. On a well floured surface, roll out to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters, and place directly onto baking sheets, leaving a few inches in between each cookie.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Using a thin spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to fully cool before decorating.
  7. For Icing: In a large bowl, stir together 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup softened butter, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth (a fork works well for this). Divide into bowls and tint with food coloring, if desired.
  8. Decorate cooled cookies with icing, adding sprinkles while the icing is still wet if desired. Let dry completely before storing in an airtight container.


Recipe yield varies depending on the size of your cookie cutters and how thickly you roll out the dough.

Do not line your baking sheets - place the cookie dough directly onto them.

See my post above for more tips for this recipe!


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 92
  • Sugar: 9.1 g
  • Sodium: 37.6 mg
  • Fat: 3.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.9 g
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 16.8 mg
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