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Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

  • Author: Ashley McCrary
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 7-9
  • Total Time: 24 minute
  • Yield: 26 1/4 inch Cookies 1x


These classic sugar cookies with royal icing are perfect for decorating any time of year! Complete with foolproof tips, this recipe truly is the BEST!



Sugar Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 sticks salted butter*, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Royal Icing

  • 1/4 cup meringue powder*
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup* (Optional)


Sugar Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside. Place the room temperature butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with standing or handheld mixing until light in color (Make sure not to overbeat because it will warm the butter and make it too soft.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture in, and beat until the mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl and turns into a dough.
  3. Knead the dough together, use a little extra flour here if it’s too sticky. Cut the dough in half and place each one on top of a large sheet of parchment paper. Additionally, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top and begin to roll out using a rolling pin. This method will help prevent it from sticking. Remember, the more the dough is rolled, the more it will warm and become soft. Feel free to add it back to the fridge if it’s too soft to help harden a bit. (If you don’t want to use this method, simply sprinkle the surface area you will be working on with flour and roll out the dough.
  4. Remove from the fridge or freezer and cut desired shapes using a cookie cutter of choice.
  5. Place each cookie at least 1-inch apart on a greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes ( I always remove at 7 minutes for a softer cookie) or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges.
  6. Let sit on baking sheet for 1 minute after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Royal Icing

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment) or large mixing bowl, beat together the meringue powder and warm water on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. 
  2. with the mixer on low speed, slowly add in confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla.
    Once fully incorporated, increase speed to medium speed and whip using the whisk until a glue-like consistency forms. Whip on medium-high speed for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to make stiff peaks for a thicker icing.
  3. At this point, this is the base icing and will be stiff. If the icing is too stiff, add more water, I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. I also love using a spay bottle to thin the icing down.  If icing is too thin, add powdered sugar, just a little at a time, until desired consistency has been reached.
  4. Once desired consistencies are reached, add the white icing to a piping bag or place in bowls and color using gel food coloring. 

Consistency Types

  1. Stiff Consistency: This type of consistency is comparable to buttercream icing. It is used for leaves, detail designs, flowers and much more. This consistency will hold its shape. 
  2. Piping Consistency: This type of consistency is comparable to toothpaste. It is used outlining and lettering. This icing count is 25 seconds. 
  3. Flood Consistency: This type of consistency is comparable to honey or shampoo. It is used for for filling large areas. This icing count is 8-10 seconds.


  • I use two eggs but you can use one large egg for this recipe. I use two because it makes the cookies have a soft and cake-like texture. 
  • I use salted butter. However, if you are not a fan you can use unsalted butter and add 1/4 tsp salt to the ingredient list. 
  • This recipe is perfect as is. However, if you are not using Royal icing on top and want the cookies by themselves a touch sweeter, you can add an extra 1/4 cup sugar to the recipe. If you are using icing along with the cookies, you won’t want the cookies too sweet. For icing with cookies, keep recipe as 1 cup sugar. But if you want a sweeter cookie with no icing, change to 1 1/4 cup sugar.
  • The yield of this recipe will depend on the thickness of your dough and the size of cookie cutters. With 1/4 inch thick cookies, I can get 26 with the cookie cutters I use. 

Keywords: sugar cookies, sugar cookies with royal icing