Holiday Sugar Cookies

Christmas and baking go together like peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese and tomato soup. Baking is the ultimate holiday activity, change my mind. I’ve learned over the years that not everything needs to be made from scratch to still be delicious. And that’s exactly what I love about these cookies. I use store bought dough and finish them with a buttercream made from scratch. The best part is decorating anyways, right? So skip half the prep in the kitchen and get to the fun! These cookies are still just as delicious as if you had worked tirelessly through the night making the dough from scratch. So why not take a little short cut during the already stressful holidays. We all could use some time back in our lives!


  • Pre-made Sugar Cookie Dough – I used Pilsbury. If you’re feeling fancy, you can opt for dough from scratch.
  • 1 3/4 Cups Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 4oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 6-7 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tsp Vanilla Bourbon Extract (found at Trader Joes, but you can just use regular Vanilla)
  • Optional: Food Coloring and Sprinkles for decorating!


Step 1: Bake the cookies according to the directions on the package. To ensure (mostly) perfect round cookies, shape the dough in to balls before baking. Once the cookies are done, allow them to completely cool before decorating them!

Step 2: While the cookies are baking, make the buttercream. Using a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together until thoroughly mixed, scraping down the sides as needed.

Step 3: Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Step 4: Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup – 1 cup at a time. You will want to do this slowly to prevent lumps in the frosting and so the powdered sugar doesn’t go flying everywhere. I recommend tasting the buttercream after you have added 4 cups of the powdered sugar to gauge the sweetness. The more powdered sugar you add, the sweeter the buttercream will be. If you’re looking for a more subtle buttercream, add less powdered sugar.

Step 5: Once the powdered sugar has been incorporated, separate in to bowls to color. How ever many colors you want is the number of bowls you will need to prevent cross contamination of colors.

Step 6: Add the buttercream to piping bags, or just use a knife to spread over cookies. Decorate to your liking and don’t forget the sprinkles! Or you can skip the decorating and dip them straight in the buttercream and then to your mouth – always a preferred method in this house!

*Cookies that have no buttercream will last about 6-8 days after baking. For decorated cookies, if storing in an airtight container, allow the buttercream to fully set or the cookies may become soggy. The buttercream will be set when its slightly hard to the touch. You can also store the decorated cookies uncovered on the counter top and they will last for 3-4 days. The buttercream should be stored in the refrigerator for future use, and will last between 2-3 days.

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