For me, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without rolled sugar cookies. And these simple-to-decorate Christmas angel cut out cookies are one of my favorites. They’re easy to make, always turn out and look beautiful on a cookie tray.
It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!
But while you’re decking the halls with boughs of holly, it’s time to start thinking about all those special treats that will be enjoyed at holiday gatherings.
These simple decorated angel sugar cookies are one of my favorite things to make this time of year. They’re beautiful and festive, and they taste delicious!
Plus, these cuties are really easy to make. With our no-fail cut out cookie recipe that always keeps its shape and our tips on how to make cookie icing that hardens, you’ll have them ready in no time.
So whether you need a recipe for your cookie exchange or a festive treat for a family gathering, look no further than these heavenly angel cut out cookies!
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Makes: about 24 cookies. The exact number will vary depending on how thick you make your cookies and how big your cookie cutter is.
Here is your shopping list.
For the cookies:
- sugar: 1 cup granulated sugar
- dairy: 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter
- eggs: 1 large
- flavoring: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- baking supplies: 2½ cups all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt
For the icing & decorations:
- sugar: 1 pound (4 cups) icing sugar
- baking supplies: 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
- flavoring: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sprinkles: White sprinkles or sanding sugar – I used this mix* from Amazon (I took the balls out).
- For gluten-free cookies, use measure-for-measure gluten-free flour instead of regular all-purpose flour (this gluten-free brand* works the best).
- Salted butter will work instead of unsalted if that’s what you have
- angel cookie cutter – I used this one* from Amazon.
- piping bag – I like to use these re-usable piping bags*.
- piping tip #4* – You can use a smaller (#3) or larger (#5) tip if you prefer. (the smaller the number the smaller the hole so the less icing will come out)
- piping coupler* (optional) – this holds the piping tip steady in the piping bag and makes it easy to change tips if you need to.
How to make Christmas angel cut out cookies
Make the dough
In a small bowl, combine the egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract and ¾ teaspoon salt. I usually do this with a fork or hand whisk. An electric mixer isn’t necessary. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix together 2½ cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
Cut up 2 sticks (1 cup) of cold butter into ½ inch chunks.
Add the butter and 1 cup of white granulated sugar to the food processor and process until combined, about 30 seconds.
Mix in the egg mixture until combined, about 10 seconds.
Then add the flour mixture and process until all of the flour is combined, about 30 seconds.
Roll out the cookie dough
Divide the dough in half to make it easier to roll.
Cover the top and bottom of the first roll with two sheets of parchment paper.
With a rolling pin, roll the cookie dough out until it is about 1/8″ thick. Layering it with parchment paper on both sides prevents the dough from sticking.
Put the rolled out dough on a cookie sheet or tray, still keeping the parchment paper on both sides.
Repeat with the other ball of dough.
Refrigerate the rolled out dough for 1½ hours, or freeze for 30 minutes.
Cut out the angels
Take the first sheet of cookie dough out of the refrigerator and peel off the top layer of parchment paper.
Use the angel cookie cutter to cut shapes in the cookie dough.
Put the cut out cookie dough back in the refrigerator (with the bottom piece of parchment paper still attached).
Repeat the process with the second sheet of cookie dough.
To make sure the cookies will keep their shape when you move them to the baking sheet, refrigerate them for another 30 minutes or until the dough is stiff.
Bake the cookies
Pre-heat the oven to 300℉.
Use a metal spatula (or a cake knife) to separate the cookies from the bottom layer of parchment paper.
Put another piece of parchment paper down on a baking sheet. This prevents the cookies from spreading too much and losing their shape.
Then lay out the cookies about ½ inch apart.
Bake at 300℉ for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies are slightly brown.
Move the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before moving the individual cookies to the cooling rack.
Be careful when you are moving them since the cookies will be very soft at this point and break easily.
Repeat with the other sheet of cut-out cookies.
Roll out the remaining dough to create another batch of cookies.
How to make the icing
Make white royal icing
Mix 4 cups confectioners sugar, 3 Tablespoons meringue powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ cup of WARM water in a stand mixer on low speed. Make sure the water is warm (not cold), since this will affect the consistency of the icing.
Once the ingredients are combined, increase to medium speed.
Mix for 5 to 8 minutes until the icing forms soft peaks. (When you remove the whisk, the icing should create a hill with a tip that leans over.)
Test the consistency of your icing
Next test that the icing is the right consistency. To do this:
- Run a knife through the middle of your icing and count how many seconds it takes for the cut to close.
- If it takes longer than 15 to 20 seconds (or it doesn’t close at all), the icing is too stiff. Add in a few drops of water and mix again. Don’t add too much at one time. It doesn’t take a lot of water to make the icing too runny.
- If it’s closing faster than 15 seconds, mix the icing for a little while longer until it gets stiffer.
Repeat the test until the cut in the icing closes in about 15 to 20 seconds.
How to decorate Christmas angel cookies
Put the white icing in a piping bag with your piping tip attached.
I like to fold the top edges of the piping bag over a tall glass so that it keeps it open. This makes getting the icing all the way down to the bottom easier.
Hold the top of the piping bag closed with your thumb and forefinger and squeeze gently with your other fingers to get the icing to come out.
Then draw an outline all the way around the cookie. This will prevent the inside icing from running over the edges.
Next fill in (flood) the rest of the cookie with the white icing.
Now use a knife or toothpick to spread the icing around so it fills in any gaps.
Tapping the cookie gently on the counter can also help level out the icing. Just be careful not to hit it too hard or the cookie may break.
While the icing is still wet, sprinkle white sprinkles or sanding sugar over the top of the cookie.
I like to do this on a small plate or cookie sheet to catch any extras that fall off. This prevents them from going everywhere and you can gather them up to reuse them if you wish.
Let the cookies sit for a few hours so the icing has a chance to dry before storing them.
They won’t go stale that fast so it’s okay to leave them out on the counter.
How to store sugar cookies
The Christmas angel sugar cookies can be stored in an airtight container:
- at room temperature for about 3 days.
- in the refrigerator for about a week.
- in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you are stacking the cookies, place a layer of parchment paper between each layer to keep the sprinkles from falling off.
Other Christmas cookies you might like
- Christmas tree sugar cookies
- Candy cane sugar cookies
- Grinch heart sugar cookies
- Lemon cream cheese Christmas cookies
- Peppermint chocolate fudge balls
Simple Christmas Angel Cutout Cookies
- 2 mixing bowls
- food processor
- rimless cookie sheet
- parchment paper
- rolling pin
- angel cookie cutter
- thin spatula
- wire cooling rack
- stand mixer with mixing bowl
- plastic wrap
- Piping bag
- Piping tip #4 (#3 or #5 will also work)
- Coupler (optional) – helps to keep icing from leaking
Cut out cookies
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup 2 sticks cold unsalted butter
- 1 package white sprinkles and/or sanding sugar
- 4 cups (or 1 pound) icing sugar
- 3 Tablespoons meringue
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup WARM water
Cut out cookies
- In a small bowl, beat an egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract and ¾ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together 2½ cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
- Cut 1 cup (2 sticks) of cold butter into ½ inch chunks.
- In a food processor, process the butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Add in the egg mixture. Process until combined, about 10 seconds.
- Then add the flour mixture and process until all of the flour is combined, about 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Place a piece of parchment paper underneath and on top of the first ball of dough.
- With a rolling pin, roll the cookie dough out between the pieces of parchment paper. It should be about 1/8" thick .
- Place the rolled-out dough on a large platter or cookie sheet with the parchment paper left in place.
- Repeat with the other ball of dough.
- Refrigerate the two sheets of rolled out dough for 1½ hours, or freeze for 30 minutes.
- When the cookie dough is stiff, take the first sheet of cookie dough out of the refrigerator.
- Peel off the top layer of parchment paper. Then use the candy cane cookie cutter to cut shapes in the cookie dough.
- Repeat the process with the second sheet of cookie dough.
- If the cookie dough has softened, refrigerate it for another 30 minutes or until the it is stiff. This will make it much easier to remove the cookies while keeping their shape.
- Use a thin spatula (or a cake knife) to separate the cookies from the bottom layer of parchment paper.
- Put another piece of parchment paper down on a cookie sheet.
- Then lay out the cookies about ½ inch apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake at 300℉ for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom of the cookies are slightly brown.
- Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Then move to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
- Repeat with the other sheet of cut-out cookies.
- Roll out the extra dough to create another batch of cookies.
How to make white royal icing
- Mix 4 cups icing sugar, 3 Tablespoons meringue powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ cup of WARM water in a stand mixer on low speed
- Once they are combined, increase to medium speed.
- Mix for 5 to 8 minutes until the icing forms soft peaks.
How to decorate angel cut out cookies
- Put the white icing in a piping bag with a #3, #4 or #5 piping tip attached.
- Draw an outline around the edge of the angel cookie.
- Flood (fill in) the middle of the cookie with icing.
- Use a knife or toothpick to spread the icing into any gaps.
- While the icing is still wet, sprinkle sanding sugar or white sprinkles over the top.
- Let the cookies stand for a few hours so the icing will dry before storing in an airtight container.
- Covering the cookie sheet with parchment paper prevents the cookies from spreading which helps to keep their shape.
- Only bake 1 sheet of cookies at a time since stacking them in the oven will cause uneven heating
- To keep the cookies looking good when storing, separate each layer with a piece of parchment paper.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
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This post was originally published on December 3, 2021 but was updated with new content on February 20, 2023.