Unleash your holiday spirit with these easy Christmas sugar cookie design ideas, perfect for making your treats stand out with a personal touch. These simple yet festive decorating techniques will bring fun and flair to your cookies using royal icing and some sprinkles.
Cut out sugar cookies are one of my favorite Christmas treats.
Not only do they taste good but you can decorate them to match your decor or theme.
But I don’t usually have a lot of time to spend making them.
Which means I like to use designs that are easy to do but still look beautiful.
So whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cookie artist, these Christmas sugar cookie decorating ideas will provide stunning designs for your treats.
1 | Christmas tree cookie designs
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Christmas tree sugar cookies are one of the easiest to decorate because the ornaments lend themselves to using sprinkles.
So you can just flood the whole cookie with green royal icing for a traditional look.
Or white for a modern look (that’s even easier because you don’t have to mess with food coloring).
Then add sugar balls or other sprinkles in whatever colors you like while the icing is still wet.
Get more details about this Christmas tree sugar cookies recipe.
If you don’t want to cover the cookies in icing, you can create a zigzag pattern across the top of them with green icing.
Then add small balls of another color to create the ornaments.
2 | Snowflake sugar cookie decorations
If you’re on the hunt for a unique and beautiful way to jazz up your holiday sweets, these snowflake sugar cookies are a great choice.
They use 2 cookie cutters of different sizes to create a cut out snowflake shape that looks more delicate than a filled in snowflake. But isn’t hard to create.
Then you can either flood the whole cookie surface with royal icing and add some sprinkles.
Or just draw lines of icing on the tips of each snow flake to give it a more intricate design. I sprinkled blue sugar crystals over the wet icing on some of them to give them a little color.
Get more details about our snowflake sugar cookies recipe.
If you only have one size of snowflake cookie cutter, you can still get that lacy look by drawing lines across the cookies.
Using different colors of icing (or sprinkling the icing with colored sugar) will help the lines stand out more.
Or flood the whole snowflake with a colored icing (like the light blue above).
Then after it has dried, add the lines and some dots with white icing to create the delicate snowflake look.
Another option is to flood the cookie with white royal icing (or another color if desired) and draw the lines with sugar pearls rather than frosting.
Add them when the icing is still wet to make sure they stick.
3 | Simple angel sugar cookies
You definitely don’t have to be a pastry pro to decorate these angel cookies.
Just cover the entire cookie with white royal icing (which doesn’t require any food coloring).
Then add some white sprinkles while the frosting is still wet. And you’re done!
Get more details about these simple decorated Christmas angel cut out cookies
4 | Christmas wreath sugar cookies
These wreath sugar cookies are actually made with two sizes of biscuit cutters and decorated with royal icing and sugar balls.
You can use white frosting with one color of sugar balls for a simple, modern design that doesn’t require any food coloring.
Or you can put green food coloring in the royal icing for a more traditional look.
Grouping 3 red sugar balls together around the edge of the wreath, makes them look like holly berries.
Get more details about these Christmas wreath sugar cookies.
You can also make a wreath design out of a plain round sugar cookie:
- First, flood the entire cookie with white royal icing.
- Then while the white frosting is still wet, add dots of green icing around the edges.
- Connect the green dots together by dragging a toothpick all the way around the edge of the cookie, through the middle of the green dots.
- Stick on red sugar balls in groups of 3 to look like holly.
If you’re going to be displaying your Christmas cookies together, consider using the same colors of icing on all of them (regardless of the design).
These coordinated designs make gift boxes and cookie exchange trays look stunning.
5 | Candy cane cookie designs
These candy cane sugar cookies are a festive holiday treat that look like the candy of the same name.
The easiest way to decorate them is to cover the entire cookie in white frosting.
Then wait for it dry and add red royal icing stripes.
Or to get a bit fancier, you can alternate red and green stripes.
For wider stripes, you can add them in white first.
Wait for it harden and then add the red stripes in between. Make sure that the white icing is completely dry before you add the red or the color may bleed.
Get more details about how to bake and decorate candy cane sugar cookies.
6 | Snowman sugar cookie decorating ideas
Snowmen are another easy-to-decorate Christmas cookie.
The easiest way to do this is to use black icing for most of the accessories (in addition to the white for the body).
Flood the body of the snowman with white royal icing except for the hat.
Wait until it dries. Then add the black icing for the hat as well as making “coal” buttons, eyes and mouth.
Finally, pipe on a little bit of orange icing to be the “carrot” nose.
If you don’t mind mixing more colors of icing, you can add a scarf, buttons and the hat in different colors.
7 | Melting snowman cookies
Of for a fun version, you could make melting snowman cookies instead.
Start with round sugar cookies.
Cover most of the cookie in white royal icing in an uneven pattern.
For the head, stick a marshmallow into the frosting before it hardens.
After the white icing has dried, pipe on a scarf, buttons and arms.
Then add the face on the marshmallow. Using edible markers is the easiest way to do this, but you can pipe it on with icing if you want to.
8 | Round Christmas sugar cookie design ideas
If you’re looking for a really easy-to-make recipe, try slice and bake sugar cookies.
For these, the dough is rolled into a log and sliced so the cookies are round. (You can even buy it already rolled so you don’t even have to make the dough yourself if you don’t want to).
Then pipe on royal icing decorations to make them look Christmas-y.
Like these super cute reindeer sugar cookies.
You can also use similar designs as some of the cookies above, such as these snowflake cookies.
To give it more of a 3D effect, cover the whole cookie in white icing, wait until it dries, and then add the snowflake lines.
Or create a Santa face:
- Start by piping the top third of the cookie in red icing.
- Wait until it dries.
- Then pipe the bottom half of the cookie in white icing, add white trim along the bottom of the red hat, and a pom pom at the top.
- Add 3 small dots of white icing in the middle where the eyes and nose should go.
- Stick on 2 black sugar balls for the eyes and a red one for the nose.
Or if you are good a drawing, you can get a little fancier like these Santa and snowman designs.
And don’t forget about the wreath cookie from above.
9 | Star shaped Santa cookies
To make simple star-shaped cookies more fun, try decorating them like Santa.
Make sure the cookies are placed with one point at the top (which will be the hat).
Cover most of the cookie with white royal icing except for a circle in the middle.
Place 2 small dots of white icing in the middle of the circle where the eyes should go.
Then add the following decorations while the icing is still wet:
- Stick 2 black sugar balls onto those 2 royal icing dots for the eyes.
- Add a big red sugar ball just below the middle for the nose.
- Sprinkle red sugar crystals on the top point for the hat.
- Stick a mini marshmallow on the very top of the point.
10 | Grinch heart sugar cookies
You don’t have to use icing at all for these Grinch heart sugar cookies (unless you want to).
The green food coloring is added to the cookie dough so they’re the right color when they come out of the oven.
Then push a large heart sprinkle into the center of each cookie while they are still warm.
Or you could pipe a red heart on with icing after the cookies have cooled
Get more details about green Grinch heart sugar cookies.
Frequently asked questions about royal icing
What is the best consistency for royal icing when decorating sugar cookies?
For decorating sugar cookies, you want the royal icing to be thick enough to hold its shape, yet thin enough to flow smoothly. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a consistency that’s similar to toothpaste for piping borders and details, and a little thinner, like honey, for flooding the cookie’s surface.
How long does it take for royal icing to dry on sugar cookies?
Drying time for royal icing can vary based on humidity and the thickness of the icing. Generally, it takes at least 6-8 hours for royal icing to dry completely. For best results, it’s recommended to let the decorated cookies dry overnight.
Can I make royal icing ahead of time for my Christmas sugar cookie designs?
Yes, you can make royal icing ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the icing to prevent crusting. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to a week. Just be sure to stir it well before using to restore the proper consistency.
Do I need special tools for these Christmas sugar cookie design ideas?
While special tools like piping bags and tips can be helpful, they are not necessary for all designs. You can use a zip-top bag with a small corner snipped off for basic piping, and toothpicks or skewers can help maneuver icing and create simple details. However, having a few basic decorating tools can make the process easier and allow for more intricate designs.
How can I prevent my royal icing from running off the edges of my cookies?
To prevent royal icing from running off the edges, start by piping a border around the cookie’s edge with a slightly thicker consistency of icing. Let this border dry for a few minutes before flooding the inside with thinner icing. The border acts as a dam to keep the flood icing in place.
Related sugar cookie and icing recipes
- The best sugar cookie recipe for cut out cookies
- How to make white royal icing
- How to make red royal icing (that’s not pink)
- The best way to make black royal icing
Or browse all of our Christmas cookie recipes.