Christmas is coming and it’s time to get your bake on! These Christmas wreath sugar cookies are easy to make and perfect for the holidays. All you need are a few simple ingredients and a bit of creativity.
I think decorated sugar cookies are one of the easiest ways to add the holiday spirit to a Christmas cookie tray.
And these ones that are decorated to look like Christmas wreaths are no exception.
Made with two sizes of fluted biscuit cutters, it’s easy to create the wreath shape.
Then you can use green icing and red sugar balls to make them look like a traditional holly wreath with berries.
Or decorated them to match your Christmas color scheme. Like I did with these white and blue ones.
Either way, they’re fun to make. And will turn out every time using our no-fail sugar cookie recipe.
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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:
- baking supplies: 2½ cups all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt
- 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
For the icing & decorations:
- sugar: 1 pound (4 cups) icing sugar
- baking supplies: 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
- flavoring: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sprinkles: sugar balls in the color of your choice. I used blue ones on white icing and red ones on green icing. The red balls can be arranged to look like holly berries. You can also used colored sugar and other sprinkles to decorate the cookie wreaths.
- color: (optional) green gel food coloring
- For gluten-free cookies, use measure-for-measure gluten-free flour instead of regular all-purpose flour (this gluten-free brand* is my favorite).
- Salted butter will work instead of unsalted if that’s what you have
- a large and a small fluted biscuit cutter – I used the smallest and largest cookie cutter in this set*.
- 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 Wreath sugar cookies
Make the dough
In a small bowl, mix together 2½ cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
In another 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.
Cut up 2 sticks (1 cup) of cold butter into ½ inch chunks.
Blend the butter and sugar in the food processor and process until combined, about 30 seconds.
Add the egg and vanilla mixture and process 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 or waxed paper.
To make the parchment easier to remove, you can lightly flour the sheets on the sides that are touching the cookie dough.
With a rolling pin, roll the cut out sugar cookie dough out until it is about 1/8 of an inch 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 wreath cookies
Take the first sheet of cookie dough out of the refrigerator and peel off the top layer of parchment paper.
Put the larger biscuit cutter on the cookie dough and press down to cut through the dough.
Then position the small biscuit cutter in the center of that cut, making sure it’s centered. Press down to cut the pattern.
Don’t remove the cookies from the rest of the dough just yet.
Repeat the cutting process to make more wreath cookie shapes.
Put the cookie dough back in the refrigerator with the bottom piece of parchment paper still attached.
Do the same the process with the second sheet of cookie dough.
To make sure the cookies will keep their shape when you move them and prevent them from spreading, refrigerate the cookie dough for another 30 minutes or until the dough is stiff.
Separate the cutout cookies
Pre-heat the oven to 300℉.
Use a metal spatula (or a cake knife) to separate the bottom layer of parchment paper from the cookie dough.
Remove the excess cookie dough.
Then remove the center. This will be easy as long as the dough is still cold.
Put another piece of parchment paper down on a baking sheet. This prevents the cookies from spreading too much and losing their shape while they’re baking.
Then lay out the cookies about ½ inch apart. Since they won’t spread much, they don’t need a lot of space.
Bake the cookies
Bake at 300℉ for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies are slightly brown.
When they are done, move the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before moving the individual cookies to the cooling rack.
The cookies will be very soft at this point and break easily, so be careful when you are moving them.
Repeat with the other sheet of cut-out cookies.
Roll out the remaining dough to create another batch of cookies.
How to make 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.
Once the ingredients are combined, increase to the mixer speed to medium.
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.)
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 since it doesn’t take a lot of water to make the icing too runny.
- If the icing closes faster than 15 seconds, the icing is too runny. So continue mixing it 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 make green royal icing (optional)
To make green royal icing, mix a few drops of green gel food coloring into the white icing.
If it’s not dark enough, add a few more drops. Don’t add too much since the food coloring can add a bitter flavor to the icing.
You can also color part of the icing and leave the rest white. In this case, move some of the white icing into a separate bowl. Then add the green coloring to it.
If you’re not using the icing right away, cover the top of it with plastic wrap. Then push it down so that the plastic is directly touching the top of the icing. It can be stored at room temperature this way for a couple of days.
How to decorate wreath sugar cookies
Put the 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 of the bag easier.
To get the icing to come out evenly, hold the piping bag closed by wrapping your thumb and forefinger around the top. Then squeeze gently with your other fingers to push the icing out.
Start by piping an outline all the way around the inside edge of the wreath.
Then do the same with outside edge.
Next, fill in (flood) between the lines with icing.
You may want to use a larger tip (like a #5) for this since the icing will come out faster. This is where having a coupler on your piping bag makes your life easier. You can easily switch the tips without having to take all of the icing out of the bag.
Use a knife or toothpick to spread the icing around to cover any gaps.
While the icing is still wet, spread some sprinkles or sugar over the icing.
I like to put them on a small plate to do this. It catches most of the excess sprinkles so you can reuse them.
Then use tweezers to place the sugar ball “ornaments” around the wreath.
You can either do them in a random pattern to look like ornaments.
Or put them in groups of three to look like holly berries.
How to store sugar cookies
Let the wreath 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.
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 sugar cookies you might like
- Christmas tree sugar cookies
- Candy cane sugar cookies
- Grinch heart sugar cookies
- Decorate angel Christmas cut out cookies
- Snowflake sugar cookies
Christmas Wreath Sugar Cookies
- 2 small mixing bowls
- food processor
- rimless cookie sheet
- parchment paper
- rolling pin
- large fluted biscuit cutter
- small fluted biscuit 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
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup 2 sticks cold unsalted butter
- 1 package white or green sprinkles and/or sanding sugar
- 1 package sugar balls
- 4 cups (or 1 pound) icing sugar
- 3 Tablespoons meringue
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup WARM water
- green gel food coloring (optional)
Cut out cookies
- In a small bowl, mix together 2½ cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat an egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract and ¾ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Cut 1 cup (2 sticks) of cold butter into ½ inch chunks.
- In a food processor, blend 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.
- Place the larger biscuit cutter on the cookie dough and press down to cut the dough.
- Then center the smaller biscuit cutter in the center of the larger one. Push down on to cut the dough.
- Repeat to make additional cookies. Don't remove them from the excess dough yet.
- Do the same thing 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. Remove the excess dough from around the cookies.
- Remove the cookie dough from the center of wreaths.
- Put another piece of parchment paper down on a cookie sheet.
- Then lay out both the wreath 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 and it takes about 15 seconds to close if a knife is run through it.
How to make green royal icing
- If you want to decorate your wreaths with green icing, mix in a few drops of green gel food coloring to the white icing.
Decorating wreath cut out cookies
- Put the icing in a piping bag with a #3, #4 or #5 piping tip attached.
- Outline the inner edge of the wreath with royal icing.
- Do the same with the outer edge.
- Then flood (fill in) the middle of the cookie between the lines.
- Use a knife or toothpick to spread the icing into any gaps.
- (Optional) While the icing is still wet, sprinkle sanding sugar or sprinkles over the top.
- Use tweezers to place sugar balls around the wreath cookies so they look like ornaments. Or if you are using red balls, put them on in groups of three to look like holly berries.
Store the cookies
- Let the cookies stand for a few hours allowing the icing to dry before storing in an airtight container for a few days or freezing for up to 3 months.
- 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.
Have comments or questions about our Christmas wreath sugar cookies recipe? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on December 16, 2021 but was updated with new content on October 12, 2023.