Green Grinch Heart Sugar Cookies (With A Gluten-Free Version)
These easy green Grinch heart sugar cookies are inspired by one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories – How The Grinch Stole Christmas. They’re made with mint flavoring, work well with gluten-free flour (if desired) and are perfect for celebrating the holidays.
Whether you’re hosting a Grinch Christmas party, making some goodies to watch “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” with your family, or just looking for a fun cookie recipe for a Christmas cookie swap party, these Grinch sugar cookies are perfect.
Made using our no-fail cut out cookie recipe, peppermint extract and decorated with a smaller red heart, these heart shaped cookies look and taste so Christmas-y.
And since they don’t involve any icing, they’re really easy to put together.
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Here’s your shopping list:
- eggs – 1 large
- dairy – 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- baking supplies – 2½ cups flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt
- flavoring – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract – I like to use peppermint because it seems Christmas-y to me, but you can pretty much use any kind of extract you like.
- color – green gel food coloring – Gel food color works better than the liquid kind. You need less of it to achieve the color and it doesn’t affect the liquid balance of the cookie dough. I think lime green results in a more Grinch-y looking color, but regular green will work. I used Americolor Electric Green* (from Amazon). The Betty Crocker Neon Green gel food coloring that you can find in a package of four colors at the grocery store will also work.
- decorations – red jumbo heart sprinkles – I got mine with this Valentine’s day sprinkles set* from Amazon.
- To make the recipe gluten-free, use measure-for-measure gluten-free flour instead of regular flour. (I like King Arthur’s brand.)
- If you want cookies that have a strong peppermint taste, increase the peppermint extract to 1 teaspoon.
- If you’re not a fan of peppermint cookies, replace the peppermint extract with almond extract. (Don’t worry…it doesn’t make the cookies taste like almonds. It just enhances their flavor.)
- Salted butter will work instead of unsalted. If that’s what you have, you may want to decrease the added salt a little bit.
- If you can’t find the large heart sprinkles, you can replace them with a smaller heart sugar cookie made with red gel food coloring. They’ll be more of a pinkish-red color but it’s a similar look. To do this:
- Make the cookie dough below without food coloring.
- Separate out part of it for small red hearts and the rest for larger green hearts. Then use the instructions for coloring the dough after it is mixed.
- Cut out red hearts with a small cookie cutter and green hearts with a larger one.
- Put the red hearts on top of the green ones and then bake.
- heart cookie cutter – Mine is about 2 inches across, but you can make them whatever size you want (or even do some with a large heart and some with a small one).
- parchment paper – This makes it possible to roll out the sugar cookie dough without having it stick to the rolling pin, and also keeps the cookies from losing their shape while they bake.
- food processor – for this recipe, I like to use a food processor instead of a stand mixer (but a mixer will work if that’s all you have).
- cookie sheet – a rimless one works best for even baking
- wire cooling rack
How to make green Grinch heart sugar cookies
If you haven’t tried our sugar cookie recipe before, it’s a little different than your usual sugar cookies.
You mix it in the food processor (although a regular mixer will work, too, if you don’t have one).
And you start with cold butter. So no need to take it out of the refrigerator ahead of time.
If you’re making a whole batch of Grinch sugar cookies, adding the food coloring to the liquid ingredients before mixing them is the easiest way to get green cookies.
However, if you are making more than one type of sugar cookie and don’t want them all to be green, you can add the color after the dough has been mixed. (See below for more details).
This recipe will make about 36 2-inch cookies. But the exact number will vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter and how thin you roll your cookie dough.
Okay, let’s get on with the recipe.
Line your cookie sheet(s) with a piece of parchment paper.
Cut up 2 sticks (1 cup) of cold unsalted butter into half-inch chunks.
Make sure your oven rack is in the middle position.
Turn the oven on to 300℉. Since the cookie dough needs to chill for a while before baking, you may want to wait until closer to the actual bake time to do this.
Mix the wet ingredients
In a small bowl, beat an egg. I usually do this by hand with a whisk or a fork.
Mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract, ¾ teaspoon salt and about 1/16 teaspoon green gel food coloring.
The amount of food coloring you’ll need depends on the brand that you’re using and how green you want your cookies to be.
Inexpensive grocery store varieties that usually come in a package of four different colors (like Betty Crocker) usually need about double the amount of food coloring to get the same darkness of green.
If you are going to be using the cookie dough to make other kinds of (not-green) sugar cookies as well as the Grinch cookies, leave the food coloring out for now. You can add it in later.
Set the bowl aside.
Mix the dry ingredients
In another bowl, use a spoon to mix together 2½ cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon baking soda.
Now it’s time to get out the food processor!
Process the chopped butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar until they are well mixed, about 30 seconds.
Add the egg mixture to the food processor and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
Then add in the flour mixture and process until all of the flour is combined, which should take another 30 seconds.
You don’t want to over-mix at this stage because it can make the cookies tough. So stop the food processor as soon as the flour has been incorporated.
Roll out the dough
Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball.
If you’re only going to make some of your cookie dough green (or you think your dough isn’t green enough), now is the time to add the food coloring. See the section below for the details on how to do this.
We’re going to use parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin. It’s the most awesome thing ever!
So lay down a piece of parchment paper that’s at least 12 inches square (big enough for the cookie dough to be rolled out on.
Then put the first dough ball on the parchment paper and cover it with another piece of parchment that’s the same size as the first one.
Use your hands to flatten the ball of dough between the pieces of parchment.
Now roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thick with a rolling pin.
Put the rolled-out dough (still inside the parchment paper) on a tray or cookie sheet.
Then repeat the process with the other ball of dough.
Refrigerate the rolled-out dough for 1½ hours or freeze for 30 minutes.
The dough should be stiff when you take it out.
Cut out the cookies
Take the first sheet of cookie dough out of the refrigerator (leave the other one in for now).
Remove the top layer of parchment paper, leaving the bottom layer in place.
Use your cookie cutter to cut hearts in the cookie dough.
If the dough has become soft and stretches easily (so the cookies lose their shape), put it back in the refrigerator until it stiffens up again, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Run a thin spatula (or cake knife) between the cookie dough and the bottom layer of parchment paper to loosen it.
Lay out the cookies about half an inch apart on your parchment-paper covered cookie sheet.
Repeat the cutting out process with the second sheet of cookie dough.
Bake the cookies
Bake the cookies at 300℉ until the cookies have an even color across the top but are not brown, about 12 to 16 minutes.
Don’t bake multiple cookie sheets at the same time on different racks in the oven since this can cause uneven baking.
It works much better to bake them in two batches, even if it does take a little longer. If you are doing this, store the cut out cookies that are waiting to be baked in the refrigerator. Keeping them cold helps to maintain their shape while they’re baking.
Remove the cookies from the oven when they’re done.
Gently push a jumbo sprinkle heart into the center of each cookie. Be careful because the cookies are hot!
Sugar cookies are quite fragile when they are warm, so don’t push the heart sprinkle in too hard or the cookie may break.
Let them cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet.
Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Again, be careful when you are moving them as they are very easy to break at this stage.
Combine all of your left-over dough and roll it out to make another batch of cookies. Don’t re-roll the same cookie dough too many times as that can make the cookies tough.
How to color some of the dough
If you only want to have some of your cookies be green. Or you’re starting with pre-made cookie dough, you can add the food coloring just before you roll it out.
To do this:
- Put a ball of cookie dough in a mixing bowl.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to the top of the cookie dough.
- Push the food coloring into the dough with the side of a knife or back of a spoon.
- When the gel has been absorbed, use your hands to kneed the dough gently until it has turned color. Stop as soon as the color is evenly distributed since working with the dough too much can make the cookies tough.
How to store sugar cookies
These Grinch sugar cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for about 3 days at room temperature, a week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.
Other Grinch Christmas ideas you might like
- Grinch cupcakes with a heart inside
- Grinch bingo
- How to decorate a Grinch Christmas tree
- DIY Grinch wreath
- Christmas tree sugar cookies
More Christmas cookie recipes –>
Green Grinch Sugar Cookies With A Heart (& A Gluten-Free Option)
- Small bowl
- whisk or fork
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowl
- food processor
- cookie sheet
- parchment paper
- rolling pin
- 2" heart cookie cutters
- thin spatula
- wire cooling rack
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon green gel food coloring
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour or measure-for-measure gluten-free flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup (or 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 1 package large heart sprinkles
- In a small bowl, beat an egg with a whisk. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract , ¾ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon green gel food coloring. 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 (straight from the refrigerator) butter into ½ inch chunks.
- Process the butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar in the food processor until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Add the egg mixture to the food processor and blend until combined, another 30 seconds.
- Add the flour mixture and process until all of the flour is combined, about 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough into two parts.
- Roll the first one into a ball.
- Put the ball of dough in between 2 large sheets of parchment paper.
- Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 1/8" thick.
- 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.
- When the cookie dough is stiff, take the first sheet out of the refrigerator (leaving the other one in).
- Peel off the top layer of parchment paper.
- Cut hearts in the cookie dough with the cookie cutter.
- Use a thin spatula (or a cake knife) to separate the cookies from the bottom layer of parchment paper. If the dough has become soft and is losing its shape, put it back in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes until it is stiff again. This will make the cookies easier to remove.
- Repeat the process with the other sheet of cookie dough.
- Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Then lay out the cookies about ½ inch apart.
- Bake at 300℉ for 12 to 16 minutes, until the cookies have an even color across the top but are not brown.
- Remove from the oven and push a large sprinkle heart into the middle of each cookie.
- Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Then move to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
- Roll out the left over dough to create another batch of cookies.
- Using parchment paper on both sides of the cookie dough while rolling will keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
- Refrigerating the cookie dough prevents the cookies from losing their shape while they are baking
- Parchment paper on the cookie sheet keeps the cookies from spreading and maintains the heart shape.
- Only bake one cookie sheet at a time since stacking them in the oven will cause uneven heating.
- The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days, in the refrigerator for about a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Have questions or comments about our easy green Grinch heart sugar cookies? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on November 13, 2021 but was updated with new content on February 20, 2023.