Drop Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Cookies | Published Dec 4, 2022 | Updated Dec 2, 2022 | By Tawnie
It has been said that the Sugar Cookie is one of America’s favorite holiday cookies and I think my-crisp-on-the-outside, soft-and-chewy-on-the-inside Drop Sugar Cookie will soon be one of your family favorites. Not only are they easy to make but they are temptingly delicious.
When I think of making holiday sugar cookies, I think about rolling pins, and cookie cutters, but I wanted to make a cookie that is just as good…ahem… better, but with no rolling, or cookie cutters. Get ready to just mix, chill and drop my Drop Sugar Cookies and make new holiday memories with your family.
Table of contents
If you’re looking for other holiday cookies, you can’t miss out on the classic chocolate chip cookie. This is my famous giant cookie chocolate chip cookie recipe but you can always make them smaller!
Other Christmas must-makes are these White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies, or these Cookie Butter Cookies.
Reasons you will love my Drop Sugar Cookies
- The buttercream frosting adds a wonderful layer of vanilla infused sweetness to these cookies.
- They are easy to make since you just drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet.
- These Drop Sugar Cookies satisfy your sweet tooth with a crisp outside and chewy inside.
- These cookies will quickly become your go-to cookie exchange cookie.
- Decorate with the buttercream frosting and lots of holiday sprinkles! So fun!
- Flour: All-purpose flour is always my go to flour for cookies.
- Cake flour: I always find that cake flour adds a soft chewiness to cookies that I love.
- Cornstarch: Adding in cornstarch gives the cookie a more tender texture.
- Baking soda: It’s all about creating the right texture, and the baking soda helps create a chewy texture.
- Baking powder- Helps create a soft and thick Drop Sugar Cookie.
- Salt: Salt is a wonderful flavor enhancer, but also affects the cookies tenderness.
- Cold butter: Often times you’ll notice I use cold butter instead of softened in my cookie recipes. No more than 15 minutes out on the counter is perfect. This helps the dough stay cold and prevent cookies from spreading.
- Sugar: granulated sugar adds to the flatter appearance of the cookies
- Large eggs: I like using large eggs to add to the fluffiness of the cookies. The extra yolks also will enrich the texture and flavor of the cookies
- Vanilla extract: Never, ever forget the vanilla as it enhances all the flavors in your cookies.
- Almond extract (optional): Adds a warm nutty flavor.
Ingredients for the frosting:
- Softened butter: the butter needs to be softened so that it can be properly creamed with the sugar. The more air in the frosting, the lighter, and more fluffy it will be.
- Powdered sugar: The reason why we use powdered sugar in frosting is that it dissolves quickly and adds to the smooth texture of the frosting.
- Heavy cream: Using heavy whipping cream, and beating it for several minutes is the secret to light and fluffy frosting. You could also use whole milk if needed.
- Almond extract: Using almond extract in the cookie and the frosting to balance out these wonderful flavors from the top to the bottom of the cookie.
- Vanilla bean paste (or seeds scraped from a vanilla bean or vanilla extract): I like using Vanilla bean paste since it is a more concentrated, full bodied vanilla flavor.
- Pinch of salt: I like using a fine grain kosher salt so that it disperses evenly into the frosting.
- Holiday Sprinkles for decorating: I love using an assortment of holiday sprinkles to lend variety to the look for my cookies. I buy mine from Sweetapolita.
Step by Step Directions
This recipe is a straight forward cookie recipe and only needs 30 minutes of chill time.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time.
- Beat in the extracts.
- Add in the dry ingredients on medium speed just until combined.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Scoop the dough or roll into balls in the palm of your hands and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375°F for 12-13 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
- Allow the cookies to cool.
- Make the vanilla buttercream frosting. Spread on top of cooled cookies or use a piping bag.
- Add sprinkles on top and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- Never skip the step to chill the cookie dough. Chilling helps solidify the fats in the cookie which in turn, keep the cookie from spreading.
- You can refrigerate the cookie dough for up to 3 days in advance prior to baking.
- You can skip the frosting, and simply sprinkle the cookies with sugar before baking
- Make a cream cheese frosting instead of a buttercream. This cookie recipe has one of my favorite cream cheese frostings. You can even add some pink gel food coloring for a light pink frosting!
- Dress up the Sugar Cookie dough for a more festive look with nuts, cranberries, chunks of chocolate or a variety of warm spices.
Because you simply drop scoops or spoon fulls of cookie onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. You can roll them into balls in the palms of your hands for a cleaner look.
Cookie dough can be stored in an air tight container for 2 to 4 days or you can freeze the dough for up to 2 months.
I suggest thawing frozen cookie dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Drop cookies stored in single layers in an air tight container will last up to a week at room temperature, and up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. If you freeze them, they will last up to 6 months. I would leave the frosting off if you plan to freeze them.
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Drop Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 cups cold butter, unsalted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract (or just add more vanilla)
- 1 cup softened butter, unsalted
- 3 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- pinch of salt
- holiday sprinkles
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cake flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes on medium speed or until light and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until the yellow disappears. Add in the vanilla and almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Gradually add in the dry ingredients on medium-low speed and mix just until combined.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Scoop the dough out using a 2 Tbsp. cookie scoop (and roll into balls in the palms of your hands if you'd like too) and drop onto prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes, or just until the edges are lightly browned. The middles will look soft still, that's OK!
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream frosting. Using a hand held mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter on medium speed until it's creamy. About 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, almond extract and salt. Beat on low just to get it combined the increase to medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Adjust as needed, adding more powdered sugar is the buttercream is too thin or a touch more heavy cream if too thick.
- Frost cooled cookies, and top with festive sprinkles. Enjoy!
Hi, I’m Tawnie!
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.More about Tawnie
Help! My cookie dough is super crumbly and dry. I followed the instructions exactly! Should i scrap it or will they be ok when i bake them?
Hi! That’s so odd. I am so sorry! Are you spooning and leveling the flour instead of sticking the scoop straight into the bag of flour? Sounds like too much flour = dry dough!
Soooooo good! I made them into ducks for my niece’s class for her birthday two weeks ago, and everyone loved them. They are soft and chewy with nice crisp edges. Even my mom, who is so picky about cookies and has always been a sugar cookie hater, called me this morning to tell me she couldn’t stop thinking about these cookies. (She got some of the leftovers). Guess I’ll be making more this week!
They are so cute!!! omg thank you so so much 🙂 love!
SO DELICIOUS! Need to say that I made these GF (used King Arthur Flour Measure for Measure and found a GF “cake flour” recipe online and used that) as I have a celiac son and nephew whom I never want to miss out on the holiday goodies! These were spectacular! Easy to make and even better to eat! Using my 2T cookie scoop, I was able to yield about 40 cookies, so plenty to decorate now & have some to freeze for later….or plenty to bring to a cookie exchange!
Hi Amy! I am so glad the gf flour worked well & that you enjoyed them. Yay! Thank you! Happy baking 🙂
Can you substitute anything fir the vanilla paste?
Just vanilla extract is fine, or an actually vanilla bean and scrape out the vanilla inside:)
My cookies turned out small and thick?
Did you use a cookie scoop and drop them onto the cookie sheet or roll into a ball? I found rolling in a ball kept them thicker, and the drop method they spread more.
What size cookie scoop did you use.
2 tbsp. scoop! You could make a tad smaller if you’d like too.
Hi there! Is it possible to make the dough a few days in advanced, and keep it in the fridge? Looking forward to making this recipie!
Hi! Yes! Cookie dough can be stored in an air tight container for 2 to 4 days or you can freeze the dough for up to 2 months. 🙂 I hope you love them!
Hi! Does the frosting set/harden enough to be able to store these cookies without them getting messed up? Thank you!
Hi! Good question. I wouldn’t stack them on top of each other. You could make a thicker frosting with more powdered sugar and let it set up a bit 🙂
I have a question about this recipe. What would I substitute for the cake flour? That’s not something I usually have on hand. I’m anxious to try these! I love sugar cookies! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Hi Penny! Thank you so much, this is a good question! You can just use additional all purpose flour in its place. Or you can make homemade cake flour: You’ll need 14 Tbsp. All-purpose flour and 2 Tbsp. corn starch. Mix these together and sift them twice to get them fully mixed and aerated. This will make ~1 cup flour and you need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so you can double it have a little extra for the next time you bake! xo, Tawnie
These are EXCELLENT! I made them without the frosting (personal preference) and baked them for 10 min. I will definitely make these again.
You are so kind Desiree, thank you so so much! 🙂 Happy baking!