How to Bake Perfect Sugar Cookies

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Baking perfect sugar cookies is something that takes awhile to perfect. The key to baking perfect sugar cookies is:

  • rolling out your dough with no imperfections or cracks
  • chilling your dough – this will make it very easy to use cookie cutters, so your dough will keep it’s shape
  • baking your cookies until they just start turning light brown on the very edges. Do not overbake or they will be too brown and taste overdone
  • cooling your cookies fully before decorating
how to bake perfect sugar cookies
how to bake perfect sugar cookies

What is the difference between royal icing and regular icing?

Royal icing uses egg whites and icing sugar. This creates a stiff icing. You can thin it out a little using a tiny bit of water. After you have colored your icings, you can flood your cookies using the thin icing. Next, you can decorate your cookies once your flooded icing is dry. Use your stiffer icing and create designs on your cookies. Royal icing is different than regular icing in that it will set and become dry. This makes your cookies stackable, and will not be smudged once they are dry. Regular icing is usually buttercream icing. It is made using butter/shortening, vanilla, milk, and icing sugar. It has a bit of a different makeup, so it tastes a bit sweeter than royal icing. Regular icing is different than royal icing in that it will not dry. It remains a wet icing. But, it’s very easy to decorate using piping tips and will create beautiful designs. It’s a sweeter icing that some people prefer over royal icing.

chewy sugar cookies with frosting

How do you make cookies with royal icing?

Make cookies with royal icing by first preparing your cookies. You’ll want to bake sugar cookies, as they are able to be decorated easily, and you can cut them into different shapes. Let the cookies cool ~20 min. Floor your cookies first, then let them dry for a few hours, or overnight. Then continue decorating your cookies using different colored icing. Once your cookies are fully decorated, let them dry for a couple of hours. Then you can stack them nicely in an airtight container. They will stay good for about 5 days at room temperature, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

how to decorate sugar cookies with sprinkles

How do you get good at decorating cookies?

You get good at decorating cookies by practicing your piping skills. Once you’ve made royal icing and have mastered how to flood your cookie, start experimenting with different piping tips. Watch videos to perfect your technique. Try making a goal for yourself to master 1 tip for every batch of cookies. You’ll get the hang of it in no time!

how to flood sugar cookies

How do you decorate cookies after baking?

Decorate cookies after baking by letting them cool to room temperature. Prepare your icing during this time by making either buttercream icing, or royal icing. Color your icing using gel coloring or liquid food coloring. Once your cookies are cooled, you can start decorating them. If you’re using buttercream icing, you’re ready to start piping your designs onto your cookie. Add your sprinkles/adornments at the end of decorating. If you’re using royal icing, flood your cookie first, add any adornments/sprinkles then let it dry. Finish decorating your cookie using different colors and designs. Let them fully dry before stacking them together. Store in an airtight container. Buttercream iced cookies should be eaten within a few days. Royal iced cookies can be stored for up to 5 days at room temperature.

sugar cookies that hold their shape

What is the easiest way to decorate cookies?

The easiest way to decorate cookies is by putting sprinkles on the cookies right after they come out of the oven. As the cookies cool, the sprinkles will adhere to the cookie. Alternatively, you can flood your cookie with royal icing, then add sprinkles right after you’ve flooded it. Let the cookie dry and they’re ready to be packed away for safe keeping.

How do you ice sugar cookies for beginners?

We recommend making buttercream icing for beginners. Icing sugar cookies as a beginner is a steep learning curve. If you get frustrated, you can easily use a knife to put the icing on the cookie. Start by learning how to use piping tips by watching videos. Try out 2-3 tips to see if you can improve your skills. Once you get better at piping buttercream, you can learn how to decorate cookies using royal icing. It will be another learning curve when you use royal icing. From learning how thin to make your icing for flooding, to having colors blend together if they’re piped too quickly, you’ll take awhile to feel comfortable decorating sugar cookies.

How to Bake Perfect Sugar Cookies

Step by step guide how to bake perfect sugar cookies
Prep Time3 hours 30 minutes
Active Time36 minutes
Total Time4 hours 6 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookies
Yield: 30 cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar granulated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Cream butter and sugar together using a stand mixer on high speed for a couple of minutes until fluffy.
  • Add the egg to your mixture and cream together for 30 seconds. Add vanilla and mix again until fully combined. Scrape the slides of the bowl using a spatula to have the mixture fully homogenized.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix together.
  • Slowly add your dry ingredient bowl to your creamed mixture. Have your mixer on low speed when you're combining them together.
  • Check your dough to see how it feels. If it's sticking to your hands add a bit more flour to the dough – 1 tbsp.
  • Separate your dough in half. Roll out your dough by flouring the surface of a silicone mat. Flour your rolling pin lightly. Place your dough on top of the floured silicone mat and roll it to 1/4" thickness. Make sure there are no imperfections on the top of your dough. Roll it out so it looks even, with no cracks through it. Repeat with the other dough half.
  • Place plastic wrap on top of the dough and put in the fridge for 1-2 hours. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and use cookie cutters to cut the dough into cookies. Once you've used your dough to create your first batch of cookies, reroll the dough out to use up the remaining dough to make more cookies. Place the cookies on an aluminum baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. No greasing needed.
  • Bake cookies for 11-12 min at 350°F. Your cookies will be finished baking when the edges start turning light brown. Do not overbake. The whole cookie will turn brown if they are overdone. Let the cookies cool for a few min on the baking sheet. Then transfer the cookies to finish cooling on a wire rack ~20 min.
  • Decorate your cookies using royal icing or buttercream icing.

16 High Tea Cookies to Bake for Afternoon Tea

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High tea cookies are small, with a hint of citrus, herb, spiced or buttery flavors.

High tea cookies are light, crumbly, and melt in your mouth when you eat them alongside your hot tea.

how to serve afternoon tea

What high tea cookies can you make for afternoon tea

  • macadamia nut white chocolate chip cookies
  • lemon shortbread
  • plain shortbread
  • lavender shortbread
  • earl grey shortbread
  • chai shortbread
  • cranberry orange almond shortbread
  • chocolate dipped shortbread
  • orange slice tea cookies
  • macarons
  • raspberry almond thumbprint cookies
  • sugar cookies
  • madeleines
  • oatmeal raisin cookies
  • peanut butter cookies
  • matcha cookies

How many different types of cookies should you bake for high tea

You only need 1-2 different types of cookies for high tea.

Depending on how many how many desserts your preparing, you can easily go with just 1 type of cookie.

Usually there is an array of desserts including 4-5 different types of desserts included in afternoon tea.

Cookies are only 1 of the desserts that you could serve for afternoon tea.

What other sweets are served with afternoon tea

Some other sweets that are served with afternoon tea are breads, muffins, crumpets, scones, pastries, bars, and cakes.

high tea cookies to bake for afternoon tea

Where are high tea cookies placed on the serving platter

High tea cookies are placed on the top tier of a 3 tier serving platter. They are included in the sweets part of the high tea. The sweets portion of high tea is usually eaten last in high tea.

What should you wear when going for high tea

High tea in North America is semi-formal. Wear something nice, but not overdone. Consider wearing a long casual dress, dress pants, blouse, heels, boots, flats, or sandles.

How to host a high tea party

  1. Set a date and send out your invites.
  2. Gather china plates, tea cups, saucers, tea pots (several depending on number of teas you plan on serving), linen – tablecloth and napkins, serving platters – 3 tiers.
  3. Decide on your menu.
  4. Bake cookies, scones, breads, crumpets, cakes, etc. the day before your party.
  5. Set your tables with tablecloths, napkins, side plates, salt and pepper shakers.
  6. Create your sandwiches as close to the serving time as possible. Place in the refrigerator with cling wrap over them until you’re ready to serve them.
  7. Boil the kettle or hot water right before your guests come over.
  8. Place cream and sugar out for your guests.
  9. Place all of the sandwiches on the bottom tier of your serving platter. Next, place breads, crumpets and scones on the second tier. Put your tea time sweets on the top tier.
  10. Make tea for your guests.
  11. Enjoy!

High tea cookies are a delight for your guests.

They should be made a bit on the smaller side so they are bite sized.

You don’t want to bake too big of cookies, otherwise they won’t fit on your platter.

Typically high tea cookies are small enough just to have a taste.

You don’t want your guests becoming too full on anything because there is an array of baked goods to eat.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles

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Sugar cookies can be decorated with sprinkles a few different ways:

  1. Flood the sugar cookie with royal icing.
  2. Add sprinkles to the center, or in another area of the cookie. Use only a pinch of sprinkles at a time, and move your fingers together to slowly drop the sprinkles into place
  1. Flood the sugar cookie with royal icing. Let it dry.
  2. Add more royal icing/decorations as needed.
  3. Add sprinkles to the portion you want the sprinkles to be. Make sure to add them before the royal icing dries.
how to decorate sugar cookies with sprinkles

How do you get sprinkles to stick to icing?

To get sprinkles to stick to royal icing or buttercream, add them immediately after piping your icing when it’s still wet. Add sprinkles to your icing before it dries. The icing acts like a glue for the sprinkles to stick to.

How do you make royal icing using eggs for sugar cookies?

  1. Mix 3 pasteurized egg whites/6 tablespoons in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed.
  2. Add 1 cup of icing sugar to the stand mixer at a time until you’ve reached a total of 4 cups of icing sugar.
  3. Mix for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Separate the icing and add colors as needed. Add a tiny bit of water to the bowls that you want to use to flood the sugar cookie to thin out the icing.
  5. Pipe royal icing onto sugar cookies.

How to Store Royal Icing?

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.

What is the best sugar cookie size?

It’s best to have a mixture of sugar cookie sizes when serving them to guests. Be sure to cook similar sugar cookie sizes together so smaller cookies do not over-bake in the oven. Try to have anywhere from a 1″ sugar cookie to a 4″ sugar cookie for a big variety of sizes.

How do you stack cookies with icing?

Let all of your cookies dry before stacking cookies. Royal icing takes a couple of hours to dry. Once royal icing is dry, you can stack as many cookies as you like. Buttercream cookies cannot be stacked. The icing doesn’t harden like royal icing does.

Can you leave sugar cookies out overnight?

You can, but they will stale quicker. It’s best to let them cool in about ~20 minutes, then store them in an airtight container. They will last up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Do you decorate cookies before or after baking?

Always decorate cookies after baking. This is because icing, sprinkles, and other decorations will melt in the oven.

Do you let cookies cool before decorating?

Yes. Let your cookies cool for about 20 minutes before decorating. Icing will melt off of your cookie if you do not let your cookies cool fully before decorating.

How long do decorated sugar cookies last?

Decorated sugar cookies last 2 weeks at room temperature in an airtight container. Decorated sugar cookies will last up to 6 months in the freezer in an airtight container.