Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Rolled-Out Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

A variation on the chewy drop cookie version, these are perfect for any cut-out cookie project you tackle.

Royal icing will dry to a smooth, shiny finish. Dye your royal icing with liquid or paste food coloring. Use a toothpick to dab a small dot of color in the icing and mix to an even color with a rubber spatula. If you want deeper colors, add dots of color incrementally after completely incorporating the previous dots to achieve the color you want. Do not add too much at one time, as these colors are highly concentrated and difficult to lighten once too dark.

Note: If not using immediately, cover the icing with a damp paper towel directly on the surface, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Otherwise, the icing will form a skin and/or dry out completely. After refrigeration, bring back to room temperature and recheck the consistency.

christmas-cookies-with royal icing - featured image



Rolled-Out Sugar Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Royal Icing

  • 4 egg whites, or more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, or more as needed


Rolled-Out Sugar Cookies

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low.
  2. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar together into a medium bowl. Add to the creamed mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  4. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut as desired with floured cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. As you are working, reserve the scraps so they may be rolled again and cut.
  7. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Rotate and switch the baking sheets as necessary for even baking.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the baking sheets then transfer, using a spatula, to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  9. Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Royal Icing

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites on low speed until loose, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the cream of tartar and continue mixing on low speed until the whites become frothy, about 2 minutes more.
  3. 3.Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar with the mixer still on low speed. Continue to mix until the icing holds a soft peak, about 2 minutes more. Add more confectioners’ sugar or egg whites as needed for thicker or thinner icing.

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