Christmas Cookie Sparkles

Sparkling green and red cream cheese sugar cookies with the softest, creamiest texture! These Christmas cookies are quick and easy too! Recipe on

Today’s recipe may look familiar to most of you. It’s the sugar cookie sparkles recipe from Sally’s Cookie Addiction all dressed up in holiday colors. I’m so excited to feature another recipe from my new cookbook on my blog!

Sparkling green and red cream cheese sugar cookies with the softest, creamiest texture! These Christmas cookies are quick and easy too! Recipe on

Also pictured: Christmas tree sugar cookies using this sugar cookie and royal icing.

These are my cookie SPARKLES. A classically soft sugar cookie rolled in sparkles, aka sanding sugar sprinkles. Not only are the sprinkles adorably festive, they give the cookies a delicious crunch on the outside, which contrasts wonderfully with the soft centers.

Cream cheese sugar cookies on

This is a simple drop cookie, so we don’t have to worry about rolling out the cookie dough like we do with regular sugar cookies. If you don’t have a rolling pin or don’t feel like messing with cookie cutters, these sugar cookies are for you. We’ll roll the cookie dough into balls and you don’t need any special tools for that. YAY!

Watch how they’re made:

That Secret Ingredient!

The cookie dough is made from typical sugar cookie ingredients like butter, sugar, egg, and flour. I also add a little secret ingredient that turns these soft sugar cookies into SUPER soft sugar cookies. What a difference a couple ounces of cream cheese makes! Not only will it produce softer sugar cookies, it creates a wonderfully creamy tasting cookie as well. The texture is unlike any other sugar cookie I’ve tasted.

Let’s talk chilling. This sugar cookie dough doesn’t need to chill in the refrigerator very long– only about 1 hour. It’s a very sturdy dough that won’t overspread in the oven, so chilling for 3+ hours just isn’t necessary. It’s difficult to always plan ahead, so quick cookies are a blessing this time of year!

After rolling the cookie dough into balls, give the cookies a nice dunk into sanding sugar. Aka… the sparkles.

Cream cheese sugar cookie dough on

In the video above, did you see how I pressed down the sugar cookie balls before baking? That’s crucial. The cookies will hardly spread unless you give them a little nudge in the right direction. I simply do this with the back of a measuring cup.

Cream cheese sugar cookies on

To Sparkle or Not To Sparkle

If a delightful crunch on the exterior doesn’t seem, well, delightful at all… leave the sprinkles off. Instead, bake the sugar cookies plain and frost them like I did here. It’s the same cookie recipe, but I decorate with cream cheese frosting on top. So if you’re all about a super soft and creamy sugar cookie, but want nothing to do with the colorful sparkle… try them that way. Delicious with frosting!

Look how creamy and soft they are inside. ↓ ↓

Sparkling green and red cream cheese sugar cookies with the softest, creamiest texture! These Christmas cookies are quick and easy too! Recipe on

Sparkling green and red cream cheese sugar cookies with the softest, creamiest texture! These Christmas cookies are quick and easy too! Recipe on

Have you tried these from my cookbook yet?

See all cookie palooza recipes.


Christmas Cookie Sparkles

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 32 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Super soft and creamy cream cheese sugar cookies rolled in sprinkles!


  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 240g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 ounces (56g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sanding sugar, red and green or assorted colors*


  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on high speed until relatively smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat until combined and creamy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. The dough will be thick. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 3-4 days. If chilling for longer than 2-3 hours, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard and the cookies may not spread.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  5. Pour sanding sugar in a bowl or, if using multiple colors, a few separate bowls.
  6. Roll balls of cookie dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough per cookie, then roll each ball in the sanding sugar to coat. Place each dough ball 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Using the back of a measuring cup or drinking glass, gently press down on each dough ball to slightly flatten. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes or until very lightly browned on the edges.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. Unbaked cookie dough balls (without sanding sugar coating) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll in sanding sugar. Bake as directed. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Colorful Mixing Bowls | Fun Spatula | Green Sanding SugarSilpat Baking Mat | Cookie Sheet | Cooling Rack
  3. Almond Extract: Almond extract adds a wonderful flavor to the cookies. You can leave it out. No need to replace with anything.
  4. Sanding Sugar: I find sanding sugar sprinkles at my regular grocery store. You can usually find them in the baking aisle. I like Wilton brand. I’ve also used this gold pearlized sugar.
  5. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Sparkling green and red cream cheese sugar cookies with the softest, creamiest texture! These Christmas cookies are quick and easy too! Recipe on


  1. I made these yesterday and, as always with any of your recipes, they were delicious. I got 30 cookies out of the recipe. I ate six and the rest are going to a friend. I definitely will be making these again not only at Christmas but throughout the year with different colored sanding sugar. Thank you for another great recipe.

  2. I just finished baking these festive cookies. I think the size is just right and the cookie is not overly sweet. They are perfect! Thank you for such a great recipe. I love your directions, they are so easy to follow.

  3. Hi, Sally. Thanks for such a great recipe! I just took mine out of the oven and it seems that there’s a crust formed on the bottom from the sanding sugars. I do not have silicone mats and used a baking sheet. Do you think this is the culprit? Any advice for the future? They taste great but just look burnt on the bottom.

  4. These cookies are so much easier to make than your standard sugar cookie and so tender and yummy. I rolled my cookies in colored sugar as well as sprinkles (non pareil) and they turned out fantastic! Thanks for a keeper!

  5. I baked 3 batches of these! They taste great, however I found that they puffed up quite a bit in the oven, and the middle deflated after it cooled. Do you have any idea what I did wrong? 

  6. After getting happy reviews from my husband’s coworkers, I made these festive cookies as gifts for my coworkers; but left some without sanding sugar. Neither batch had almond extract and they loved them! Thank you!

  7. My new favorite Christmas cookie to eat with my coffee! They were easy to make & delicous. I’ll make them again for sure. Thanks for your great recipes.

  8. Hi Sally!  I absolutely loved these cookies. It’s been so cold here in Minnesota that my cookie dough takes so long to get to room temperature. I was wonder how to tell if these have been undercooked?  I over cooked the first batch but they were not golden brown or anything to indicate they had been baked too long. I like a soft cookie but don’t want them to be underdone for folks. Any tips? Thank you so much. I only made cookies from your blog this year and each where a hit.

    1. Hi Al! For this size cookie (1 Tbsp of dough in this particular recipe), I always bake for 12-13 minutes. The bottoms are light brown. If yours taste a little too hard, I would reduce down to 11 minutes and see how you like that. Stay warm!!

  9. I mentioned on one of your other cookie posts about experimenting trying to find new recipes that would be festive for a cookie buffet in December. This was another recipe that I tried, and I loved these! They are so pretty with those sugar sprinkles, and so soft and yummy. Mine turned out just like the pictures (which I always strive for). I made one small change. I really don’t like almond extract at all, so instead, I added butter emulsion. It had a great butter and vanilla flavor. For those who haven’t made these yet, definitely follow Sally’s instructions about pressing down the dough balls with a glass or they won’t spread much.

  10. I just made these for fall. I used orange sugar and poked half of a pretzel stick into the ball before flattening to make little pumpkins. What fun!

  11. I love this sugar cookie recipe… I’m wanting to make a peppermint sugar cookie… wondering if I can roll these in finely crushed peppermint candy canes instead of the sugar? I’m thinking I’d leave out the almond extract (even tho I generally love the flavor it gives). Maybe I’ll try it both ways and see!

      1. Thanks so much!! I did make them exactly as recipe is and rolled them in finely crushed candy canes… It wasn’t too melty/messy and they are really yummy. (Not very peppermint-y tho, but still delicious ). I will definitely try your other peppermint cookie recipes too! I can’t wait to make the peppermint bark cookies!

  12. Sally,
    I made these cookies today and they are going to the church after glow next week after our Christmas play. Thank- you for sharing the recipe.

  13. these cookies are perfect! Easy to make and DELICIOUS . We will definitely make them again and again.

  14. I made a batch of these last week and they turned out great! I added a Hugs to the top of the cookies so that they were even more festive. This is the first time I have added cream cheese to a cookie recipe and it was such a great add. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. As with any recipe I’ve tried of yours, these were fantastic! I bought a Christmas cookie jar on the whim and got home and realized I needed to put cookies in it or else it just looked kind of sad and lonely. I wanted to make some sugar cookies and was thinking of making the snowmen and trees but honestly I was feeling very lazy and the thought of breaking out the piping bags seemed a little much. I’m so glad I made these instead. They were easy, only an hour chill time and SO FLUFFY. I was really surprised when I bit into the first one; the texture really is unlike any other sugar cookie I’ve had. Thanks Sally and Merry Christmas.

  16. These are a permanent addition to my holiday baking lineup! My family loved them and they are so pretty. The sanding sugar gives them a sweet crunch and I love the almond flavor.

  17. I made these for neighbors for Christmas & one of them commented again last week how good they were. Thanks for the simple, yummy recipe.

1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Recipes You’ll Love



Sally's Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More

Sally's Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

Sally's Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally