Drop Style Christmas Sugar Cookies

These soft, chewy, and sprinkle loaded drop style Christmas sugar cookies are made with only 8 ingredients. No rolling pin or cookie cutters required!

sprinkle sugar cookies

Ditch the rolling pin, toss the cookie cutters, and break out the mixer because today we’re making drop sugar cookies with Christmas sprinkles. These soft-baked cookies are perfect if you want SIMPLE and EASY sugar cookies. (Don’t we all.)

Cookie Chemistry

These drop style Christmas sugar cookies are based off of a recipe that’s already published on my blog: Soft-Baked Sprinkle Sugar Cookies. These chewy sugar cookies have always been a favorite, but I often receive questions about the leaveners used. The recipe calls for baking soda and cream of tartar. Let’s work on some cookie chemistry together:

  • Give my article about baking soda vs baking powder a read. As you learn, recipes calling for baking soda must also contain an acid such as sour cream, brown sugar, or buttermilk. The acid reacts with the baking soda to create carbon dioxide, which allows the cookies to rise. Cream of tartar is our acid. I use it because it’s mostly flavorless. It also doesn’t change the texture of the sugar cookies. Baking powder already contains an acid so it doesn’t require any special ingredients.

I decided to rework the recipe and use baking powder instead of baking soda/cream of tartar. When testing cookie recipes, one problem I always face is finding the right amount of leavener. Using too much baking powder leaves a bitter aftertaste. (Which was my problem a few years ago.) Good rule of thumb I learned: use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour. Today you’ll use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.

Science is delicious.

Christmas sugar cookie dough with red and green sprinkles in a glass bowl

Sugar cookie dough balls on Silpat baking mat before baking

How to Make Drop Style Christmas Sugar Cookies

These are my drop sugar cookies, but with Christmas sprinkles. The process is super straightforward. Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another. Sugar cookies get all of their flavor from butter and vanilla, so make sure you’re using the correct forms of each. Unsalted butter is preferred (and here’s why!) and pure vanilla extract is best.

Chilling the cookie dough is imperative. These cookies are very buttery and the colder the cookie dough, the less your sugar cookies will over-spread. The cookie dough can get a little hard after 2 hours in the refrigerator, so I recommend rolling the dough into balls before chilling. Here are all of my tips to prevent cookies from over-spreading.

Other good stuff:

  • ONLY 8 INGREDIENTS. The usual suspects: flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, butter, egg, sugar, sprinkles. That’s it. Nothing complicated or strange.
  • EASILY DOUBLED. This recipe yields about 15 large sugar cookies. You can easily double the recipe if you need a larger batch for a big family or cookie exchanges.
  • EXTRA SPRINKLES. There’s room for a mountain of sprinkles in this cookie dough. I even recommend dipping the tops of the cookie dough balls directly in more sprinkles. That’s optional, but rumor has it Santa Claus loves extra sprinkles.

stack of sprinkle Christmas sugar cookies

hands breaking Christmas sugar cookie in half

So soft, chewy, holly, and jolly.

These drop sugar cookies will be a new staple in your cookie repertoire! You might also love my Christmas Cookie Sparkles, which have the most unbelievably unique tangy flavor. Or my Brown Butter Sugar Cookies with a nutty caramelized flavor. All very easy and perfect for your Christmas cookie trays!

Christmas sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles

Christmas sprinkle sugar cookies on a red plate

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sprinkle sugar cookies

Drop Style Christmas Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 20 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These soft, chewy, and sprinkle loaded drop style Christmas sugar cookies are made with only 8 ingredients. No rolling pin or cookie cutters required! Make sure you chill the cookie dough for at least 2 hours before baking.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (80g) sprinkles, plus more for topping*

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Beat in 1/2 cup of sprinkles. Dough will be thick and sticky. Scoop large sections of dough (about 2 Tablespoons of dough each) and roll into balls. For extra sprinkle goodness, lightly dip the tops of the cookie dough balls in more sprinkles. Place dough balls onto a large plate or lined baking sheet.
  4. Cover and chill the cookie dough balls in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and up to 4 days).
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  6. Arrange chilled cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough, roll into balls, and chill the dough balls in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (See note about cookie dough chilling.) Cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Measuring CupsBaking Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling Rack | Red Sprinkles | Green Sprinkles
  3. Sprinkles: Any sprinkles are great, but I recommend avoiding nonpareils (the little balls) as they tend to bleed their color in cookie dough and cake batter.
  4. Dough Chilling: Chilling the cookie dough is imperative. These cookies are very buttery and the colder the cookie dough, the less your sugar cookies will over-spread. The cookie dough can get a little hard after 2 hours in the refrigerator, so I recommend rolling the dough into balls before chilling. Here are all of my tips to prevent cookies from over-spreading.

86 Comments

  1. Nikki Chirico says:

    Hi Sally!
    I love these cookies as they are but I found these cute vanilla chips for the frozen movie this year. We are having a 4 year old come this year and she lives sugar cookies and frozen. If I leave out the sprinkles, do you think I can add the vanilla chips? Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! You can add 1 cup of the vanilla chips.

  2. I’ve made these twice now, once for a cookie exchange and once for Christmas gifts as part of a cookie assortment for neighbors. They turned out great both times! I tripled the recipe for the cookie exchange and got 75 smaller cookies. Thank you!!

  3. Hi Sally! I’m a huge fan of your recipes! I have made atleast 10 of them in the past year! Usually they turn out spot on! But this time it didn’t! I followed the recipe for everything except I used salted butter. Chilled them for 2 hours and then put them on the tray. They didn’t spread! They now look like thick biscuits … I finally took it out at minute 22. They still taste good! But I am wondering what I could have missed!

    1. Hi Priya! Make sure you are spooning & leveling the flour. It sounds like there was too much dry ingredients and they couldn’t soak up all the wet, which is why the cookies didn’t spread. Make sure you’re following the recipe closely, too!

  4. This recipe is great!! I really loved the flavor! It was soft but crisp and the sprinkles added the finishing touch! I’m very pleased, thank you Sally!! 🙂

  5. Great cookies! I added a 1/2 tsp of almond extract as well, because I love the taste it gives to sugar cookies! These were super easy to make and very tasty.

  6. Hello Sally! I would like to add to this recipe some mint extract, to make them even more christmacy! But how many drops would you suggest? On the paper of the mint extract is written 1 drop per 100 ml. And where and when should I add it? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Isabella, You can add anywhere from 1/4 ro 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract to this cookie dough depending on how strong you want the flavor (make sure it’s peppermint – not mint!). Add it when you add the vanilla extract. You may also enjoy these Peppermint White Chocolate Cookies.

  7. Hi. I am trying to decide between this recipe and the brown butter sugar drop cookies from your blog. Which one would you recommend?

    Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dani, Have you ever tried brown butter before? Both cookies are wonderful but I’ve never regretted taking the extra time to brown the butter for extra flavor 🙂

      1. I have and I enjoy desserts with brown butter! It seemed like the brown butter sugar cookies had more mixed reviews, so I wasn’t sure which one I should try. Thanks for the quick reply.

  8. Judging by looks (I haven’t made these yet), I will love these cookies. I don’t have sprinkles but if I roll the dough balls in sanding sugar, would they turn out well?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Miera, Yes you can use sanding sugar! We do that with these Christmas Cookie Sparkles.

  9. Hi! I have made these cookies in the past to give away as Christmas presents, and they always came out so well. I came to get the recipe to use this year, and I don’t see the cream of tartar listed in the ingredients. I know I’ve used it in the past, and it is in your description and explanation of ingredients above the recipe. Would you please clarify this for me?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Megan, These Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies use baking soda and cream of tartar. For this particular recipe we changed it to use baking powder instead. See the section in the post above called “Cookie Chemistry” for the full explanation. You can certainly use the previous mentioned recipe and use Christmas color sprinkles!

  10. Hi, If I use sanding sugar, should I mix it in the recipe like the sprinkles, or just roll them?

    1. Hi Adele, if using sanding sugar, I would roll or dip the cookie dough balls in them instead of adding to the cookie dough.

  11. Hi Sally
    Love your blog and made 4 different types of cookies today from your recipes! They were all delicious, except this batch – it came out with a bitter/sour taste. Followed instructions precisely, and used fresh ingredients. Any idea why? Thanks!

    1. Hi Monica, somehow I missed this comment/question last month. My apologies on the delay responding to you! Did you accidentally use baking soda instead of baking powder? I’m wondering where the bitter taste would come from. Perhaps replace your container of baking powder for a fresher one?

  12. Yaaassss! Sally your method of rolling the cookie dough tall is perfect! My cookies dropped to the perfect shape and didn’t spread as much as the round rolled cookies. Thank you!

  13. I made these cookies today and they are wonderful! I flattened mine slightly with the bottom of a glass and sealed up any cracked edges before putting them in the oven. They’re slightly chewy and so gorgeous with the funfetti sprinkles. In the last couple minutes of baking, mine started to crack on top, so they look like crackle cookies. Not sure why that is, but it didn’t bother me. Thanks for a great recipe!

  14. I Love these cookies! We are hosting a Halloween treat decorating party for a bunch of little boys on Saturday. Could I use these sugar recipes to cut out shapes with (and skip the sprinkles until after baked)? I know you have a lot of new Halloween ideas, just think these are such awesome sugar cookies- wanted your take on if these are good with cookie cutters too (versus just the drop balls).

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leslie, this recipe isn’t ideal for cookie cutters, but our best sugar cookies are great for cutting shapes and decorating!

  15. Kristin Knies says:

    The cookies taste amazing, however it took me a few tries to get it right. I always weigh my ingredients, but the first time I made these they were flat like crepes!!! The next time, I measured my flour instead and noticed the weight was off. 1 1/2 cups of flour was for me 226g, not 188g. I also, made my dough balls more cylindrical instead of round.

    I ALSO, made my dough balls about 28g, which is smaller than suggested and baked them for 9.5 min. They look and taste lovely, but it did require a lot of tweaking!!!

  16. Hello Sally can you use wheat flour instead of all purpose flour?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elahe, we don’t recommend wheat flour for these cookies. They would likely be dry and dense. Best to stick with all-purpose flour here.

  17. Daaaaaa best cookies

  18. Hello. I made these cookies but without the sprinkles and they turned out extremely bitter. In no way I’m saying the recipe is bad, I probably just messed it up and am wondering how. Do you have any idea why it turned bitter? That has never happened to me before… Could it be because I used wheat flour?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, did you happen to make any other ingredient substitutions or perhaps were any of your ingredients expired? It’s odd that they would have a bitter taste. Wheat flour would make the cookies taste a bit dense, but not necessarily bitter.

      1. No ingredients were expired, I always check. I have made one other substitution that I forgot to mention, I used baking soda instead of powder. Is that the reason why? Thanks for your reply, Sally.

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