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 Funfetti 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

What is Sally's Cookie Palooza?

Sally’s Cookie Palooza is a tradition since 2013. Every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row. Over the next two weeks, I’m publishing 10 brand new cookie recipes as well as giveaways, the December Baking Challenge, Christmas cookie video tutorials, and so much more. This is the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Sign up for instant updates and you’ll receive a free email alert whenever I publish a new recipe. 🙂

Click to see Sally’s Cookie Palooza over the years!

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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


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.


  • 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*


  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.


  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.


  1. Hi Sally, I’m just wondering, if I double the recipe do I double the baking powder too?

    1. Yes, double everything!

      1. 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?

      2. 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!

  2. I grew up with these cookies as a family recipe, only the original recipe of my childhood calls for vegetable shortening instead of butter. But butter is so much better! I never thought of using butter till I saw this recipe. The cookies are just awesome. So tender, yet crisp, they really do melt in your mouth. I flatten mine with the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar rather than with a fork. It produces perfectly smooth, gorgeous cookies. These guys are too fragile to frost (if you did manage to spread frosting on without breaking them, they would absorb the moisture from the frosting and turn unappetizingly soggy) but colored sugar sprinkles is an option.

    1. I’m so glad you tried my butter recipe and enjoyed it! Great tip with the bottom of a glass!

    2. I love your cookie recipes, but also, your tips and descriptions are very helpful. Little things like “the centers will look very soft” tell me I’m on the right track! I have made two recipes of yours this year and your page is now saved in my favorites! Thank you!

  3. I made these sugar cookies this afternoon. Different recipe from what I am used to but they were awesome, this recipe is my new sugar cookie recipe! Yesterday I made the chocolate kiss cookies from your cookbook, oh so good. My husband has eaten (snuck) so many I have to make another batch tomorrow morning for Christmas Day 😉
    Thank you!

  4. These turned out perfectly! They are delicious. I made these with my 12 year old for Christmas, and she asked why we chilled the dough. I was actually able to answer her now that I know why for this particular recipe. I have learned so much from your recipes and website. Thank you and merry Christmas.

  5. These look amazing! I’m making them tonight!!

  6. Hi! If I am interested in making a sprinkle sugar cookie and had to decided between this recipe and the Soft Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies, which would you recommend? I have ingredients to make both (cream of tartar, baking soda, and baking powder) but didn’t know if there was a difference in the outcome. I’m looking for a squishy, chewy cookie.

    1. Hi Shriya! The outcome, flavor, and texture is pretty much the same between both. 🙂

  7. Hi Sally,

    So I just made these cookies which, I know. Weird. It’s May. But my family isn’t too big a fan of sweet so I always reduce sugar, so I omitted the sprinkles and just made them regular drop cookies. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I modified this recipe to make giant drop cookies (divided the batter into 6 pieces), and they turned out amazing! And they tasted good too! I just did a little less than 1 1/2 tsps baking powder, added 1 1/4 tsps cornstarch, and chilled for half an hour. Oh, I also increased the baketime to 22 minutes. Other than that, everything else was the same. They really didn’t spread much, but puffed up and were very light! I would definitely make these again!

    P.S. I’d love to include a picture. Is there any way to get it to you?

    1. What a great idea, Alice! I’m so glad they turned out well! You can certainly email me a picture, post one to my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram!

      1. Great, thank you so much! I just sent an email your way.

  8. These cookies are one of the best I have had. This is my go to cookies to bring to any potluck. Extremely easy and fool proof!

  9. I love this recipe, it’s been a total win time & time again but trying to change it up for my aunts dietary restrictions & wondering if I can sub coconut oil for butter?

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy this recipe so much! I haven’t tested this recipe with coconut oil so I’m unsure of what other changes would need to be made to the ingredients. Let me know if you try it!

      1. I subbed out the butter for coconut oil (1:1) & it worked! Very moist cookie

  10. Hi Sally! I am thinking about making this recipe for my son’s Christmas Fair at school. We have been asked to prepare 1 kilo packages of the goodies we make. In this case, what is the average yield weight? Do I need to double the recipe?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Eleni, This recipe makes about 15-16 large cookies but I’m unsure how much they weigh. You can double the recipe if needed.

  11. have You ever tried adding pumpkin pie spice to this recipe for fall flavor. My daughter is a big fan of pumpkin flavored white chocolate cookies but doesn’t like cakey cookies, so I’m trying to experiment with a sugar cookie batter? Thoughts?

    1. I haven’t with these but I have added spices such as cinnamon, chai spice, or pumpkin spice to my rolled sugar cookie dough and love them all! Try adding between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon of the spices to your dough depending on how strong you want the flavor.
      You can also try these with white chocolate chips: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies/

  12. I like a soft sugar cookie, but curious if with this recipe you can use cookie cutters, or will the dough just spread?

    1. I don’t recommend rolling this dough and using it for cut-out cookies. Here’s my favorite recipe for cookie cutter sugar cookies: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/best-sugar-cookies/

  13. Hi Sally,
    I just signed up to start getting your emails. Love your recipes! I tried these cookies, easy and delicious. I do have one question, why did mine never get brown around the edges at all? I baked for 12-13 minutes then took them out because I was afraid of overbaking them. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kristi! You may want to double check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer OR simply bake the cookies for an extra minute or two. As long as the edges are set and the cookies set up as they cool, you’re fine!

  14. If I only have salted butter on hand do you think it would be ok to just omit the 1/4 tsp of salt and use the salted butter? I don’t live close to a grocery store and have all the other ingredients on hand. 🙁

    1. Hi Cathy! You can simply use salted butter for these sugar cookies with no other changes to the recipe. Cookies are sweet with either unsalted or salted (plus the added salt).

  15. Hi Sally,

    I’m looking for the sugar cookie recipe I made last year. It has no sprinkles, but you roll the dough balls in sugar before baking. Can I use this recipe?


      1. Karen C Cutler says:

        Yes, that’s the one. Thank you so much.

  16. Any idea if this would be possible with crushed candy canes? The store was all out of Christmas sprinkles 🙁

    1. Hi Alyssa! The cookies may spread a little more, but you can definitely try it!

      1. I tried it and they turned out delicious without spreading too much!! Thanks so much!

  17. 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.

  18. 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!!

  19. 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!

  20. 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!! 🙂

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

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