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!

Drop style Christmas sugar cookies

Welcome to day 8 of 2018 Sally’s Cookie Palooza! Let’s look back at all the recipes published so far in this mega Christmas cookie countdown:

Day 8 calls for 8 ingredient sugar cookies dressed up with plenty of sprinkles!

Christmas sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles

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

Sugar cookie dough balls on Silpat baking mat

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.

Christmas sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles

Christmas sprinkle sugar cookies

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!

Soft and chewy Christmas confetti cookies with red and green sprinkles! Easy sugar cookies recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

Print
Drop style Christmas 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: 15-16 large 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 (190g) 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 11-12 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.

76 Comments

  1. Yum! These look delightful! You had me at no rolling out! I love sugar cookies but they are so tedious to make. Can’t wait to try these!

  2. You have a trillion cookie recipes up your sleeve! Can you please share a pic of your dessert station on the actual 25th? I know we all are curious as to which ones you’ll actually have prepared for the big day.

  3. So beautiful and festive!
    Two questions: do the sprinkles give off a flavor (there are so many) and where do you find the beautiful display plates? I notice a lot of the same style only different colors.

    1. Thanks Susie! (1) No the sprinkles don’t really have a flavor. (2) I have this plate in several colors, you’re right! It’s the pioneer woman line that I found at Walmart.

  4. I never make cutout cookies simply because I’m intimidated. This recipe is perfect! I made a batch of your Cream Cheese Sugar cookies for a friend yesterday and have decided to give them as “little thank yous” to other people this year. I’m really proud of myself…..I did not take a cookie for myself.

  5. So it looks like the only difference from the funfetti cookie receipe is that there is no additional baking soda/cream of tartar. Does this make this sugar cookie harder/crunchier? I like the softness of the funfetti cookie but would love to try this one, too.

  6. Sugar cookies are my fav!!!! How is the taste of these compared to your funfetti sugar cookie recipe? Those have always been my favorite and wondered how they compared!

  7. Hi Sally! COULD these cookies be rolled out or will the dough be too difficult to roll and cut? Looking for a festive cut out recipe!! Thanks!

  8. Why must all these cookies look so amazing!! thank you so much for all the hard work creating them. I can’t wait to make some with my girls. 🙂

  9. Sally,
    I don’t know if you have time for a story but here is one. We visited our grandparents every year in a little town in Indiana named Bowling Green. This was in the middle 1950’s to late 1960’s. There was a general store in the town of 500 complete with a wooden floor, penny candy, a cracker barrel, a pickle barrel and a cookie barrel. Mr. Arthur Hoffie owned the store. Our favorite cookie was Iced Oatmeal Cookies, pink and white ones. Mom would always try to find a cookie that was just like those when we returned to Michigan but it just wasn’t to be found. ….until I discovered your recipe for Iced Oatmeal Cookies. You brought back a childhood memory and now our kids declare that this is a “keeper” recipe.

    1. What a sweet story, thank you so much for sharing, Karen! Isn’t it amazing how food and recipes can bring back so many memories? Happy baking!

  10. Hey Sally! Love your blog and all your recipes!
    I’ve made your funfetti cookies often and see that the cornstarch is not included in this recipe. Is that also related to the baking soda/ cream of tartar change?
    Thanks!

  11. Hi Sally, Carolyn Garcia here. I just would like to thank you for all the different recipes and videos, you are awesome, and a great baker at that. I copied a lot of your recipes for my recipe box and I also will be handing them down to my children who now have their own families, Thank you so much and keep up the excellent work, Kind regards Carolyn.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Carolyn! I really appreciate them 🙂 Happy baking and have a wonderful holiday season!

  12. Hi Sally, I really appreciate all the thought and effort you put into your blog and recipes; I often land here because you’ve shown up on Foodgawker, which I browse daily when I have down time. I have a question about your description of the role of cream of tartar. While I understand and agree with your explanation of the chemistry of leavening agents, you also said that cream of tartar is “flavorless.” I am curious about the range of your experience baking with cream of tartar, because it does in fact add a unique tang to cookie dough and is what makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle and not just a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon and sugar. I’m guessing that it might play a similar role in this recipe, providing a little background interest beyond just butter and vanilla; I might have to do some fiddling and see…

    1. Hi Laurie! Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog recipes. Cream of tartar is mostly flavorless, but I agree that it lends a tang to some recipes especially snickerdoodles. In the sugar cookie recipe, however, the flavor is mostly undetected so there is no flavor loss when swapping it + the baking soda out for baking powder. I hope this clears up the confusion. Sorry about that!

      1. Thank you for your kind reply! I appreciate your taking the time to clarify to this fan of the subtle magic of cream of tartar. 🙂

  13. HI Sally, what a festive looking cookie! Do you think I could reduce the size of the cookies without any adverse side affects? I am planning for an event where I want to provide cookies for 30-50 volunteers and I would rather have have a bunch of smaller cookies than a few big cookies, to help spread the cookie love to everyone!

    1. Hi Christina! Yes, you can definitely reduce the size of the cookie. I recommend 1 Tbsp size cookie dough balls. Bake time will be similar, maybe a minute shorter.

  14. Hey Sally! Just made these and they are so delicious! I do have a question though, all of my cookie edges are split! What can I do to prevent that? I rolled them and chilled them for about 12 hours and then put them in a preheated oven. What am I doing wrong? Please help! Thank you!

    1. Hi Danielle! I’m so happy you tried these drop sugar cookies already. Did you press the cookies down at all with a spoon or anything to help them spread? When I do that, I notice the edges crack a little. If you try them again and notice the edges cracking, try bringing them back together with your fingers while the cookies are still warm.

  15. These look like the perfect cookies to make with kids and to give to neighbors. You are quickly becoming my go-to for everything cookies and baking. Thank you!

  16. I have a mixer, hand held and stand mixer, but I do not have a paddle attachment.. does that matter? Will the normal mixing attachments affect it differently?

  17. Hi Sally!

    I made these last night and they did not turn out as you pictured (flat, soft and chewy). Instead they stayed in their ‘ball shape’. Any suggestions? Perhaps I should let them sit out on the counter for a bit before I bake them?

    1. Hi Amanda! Maybe flour was over-measured? Make sure you are spooning and leveling. Letting them come to room temperature before baking will help them spread more.

  18. This may be a dumb question but can I make the cookies smaller? I really don’t want large cookies. I love the recipe from last year of the cookies with cream cheese that are rolled in the colored sugar. I’ll be making those every year. They are great with coffee!

    1. Hi Jo Ann, no such thing as a dumb question! Yes, you can make these smaller! You might have to adjust your bake time to be less depending on how tiny your cookies are 🙂

  19. Science IS delicious! I made these cookies last night and they came out exactly like your pictures. And my husband LOVED them. This will be a new go-to for Christmas as well as other gatherings (I’ll be buying birthday sprinkles). Sooo delicious, and just looking at them makes me happy! Thank you, Sally!

  20. I made these today and good gracious , they are mighty fine! For those wondering, colored sugar sprinkles will turn your batter a different color! I ended up with a perfect tasting pinkish cookie with red and green sugar sprinkles! Oops!

  21. I will definitely make these again! I made them a little smaller per one of the reviews so I could get a few extra (1 tbsp of dough yielded 25 cookies). I thought I’d miss frosting, but I didn’t; they’re that good!

  22. Merry Christmas & thank you for an easy recipe!
    I added all natural Peppermint extract ; 1/2 tsp ea vanilla & peppermint. Mine turned out slightly rounded, but delicious!! Have no clue why, but no problem. (I used bkg pwdr)

  23. Could I omit the sprinkles and keep everything else as is or do I need to make any changes?
    Thanks for all the great recipes! I’ve loved every one I’ve tried!

  24. Sally just made these cookies this morning. Loved them. They looked so pretty with the sprinkes, I had to try them as I have Loved sprinkles since as was a child and still do even though I am now 58.

    1. Absolutely. Reduce the baking time if making smaller sugar cookies. The sugar cookies are done when the edges are lightly browned.

  25. Hi Sally I love this recipe! I have a question about freezing the dough. Is it best to roll the tops of the dough balls in the extra sprinkles before freezing or after freezing right before baking? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lauren! Either way is fine, but I recommend adding sprinkles on top of the cookie dough balls BEFORE… just in case the sprinkles won’t stick to the frozen dough balls.

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