Drop Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles

Yay! These are soft, chewy, sprinkle loaded drop sugar cookies made from only 8 ingredients. No rolling pin or cookie cutters required! To prevent over-spreading, make sure you chill the cookie dough balls for at least 2 hours before baking.

stack of drop sugar cookies with sprinkles

We all know and love sugar cookies. Rolling pin, cookie cutters, decorating galore. It’s all so much fun, especially around the holidays.

Drop Sugar Cookies

But what about sugar cookies of the *other* variety? Roll the cookie dough into balls and bake them drop-style. No fancy equipment or decorating required, unless you consider the mountain of sprinkles on top. (Is it even a sugar cookie if there’s no sprinkles?)

Today let’s ditch the rolling pin, toss the cookie cutters, and break out our mixers because it’s time to for drop style sprinkle sugar cookies. These buttery cookies are soft-baked, simple, and mega chewy. I can’t wait for you to try them!!

drop sugar cookies with sprinkles on a cooling rack

Cookie Chemistry

These drop style sugar cookies are based off of a familiar recipe: Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies. They’ve always been a favorite, but I often receive questions about the leaveners used. When testing cookie recipes, one problem I always face is finding the right amount of leavener. That recipe calls for baking soda and cream of tartar.

If you’re interested, it’s helpful to read my baking soda vs baking powder article. As you’ll learn, recipes calling for baking soda must also contain an acid such as sour cream, brown sugar, cream of tartar, or buttermilk. The acid reacts with the baking soda to create carbon dioxide, which allows the cookies to rise. In that recipe, I use cream of tartar because it’s mostly flavorless and doesn’t change the texture of the sugar cookies.

I reworked the recipe. Now I use baking powder instead of the baking soda/cream of tartar combination. (Baking powder already contains an acid so it doesn’t require any special ingredients.) Using too much baking powder leaves a bitter aftertaste, which was my problem a few years ago. Good rule of thumb I’ve learned since then: 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 definitely delicious.

stack of sprinkle sugar cookies

sprinkle sugar cookie dough rolled into balls on a white plate

How to Make Drop Sugar Cookies

You only need 8 ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, butter, egg, sugar, and sprinkles. That’s it! For extra flavor, feel free to add a splash of almond extract.

Preparing the cookie dough is easy. Whisk dry ingredients in one bowl and beat wet ingredients in another. Combine everything together. Sugar cookies get all of their flavor from butter and vanilla extract, so make sure you’re following the recipe closely. Proper room temperature butter is imperative.

Chilling the cookie dough is another non-negotiable. These drop sugar cookies are very buttery and the colder the cookie dough, the less they’ll 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 more tips to prevent cookies from over-spreading.

This is actually the same cookie dough as my drop style Christmas sugar cookies, but I roll today’s cookie dough balls a little smaller. This way we have more cookies in the batch!

stack of drop sugar cookies with sprinkles

*Extras*

  • Easily Double the Recipe: This recipe yields about 20 medium cookies. You can double the recipe if you need a larger batch for a birthday party, bake sale, or other event.
  • Extra Sprinkles: We’re definitely testing the limits on “how many sprinkles is too many sprinkles?” here. You can skip the sprinkles or load them up like I do. I also like to dip the tops of the cookie dough balls into sprinkles before chilling/baking.

These drop sugar cookies will be a new staple in your cookie rotation! If you’re looking to use your cookie cutters, try my best sugar cookies instead.

drop sugar cookies with sprinkles on a pink plate

Print
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stack of drop sugar cookies with sprinkles

Drop Style Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

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

Description

You can make these soft, chewy, sprinkle loaded drop style sugar cookies 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. I used these naturally colored sprinkles in the pictured cookies. If desired, you can leave out the sprinkles for plain drop sugar cookies.
  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.

Keywords: sugar cookies, sprinkles

119 Comments

  1. My kids LOVE these cookies and I do too. So easy. Looking forward to changing up the sprinkle colors for all the holidays this upcoming year! Thank you!!

  2. I love these cookies! I made them without sprinkles and they came out delicious! This will be my go-to sugar cookie recipe! Thank you Sally!

    1. Could you make them into different shapes, or are they only able to be dropped into circles?

      Thank you!

      1. she has an awesome sugar cookie recipe that you can roll out!

  3. can i use salted butter instead of unsalted?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kim, You can use salted butter and try simply cutting the added salt in half, don’t leave it out completely.

  4. Thank you for this… my baby sister loved it 〜♥︎
    lol

  5. One of my favorite recipes !

  6. Dakota Helmer says:

    I’m giving this 4 stars bc i believe it turned out great! I just wish there was a full video. I’m a new baker and I had to do look up videos on how to properly do the step (such as creamed butter and sugar). Once I figured it out they turned out heavenly!

  7. Hello! I was thinking of adding caramelized white chocolate to the dough and lessening the amount of sprinkles to balance out the sweetness, would this still work? 🙂

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrea, If you let the chocolate harden and break it into pieces you can use it like chocolate chips in place of the sprinkles. Let us know if you try it!

  8. Thanks for another great recipe they came out great!

  9. I accidentally added an extra 1/4 cup sugar by grabbing the wrong measuring cup. But even with that mistake, these are amazing. The cookies are chewy and buttery and so delicious. They were easy to make and so worth it.

  10. Hi Sally,Can I use you easy icing recipe to decorate these?

    Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elizabeth, You could! Just keep in mind they won’t have the same flat surface for decorating as a cut out sugar cookie.

  11. I wanted to make cookies for a gathering tonight and didn’t have all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. Searched google for sugar cookies with sprinkles. This is a VERY easy recipe and I loved not having to use a cookie cutter or rolling pin! Didn’t have enough sprinkles so I only dipped the tops. 18 count with this recipe. Will definitely use it again for the holidays!

  12. I loved these cookies, and so did my sprinkle obsessed son, but they didn’t flatten out hardly at all for us. They stayed almost in their ball shape after 12 minutes.. so good and thick but definitely different than what we were expecting. Any ideas what we did wrong?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elizabeth, We are so happy you and your son enjoyed this recipe! When cookies aren’t spreading, it usually means that there’s too much dry ingredient (flour) soaking up all the liquid. When measuring flour, use the spoon & level method. Do not scoop the flour out of the container/bag. Doing so leaves you with excess flour in the cookie dough.
      If you are ever in the middle of baking a batch and the cookies still aren’t spreading, remove them from the oven, and use a spoon to slightly flatten them out before returning them to the oven.

  13. King Arthur AP flour is 120g per cup so 1.5 c would be 180g. Should I use 180g?

  14. Hi! I’m trying to make some sugar cookies similar to the ones found at Augusta during the Masters golf tournament. How would you suggest adding peaches to these?

    1. Hi Courtney, I don’t recommend adding a wet ingredient to these cookies. They’ll spread. You could, however try my blueberry muffin cookies and replace the blueberries with chopped peaches.

  15. Today I creamed my room temperature butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed for 1 minute but the mixture was still gritty. So I creamed for another minute but it was still gritty. Well then, I creamed for another 1 to 2 minutes and I stopped even though it still looked gritty, for fear of the mixture deflating. Why did this happen? Should I continue creaming or should I stop creaming and proceed to the next step? The mixture did look paler in colour though.

    I find the creaming part very tricky. Do you have a step-by-step guide to cream butter and sugar properly? Hopefully with close-up photos of how the aerated mixture should look like at each step? I am a complete beginner.

    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Julie, on my to-publish list for next year: how to properly cream butter and sugar together. Stay tuned! In the meantime, know this: you’re only creaming butter and sugar together until the two are light in color and creamy. The mixture won’t be smooth– there will still be gritty sugar granules. Unless you’re cooking or heating sugar, it will still be gritty when mixed with butter.

  16. I don’t have a mixer as I don’t bake often, so every was mixed by hand. I didn’t have sprinkles so I just dipped these in sugar before refrigerating. They were amazing!

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