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

Video Tutorial

Cookie Chemistry

These drop style sugar cookies are based off of a familiar recipe: Soft-Baked Sprinkle 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.

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 (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
  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

113 Comments

  1. Would anything change (besides texture) if I left the sprinkles out? I am looking for a simple *plain* sugar cookie and I love all your recipes so would prefer to use one of yours. Thanks Sally!

    1. Hey Rachel! You can definitely leave the sprinkles out of this cookie dough.

  2. Sally, these cookies look amazing and I can’t wait to make them. But, I always wonder about the best way to “chill” the dough. I know you say to make the dough balls and then cover and chill, but what is the best way to do that? If I leave them on a cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap, I end up with a lot of condensation on the inside of the wrap that I’m afraid will make the dough balls too wet. Help please! Thanks!!

    1. Hi Deb! That’s actually the same process I follow. Roll into balls, place on a plate or baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and chill. There shouldn’t be much condensation since the cookie dough balls aren’t warm. However, to avoid any from forming, chill uncovered for 1 hour, then cover and chill for 1 more hour. I hope this helps!

  3. Hi Sally! I would love to make these for my son who loves cinnamon desserts. How much would you recommend adding either in the cookie or on top?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Carolyn! For cinnamon drop sugar cookies, I recommend adding 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the cookie dough.

      1. For the lady whose son likes cinnamon drop.. you could also try the red hots candy.. my son in law loves them.. could be used instead of sprinkles

  4. If I don’t mind using the cream of tartar…which recipe do you prefer? We definitely like chewy over cakey and soft over crunchy. Love your recipes and use them over and over…usually without even testing prior. Now that’s trust!

    1. Honestly, both recipes yield chewy and extra soft cookies. I wanted this recipe to be an option for anyone who can’t easily get their hands on cream of tartar. Results are exactly the same. (Trust me, we taste tested these… A LOT!!!)

  5. Can’t wait to make these for Halloween with black, orange and yellow sprinkles…thanks Sally.

  6. Sally,

    Could you frost these drop sugar cookies with the cut out cookies frosting?

    Judy

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  7. I have a sugar cookie recipe I’ve been using forever. I don’t know I will ever make them again after making these tonight. So soft and buttery, and just the right amount of sweet I didnt have sprinkles handy…but they dont need them…in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong….I’ll have sprinkles the next time I make them. 😉

  8. Hi. Is there anyway I can substitute the butter with coconut oil? Can’t have dairy. Thanks.

    1. Hi Donna! You can try substituting the butter with 1/2 cup solid (not melted) coconut oil.

  9. Can anyone tell me about how big these cookies are? I’m baking for a bake sale and I’m not sure if I should package one or two together and how many batches I should make for that number. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer, I use about 2TBS of dough per cookie. For a bake sale I would package 2 together depending on how much you want to charge per item 🙂 The recipe yields 20 cookies and can easily be doubled!

  10. I made these yesterday and there are none left today. They were slightly crispy around the edges with soft centers. I did not use the sprinkles because not everyone here is a fan of them. I rolled the balls in sugar before baking which made them a hit. Thanks for another great recipe.

  11. Hello, Sally! I made these cookies twice — while they were tasty the first time, they didn’t look like your pictures: definitely overspread and definitely overbaked. I read up on all your tips and science after that and tried again, and this time they were perfect! I only have one question: if I freeze the cookies after baking, should I simply thaw them at room temperature for a day or so before serving?
    -From your big fan in Russia!

    1. Hi Kate! Yes, exactly. Thaw the cookies at room temperature (or even in the refrigerator for a slower thaw) about 1 day before serving.

  12. Sally!! This is probably the tenth recipe I’ve made of yours and OMG these are absolutely delicious! I used rainbow sprinkles for a birthday and doubled the recipe and they almost taste like cake batter?! Seriously the best sugar cookie I’ve had.

  13. I love these. Big fan of the option to not have to roll out the dough. I can’t figure out why I always end up with way less than 20 from this recipe though- I swear I’m not eating the dough lol. I’m an avid SBA baker and I know I’m not making measuring mistakes. Is a 2 TBS cookie scooper different than a regular 2 Tbs spoon? I am baffled and that’s the only thing I can think of.

    1. Hi Janel! I’m so happy you enjoy these sugar cookies. How many are you getting? 2 Tablespoons is an estimate– I usually scoop somewhere between 1.5 and 2 and always get about 20 cookies.

  14. Hi Sally. I lived in a very hot and humid town and I do not have a/c. That said my grandson and I are currently making this cookie recipe and I am assuming that due to the climate my batter is not firm enough to roll into balls. So we have put them in the fridge a bit in order to firm it up and roll out the balls. After I will refrigerate again and see how it all turns out.

    1. That’s exactly what I would have suggested you do! I hope you both enjoy them!

  15. Hi
    I made the Drop style Christmas sugar cookies with the sprinkles. I rolled them into balls as directed and froze them but mine did not come out flat like your picture,
    mine were like a ball what did I do wrong
    Love your recipes
    Thank you for your help

    1. Hi Noreen- next time, try pressing down on the cookies a little bit before baking them!

  16. WOW I had to leave a review. These are amazing! Not a fan of sugar cookies but these are just soooooo good.Are like wow my whole family loves them. Thank you for your amazing recipe!

  17. FINALLY – a sugar cookie recipe that delivers what it promises! I’ve tried for ages to find a sugar cookie recipe and have never been satisfied until I tried this one – thanks so much for your diligent research and the way you explain how to make each recipe so clearly. I updated my chocolate chip cookie recipe to yours recently and now have added this one as well. Thank you!!

  18. These cookies are really tasty, but even after chilling in the fridge overnight, mine spread a lot during baking. Any ideas as to why? I did bake them on a silpat, wonder if baking on something a little less ‘nonstick’ like parchment paper would have helped?

    1. Hi Aliyah, I think you will find this post I wrote with tips to prevent cookies from spreading helpful to troubleshoot!

  19. Hi was wondering if almond flour can be used in this recipe instead of regular all purpose. Also salted butter, will it make a huge difference if used instead of u salted ? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Denise! I do not recommend using almond flour in this cookie recipe. Best to find a recipe that is formulated/created for almond flour’s consistency. (I love these lace cookies!) You can use salted butter with no other changes to the recipe or added salt.

  20. Sally these are amazing! I made them without the sprinkles and they were just perfect. My son and his friends ate the first tray out of the oven before they could even cool on the rack! Your recipes are so good! What type of stand mixer do you have? I am looking for a new one and would love your opinion! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I’m so happy they were a hit, Sande! I own and love KitchenAid stand mixers.

  21. These are so delicious! They also look so cute!

  22. Leslie Brockert says:

    My five year old wanted to bake some sugar cookies today. I am just not a huge fan of the whole process of making cutout sugar cookies, so I was looking for something simpler. These were just what I was looking for and my daughter was all over the sprinkles. These turned out thick, chewy, and soft. We’ll definitely make these again.

  23. Jessica Flory says:

    BEST sugar cookies ever!!! We absolutely love these! I add 1/4 tsp nutmeg and they are absolutely delish. I also leave out the sprinkles and frost them with vanilla buttercream. Amazing!!

  24. Just made this recipe! I took them out a few minutes shy of 2 hours in the fridge. Instead of spreading to make a flatter cookie, mine came out more rounded, with a few surface cracks. I would have preferred the spreading, but they’re still delicious ☺️

  25. Kim Nichols says:

    Hi Sally, I want a drop sugar cookie to make ice cream sandwiches with. Just tried these and they were so good! However they were a little thicker than I would like for an ice cream sandwich. Do you have any suggestions? Can I flatten them before baking or do you have another cookie you could recommend?

    1. Hi Kim, I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Drop sugar cookies will be thicker. You can try to flatten the dough before baking or see this recipe for how I make Rainbow Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

  26. I made these today. I’m baking my stress away. We’ve enjoyed garlic knots, pizza dough, and now these! Huge new fan of yours! My daughter LOVED the sprinkles.

  27. Great recipe! Best sugar cookie recipe ever and it was very simple 🙂 Thanks Sally

  28. These were really yummy! I liked the texture! I didn’t use as many sprinkles inside or dip the cookie balls in sprinkles, but I did frost them with a lemon icing. So good!

  29. HI sally i just made this cookies and they were amazing i was wondering whether u had recipes for whipped cookies

  30. This is my 13 year old’s favorite! So, I must have made it 6 times already! Just divine! Followed all the tips you gave us, Sally. Especially chilling it. Comes out perfect!

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