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.

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

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

drop sugar cookie dough with sprinkles

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!

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

Print
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

91 Comments

  1. Have you ever frosted the drop sugar cookies?

    1. I have, yes. They’re pretty sweet with frosting. For frosted sugar cookies, I love these soft cakey sugar cookies instead.

  2. You are telling us to make MOLDED cookies by rolling them in a ball yet you call them DROP sugar cookies. Not the same thing at all.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your input!

      1. Props for the kind response to what seems to be a very rude input to myself and I’m sure others! I’m going to try this recipe molded or drops works for me! Hope the family likes

    2. I used a cookie scoop and “dropped” them onto the sheet, chilled, and cooked them and they were AMAZING! Will make again very soon.

      1. Thanks for your comment Patty. I was gonna respond to her rude and snarky comment too. Sally does a wonderful job, has delicious recipes, awesome tips and tricks and is always kind and helpful. I haven’t made 1 thing of hers that hasn’t turned out.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!

  5. 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 ☺️

  6. Have you used Becel Margarine with this recipe? Wondering if it would work the same as room temperature butter

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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!

  11. Can I use the same science of using baking powder instead of soda for chocolate chip cookies?

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

  13. 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!

    1. I’m so happy these are a hit in your family!

  14. Can I use salted butter and leave out the salt?

    1. Hi Char, You can try simply cutting the added salt in half, don’t leave it out completely.

  15. These are unreal. I don’t even like sugar cookies, but i could eat all of these in one sitting. Thank goodness for freezing some of the dough balls lol. Big hit with my son and I! Thanks for another amazing recipe Sally!

  16. Amazing cookies! Easy to follow all the steps and is great to make this recipe with your little ones.

  17. I want to try making sugar cookies for the first time. Do you recommend starting with this recipe or the soft baked funfetti one? Love your stuff Sally!!

    1. Hi Melissa! They taste pretty similar, but these do not call for cream of tartar (uses all baking powder, not baking soda + powder) so they’re a bit easier if you don’t have that ingredient.

  18. These are perfect!! Easy recipe to do with my daughter, she loved them!

  19. aaah so delicious! new cookie recipe in the rotation! thank you!!

  20. These were among the best cookies I have ever made! So delicious. They were a hit with my family and neighbors and friends! I added a dash of cinnamon as well, which gave them a tiny punch. I will make them for every event!

  21. M Michaels says:

    These aren’t overly rich, so you can eat the whole batch in one sitting. I wanted a cookie without saturated fat, so I did a daring experiment. I beat the eggs and sugar until they where fluffy and light in color, as if I was making a cake, and then added canola oil instead of the butter – and the texture was great, chewy and crispy outside!

    I can’t get cream of tarter where I live, so the baking powder substitution is so nice for me.
    I will use this recipe for snickerdoodles as well. Thanks again!

  22. I came across this website last week and have tried 2 cookies so far. I am loving it and can’t wait to try more. I do want to know if there is anyway to reduce the amount of sugar in these cookies/recipes ?

    1. Welcome to the site, Lilibe! If you want to experiment with reducing the sugar just keep in mind that sugar is also used for texture and moisture so if you reduce the amount these will change also!

  23. Another unbelievably delicious recipe from you, Sally. I have made dozens and dozens of your recipes and they are all OUTSTANDING! This week alone I’ve made your bakery style peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, m&m cookies, and now these (don’t worry, I’m sharing)!! I love your photography and all of the helpful tips. Thank you Sally!!!!

  24. Grace Taylor says:

    I just made these cookies for a birthday party and they are absolutely delicious!

  25. Hi Sally,
    Tried this recipe twice, 1st with sprinkles and second with chocochips. both the times they have turned out soft and chewy and everyone enjoyed it.
    Thanks to your detailed recipes I am able to bake goodies with more confidence than before…..

  26. These were so easy to make.

    I used red white and blue sprinkles. Just hope they last until Saturday. I have no qualms eating frozen cookies I Am trying to save.

    The mixing part is a snap. Make sure you refrigerate the 2 hrs. Then drop them on the cookie sheet. So easy

  27. We LOVE these cookies. I made them for the first time in December and they continue to be in our regular dessert rotation. I made a double batch for my brother for his birthday and he hid them in his room so he didn’t have to share. 😉 My kids love to help with this recipe and it works perfectly every time.

  28. I, too, have a baking addiction, especially since quarantine started! These cookies have become one of our faves. Sometimes my kids (ages 7 and 5) help me bake them, sometimes they only help eat them. But this is such a simple, creative recipe and I often add chocolate chips for my chocolate-loving kid. I love all the notes and tips on your site, like the one about making the dough balls “tall” — that has been a game changer! You have helped me become a better baker, so thank you!

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