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. 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!

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

  3. 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.

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

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!!!!

  9. Grace Taylor says:

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

  10. 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…..

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. These are the best sugar cookies! I made half the batch without sprinkles and half with for my husband’s birthday and they were both equally delicious!

  15. So bomb. I baked after chilling for 2 hours, then again half the batch the next day. I have to admit to myself that the chilling definitely makes a difference, as impatient as I am. But both batches were perfect texture and super amazing in flavor. A go-to recipe for me for sure Thanks!!

  16. What a kind response to a not so kind comment. We love these cookies so much, so easy & delicious!

  17. 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!!

  18. 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!

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

  20. One of my favorite recipes !

  21. 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!

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

  30. So easy and so delicious! Will be adding these to our annual holiday cookie treats rotation, they’re so fun to make w/my kids and look so pretty w/so few ingredients. Thank you!

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