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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


  • 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

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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 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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.


  • 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*


  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.


  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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made these amazing cookies for my kids school party. It smelled and tasted great but I’m disappointed why the cookies didn’t spread out more? I followed the recipe fully and chilled my dough for more than 2 hours. But why the cookie has more of a dome effect than spreading out?

    1. Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try! To help the cookies spread a little more, make sure you’re spooning & leveling your flour. When there’s too much flour, it absorbs all the wet ingredients preventing cookies from spreading.

  2. I used crashed up Butterfingers instead of sprinkles. Delicious! I will have to double the batch next time.

  3. We’re looking for a simple but delicious sugar cookie recipe that the dough can be a slice & bake roll …. of course, I only bake with your site Sally so naturally I’m looking here 🙂 There are many different types of sugar cookies on your website. Which one would you recommend we use? And in your opinion, what is the best, not-too-sweet icing that can be used to decorate these cookies after they’re baked? Thank you!!

  4. Amazing! We made these today, while we watched the snow fall, and my daughter just exclaimed, “this is the BEST cookie I’ve ever had!” Super easy and so fun to make with kids! Thanks, Sally!

  5. Just wanted to say these tasted great. I used this recipe to make, spiced snickerdoodles, sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies. They came out great. Though, they didnt spread a lot. I’m sure I leveled the flour (I use the shake method where you just shake off the excess until its level). So, I’m not sure. Maybe the egg wasnt large enough.

  6. Looooved these cookies! Added 1/2 tsp of almond extract per the option and amazing!!!
    Would like to make these for a vegan friend, what would you suggest to sub for the egg?

  7. I love these cookies! So simple to make when I’m craving a little sweetness. Plus the sprinkles add some color and fun.

    They don’t last long when I make them. They’re very tasty!

  8. Made a batch of these drop-style sugar cookies and they were wonderful. Even my hubby who doesn’t like sugar cookies, said they were good.

    I made the batch using my #40 cookie scoop, but I now want to make them smaller. Not a cookie baker here, so how much would I have to decrease the time for a smaller, say #60 scoop, cookie?

    Thanks for the recipe. Will eventually get around to the rolled sugar cookies too!

  9. My 12 year old daughter and I have been baking these cookies for over a year a now and they always turn out fantastic. In fact, it’s the only cookie we bake now. With so many batches under our belts, we’ve begun to play around with ingredients. Once, we had to rely on Nutiva butter flavored coconut oil when we were out of butter…and we both decided we prefer the recipe with this substitution. We aim for cutting about half the butter with the Nutiva and it amps up the duality of browned-crisp/tender-chewiness. I also started playing around with the sugar and now use about 75 grams of granulated sugar, 40 grams of coconut sugar, and 35 grams of granulated monk fruit (Lakanto). I didn’t note any improvements from this substitution, but it didn’t damage the result either. It just eased my mom guilt about sugar 🙂 Finally, for the last birthday celebration, half a batch of batter went into a 6″ square cake pan lined with parchment, and it baked into the best cookie cake ever after about 30-35 minutes! Thank you, Sally, for this easy, versatile and scrumptious recipe!

  10. I made these sugar cookies today, and followed the recipe EXACTLY as stated, but the cookies tasted HORRIBLE…. another waste of time and ingredients ugh…… (trying to find a simple classic SUGAR cookie recipe, if anyone has any suggestions???) THANKS!

    1. It literally says if you want sugar cookies, follow her link for sugar cookies and DON’T use this recipe, which is for drop cookies. These cookies are amazing. Learn to read.

  11. Amazing cookies! So sweet, colorful, and tasty! I made these for a picnic and it was delicious! I made a common mistake, I cooked them too long. Be careful with cookies, because sometimes they don’t look cooked, it’s just because they are right out of the oven when you take it out. If you stick to the recipe correctly and follow over instructions, your cookies will be ready when the alarm comes off. When I took them off, they looked raw inside, it was just because they were really hot
    Just a little tip! love these cookies! I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE sally!
    ~+*aya out*+~

    1. Hi Jenn, We haven’t tested these cookies with gluten free flour but let us know if you try it!

  12. These are a true go-to recipe. Easy, delicious, and a forgiving recipe. Thanks!

  13. I have made this recipe multiple times now, it is definitely a family favorite!

  14. So easy and delicious!! My daughter wanted a cookie with sprinkles and I’m so glad I found this recipe! It’s a new favorite!!

  15. Just baked these as Eid favours for some friends, SO delicious! The entire kitchen smells like an icecream parlour! They are so perfectly sweet, vanilla-ey and the right amount of chewy, I’m in love with this recipe. Next time I’m going to add mini white chocolate chips, think that will be an amazing addition. I think this is the only chewy cookies recipe I’ll ever need thank you so much for this!

  16. Wow! What yummy cookies. My daughter and I made them today. Easy delicious and oh my God so amazing! Definitely will make again.

  17. Delicious, we loved to bake this cookies with my kid.. Amazing and easy to make…

  18. Hey bakers!
    Ok, how could these be turned into key lime cookies? I have made as is, and they are delicious. However, very curious. I’m thinking adding lime zest, use key lime juice and key lime extract in replacement of vanilla.

    1. Hi Diane! We haven’t tested a key lime version of these cookies, but that sounds delicious! We would still use vanilla, maybe reduce to 1/2 tsp and add key lime extract as well. Zest is a great idea, but adding key lime juice would alter the texture of the cookies quite a bit with the added moisture. You may also love these coconut lime cookies – let us know what you try!

  19. Love this recipe, made it tons of times! However ever time I’ve made them they end up baking into a dome mound shape, doesn’t look nice, chucky, and settled in like in the picture. i roll the dough into balls and refrigerate over 2hrs- overnight and everything. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi there! Sounds like the ratio of dry and wet ingredients is a little off with your cookies. How are you measuring your flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour which would result in thicker cookies that don’t spread. Hope this helps!

      1. Hello!,
        Every time I make them, i always spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off evenly. Same results every time

  20. I’m gonna bake these cookies on Friday. Can I replace vanilla extract with almond extract?

    1. Hi Leah! We wouldn’t replace all the vanilla – try 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Enjoy!

  21. Wondering if you can freeze the dough and/or cookies for later use? Would definitely prefer it fresh but time constraints aren’t allowing me too. Thanks!

    1. Hi BBY, you definitely can! See the first note under the recipe for Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions.

  22. I love these cookies! The texture and flavour is perfect and they look so adorable.
    Mine turn out best if I bake from frozen and bake for longer than directed (17-18 minutes from frozen).

  23. I made these today without the sprinkles and they came out fabulous. I was wondering can I use this same recipe and roll them in your snickerdoodle topping of 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon? Will it still turn out the same or you recommend sticking to your actual snickerdoodle recipe? Thanks!

  24. I absolutely love your cut out cookie recipe and use it all the time. This is my first attempt making these ones because I have soo much more baking to do for Christmas. I think I may have made my dough balls too big maybe by close to half a TBS and I have already dipped them in my sugar sprinkles, do you think this will be a problem?

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem, Laureena! The bake time may be *slightly* longer – enjoy!

  25. I made these today, I doubled the batch, put 1 1/2 cups of sprinkles in, oversized the balls to about 3.5 tbsp, and proceeded to roll the entire ball in sprinkles. They needed about 20 minutes to cook, but they turned out perfectly. Amazing recipe thank you so much, my children, and Santa, are so pleased

  26. I want to make peanut butter blossoms without the peanut butter. A kiss stuck on top of a sugar cookie, would this recipe work?
    I love your site and so far every recipe is turned out perfect.

    1. Hi Barb, that should work. Or see this Kiss Cookie recipe with sugar/vanilla cookie dough or chocolate cookie dough.

  27. Can I use Self-rising flour for this recipe as well as you chewy chocolate chip cookies?

  28. Oh my goodness, these are SO delicious! Buttery, vanilla-y, just the right mix of chewy and crunchy perfection. I mayyyy have quality tested the odd cookie out when transferring these to our cooling rack. Don’t tell my kids …

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