These Easter egg sugar cookies are soft and buttery with a hint of vanilla. Pretty in pastel shades, they’re topped with my favorite royal icing, which helps create that crisp design. Gorgeous on the plate and quick to disappear, these springtime treats are eggs-tra special. See what I did there?
For these Easter egg cookies, I use my classic sugar cookies recipe. If you prefer a softer and creamier sugar cookie, you can also use the base of my soft cream cheese cookies with Nutella glaze. For both recipes, just remember to chill the cookie dough AFTER you roll it out. It’s my secret to sugar cookie success! And feel free to select cookie cutters that make sense for your celebration – I prefer the egg shape (which could double as bunny ears as you can see below), but the spring-themed shapes like flowers and birds are pretty too.
Tell Me About these Easter Egg Sugar Cookies
- Texture: My traditional sugar cookies have soft, thick centers and crisp edges. It’s the same recipe we use for bunny sugar cookies too. To add more textural contrast, decorate with icing and sprinkles. These cookies stay soft for days, so you can save yourself time and make them ahead (see Note).
- Flavor: Irresistibly buttery and sweet with tones of warm vanilla and almond. Plus, they’re capped with a sweet icing for layers of flavor.
- Ease: The dough is surprisingly easy to put together, but if you want the cookies to look like the photo, you’ll need a few tools, such as the Easter-themed cookie cutters and piping tips for the royal icing. See the full list of Tools & Gadgets below.
- Time: I recommend setting aside an afternoon for making and decorating these cookies. The dough requires at least 1-2 hours to chill before baking, and you’ll need to leave time for cooling, making the icing, and then decorating – all told, it’s about 4 hours from start to finish, depending on the level of detail you want to achieve. There are make-ahead options below, too, if you don’t have that much time all at once (see Note).
Order is Crucial to the Success of these Cookies
Order is important when you’re making decorated sugar cookies. Each layer of the cookie is divided into steps, and you should complete each step before moving on to the next one.
- Roll out the dough BEFORE you chill: Cookie dough is hard to roll out once you’ve chilled it. That’s why you must roll the dough out before you chill it. This makes it easier to cut out the cookies after chilling.
- Cool the cookies completely BEFORE icing: If you frost the cookies while they’re still warm, the icing could melt off or smudge and ruin the decorative design. A little patience will pay off.
- Base color needs to set BEFORE decorating: If you’re adding decorating details like the dots and stripes seen in my photos, let the base icing set first. This allows for a cleaner design. I usually place the decorated cookies on a baking sheet (or I decorate them directly on the baking sheet), make some room in the refrigerator, and stick the pan inside. The icing will set in 15-20 minutes. During that time, you can prepare the rest of your colors.
- Stack + wrap + gift + store. Once the icing layers have set, you can stack, wrap, gift, and store these cookies for a week. Can you believe that the cookies in the picture below are 3 weeks old? I froze them, let them thaw on the counter, and snapped a picture before I set them out for serving. There’s a little bit of a texture difference between frozen/thawed royal icing and freshly made (the icing tastes harder after it’s been frozen), but they’re good enough for me!
Tools & Gadgets for Easter Egg Sugar Cookies
- Easter egg cookie cutter – big fan of Ann Clark cookie cutters, but any egg shape cookie cutter will work.
- Wilton piping tip #5 or piping tip #4 – I used these piping tips for flooding the eggs with the base color.
- Wilton piping tip #2 or piping tip #1 –This is for the detail work like the polka dot and stripe design.
- Couplers – A coupler lets you use the same bag of icing when you need to switch decorating tips. For example, I used pink for flooding the Easter eggs with thicker tip #5. Then I switched to the thinner tip #2 for the pink designs on top of the yellow eggs. The coupler keeps the tip on the outside of the bag so you can easily switch back and forth.
- Piping bags – I prefer the 16-inch size for decorating cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.
- Food coloring – I can’t stress how much I love this Americolor gel food coloring kit. I prefer gel food coloring because it won’t alter the royal icing’s consistency. We used sky blue, lemon yellow, violet, and fuchsia.
Choose Your Favorite Icing: Royal or Easy Glaze
You have two options for icing. Both are delicious, so choose whichever works best for you. My secret ingredient for royal icing is meringue powder.
Royal Icing. If you want your cookies to look like those in the photos, use my royal icing recipe. It’s my personal favorite for icing sugar cookies. Here are a few reasons you will love this recipe even if you’re not a royal icing fan:
- Meringue powder. Traditional royal icing recipes use raw egg whites, but I prefer meringue powder. It results in the same consistency and dries on the cookies within 1-2 hours. You can find meringue powder in most baking aisles, craft stores, or online.
- Softer is better. Royal icing can harden into a cement-like texture, but my recipe is on the softer side and still sets perfectly on the cookie.
- Versatility. This icing is easy to work with, especially on cookie-cutter sugar cookies like this recipe. If you prefer, add a few drops of gel food coloring to mix up the colors.
Or Use Easy Glaze Icing. Another option is my easy glaze icing, which I use on my Christmas sugar cookies. The glaze is simpler than royal icing because you don’t need an electric mixer or the perfect icing consistency for success here. It’s thinner than royal icing, though, so it won’t have the sharp detail you get with royal icing decorations. It also takes a good 24 hours to dry.
More Easter Dessert Recipes
- Buttercream Candies
- Carrot Cake
- Jellybean Sugar Cookies
- Coconut Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Cake
- Coconut Easter Nest Cake
Hop on over to my Easter recipes section if you need more inspiration.Print
These Easter egg sugar cookies are soft and buttery with a hint of vanilla. Pretty in pastel shades, they’re topped with my favorite royal icing, which helps create crisp Easter egg designs.
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (180g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- optional for flavor: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- royal icing (this is my favorite royal icing)
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) 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.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
- Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and cut into shapes with cookie cutter(s). Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. I like to decorate cookies directly on baking sheets so I can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help set the icing. So place the cooled cookies back on baking sheets.
- Decorate: Prepare royal icing. Divide icing up between a few bowls. I used 4 colors: sky blue, lemon yellow, violet, and fuchsia. I left some icing white. Using piping tip #5, outline and flood with your base color(s). Allow icing to set (I place the cookies in the fridge so the icing sets quicker). Using piping tip #2 or piping tip #1, add decorative designs in different colors like polka dots, squiggles, plaid, or stripes. Icing will completely set in about 2 hours at room temperature.
- Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Once the icing has set, these cookies are great for gifting or for sending. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 3, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 4, then chill as directed in step 5– no need to chill for 1-2 hours, 45 minutes should be plenty.
- Almond Extract: I love flavoring this cookie dough with 1/2 teaspoon almond extract as listed in the ingredients above. For lighter flavor, use 1/4 teaspoon.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Rolling Pin | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet | Easter Egg Cookie Cutter | Cooling Rack | Meringue Powder | Food Coloring | Wilton Piping Tip #1 | Wilton Piping Tip #2 | Wilton Piping Tip #5 | Couplers | Piping Bags | Coarse Sugar
- Alternative Cookie Recipe: You could also use my cream cheese sugar cookie recipe.
- Bunny Ears: divide royal icing in half. Tint half pink with 1-2 small drops fuchsia. Using piping tip #5, outline and flood with plain white icing. Allow icing to set (I place the cookies in the fridge so the icing sets quicker). Using the same piping tip, top with fuchsia icing, leaving a white outline underneath. Top with coarse sugar sprinkles.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.