How to Make Football Cookies

football sugar cookies

Decorating sugar cookies with icing is one of my favorite creative outlets. I’ve always struggled with making beautifully piped confections, but the more I do it, the better I get and the more fun I have. Gotta show up to practice, right?

Here’s one of my latest: little footballs.

football sugar cookies on a white plate

They’re adorable. Perfect treat for college football, NFL games, and the Super Bowl. They’re pretty simple, require two basic piping tips, and some brown food coloring. Here’s how I made them:

football shaped sugar cookies on a baking sheet

Make the basic sugar cookies. Hopefully you’ve tried this recipe by now! Remember the most important step is to chill the cookie dough *after* you roll it out. Not before.

Decorating Tools

Even though I’m not switching tips/colors, I typically use couplers for my piping bags to help prevent icing from seeping through the tip of the bag.

football sugar cookies with white and brown icing in piping bags

(Beginner’s note: The purpose of a coupler is to allow you to easily switch icing tips. It keeps the tip on the outside of the bag instead of on the inside of the bag.)

piping brown icing onto football sugar cookies

The brown icing goes on first, then we’ll decorate with the white icing. Outline and flood the brown icing onto the cookie. I use my favorite royal icing. Its consistency is perfect for both outlining and flooding. Place the iced cookies onto a baking sheet and chill until the brown icing sets. This takes about 15 minutes. Then pipe the white laces/lines onto the footballs.

To really make the white stand out, I sprinkled with coarse sugar. Totally optional.

piping white details onto football sugar cookies

football sugar cookies

I’m horrible at writing on cakes/cookies, but you could write your team’s name on each football. Go team go! Have fun decorating!

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football sugar cookies

How to Make Football Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 28 (3.5 inch) cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


How to make adorably decorated football cookies for game day! These cookies are easy, festive, and fun.


  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks; 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)


  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 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Decorate: Prepare royal icing. Spoon 1/2 cup of it into a separate bowl. This icing will remain white. Tint the rest of the icing brown. I used 3 drops to get this shade of brown. Using Wilton piping tip #5 or piping tip #4, outline and flood with brown. Allow icing to set (I place the cookies in the fridge so the icing sets quicker!). Using piping tip #2 or piping tip #3, pipe the white laces/lines on top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. Allow white icing to set.
  9. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Rolling PinFootball Cookie Cutter | Silpat Baking Mat | Cookie Sheet | Cooling Rack | Meringue Powder | Brown Americolor Gel | Frosting BagsRound #2 Frosting TipRound #4 Frosting Tip | Coarse Sugar Sprinkles
  4. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.


  1. I still have my naked snowmen in the freezer … the royal icing part freaks me out 

  2. These are adorable and I will definitely make for the Super Bowl, these never came up on my e-mail or FB not sure what happened!!! I would post them again!

    1. Hey Diana!! I back-dated the post since it’s not really a “new” recipe. It’s my regular sugar cookies decorated in a different way 🙂

      1. My favorite sugar cookies, always worth another post, no matter what the design!!!

  3. These are so cute Sally! I need practice piping and decorating and have a sixteen year old whose a huge football fan, so these are perfect!

  4. I always check your website and I don’t remember having seen this recipe! Strange. They’re super cute, though!!

  5. So cute and creative! Love decorated cookies 🙂

  6. That’s funny b/c I was like how did I miss this recipe..Even though I have been reading your blog for years–I finally tried your sugar cookie recipe as I was partial to another sugar recipe BUT will say I loved yours and is NOW my favorite sugar cookie recipe. Thank you!!!

    1. I’m so happy you tried them! Thanks for following my blog! I appreciate it!!

  7. These cookies are so cute, but I couldn’t get the icing to harden! we had to add more water than called for which I’m guessing is the problem, bu the icing seemed much to thick if we didn’t. Can you advise? Thanks!

    1. Hi Hollis, How long did you let them dry? Depending on how much water you ended up using it can take up to 24 hours to fully harden, especially if it’s a humid day!

  8. Would it work ok to just add cocoa powder to the royal icing for a brown color? If I was willing to fiddle with the other ingredients to get the flavor/texture right?

    (BTW you’re our go-to baked goods recipe place now; thank you for several years of “I’ll never use a box again” level delicious birthday cakes – and cupcakes that are actually good! – for my kiddos and friends!)

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, we don’t have a recipe for chocolate royal icing so can’t say for sure how it would go. This recipe from Sweet Sugar Belle looks good and her explanations seem thorough if you would like to give it a try:

      1. Great! Thank you! Looks like it might be harder than we thought. Maybe I’ll just do straight chocolate.

  9. Thinking about making these for Super bowl, but do not have brown food coloring? Any suggestions? BTW, thank you for all of your recipes, I’m an above average cook, but you have turned me into a baker. (I have your giant peanut butter cup pie leftover in my fridge right now! SOOOO good!) Just trying to do something cute for dessert tomorrow. Maybe mix colors together?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You should be able to mix red, yellow and blue together to make brown. Have fun!

  10. Adorable design of cookies… nice idea

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