Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

These frosted sugar cookie bars are soft, chewy, and topped with creamy vanilla buttercream. And sprinkles… of course!

stack of frosted sugar cookie bars

I’ve been dying to make sugar cookie bars with light ‘n sweet frosting for ages now! In all their soft-baked, mile high frosting, sprinkles-to-the-max goodness… I can honestly say that these charming little treats were well worth the wait. I mean, just look at ’em.

The frosting is as thick as the cookie!! Have mercy.

sugar cookie bars on a white plate with pink frosting and sprinkles

Today’s recipe is as soft as my favorite soft-baked cookie, as chewy as my favorite blondie, and as sprinkly as my entire cookbook. You’ll find sprinkles in the cookie bar base AND on top of the frosting. Is there such a thing as too many sprinkles? Because I’m pretty sure we test those limits here on my blog.

To make the frosted sugar cookie bars ultra soft, I add a touch of cornstarch. Trust me on this! Think about it: often used as a thickening agent, cornstarch gives your gravy, pie fillings, soups, and glazes a more bodied and full texture. The same goes for your cookie dough – cornstarch will help your dough remain soft, thick, and puffy during the baking process. The small 1.5 teaspoons used is certainly a heavy lifter in this recipe!

To make the cookie bars ultra chewy, I add an extra egg yolk. I do this with a few of my cookie recipes because that little extra yolk adds so much moisture, tenderness, and chew to the cookie. And it does the same thing to the sugar cookie bar base in this recipe. You’re going to love their rich, tender texture.

sugar cookie bars with pink frosting and sprinkles

What’s great about this recipe is that you don’t have to chill the cookie dough. Just press the dough into the pan and bake right away. Bake the bars in a square baking pan – 8 inch or 9 inch is fine. Only about 25 minutes. You want to slightly underbake the cookie bars in order to avoid the edges from getting too crispy and brown.

Allow the bars to cool completely before frosting. This will feel like an eternity.

2 images of sugar cookie bars in a baking pan before slicing and sugar cookie bars topped with pink frosting and sprinkles

If you’re the kind of person who eats cake just for the frosting, you’re going to love this recipe. And we would also get along very well. I may or may not have eaten the frosting off this cake before actually getting to the cake underneath. Uh, can you blame me?

You’ll use my basic vanilla frosting recipe for these bars. Classic, fluffy, and simple. I like to add a touch of salt to cut the frosting’s sweetness. With the sweet sugar cookie bar underneath, that tiny pinch of salt will help tame a sugar rush. Don’t get me wrong, these bars are still plenty sweet! Don’t bring them to your dentist.

And as you can see, the frosting layer is just as thick as the cookie layer. In some spots, even thicker – those were the best bites. The frosting recipe as written makes a ton, so don’t be afraid to frost the bars with a heavy hand.

Don’t want that much frosting? It’s ok, I forgive you. Feel free to halve the frosting recipe.

stack of sugar cookie bars

Ordinary ingredients can produce extraordinary desserts. Only simple, straightforward items used in this recipe and yet, the results will blow your mind!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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stack of frosted sugar cookie bars

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These frosted sugar cookie bars are soft, chewy, and topped with creamy vanilla buttercream. And sprinkles… of course!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (80g) rainbow sprinkles (not nonpareils)*

Vanilla Frosting

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (270g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or half-and-half*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  • optional: food coloring (I used 1 drop red for this pink frosting) and extra sprinkles for decorating on top

Instructions

  1. Make the bars: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick. Once combined, gently fold in 1/2 cup sprinkles using a rubber spatula (or by mixing on low speed).
  4. Press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-26 minutes or until very lightly browned on top. You want the cookie bars to be extra soft, so careful not to overbake. Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature before frosting. The center will slightly sink – that’s normal.
  5. Make the frosting: If you don’t want a super thick layer of frosting as pictured, halve the frosting recipe. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. I usually add anywhere between 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Beat in food coloring, if using.
  6. Remove cooled bars from the baking pan using the aluminum foil overhang on the sides. Frost the bars with a thick layer of frosting and decorate with extra sprinkles if desired. Cut into squares. Use a very sharp knife and wipe off with a paper towel between each cut to make neat, even cuts. Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make these bars and the frosting 1 day in advance– store the bars, covered, at room temperature overnight and store the frosting, covered, in the refrigerator. Frost before cutting and serving. You can also freeze the unfrosted bars for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, frost, cut, and serve.
  2. Eggs: Room temperature egg and egg yolk preferred. To bring the egg to room temperature quickly, place in a warm glass of water for about 10 minutes as you get the other ingredients ready. Or just set out when you set out the butter to soften 1 hour ahead of time.
  3. Sprinkles: Use regular sprinkles (aka “jimmies”) in the cookie bar base. Nonpareils (the little balls) will bleed their color and turn the sugar cookie dough green/purple/brown. I order my sprinkles in bulk here.
  4. Cream: Cream or half-and-half is preferred for creamiest, fluffiest frosting. Keeping that in mind, milk would be an OK substitute if you do not have either on hand.
  5. Larger Batch: You can double this recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan; the bake time is about 35 minutes.

Keywords: frosted sugar cookie bars, sugar cookie bars

89 Comments

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  1. I made these fun sprinkly bars with my niece’s today as soon as I saw this recipe! They were delicious and easy and gobbled up very quickly! We loved them 🙂 Thanks for all of your yummy recipes!

  2. Amanda Stout says:

    I made these last night and shared with staff today, and they were a hit. I made mine with light green frosting and put butterfly sprinkles on top! Perfect for spring!

  3. Oh. My. Gosh. I just made these and they are AMAZING!! I got so many complements you would not believe it! Thanks so much Sally! (p.s congrats on your tv appearance, you totally deserve it!!!)

  4. Sally-

    I made these today for my son’s birthday treats at school. They are wonderful!

    How big were your bars? They look pretty big in the picture, but I only managed to get 20 bars and I doubled the recipe!

    1. Glad they were enjoyed! I didn’t measure the bars, but I got about 16 from the batch – one of the end rows was a little smaller.

  5. I made these yummy, festive bars for our Easter celebration for my entire family. Even the “sugar skeptics” that don’t like too much frosting, ate them up. Thank you,Sally, for all you helpful hints when baking. It has really given me more confidence with my baking. My kids and I love to bake your recipes together.

  6. I made these for Teacher Appreciation Week. My cookie bars turned out as beautiful as the pictures (that NEVER happens!!!) You truly have a gift and provide such attention to detail in your recipes that make a world of difference in the end result. Cleaning your knife in between cuts…who knew?!! I always wondered why my bars always came out so ugly, lol. Thanks! I’m a subscriber now!!

  7. I’m a doctoral student and baking is one of my stress relievers. I made these for a class and of course, had to try them to make sure they passed the test. To be honest, they almost didn’t make it to my classmates they were so amazing! These are some of the best frosted cookies I’ve ever eaten, thank you so much for posting this recipe!

  8. Tracey Setze says:

    Made these this morning and they are FANTASTIC!! Thank you 🙂

  9. I just wanted to pop in really quick to say that these sugar cookie bars ARE LIKE CRACK!! I’m not even a frosting fan normally….I do cut the frosting in half for these…but I’m about to make them for the THIRD time in as many weeks! Your recipes should really come with a warning label….;-)

  10. Is it okay if I use a baking glass pan? or is the dark pan better for this recipie? If I do end up going with the baking glass pan how much should I put the heat up to and for how long?

    1. Hi Sonia, I have used both glass and dark metal pans with this recipe and the baking times are similar.

  11. I made these for Easter, they were delish!

    I have a question…every time I’ve made some sort of light colored bar, like these, the candy bar blondies, white chocolate chip blondies, etc, the middle sinks in when cooling. Any way to prevent this? It always tastes great, but it’s not so pretty! 🙂

    1. No way to avoid it – mine do as well! You can try to bake for longer, but then the bars won’t be as soft.

  12. I made these for my son’s preschool’s potluck and they were GONE in 10 minutes. Of course, brightly colored frosting and sprinkles are like beacons for 4-year-olds! I used half the frosting and that was still more than enough. My son asked me to please make them again. 🙂

  13. I made these bars last night for my co-worker. OMG they are one of the most amazing desserts I’ve ever made. Totally better than the Lofthouse kind! Thank you so very much for your wonderful recipes and the launch of your new book 🙂 Keep it up girl!

  14. I doubled the recipe and made these into a 9×13 flag cookie cake for my in-law’s 4th of July party. They were absolutely TO-DIE-FOR. It was the first dessert to disappear from a table FULL of other desserts and the last piece was actually fought over. As you warned, the center sunk pretty significantly, but I just cut the edges off (and may or may not have eaten them ALL myself) so I could have a level cookie cake. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  15. Made these for a meeting at school a while back and everybody loved them!

  16. Hey Sally. These look delicious and I’m going to make them today for my daughters 4th birthday party tomorrow, but I do not have an air tight container big enough to store these in. So I was curious would just putting tin foil over my cake pans and refrigerating them that way be fine?

    1. Hi Kasha – yep tin foil (tightly sealed around the edges) on top of the pan is just fine.

  17. These were so good! I love how all of your recipes still work even though I am at high altitude. The bars were very sweet and the frosting was amazing. I didn’t end up using the whole batch of frosting because honestly, these bars are so good you wouldn’t even need the frosting for them to be a hit!

  18. Best sweets recipe ever. These have single-handedly improved the quality of my life.

  19. Oh my gosh! These are amazing. I made them for Christmas day and they were a big hit. They practically melt in your mouth! Love all your recipes.

  20. These were delicious! After cooling, mine sunk everywhere except for the edges… What could i have done wrong to cause this to happen ?

    1. Hi Ruthie! That’s completely normal. Mine do as well. Cut and frost the bars and no one notices!

  21. These came out amazing! I was nervous mine were to under-baked but as I let them cool the texture became dense gooey and crazy addicting! I am a frosting fanatic so I obviously was in love, but even my brother who hates frosting commented on how good the frosting was! Your blog is so fun and your recipes are amazing! Thank you so much!

  22. Just made these tonight for my daughter’s 4th birthday and holy yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  23. Will they still turn out without using sprinkles? I haven’t been able to find any “soft” sprinkles. I cannot stand the crunchy ones 🙁

    1. You may leave out the sprinkles

  24. These are soooo good! I have made these twice now for 100 (sorority) gals both times and have had great success!
    This time around I ran out of vanilla so I substituted maple syrup in the batter and maple extract in the icing, I threw a little cream cheese in there too.

    AND I tripled the batch so I could do it in a 13×9 (I made 3 of those) and they all turned out so awesome! Super thick which I love but will make note it only need 2.5x instead of 3 and the time was 32 minutes .
    I did the same color icing and had these adorable star sprinkles and they were so fun/cute and delicious so thankyou !

  25. Patti Leisure says:

    Love, love, love these!! Absolutely a perfect recipe. The cookie dough has perfect texture with the wonderful icing. My husband and boys are very happy. I also made your chocolate chip muffins. Those are also delicious. The chocolate chips kept they shape and didn’t melt, just like the bakery. I’m a big fan of your recipes and can trust that whatever I make will be wonderful. I also love sprinkles!!!

  26. These were delish! I added just a touch of raspberry extract to the frosting and it was delightful! I will be making these again for sure! Thank you for sharing! 

  27. thank you! These were absolutely delicious!

  28. I made these for a party this past weekend and used Halloween sprinkles and tinted the icing green, orange and purple.  They were so good.  I think my 4 year-old would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let her!  thanks for another great recipe.

  29. Hi Sally, I’m planning on making a double batch of these for a party this weekend and I was just wondering if I would be able to stack the bars on top of each other like in that top photo?  Or would the frosting on the bottom bar get messed up and I should just keep them in one layer?  I need to transport these and I want them to be as pretty as yours!

    1. Hi Lee. The frosting would get a little messed up after traveling– stacking isn’t ideal for a long period of time.

  30. i just did a double batch of these for my daughter’s first birthday party.. and made a small batch of frosting to test out the whole thing. they are AMAZING. i used a glass 9 by 13 pan and cooked them for 35 minutes. i might take them out around 28 minutes next time, they rose almost like a cake but they are still SO chewy and delicious. the frosting is OUT of this world, best homemade frosting recipe i have ever made… thank you so much for this gorgeous recipe!! 

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