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. Hi Sally, would this recipe work for a round cookie cake instead of bars? I was thinking about making this for Breast Cancer Awareness day at our office. Otherwise, could this recipe be doubled for a 9×13 pan?

    1. A round 9-inch pan could definitely work! And yes, you could double for a 9×13 as well.

  2. Could I replace the granulated sugar with brown sugar?

    1. Definitely!

  3. Hi! Do you know if I’d be able to use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes after baking, before frosting? Thanks!

    1. Sure can!

  4. I made these today for my Dad’s birthday – oh my goodness sooooo delish! I had someone ask for the recipe! Was excited when four bars were left on the plate so i could share them with my little family of four, and then two people grabbed two each!! Loved them Sally! This is one that i will make again and again.

  5. These were delicious! Thick and chewy and perfect with strawberry frosting. ^_^ Thank you for the recipe!

  6. Hi Sally!
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for this recipe. I made them yesterday for my dad’s birthday. He has cancer and got a bone marrow transplant yesterday. He’s been having a hard time eating, but he loved these bars! He had two of them!! He loved them and said they tasted like they had a secret ingredient. Thank you for helping me bring so much happiness to my dad. Sending you, your husband, and coming little one lots of love.

    1. I love this! So happy that he was able to enjoy them!

  7. Not sure what I did wrong here. Mine turned out almost fluffy and cake-like. They still tasted good, but not the texture I hoped for. Any thoughts?

  8. Just made these last night for the first grade teacher and the whole class. They were chewy, sweet and absolutely delightful! Doubled the recipe in a 9×13 pan. Baked for 30 minutes. Halved the frosting and it was plenty sweet and scrumptious. Will definitely make it again. Thanks! 

  9. Hi sally,
    I know this might sound like a preposterous question…. but could you replace the sprinkles with choc chips?

    1. definitely!

  10. Michele Greiman says:

    Sally, these have become an ‘asked for’ favorite at our house!!! Sometimes I replace almond flavoring for the vanilla flavoring in the frosting recipe. YUMMY!! Thanks for a very quick answer to sugar cookies, plus they travel so well. Cookies can break, these bars can take traveling miles and still look great.

  11. I noticed these bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days – is this because of the frosting? If unfrosted (we inhale these plain at our house) would they last longer at room temperature/wrapped tightly in the mail?

    1. Hi Libby! Unfrosted sugar cookie bars stay soft for several days covered out of the refrigerator.

  12. I made these and they were much more cake-like than a chewy cookie bar. I know I followed the recipe – did I beat something too long/not long enough?

  13. I have made these several times and I love the taste and texture but every time I have made there the edges are high and the middle sinks in. Is there a trick to avoid this from happening ? Thanks

  14. Hey Sally! These look delicious. Do you think I could make these by hand or will the dough be too thick? I don’t have a mixer.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Ela! You can certainly try. It will take a little arm muscle!

  15. I made these last week and they were pretty good but not my favorite. The texture was more cake like than a cookie so I would probably just make sugar cookies next time since I was hoping for a more chewy texture. It was an easy recipe to make though and my family loved it. I did have to make more icing which was kind of a pain since I had already filled the bag and piped and realized it only made a thin layer over part of the bars. Not sure why it didnt cover mine like it did in your picture. Overall, I wouldn’t make this again but it was still a fun thing to bake on the weekend.

  16. Stacey Jackson says:

    These are wonderful! Turned out exactly as pictured. I added white chocolate chips and made the buttercream with seedless raspberry jam. A keeper for sure!

  17. Great recipe! I enjoyed making them with my 2 and 4 year old. Okay, they mainly made a mess! We all love them. I only had margarine on hand, I know ‍♀️, but still turned out! Will be using butter next time. Thanks for posting! I love many of your recipes.

  18. Made these this weekend with no sprinkles in the dough and half the icing recipe and it was delicious! We didn’t mind that the cookie was more cakey as the flavors were still good. I also baked the cookie dough in an 8×8 to up the cookie to icing ratio for 25 minutes. The icing is nice and light as well. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Hi Sally! These cookie bars are even better than you describe. I left the sprinkles out of the cookie portion and loaded them on top of the bars. We all loved them. Keeping this recipe for next month for a birthday party!

  20. These are delicious, and so fast and simple to make. I have had my eye on this recipe for a while, had some leftover Swiss meringue buttercream from the February challenge, and went for it. I did not have the correct sprinkles on hand, so I made them without, and they are still so yummy. Soft, chewy, and that perfect sugar cookie flavor.

  21. It’s delicious, but it’s much more cakey than I anticipated. Any suggestions for making it more cookie like? I reduced the baking time to only 20 minutes as that’s when mine began to brown.

    1. Hi Angie! Feel free to skip the baking powder (still use the baking soda) to produce a slightly denser bar.

  22. I have a baking club with my nieces and today I baked with my niece Alexa who is 12. She picked this recipe because the sprinkles caught her eye. She loved this recipe and especially liked the goey inside. She used apricot colored frosting and sprinkles like you had in your pictures. She keeps track of all the things we bake and said this is a keeper.

  23. I baked some brownies for a friend and took them over in my only 8×8 square pan. So, I improvised and used an 8” round cake pan and it worked out just fine! The frosting is just divine. I love all of your recipes, Sally!!

  24. Oh my heavens! Cheryl & CO USED to be my favorite sugar cookie. Not anymore! I made these for Easter with a lavender colored frosting. They were so delicious.

    I do have one question. I notice I can freeze them without frosting. What happens if I freeze them with the frosting?

  25. Hi Sally!

    Huge fan of these! I know you said the batter doesn’t need to be chilled, but if I’m wanting to make the dough ahead of time, could I leave it in the fridge overnight and then bake the dough in the morning? It’ll save me some time that way! And just an FYI that I love basically all of your recipes and your helpful notes!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eliza, thanks so much for your kind words! You have a couple options for making the dough ahead of time- you could make the dough and place it into the baking dish and keep that refrigerated overnight. You might need to add a couple extra minutes to the bake time so keep a close eye on the bars while they bake. Or, you could bake the bars ahead of time. Store the bars, covered, at room temperature overnight. I hope this helps!

  26. We had hoped they the texture would be more like a cookie but it was definitely more like cake. Okay recipe but not what we hoped for.

  27. While I didn’t have enough confectionary sugar to make even a half batch of frosting, they still got rave reviews from the kids! Used a pizza cutter to cut them; they had a nice presentation!

  28. Kristin Miller says:

    So I accidentally mixed up the butter amounts and put 3/4 cups in the cookie bars. I already baked them and they look OK but I was just wondering if you think they will still taste OK? Trying to serve them for Easter tomorrow … thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kristin, if they look okay and are cooked through, they should be okay to eat. They may be a bit buttery. Perhaps you can serve them pre-cut tomorrow so that you can give one a try today!

  29. Madeline Nash says:

    Hi,
    What altitude are your baked goods made at? I really want to make the sugar cookie bars and I will have to make adjustments.
    I live at 7000 feet.
    Thanks,
    Mad

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Madeline, all of our recipes are developed at sea level. We wish we could help more, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. We know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  30. Unfortunately these came out with a cake like texture. I’m not sure what I did wrong, as I followed the recipe to a “T”.

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