Valentine’s Day Heart Sugar Cookies

conversation heart sugar cookies decorated with colorful royal icing

We can’t make Valentine’s Day heart sugar cookies without cute little sayings on top!

I’d actually like to take this moment to apologize for how horrendous my piped writing is. I have zero talent writing on cookies and cakes. Zero zip zilch. Pen and paper, great! But once icing is involved, my hands lose control, get all floppy, and chicken scratch ensues!

conversation heart candies

Speaking of writing, one of the best parts of Valentine’s Day is reading all the writing on conversation hearts. Right? I get a KICK reading these things. Wicked cool, txt me, QT pie, fax me… I even saw a “giggle” and “sugar pie” in a bag recently. And the mustache!! Thank you for all the entertainment, Brach’s!

Let’s jump right into the cookies.

Today’s conversation heart lookalike cookies are a sugar cookie, pastel royal icing on top, and writing. I stuck with the shortest possible sayings and words because, well… you know my struggle.

bottles of gel food coloring and piping tips

We’re using royal icing for the sugar cookie decoration.

Tools You Need:

  1. Americolor Soft Gel Paste Color Kit. In my experience, this is the BEST coloring for royal icing. The color is rich and vivid. You only need a teeny drip for the pastel colors in today’s cookies. And for darker colors, 1 small drop. So these colors will last you a very long time! I used the yellow, deep pink color, violet, green, and orange. Red for the writing.
  2. Round Icing Tip #5. I use this for piping the royal icing on top of each cookie.
  3. Round Icing Tip #1. I use this teeny tip for the writing.
  4. Disposable piping bags. For the piping, of course!
  5. You’ll also need silicone baking mats, rolling pin, and a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

sugar cookie dough rolled out on silpat baking mat with heart cookie cutter

We’re using my trusty sugar cookies as the starting point. The cookies are soft and buttery with crisp edges. The dough holds its shape wonderfully in the oven. Sharp and precise; no misshapen hearts!

The most important part, like usual, is to chill the cookie dough. This ensures the cookies hold their shape. The unique part about this sugar cookie recipe is that you chill the cookie dough *after* rolling it out. After the cookie dough is prepared, divide in two, and roll out each portion. My little trick? Roll out your sugar cookie dough onto lightly floured silicone baking mats. The mats won’t slide around. Then use the mats for baking the cookies.

conversation heart sugar cookies decorated with colorful royal icing on a white plate

Some *short* conversation heart saying inspiration:

  • BFF
  • Love
  • Kiss
  • Hugs
  • Xoxo
  • Best
  • Sweet
  • Cute or cutie

I’m sure you can come up with more and that your writing will be beautiful!

conversation heart sugar cookies with colorful royal icing

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conversation heart sugar cookies decorated with colorful royal icing

Valentine’s Day Heart Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 25 3-inch cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These decorated Valentine’s Day heart sugar cookies resemble conversation heart candies- so delicious and fun for the holiday!


  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) 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 added flavor: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

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 on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, 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 so it’s 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″ thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly ¼-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 using a heart cookie cutter, cut into heart shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
  7. Bake for 10-11 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.
  8. Make the icing: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat all of the icing ingredients together on high speed for 5 minutes. When lifting the whisk up off the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 10-12 seconds. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. (On particularly dry days, I use up to 12-14 Tablespoons water total.) If it’s too thin, add a little more sifted confectioners’ sugar. Separate icing into 6 different bowls. Stir in 1 tiny drop of the following colors into each bowl, 1 color per bowl: pink, violet, green, yellow, and orange. The 6th bowl is for the writing. Use 2-3 drops of red.
  9. Add icing to piping bag fitted with round icing tip #5. Decorate cookies with colored icing. Use round icing tip #1 for writing. Do not cover cookies as icing sets. Icing will set within 2-3 hours.
  10. Decorated or plain cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 5 days or in the refrigerator 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 rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
  2. Easy Glaze: Instead of this royal icing, you can use my easy glaze icing if that’s easier for you. However, I find it nearly impossible to write with the glaze icing because it isn’t stable like royal icing.
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: sugar cookies, valentine's day cookies, heart sugar cookies

Decorated conversation heart sugar cookies for Valentine's Day! Recipe on


  1. Sally, do you use couplers when you fill piping bags? I recently received some piping tips, and I have just used disposable ziploc bags, but they haven’t been working well with the tips. Do you have any suggestions? Buying disposable piping bags just seems like an extra expense, and I need to be convinced before I spend $ on them. Thanks!

    1. I always use couplers, yes. I suggest the disposable piping bags. VERY easy to work with. Never give me any problems!

  2. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    Your pastel colors are just perfect, these hearts are adorable!

    1. Thanks Laura! xoxo

  3. Shellie Wilson says:

    Oh my gosh, I am drooling.. They looks adorable.

  4. These looks so cute and tasty! so sweet for valentines day!

  5. Can you tell me what a coupler is? LOL

    1. A coupler is a two part piece that you put into icing bags so you can change out the decorator tip even while the bag is full of icing.  I don’t know if this allows links, but I’ll try to add a link to a picture from the Wilton site of a coupler.

  6. Can I add corn syrup to the royal icing to add a bit more shine to the icing without it messing up the consistency?  Also, I couldn’t get my icing to turn bright red (I used Spectrum super red gel) – any idea why?? Thank you!!!!

  7. My husband and I made these. We found the decorating a little tricky but a fun project together. They were delicious, thank you for the recipe

    1. Happy you tried them, Sally!

  8. These are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever made! The recipe is straight forward, no-fuss and the results are absolutely wonderful. Thank you for the tip on rolling out the dough on silpat mats… genius! 🙂 These cookies were the least time-consuming sugar cookies I’ve made so far (and I’ve made a LOT), and they look beautiful and taste really great. Thank you for another awesome recipe, Sally!

    1. You are welcome, Priscilla! They are my go-to recipe whenever I want to use a cookie cutter! Glad you are enjoying them also 🙂

  9. Sally, you have 2 sugar cookies listed.  Both mention egg in the directions, but neither list any in the ingredient list.  How many eggs?  Thanks for all the great recipes.

    1. Hi Sue – the egg is in the ingredients deck after granulated sugar.

      1. Thanks Sally.  Have pity on this old woman….lol.  I made the cream cheese sugar cookies and they were awesome.  Making another batch today along with the chocolate sugar cookies.  You’re the best!!

  10. Hi Sally! I want to make sugar cookies for my son’s first birthday. It is only 3 weeks away. Do you suggest making the cookies now and freezing or can I make and decorate the weekend before? How long in an airtight container will the decorated cookies stay fresh. Thanks! 

    1. About a week covered tightly at room temperature, but to keep them super fresh for a party, I would refrigerate them. You could freeze the cookies too– see my make ahead tip!

  11. Hi Sally,
    I’m planning on making soft cut sugar cookies for my daughter’s birthday.I am new to baking,will be trying it for the first time.I have couple of questions and would appreciate your responses.
    1) Can i make these cookies and icing about 7-8 days before the party day?
    2) Since its almost June and since its summer ,can i leave the cookies with frosting outside on the counter or would you recommend need to refrigerate them? And leave them to room temperature couple of hours before the party?
    3) Also i’m planning on making some cake pops. Would you recommend the above two steps for these too ? (Making week ahead and refrigerate, leaving them couple of hours before the party)
    Please advise me.Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi! Here are some answers: 1) That is well in advance, so I would refrigerate the cookies. 2) They can be at room temperature during the party– they’re fine at room temp for a couple days but longer than that, I recommend the fridge. 3) I would refrigerate the cake pops in advance as well.


  12.  Hi Sally love your books and the recipes I making cut outs I would like to use your icing recipe can I use cornstarch in the icing recipe to make that shiny 

  13. I’m debating between making these and your holiday cut out sugar cookies- the holiday ones seem like they’re easier to frost. Any preferences between the 2?

    1. The cookie recipes are the same 🙂 But the glaze icing is easier to make (the icing on the holiday cookies, you just whisk all the ingredients together)– however, that icing takes a day to fully set. This royal icing sets in no time and is easier to use when decorating.

  14. Hi.
    Making these lovely cookies for Valentines this year.
    Unfortunately some of the cookie dough got left on the counter with some parchment over it for an hour or so forgot to get it into the fridge. Now it’s quite dry. How do you suggest I revive it? Is there a way to save it or do I toss?

    1. Hi Melissa! Moisten your hands with a couple drops of water and rub onto the dough. Then roll it out again. It should be workable!

  15. Hi Sally, just wondering if you can use a letter press with this icing or if you have another icing recipe (preferable not fondant) you can use for letterpress?

    1. This royal icing is great for writing with the letter press.

  16. Hi Sally
    Is there an alternative to using meringue powder??


    1. Hi Tammy! None that are successful. You can use the easy glaze icing linked in the recipe notes if that is easier.

      1. Hi Sally! Is it possible to halve this recipe. If not. Is it possible for me to reduce the amount of sugar? Since I find that royal icing is usually really sweet!
        Ps. I looove how your sugar cookies turned out!

      2. You can halve the recipe.

      3. Hi. Me again. How about the 1 egg in the ingredients list? How would I halve it? I should just leave it as 1 egg?

      4. What usually works is beating the egg, then using about 2 Tablespoons. You can save the rest of the beaten egg for another time or add it to a scramble in the morning. 🙂

  17. These cookies were super easy to make! You’re writing was soo good!! Mine looks like a 3 year old . Thanks for such an easy recipe!

    1. You are welcome, Lily! I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  18. Hi Sally, how many cookies does this recipe make?

    1. Hi Elena! About 25 3-inch cookies.

  19. How do you make such a perfect shape with the icing, onto the cookie? Is there a special trick to that?

    1. Yes! Use a piping bag with tips as explained in the post under the paragraph “Tools you need”. There is a video tutorial where you can watch exactly how I fill and use the bags and apply the icing to the cookies in my post for Sugar Cookies. I hope it helps!

  20. I have a ton of Icing left over for some reason, can I save it? If so, for how long?

    1. Yes, leftover royal icing can be frozen for up to 2 months. You can read exactly how I freeze in in my post on Royal Icing.

  21. Sally, I love that you wrote your writing with frosting is, well, far from perfect; I couldn’t help but laugh. I can bake a mean cake but when it comes to frosting I’m all over the place, and forget about writing. My girls always tell each other, “Look out Annie’s frosting a cake”. Your posts are refreshing and your recipes awesome, keep them coming.

    1. Thank you so much, Annie!

  22. Making my 2nd batch in 3 days! Family loves them! This is my new go to sugar cookie recipe! Thanks, Sally!!!

  23. so great i love these the are so cute and a no fuss cookie everyone at my school love them and my family. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  24. Any substitution for the meringue powder since that’s the only ingredient I don’t have?

    1. You can find my easy glaze icing recipe paired with my Christmas sugar cookies. However, it’s thinner than royal icing and doesn’t provide the same sharp detail that royal icing decorations do. It also takes a good 24 hours to dry.

  25. Hi Sally! I am going around the neighborhood tomorrow and delivering these cookies I can’t wait. Thank you for the recipe!

  26. Zelma Long from Nova Scotia Canada says:

    Oh My God Sally, these cookies are the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used. No mess p, no fuss. Just excellent!

  27. Jessica McWeeny says:

    I made these for my wheat allergic son with cup 4 cup GF flour, and they turned out amazing! I followed your recipe just changed out the AP flour and they were perfect! I can’t believe I never rolled them out and then chilled, then cut out… THANK YOU! such a simple yet brilliant step! They didn’t spread!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad to hear that worked well for you, Jessica — thank you for reporting back!

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