Watermelon Sugar Cookies

These watermelon sugar cookies are made from a buttery sugar cookie dough and are topped with pink, white, and green royal icing. Mini chocolate chips masquerade as the watermelon seeds, but sprinkles could work too! The cookies don’t taste like watermelon (though extract is optional!), but they sure are cute and festive for a picnic, barbecue, or summer party.

watermelon sugar cookies

The thought of decorating sugar cookies used to have me running for the hills. Slowly but surely though, I’ve been inching my way into the awesome cookie decorator’s club. That’s not really a thing, but I’ve honestly never been particularly talented in this arena. Once I started practicing, improvement quickly came. Since then, I’ve shown you how to decorate Easter egg sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, and snowman sugar cookies.

Like a lot of beginners, I prefer to stick with easier decorations like today’s fun watermelon cookies. With only 1 piping tip and 3 colors, you can create watermelon slice sugar cookies at home too. Even if you’re not in the awesome cookie decorator’s club yet. (But after 1 batch, you will be!!)

watermelon sugar cookies

2 images of sugar cookie dough rolled out and cut into circles and circles of cookie dough cut in half

Watermelon Sugar Cookies: What Works & What Doesn’t

  1. Start with a quality sugar cookie recipe. My team and I always rely on these sugar cookies as the base of any cut-out sugar cookie we make. The recipe is loved by many readers and it’s actually one of the most popular recipes on this site. When following the recipe closely and sticking to the correct order of steps (rolling then chilling), the dough always holds its shape in the oven. This is completely optional but you can add watermelon flavor to the dough if desired. That flavor seems a little odd for a cookie, but it actually pairs nicely with the sugary icing on top. You could also use orange or lemon extract and both can be found in regular grocery stores in the baking aisle.
  2. Choose your icing. I have 2 favorite decorating icing recipes: an easy glaze icing that I use with my Christmas sugar cookies and a traditional royal icing that I use for many cut-out sugar cookies. The easy glaze icing is wonderful for flooding cookies with 1 specific color. Royal icing, on the other hand, sets quickly and is perfect for fancier designs with multiple colors. Don’t worry, both are super simple to make.
  3. Trick to cutting a watermelon slice cookie. This is SO easy. Just use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Then, simply cut those circles in half to make your watermelon “slices.”

Decorating Tools

Standard tools like a rolling pin and baking sheets are important for this recipe, but here are a few of the more specific decorating tools needed:

bowls of pink, green, and white royal icing

How to Decorate Watermelon Sugar Cookies

Decorating cut-out sugar cookies is a time investment, but it’s so much fun. I recommend leaving an afternoon to roll, bake, and decorate these sweet treats. I want you to feel confident before you begin, so here’s a quick summary of the decoration required.

  1. Begin with the watermelon rind– 1 line green, then 1 line white. 
  2. Make sure you chill the cookies between each piped line to help set the icing. Why? As you’re decorating, you don’t want the colors to bleed into each other. And a brief 15 minutes in the refrigerator between each color helps prevent that.
  3. Rind is complete and I promise it tastes better than actual watermelon rind. Ha!
  4. Then fill with pink.
  5. Use mini chocolate chips for the seeds. Watermelon might not be a natural combination with chocolate, but when that watermelon is a sugar cookie, we’re golden!

green royal icing piped onto watermelon sugar cookies

sugar cookies on a baking sheet with green and white royal icing decorated rinds

watermelon sugar cookies with green, white, and pink royal icing on a baking sheet

watermelon sugar cookies on a green and white polka dot plate

Now let’s watch to see how it’s all done in the video below. I promise it’s much easier than you’d ever expect.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
watermelon sugar cookies

Watermelon Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 50 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

It doesn’t get any cuter than these watermelon sugar cookies! Made with a delicious buttery sugar cookie dough and royal icing, everyone will flip for them.


Ingredients

  • 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 teaspoon watermelon flavor*

Royal Icing

  • 4 cups (480gconfectioners’ sugar, sifted (I use and recommend Domino brand)
  • 3 Tablespoons meringue powder (not plain egg white powder)
  • 910 Tablespoons room temperature water
  • green & pink food coloring
  • 1/3 cup (60g) mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  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 watermelon 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″ 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 3-inch circle cookie cutter, cut into circles. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece. Cut each circle in half to form slices.
  7. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. 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 1.5 – 2 minutes. When lifting the whisk up off the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 5-10 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.
  9. Add green icing to a piping bag fitted with round icing tip #5. Line green icing around the round bottom of each cookie. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator to set the icing for 15 minutes. Add white icing to a piping bag fitted with the same round icing tip. Line white icing right above green icing. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator to set the icing for 15 minutes. Add pink icing to a piping bag fitted with the same round icing tip. Pipe pink icing onto the rest of the watermelon slice. Top with mini chocolate chips as “seeds.”
  10. Icing completely dries in about 2 hours at room temperature. Decorated or plain cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  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. Watermelon Flavor: The watermelon flavoring is pretty similar to the flavor of a watermelon jolly rancher. It’s tasty, but if that’s not your thing, try using 1 teaspoon of either lemon or orange extract instead. You can find those in the baking aisle of any major grocery store.

12 Comments

  1. I am so excited to try these for a beach trip this weekend! Do you think watermelon juice or small chunks would work in the dough in place of the extract flavoring? I’m worried about my husband’s reaction if I bring any more baking supplies into our already packed kitchen!! Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Rebecca! Neither would be ideal options. WAY too juicy for a cookie dough. You can always leave out the extract or grab some orange/lemon extract at the store vs. ordering watermelon online.

  2. Sammi Harasymchuk says:

    I made these for our ball tournament this past weekend! They were such a hit! I was a little leery about the watermelon flavor, but wow!!! It was fantastic! Just like a jolly rancher, like you said! I must confess though, I did make half the batch as orange flavor but they were equally good! I ended up putting orange flavoring in the icing as the extract seemed to disappear as I baked, but not the watermelon! Thanks again for another awesome recipe! I may even venture into sugar cookies for other occasions now! The added flavoring is a game changer.

  3. I made these today and they were wonderful!! It was my first experience with royal icing and your instructions made it nice and easy. I ended up needing about twice as much water as was called for in the icing but once I got it figured out, everything else went smoothly. Thank you!!

  4. Do you need to chill these rolled out? I plan on making the cookies in a few days and am wondering if I can chill them in a ball and then roll them out when I’m ready to bake?

    1. I don’t recommend that as it’s nearly impossible to roll out this chilled dough when it’s in a ball/disc– too hard. If you let it soften, the cookies would spread a bit too much. So I always roll out then chill. Enjoy!

  5. Hi Sally, Just wanted to thank you for this easy and super-cute idea. I made these for my daughter’s end-of-year party in preschool and they were a smashing hit! I didn’t have black royal icing OR tiny chocolate chips, so I took another alternative – melted a chocolate bar and piped tiny black dots. That took some time, but did work fabulously. Next time I think i would use your recommended cookie dough, I think 🙂

    1. Aren’t they fun? Melted chocolate piped into tiny dots is an awesome alternative. Thanks for sharing, Aliza!

  6. Sally,
    I absolutely LOVE these cookies!! I recently invited friends over to my house for a kick-off-the-summer party and we decorated these cookies. It was an all-around-the-table-winner and nobody complained!!

    1. What a fun party idea!! Thrilled you and your friends had fun decorating these, Faith! 🙂

  7. denni schwartz says:

    HI!
    i have Crazy question! could i substitue the butter forsomething non-dairy? any suggestions?

    1. Hi Denni, I haven’t tested these cookies with a dairy free substitute. You can try something like a vegan buttery sick like the Earth Balance brand but I’m unsure of the results. Let me know if you try!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×