Royal iced sugar cookies are an impressive treat made with cut out sugar cookies and royal icing! Once you make the recipe, use our guide for How to Decorate Cookies with Royal Icing to create the perfect cookies.
This recipe features helpful cooking information from Plate It Safe, a food safety movement, launched by the Water Quality & Health Council.
Royal Iced sugar cookies
Royal Iced Sugar Cookies are my all-time favorite cookies to make for the holidays! We absolutely LOVE baking, frosting, packaging and eating these iced sugar cookies. They are slightly more labor intensive than other cookies, but are worth the time and effort. They are not very difficult to make when following this recipe and a few easy tips!
We partnered with Plate It Safe Campaign to share important tips to help keep your family safe. These tips are great to keep in mind every single day, but are especially important when you share your tasty treats with other people.
Please keep these food safety tips in mind when baking these homemade sugar cookies with royal icing.
Cut out sugar cookie recipe
We continue to use this sugar cookie recipe because it works. The cookies not only look pretty but taste great as well. They are moist, decadent and full of flavor. For the sugar cookies, you will need butter, powdered sugar, egg, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and flour.
- Next, cream the butter in a stand mixer. Then add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Blend in the egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour.
- Once the dough is formed, chill the dough until firm. We chill it for at least an hour, but you can chill it for up to 24 hours.
- Roll the dough to 1/4″ thickness on a well-floured surface. Be sure to roll the dough to at least this thickness to ensure sturdy cookies that do not burn. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters and then place on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes, being careful not to burn the cookies. They should not brown.
royal icing for sugar cookies
Royal icing is sugar cookie icing that hardens. To make the royal icing, you will need powdered sugar, meringue powder and water.
- Combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder and water in the clean bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed for 8 to 10 minutes until the sheen disappears and the icing has a matte appearance.
- Add water, a small amount at a time and mix until incorporated. Continue until the icing reaches the desired consistency for piping. If you’re having any difficulty piping then the icing is too thick, so add more water and try again.
- Use a pastry bag to pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let the icing set.
- Once the cookies are edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by adding a small amount of water at a time, and stir by hand until fully incorporated. The icing should drip off the spoon. Flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. (You can use a squeeze bottle or plastic bag with a hole in the corner or a spoon to flood the cookies). Allow to set until completely dry.
Tips to make cut out sugar cookies with royal icing
- Easily adjust the consistency of the icing – If the royal icing is too thick, add a small amount of water and stir until desired consistency is reached. If the royal icing is too thin, add a small amount of powdered sugar and stir until desired consistency is reached.
- Follow our guide for How to Decorate Cookies with Royal Icing for a complete tutorial and guide to decorating the sugar cookies.
- Use gel food coloring to color the icing. Use a tooth pick to add a small amount until the desired color is reached.
Decorate these royal iced sugar cookies however you want! We like to keep them classic, fun and colorful. Use fun shapes and colors to create unique sugar cookies with royal icing every single time. Enjoy and have fun!
Royal Iced Sugar Cookies
For the sugar cookies:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
For the royal icing:
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 5 tablespoons water
- Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Sanitize your working surface before preparing cookies.
To make the cookies:
- Cream the butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Mix until dough clumps around paddle attachment. Chill dough until firm. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and then place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. Cookies should not brown. Let cool then frost and decorate.
To make the frosting:
- Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed about 8 to 10 minutes, until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance. At this point, you will have the stiffest consistency of the icing that is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (If you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing sealed in an airtight container at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
- Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by adding a small amount of water at a time, and stir by hand until fully incorporated. The icing should drip off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. (You can use a squeeze bottle or plastic bag with a hole in the corner but I just like to use a spoon to flood the cookies.) If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set until completely dry.
- Makes 2 to 4 dozen cookies depending on size.
- We recommend gel icing color to color your icing.
- Store the leftover frosting in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How long do the cookies stay fresh after made?
If you keep the cookies in a sealed container, they will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
I have a quick question for the cookies do I use unsalted butter or salted butter?
I use unsalted butter for these cookies. Enjoy!
How long do you need to chill the dough for it to be firm?
30-45 minutes is usually enough time to firm up.
Does this icing harden really well?
Yes, the icing hardens solid after 12-24 hours. You can package these cookies up nicely and don’t need to worry about the icing. Enjoy!
These are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever made. Not too sweet so the icing isn’t overwhelming. And the recipe is easy with ingredients already in the house.