These fun and festive Halloween Sugar Cookies are made with an easy cut out cookie recipe with minimal time required to chill the dough. Decorate these sugar cookies with my perfect vanilla buttercream. Skip the premade dough and try this quick sugar cookie recipe!
Over the summertime, I accompanied my husband on a trip to Southern California where we helped go through the family storage unit. Among the many things we found, there were two giant bags of cookie cutters!
My collection of cookie cutters was seriously lacking in the Halloween department, so I was pleasantly surprised to find all these gems in the bag.
If you’ve been a follower for a while, you know that I am obsessed with sugar cookies. I have made them for just about every holiday.
Today it’s all about the Halloween Sugar Cookies. Are they not the CUTEST? I had a hard time picking a favorite, but the Frankenstein and Candy Corn are sort of winning me over.
These sugar cookies are thick, but super soft in the middle. The cookie isn’t overly sweet, so once you had the frosting, it’s just the right balance. They literally melt in your mouth.
I’ve never really been a fan of royal icing, it’s all about the buttercream over here. All my sugar cookie recipes are decorated with buttercream.
If you feel intimidated by making buttercream at home, I am here to tell you that I can help! It’s all starts with the butter.
My recipe for my Perfect Vanilla Buttercream starts with cold butter, which is whipped at the various stages to produce a light and fluffy buttercream that is perfectly stable for piping.
I also use heavy cream or milk, which you can use to control the consistency of the buttercream, and makes for the most yummy tasting buttercream.
I try to keep it simple when it comes to decorating sugar cookies. The technique I used here, I learned for another talented baker, Jenny of Jenny Cookies. Aren’t these Woodland Sugar Cookies adorable?
This technique uses small open round tips (size 4 or 5). Start by outlining the edge of your cookies and then fill them going back and forth from left to right, keeping your piping tip close to the cookie.
A half batch of sugar cookie dough makes about 24 medium sizes cookies depending on your cookie cutter. However, the recipe has easily be doubled for large batch baking. Just be prepared for alllll the decorating that comes with a double batch.
These fun and festive Halloween Sugar Cookies can be made in advance to help break up the process. Below I’ve included tips for making them ahead of time and freezing the dough and the unfrosted cookies.
How to make the Halloween Sugar Cookies
- First cream together the butter and sugar. You want to start with butter than is slightly softened, about 20-30 minutes. If you’re in a pinch, throw it in the microwave for 10 seconds, but no longer!
- Next, add the liquid ingredients. This recipe calls for baking soda to be dissolved in milk. It’s nothing fancy, just stir it in and add it together with the eggs and vanilla extract.
- Finally, add the dry ingredients. It’s just flour and a pinch of salt.
- Chill the dough. You can’t skip this step. Chilled dough makes it MUCH easier for you to roll it out the dough and also helps them from spreading while they’re baking. However, this dough does not require a very long chill time.
- Roll out the dough. Be sure to use a well-floured surface, and roll your dough at least 1/4 inch thick. Brush away any excess flour with a pastry brush.
- Bake your cookies. I like to keep my pans rotating through the oven, so by the time one comes out, another goes in. I also only bake one tray at a time because I don’t want them to bake unevenly on a top or bottom rack. One tray at a time, baked in the middle of your oven.
- Time to decorate! Have fun, be creative and don’t be too hard on yourself.
How to decorate these sugar cookies
- Before you start, check out all my tips for How to Use a Piping Bag, and How to Color Buttercream, especially if you’re new to decorating!
- Tint your buttercream with gel color such as the Wilton Color Right system or Americolor
- For these cookies you need a size 4 or 5 piping tip, pick up a few at the store, they’re just over $1 each. This comes in handy when you’re using multiple colors so you don’t have to constantly wash your tips.
- If it really easy to interchange your frosting colors and piping tips if you prepare your piping bags with couplers.
- Start by outlining the edge of your cookies and then fill them going back and forth from left to right, keeping your piping tip close to the cookies. It’s a quick and easy decorating technique.
- Add your sprinkles right after you frost them for the best results. This buttercream will slightly harden.
How long do I need to chill the dough?
At a minimum, 15 minutes in the freezer or 30 minutes in the fridge. Prepare your dough into 3 smaller balls and wrap them in plastic wrap. Then flatten it out about 1 inch thick or less, this will make it easier to roll out.
You can refrigerate up to 2 days in advance.
Can I freeze the dough?
Yes! If you’re making cookie dough, you might as well make some extra for the freezer!
Separate the dough into 3 smaller balls, double wrap in plastic wrap and then flatten to about 1-inch thick rounds. Keep frozen and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze the cookies after I bake them?
Yes! You can freeze the baked, unfrosted sugar cookies. Place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container or in a Ziploc bag. Thaw completely before frosting.
I recently learned from my friend Jenny, owner of Jenny Cookies Bakeshop and blog, that she freezes frosted sugar cookies. I’ve never tried it, but now I am dying to see how it works.
More sugar cookie tips and recipes:
Follow Beyond Frosting:
If you love no-bake recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, No-Bake Treats!
This easy sugar cookie recipe is a soft baked sugar cookie that is not overly sweet and it’s perfect with vanilla buttercream.
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (95g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- Beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until the sugar is dissolved and creamy.
- In a small glass dish, dissolve the baking soda in the milk.
- Add baking soda/milk, vanilla and egg to the butter. Beat until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Slowly add the salt and the flour ½ cup at a time and mix until a stiff dough forms.
- Form 3 softball size balls of dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then chill in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface about ¼” thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the shapes and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Use parchment paper or a baking mat to help prefer browning on the bottom of the cookie.
- Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dough can be refrigerated for 2 days, otherwise I suggest freezing. Remove the dough from the freezer several hours before you intend to use.
- This batch produces about 24 cut out cookies depending on the size of your cookie cutters
- This recipe can easily be doubled for a large batch
- These are frosted with my perfect vanilla frosting