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Halloween Sugar Cookies

These homemade Halloween sugar cookies are a fun and festive cut-out cookie recipe decorated for the spooky season with the best vanilla buttercream.

Eat, drink, and be scary this Halloween! If you love this Halloween sugar cookie recipe, sink your fangs into these chewy pumpkin sugar cookies, next.

Plate of frosted Halloween sugar cookies.

Easy Halloween Sugar Cookies

These fun and easy decorated sugar cookies are guaranteed to raise the spirits this spooky season. These Halloween cookies are soft and sugary, easy to make, and such a fun activity for a late October afternoon. With the help of a little hocus pocus (as in the BEST vanilla buttercream) you can turn simple cut-out sugar cookies into the cutest Halloween treats. The flavor of the cookies is soft, rich, and buttery, contrasted by the creamy sweetness of homemade frosting. They’re perfect to make for your next Halloween bash.

Why You’ll Love This Halloween Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • Thick, chewy sugar cookies. These sugar cookies are thick and soft in the middle and crispy at the edges. They literally melt in your mouth.
  • Homemade frosting. You only need two ingredients to make the homemade vanilla buttercream frosting you’ll use to decorate these cookies. It’s light, fluffy, and perfect for piping. You’ll love making your own frosting from scratch!
  • Perfect for parties. Who doesn’t love a plate full of festive, frosted sugar cookies? These are the ultimate Halloween cookies that anyone can make, perfect for a Halloween party.
Frankenstein Halloween sugar cookie.

Key Ingredients

Below is a quick overview of the important ingredients you’ll need to make the best sugar cookies. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full measurements and recipe instructions.

  • Butter and Sugar – You’ll cream together unsalted butter and granulated sugar for the base of the cookie dough.
  • Baking Soda
  • Milk – You can make this recipe with whole milk or 2% milk, whichever you prefer.
  • Egg and Vanilla – One beaten egg for extra richness, and real vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Salt
  • Flour – I’ve found that all-purpose flour yields the most consistent results when it comes to soft, chewy sugar cookies.
  • Frosting – I frost these cookies with my easy vanilla buttercream recipe (linked above and in the recipe card), but you can also use sugar cookie icing or any other frosting you like.
An RIP tombstone sugar cookie laying in fake spider webs

How to Make Halloween Sugar Cookies

It doesn’t take much to make the best cut-out sugar cookies! Here’s how to get these Halloween cookies baked and ready for decorating:

  • Make the dough. First, beat together the butter and sugar to get it light and creamy. Next, dissolve the baking soda in milk (the reaction helps to speed up the leavening process). Add the mixture to the batter along with vanilla and egg. Finally, mix in the salt, and gradually add the flour until a stiff dough forms.
  • Chill the dough. Wrap and then chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can also use the freezer to speed up the process.
  • Roll out the dough. Turn out the dough on a well-floured surface and roll it out to 1/4-inch thick. Use your choice of Halloween-themed cookie cutters to cut out the dough. Arrange the cookies on a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake. Bake the cookies at 350ºF for 8-12 minutes, one tray at a time in the middle of your oven.
  • Time to decorate! Once your cookies are cooled completely, they’re ready to decorate. Have fun, be creative, and get spooky! See the section below for a helpful guide on how to frost your Halloween sugar cookies.

How Many Cookies Does This Recipe Make?

This recipe makes a party-sized amount of cookies, about 24 medium-sized cookies. The exact number of cookies will depend on the size of your cookie cutters. You can also double the recipe for large-batch baking. Just be prepared for allllll the decorating that comes with a double batch!

Plate of  decorated halloween sugar cookies: tombstone, ghost, candy corn and Frankenstein.

What’s the Best Way to Color Buttercream?

I’ve found that the best food coloring to use for buttercream are gel colors, like the ones from Wilton Color Right or AmeriColor. You only need a small amount, as a little goes a long way to achieving bright, vibrant results! Divide your frosting into separate bowls and use your choice of food coloring to dye each bowl a different color.

How to Decorate Halloween Sugar Cookies

If you’re new to decorating sugar cookies, check out my tutorial on how to decorate cookies with frosting and how to color buttercream for loads of helpful tips and tricks. Ready to get decorating? Here’s how to get these Halloween sugar cookies looking like #squadghouls.

  • Make the outline. Using small open round tips (size 4 or 5), pipe an outline around the edge of your cookies.
  • Fill the outline. Pipe the frosting back and forth from left to right, keeping your piping tip close to the cookie. See my tips on how to use a piping bag and how to use piping tips if you need more guidance.
  • Add the garnishes. Add any sprinkles or garnishes right after you frost the cookies for the best results. This way they’ll adhere to to the cookies before the frosting hardens.
A plate of decorated halloween sugar cookies.

Recipe Tips

These Halloween sugar cookies are about to become a yearly tradition, I just know it! Here are some final tips for the best frosted sugar cookies, made totally from scratch:

  • Soften the butter for the cookie dough. You want to start with butter that is slightly softened, so take it out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes ahead of time. If you’re in a pinch, throw the butter in the microwave for 10 seconds, but no longer.
  • Chill the dough. Chilling the dough makes the dough easier to roll and cut out, and also helps to keep the cookies from spreading while they bake. Aim for at least 30 minutes in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer. Don’t skip this step!
  • Bake in batches. I like to keep my pans rotating through the oven, so by the time one comes out, another goes in. I recommend baking one tray of cookies at a time, so that the sugar cookies bake evenly.
  • Use full-fat heavy cream to make the frosting. The high-fat content yields the thickest, creamiest, yummy-tasting buttercream.
  • Use couplers. I recommend a size 4 or 5 piping tip for frosting these cookies. It’s easy to interchange your frosting colors and piping tips if you prepare your piping bags with couplers. See my tutorial on piping bags (linked in the How to Decorate section) for more details.

Can I Make Sugar Cookie Dough In Advance?

Yes! To prepare the sugar cookie dough ahead of time, mix and portion the dough as directed, then double-wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. I like to flatten the dough balls to about 1-inch thick rounds so that they take up less space in the fridge or freezer. Refrigerate the sugar cookie dough up to 2 days in advance, or freeze it for up to 1 month.

A ghost cookie decorated with buttercream

How to Store Halloween Sugar Cookies

  • Store. Store your frosted Halloween sugar cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 4 days. If you live somewhere that’s especially hot and humid, consider keeping the cookies in the fridge. However, I recommend taking them out ahead of time to take the chill off before serving.
  • Freezer. I recommend freezing these cookies before they’re frosted. Place the baked, unfrosted sugar cookies in an airtight, freezer-safe container or in a Ziploc bag. Store the cookies frozen for up to 2-3 months, and thaw them at room temperature before frosting.

More Easy Sugar Cooke Recipes to Try

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A pumpkin sugar cookie decorated with orange buttercream and sprinkles laying in a fake spider web

Halloween Sugar Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookie
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


These fun and festive Halloween sugar cookies are easy cut-out sugar cookies decorated for the spooky season with homemade vanilla buttercream!


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons (30m) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2  1/2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour


  1. Beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the sugar is dissolved and creamy.
  2. In a small glass dish, dissolve the baking soda in the milk.
  3. Add baking soda/milk, vanilla, and egg to the batter. Beat until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the salt and the flour ½ cup at a time and mix until a stiff dough forms.
  5. Form 3 softball-sized 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.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. 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 them to a lined baking sheet. Use parchment paper or a baking mat to help prefer browning on the bottom of the cookie.
  8. Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Frost with vanilla buttercream or your frosting of choice.


  • The dough can be refrigerated for 2 days, otherwise, I suggest freezing. Remove the dough from the freezer several hours before you intend to use it.
  • 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.
  • Nutritional information does not include frosting and is an estimate only.


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 101
  • Sugar: 4.3g
  • Sodium: 127mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: .7g
  • Protein: 1.7g

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8 thoughts on “Halloween Sugar Cookies”

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      This one is actually from my husband’s childhood, so it’s quite old. I’d probably look around to see what’s available on Etsy or something

      1. I haven’t made these cookies yet but if I like the recipe can it be used for other Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas?

  1. Avatar photo
    Laura Catherine

    Hello! I definitely want to try your back and forth line trick for decorating with buttercream. I am wondering how you got the pumpkin cookie effect with buttercream since that one doesn’t seem to be made with lines like the others in the picture. When I try to frost a sugar cookie with a spatula or knife, it always comes out so messy, but your pumpkins look great! Any advice? Thanks!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Sure thing! So pipe the orange buttercream with a wide-open round tip. Size 12 is about as small as I would go but if you can get something like an Ateco 808 or 806. Then use an angled spatula or the back of a spoon and gently flatten the lines