Overhead view of frosted Christmas cookies

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1/2 cups


Have you ever wondered how to decorate sugar cookies for Christmas and other holidays, like you see in the magazines? In this tutorial, I show you how to make the best buttercream frosting for Christmas cookies and offer step-by-step tips on exactly how to frost the most beautiful Christmas tree, present, and stocking cut-out cookies!


For the frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup (339 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold.
  • 5 cups (650 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)


  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, beating until the butter look light in color.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  3. Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Add last 1 cup powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream and salt. Beat on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
  5. Divide the frosting into bowl, add gel colors and decorate. 


  • This will make enough to generously frost 24+ sugar cookies
  • Storing: Frosted cookies should be stored in an airtight container. I do recommend a single layer for best results, but if you need to stack two layers high, place a piece of parchment paper between layers. Stacking cookies can result in some damage to the frosting.
  • Freezing frosted cookies. Frosted cookies can be frozen. Once decorated,  place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for 15-30 minutes until the frosting had hardened. Then transfer to an airtight container. As long as the frosting is firm, these can be stacked in the container, with a layer of parchment paper in between. Thaw cookies on a cookie sheet in a single layer. These can be thawed on the counter for a couple of hours.
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Stand Mixer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: buttercream cookie frosting, how to decorate christmas cookies, how to decorate cookies