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Thick, soft, bakery-style cut-out Sugar Sprinkle Cookies are a fun way to delight the kids! The best sugar cookies are loaded with rainbow sprinkles, then glazed and topped with even more sprinkles. These confetti cookies add a colorful, festive finishing touch to any meal or party!

Side shot of a pink cake stand full of sugar cookies with sprinkles

Sugar Sprinkle Cookies

If my youngest son could eat one type of cookie for the rest of his life, these sugar cookies with sprinkles would definitely be his top pick. In fact, he ate three of the cookies right off of the stand before I was even done photographing them. These bakery-style treats are absolutely the best! They’re easy to make ahead, they’re perfect for sharing with friends and neighbors, and they’re a kid-friendly treat that always delivers loads of festive cheer. Use your favorite seasonally-appropriate cookie cutters to make confetti cookies for every holiday and special occasion!

Are sugar sprinkle cookies supposed to be soft?

While some folks might prefer thin, crisp sugar cookies, we think that a perfect sugar cookie recipe should be firm enough to hold its shape without spreading in the oven, but also soft and supple with a tender crumb. When you sink your teeth into these sprinkle cookies, you get a bit of chewy resistance and a flavorful explosion of butter, vanilla and a hint of almond extract.

How thick do I roll the sugar cookie dough?

Thick, soft sugar cookies are the ultimate bakery-style treat! To ensure a thick, puffy and soft baked cookie, you’ll roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. This is thicker than many cut-out cookie recipes, but it’s the best way to achieve that ideal texture.

Front shot of frosted cut out sugar cookies with sprinkles

How to Keep Confetti Cookies from Spreading in the Oven

Here are a few of my best tips to prevent the cookies from spreading:

  1. Roll First, Then Chill. I learned this process from America’s Test Kitchen, and it’s genius! Roll out the cookie dough before chilling, while it’s still soft. After the discs of dough have hardened and chilled, you can cut out the cookie shapes and bake them immediately. Rolling the soft dough is much easier than rolling a hard ball of chilled dough, and the cookies go into the oven while they’re still very cold and firm (thus preventing spreading).
  2. Chill the dough. It’s very important that you chill the rolled dough for at least 1-2 hours before cutting. If you re-roll the scraps and cut out additional cookies, chill again just before baking to make sure that the dough is nice and cool when it goes into the oven.
  3. Room Temperature Butter. If your butter is too warm, the dough will be sticky and difficult to roll. Leave your butter out overnight to make sure that it’s right at room temperature.
  4. Enough flour. The total amount of flour required for this dough can vary (often by the humidity in the house, the season, and the way that you scoop and measure the flour). If you don’t have enough flour in your dough, the cookies are more likely to spread. While rolling, add small amounts of additional flour, as necessary, to make sure that your dough doesn’t stick to your hands, parchment paper, or rolling pin.
  5. Don’t Overmix. Whipping the wet ingredients too much or overmixing can add excessive air to the dough, causing the cookies to collapse and spread in the oven.
  6. Line the Baking Sheets. Spraying the baking sheets with cooking spray or greasing with butter or lard creates a slippery surface that causes cookies to spread. Instead, line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats for “grip.”
  7. Cool Baking Sheets. Never place cookie dough on warm baking sheets.
Overhead shot of a table full of confetti cookies

Do you put sprinkles in cookies before or after baking?

For the ultimate cut out sugar cookies with sprinkles, add the rainbow sprinkles to the cookie dough before baking, and then add even more to the tops of the cookies after they’re frosted.

How do you get sprinkles to stick to cookies?

A simple glaze that’s made with confectioners sugar, milk, corn syrup and vanilla extract acts as a sweet frosting for the tops of the cookies, and holds the additional rainbow sprinkles in place. The icing sets and becomes firm, so the sprinkles will not fall off. This step is optional, since the un-frosted cookies are also completely delicious on their own.

Kids hand picking up a heart shaped sugar cookie with rainbow sprinkles for Valentine's Day

Ingredients for the Best Sprinkle Sugar Cookie Recipe

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need. As always, the specific measurements and complete instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of this post.

  • All-purpose flour: forms the base of the dough.
  • Baking powder: the leavener that helps the dough puff up and rise in the oven.
  • Salt, vanilla extract and almond extract: for flavor.
  • Butter: keeps the cookies soft and moist.
  • Granulated sugar: for sweetness.
  • Eggs: give the cookies structure.
  • Rainbow sprinkles: I use this brand, which doesn’t melt in the oven or bleed in the dough or in the icing. The larger sprinkles also have a softer texture than smaller nonpareils.
  • Confectioners sugar, milk, light corn syrup and additional vanilla extract: for the optional icing on top, if you like. You can also substitute with buttercream frosting or a store-bought cookie icing like this.

How to Make Sprinkle Cookies

This easy and delicious cookie dough comes together in just minutes! You’ll need to be patient while it chills in the fridge, but the end result is well worth the wait…

  1. Mix the dough.
  2. Fold in the rainbow sprinkles.
  3. Roll out the dough.
  4. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Cut out the cookie shapes.
  6. Bake in a 375° F oven for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are just starting to brown, but they’re still fairly soft in the center. They will firm up as they cool, so be careful not to overbake them or the cookies will become hard. Cool completely before decorating.​​​​​​​

The Icing for Sugar Sprinkle Cookies

Icing the cooled cookies is completely optional. Since my kids love to help decorate the cookies (and add many more sprinkles on top), I prepare this basic cookie icing that’s a classic combination of confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla extract and corn syrup (for shine). It typically firms up in about 30 minutes, but may take up to a few hours to set if you lay it on thick. Leave the icing white, or divide it between smaller bowls and tint it with food coloring. For detailed designs, place the icing in piping bags or Ziploc plastic bags (and snip off one corner). If you prefer the flavor, you can use a thicker cake frosting, or try store-bought tubes of icing for a shortcut. Anything goes! Just make sure that you add the rainbow sprinkles to the icing before it sets.

Square image of a tray of rainbow sprinkle cookies in heart shapes

How to Store Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Make Ahead

Prepare the dough up to 1 day ahead, roll out the discs, and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough discs for up to 1 month. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight and then proceed with cutting and baking.

To bake the cookies in advance, allow them to cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw on the counter at room temperature before decorating.

Can you freeze cookies with sprinkles?

Yes, you can freeze the sprinkle cookies after icing and decorating, too. Be aware, though, that the quality of the icing or decorations may not be quite as good when thawed. It can run, thin, or get smooshed.

Plate of sugar sprinkle cookies with frosting

Tips for the Best Sprinkle Cookie Recipe

  • Almond Extract. I have a friend who is a professional sugar cookie baker. She decorates the most intricate, beautiful, personalized cookies and sells them for weddings, holidays, birthday parties, and more. Kelly adds a good amount of almond extract to her cookie dough and it gives them such a delicious, unique flavor — so I borrowed that idea! I like ½ teaspoon in this recipe, but you can cut it back to ¼ teaspoon if you prefer a more subtle taste. You can also omit the almond extract altogether and substitute with additional vanilla extract.
  • Keep the dough cold to prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven. Chill for at least 1 hour before cutting and baking, and then if you re-roll the scraps, chill again in the freezer or fridge for about 10 more minutes before baking.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. Watch for the cookies’ edges to just start to turn a slightly darker color. The insides of the cookies should still be soft when they come out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool, resulting in that great soft texture that we’re looking for. Overbaking the cookies will yield dry, hard or crunchy cookies.
  • Easy Decorating. I’ve provided a simple powdered sugar icing recipe that you can use for decorating the sprinkle cookies; however, you can substitute with any cookie frosting or icing that you like. For more intricate designs, try a royal icing. If you want a thicker, richer frosting (but not as much detail in your designs), try a vanilla buttercream frosting. And for a convenient shortcut that’s easy for the kids to use, I like the different colored tubes of Betty Crocker Cookie Icing that you can purchase in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
Front shot of the best sprinkle cookie recipe served on a pink cake stand

More Cookie Recipes to Try

Side shot of a pink cake stand full of sugar cookies with sprinkles

Sprinkle Cookies

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 36 cookies in various shapes and sizes
Calories 109 kcal
These soft, cut-out Sugar Sprinkle Cookies are a fun and festive addition to any holiday celebration or gathering.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract (or reduce to ¼ teaspoon for a more subtle flavor)
  • ¾ cup rainbow sprinkles, divided

FROSTING:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Gel food coloring, optional

Instructions

  • Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine. Add vanilla extract and almond extract; mix until incorporated.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture; mix on low until a soft dough forms. Stir in ½ cup of rainbow sprinkles.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Place each portion on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems sticky.
  • Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours (or overnight).
  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Carefully remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into desired shapes. Using a floured spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets.
  • You can re-roll the dough scraps to cut out additional cookies, but you will need to chill the cut-out dough on the baking sheets in the fridge or freezer for at least 10 minutes before baking. This will give the dough a chance to firm up again so that the cookies don’t spread in the oven.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or just until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

To make the frosting:

  • Combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl and stir until combined. If frosting is too thick, add more milk, about a teaspoon at a time, until the frosting is thick but spreadable. If it’s too thin, gradually add more powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. Use gel food coloring to tint the frosting, if desired. Pipe or spread onto the cooled cookies, sprinkle with additional rainbow sprinkles, and then allow the frosting to firm up and set before packaging (this may take a couple of hours).

Notes

  • Almond Extract. I have a friend who is a professional sugar cookie baker. She decorates the most intricate, beautiful, personalized cookies and sells them for weddings, holidays, birthday parties, and more. Kelly adds a good amount of almond extract to her cookie dough and it gives them such a delicious, unique flavor — so I borrowed that idea! I like ½ teaspoon in this recipe, but you can cut it back to ¼ teaspoon if you prefer a more subtle taste. You can also omit the almond extract altogether and substitute with additional vanilla extract.
  • Keep the dough cold to prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven. Chill for at least 1 hour before cutting and baking, and then if you re-roll the scraps, chill again in the freezer or fridge for about 10 more minutes before baking.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. Watch for the cookies’ edges to just start to turn a slightly darker color. The insides of the cookies should still be soft when they come out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool, resulting in that great soft texture that we’re looking for. Overbaking the cookies will yield dry, hard or crunchy cookies.
  • Easy Decorating. I’ve provided a simple powdered sugar icing recipe that you can use for decorating the sprinkle cookies; however, you can substitute with any cookie frosting or icing that you like. For more intricate designs, try a royal icing. If you want a thicker, richer frosting (but not as much detail in your designs), try a vanilla buttercream frosting. And for a convenient shortcut that’s easy for the kids to use, I like the different colored tubes of Betty Crocker Cookie Icing that you can purchase in the baking aisle at the grocery store.

Nutrition

Serving: 1frosted cookieCalories: 109kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 70mgPotassium: 28mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 133IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: confetti cookies, sprinkle cookies, sugar cookies with sprinkles, sugar sprinkle cookies
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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