40 Best Cut-Out Cookies Ever
Grab your rolling pin and cookie cutters! Whether you're baking for Christmas (the holidays aren't complete without adorably decorated Gingerbread People), Halloween (skip the tricks, this Ghost Cookie recipe is a treat), Thanksgiving (these Pumpkin Pie Cut-Outs are perfect for fall), or just for fun (celebrate spring and summer with Butterfly or Popsicle cookies), you're sure to find a new favorite in this collection of our best cut-out cookie recipes ever.
Iced Sugar Cookies
Add water to icing a drop at a time for thinner spreading consistency. Decorate with dragée (sometimes called sugar pearls), gold or silver dust, and coarse or sparkling sugar, and tint the frosting with food color paste. All are available at coppergifts.com. Make the cookie dough up to a month in advance, wrap it tightly, and freeze. Thaw dough completely by placing it in the refrigerator overnight.
Christmas Cut-Out Cookies
This is the perfect sugar cookie recipe for holiday baking; it's easy to make and a great way to get kids involved in the fun.
Christmas Cookies 4 Ways
Rudolph's Christmas Sugar Cookies
Start with refrigerated sugar cookie dough to make these adorable reindeer cookies. Kids can help place Rudolph's eyes, mouth, and antlers.
Sparkling Ginger Stars
A heavy sugar crust and the peppery bite of fresh ginger make these gingerbread cookies scrumptious. Be sure your spices are fresh; it will make a big taste difference here.
Pumpkin Cut-Out Cookies
Bake the cookies up to five days ahead, and store in an airtight container. To make our wind cookies and leaf cookies, we used round cutters and swirly piping to represent the wind, and various sizes of leaf-shaped cutters for fluttering foliage. For more on decorating cookies, visit southernliving.com/cookietips.
Prepare for a sweet scare when these adorable Halloween ghost cookies are all iced, decorated, and ready to party. Super easy and kid-friendly to make, these butter cut-out cookies coated with royal icing are the perfect dessert for your Halloween spread. Candy eyeballs add a playful, whimsical touch to these spooky treats, but you could also use black icing to draw eyes on your ghost cookies. Using a classic cut-out butter cookie dough keeps the edges of your ghost cookies shape neat and clean—no worries about the cookies expanding when they bake. Whip up a batch with the kids and let them go to town with the decorating for a fun Halloween kitchen activity.
Gingerbread Men Cookies
The iconic gingerbread man cookie is a favorite holiday tradition. Plus, gingerbread man cut-outs are a great holiday project to get the kids involved with—especially when it comes time to decorate. Though these gingerbread cookies are a little more involved than easy drop cookies, the nostalgic spiced treats are well worth the effort. To break up the process, the gingerbread cookie dough can be made in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to roll; just be sure that it is tightly covered. For more ginger-spiced dessert inspiration, check out these gingerbread desserts that go beyond cookies.
Cut-Out Butter Cookies
Cut-Out Butter Cookies are as pretty as they are yummy. A very simple recipe with all your major pantry ingredients, these cookies are easy and straightforward. Make sure you have enough time to let the dough chill for 1 hour. Make the holiday baking season memorable with fun cookie cutters. Starfish and seashells add a beachy, nautical flair to your holiday celebrations. Use sanding sugar, sprinkles, nonpariels, and candy beads for decorating.
Dutch Spice Cookies
These simple almond and spiced cookies can be made in less than an hour. Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes for a party or cookie swap.
Iced Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies
Whole-wheat flour adds a layer of complexity to these cookies that all-purpose flour can't achieve; the wheat in the whole grain actually enhances the flavors of butter and vanilla. Unlike classic royal icing, which starts with a pound of powdered sugar, we use just 1/2 cup and thicken it with Greek yogurt. Looking for festive colors without the chemicals? Try naturally colored sparkling sugars (such as those from India Tree), which use colorants derived from plants.
Christmas Cookie Puzzles
Choose cutters with simple shapes; they're easier to handle and less likely to break. If you want to make small puzzles, cut dough into 4-inch squares, and use a single cookie cutter to punch out the center of each square while still hot from the oven. Working quickly, cut lines from edges of square to form puzzle pieces. Store icing in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Raspberry Linzer Heart Cookies
Have a heart! These oh-so-cute heart-shaped cookies are filled will raspberry jam and topped with powdered sugar. Have them with a cup of coffee or share them with someone you love.
Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs
Sugar Cookie Mittens
Cozy up with these fun and festive Sugar Cookie Mittens for the holiday season. Pour a glass of milk, pull up a seat by the fire, and prepare to indulge in a fabulous sweet treat.
5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
When glazing, use a shallow bowl that will accommodate the entire cookie.
Soft Sugar Cookie Trees
These tender cookies are even better when topped with cream cheese icing. Make the dough up to 2 days ahead. It will be easier to roll when it's very cold.
Sparkling Snowflake Sugar Cookies
Adults will love these elegant cookies, made with a touch of brandy. And they're great for a Hanukkah party.
Light Bulb Sugar Cookies
These treats are as cute as can be, and their taste is just as memorable. Because they're made with sorghum syrup, ginger, vanilla, and cardamom, their flavor is a change of pace from the usual sugar cookies. Serve the light bulbs separately, or thread several of them on a decorative ribbon or string as a party favor or gift.
Halloween Spider Cookies
Landing somewhere between adorable and slightly spooky, these Halloween spider cookies are sure to fulfill all your creepy-crawly sweet needs for your upcoming Halloween festivities. Using a classic cut-out butter cookie dough keeps the edges of your spider cookies shape neat and clean—no worries about the cookies expanding when they bake. Decorate these Halloween cut-out cookies with black gel icing, royal icing, candy eyes, orangle and black sprinkles, or whatever fun decorations you have on hand. These cookies make for a playful, spooky food craft that grown-ups and kids alike can enjoy.
Christmas Sugar Cookies
These Christmas sugar cookies are the ultimate easy holiday baking project. Serve them plain or top them with our super simple 3-ingredient icing (we love the subtle citrus flavor it brings to the cookies). Looking for more classic holiday inspiration? Check out 55+ Easy Christmas Cookies next.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
What’s tastier than a regular sugar cookie? A Chocolate Sugar Cookie. We love the versatility of this recipe. Simply pick your favorite cookie cutter or turn it into a cookie cup that can hold a tasty filling. The cookie dough can be made ahead and chilled a day or two before baking. We’ve included our recipe for frosting, so you can decorate your cookies. We chose various dog cookie cutters and gave each one a festive holiday sweater. This Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe will be a hit with your cookie swap friends and Santa.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Who said sugar cookies have to be basic? You can make unlimited cookie variations with these chocolate sugar cookies. Just break out your favorite cookie cutters and start creating. If you'd rather have vanilla sugar cookies, this recipe still works: Omit the cocoa, increase the flour, and beat in some vanilla extract with the butter (see the last step in the recipe for specific instructions and ratios). Truly, this chocolate sugar cookie recipe simply can't be beat.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out 25+ Very Merry Christmas Cookie Recipes next.
When you were a kid, nothing was scarier to your parents than you eating too much sugar for breakfast, so this Halloween we’re embracing that fear in the form of skull cookies and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And we took it one step further—instead of a standard flour and sugar cookie, these skull cookies are made with pulverized sugary cereal. Better call your dentist now.
Grind Cinnamon Toast Crunch into a fine meal in a food processor. Mix the cereal with flour, powdered sugar, salted butter, and an egg until a smooth dough forms. Roll out the dough and use a skull cookie cutter to make these killer cookies. Bake until crisp, then frost the cookies with a powdered sugar glaze. Don’t forget to give each cookie a face, because it’s just not Halloween unless you’re munching on something that appears to be alive.
Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies
These sweet little cookies make an adorable topper for our Best White Cake recipe along with a few rosemary trees. While you’ll only need a few for the top of the cake, the recipe leaves you with plenty more for Christmas cookie exchanges or Santa. We picked a few of our favorite cookie cutters: doe, cabin, and a car, but you can pick any shape you want. Decorate them simply with a few dots of royal icing, or get creative with sprinkles and frosting.
Spicy Molasses Gingerbread People
We gave the traditional gingerbread cookies a kick with warm spices, orange and lemon zests, and the deep flavor of molasses. The icing is made with meringue powder, which can be found at craft or baking supply stores.
Gingerbread Dog Cookies
There’s no sweeter way to let your furry best friend join in on the holiday fun than baking up a batch of these lightly spiced, fido-friendly “gingerbread” treats.
Gingerbread Critter Cookies
Adorable squirrel-shaped cookies make a fun addition to your autumn table.
Raspberry Linzer Cookies
Ground almonds give these cookies a hearty taste and extra crunch. We love the look and texture of raspberry preserves with seeds, but use seedless fruit spread if you like.
Almond-Currant Linzer Cookies
We like the more updated look of off-center cutouts, but you can go more traditional by keeping the cutouts centered.
Snowy Tree Cookies
To make these adorable 3-D trees, you’ll need star-shaped cookie cutters in six different sizes. (They are often sold in sets.) Be sure the cutouts are thoroughly chilled before going in the oven so they don’t spread too much while baking.
Shamrock and Gold Coin Cookies
Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs
Oak Leaf Cookies
A cookie cutter and some food coloring are all it takes to turn sugar cookie dough into oak leaves. Wear disposable gloves if you like to keep the food coloring from staining your hands.
Pie-Crust Leaf Cookies
These delicate little cookies crumble easily over fruit as part of our Deconstructed Pie recipe, but they're nice on their own, too. You'll need leaf-shaped cookie cutters (we used a 3-in. size).
This recipe goes with: Deconstructed Pie
Spiced Stars with Cookie Butter
Sweet, creamy cookie butter (also called speculoos spread) is a great choice for these ultra-thin spice cookies. Don't roll the dough more than twice or the cookies will be tough.
Iced Shortbread Cookies
These are perfect for the holidays because they are so versatile and make for a fun project with kids.