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No Chill Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Add these easy to make sugar cookies to your holiday traditions list! Learn how to decorate sugar cookies using royal icing, cookie icing, sprinkles, and candy melts.
Yield: 3 dozen 3-inch cookies
Servings: 3 dozen
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


Sugar Cookies:

  • 390 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 226 grams unsalted butter, softened, room temp
  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract *
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or vanilla paste
  • 1 large egg, room temp

Royal Icing:

  • 170 grams warm water, about 90°-110°F or 32°-43°C
  • 55 grams meringue powder
  • 910 grams confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract *
  • gel paste colors, as needed, see notes


Sugar Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (or 180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. With the mixer running low, slowly pour in sugar. Add in extracts. Scrape down sides of bowl to ensure thorough mixing.
  • Add egg. Continue to mix on low to medium speed until well combined.
  • Add flour mixture in two additions. Mix on low speed until dough forms. Divide dough into two equal parts.
  • Work with one piece of dough at a time. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Use a well floured cookie cutter to stamp out desired cookie shapes. Gather dough scraps and re-roll dough as necessary.
  • Place cut cookies on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2-inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes* until the edges of the cookies have set. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes to firm up. Transfer warm cookies to the wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Royal Icing:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together warm water and meringue powder. Let mixture sit undisturbed for 3 minutes.
  • Using a paddle attachment, mix on low speed. Add confectioners' sugar in three additions. Add vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture when you raise the paddle.
  • Divide icing into smaller bowls. Color icing as desired using gel food coloring, powdered food coloring, or liquid food coloring.
    NOTE: At this point icing is ready for piping.
  • Save any remaining royal icing by covering the surface of icing with a damp paper towel.
  • Flood Royal Icing: Set aside desired amount of royal icing for flooding. Add a small amount of water (about 1 teaspoon at a time) and stir to loosen the royal icing. Continue to add water until the royal icing is smooth and pourable consistency.


Sugar Cookies:
  • To ensure even baking, place similar sized and similar shaped cookie dough together on baking sheets. 
  • Don’t over-bake the cookies! Bake for 8 minutes just until the edges of the cookies are set. The cookies will continue to “cook” on the hot baking sheet out of the oven.
  • The suggested 8 minute baking time is for 3-inch cookies. Adjust baking time depending on the size of your cookies. 
  • Allow fresh from the oven cookies to remain on baking sheet for about 5-8 minutes to firm up. Then, transfer cookies to wire rack. Cool cookies to room temperature before decorating.
Royal Icing:
  • Use gel food coloring for royal icing. Do not use liquid food color because it will greatly affect the texture and consistency of the royal icing.
  • Other extracts such as almond, lemon, or peppermint may be used in place of vanilla extract.