What makes these the BEST frosted sugar cookies?
To bring this idea to life, I had to think like a bakery. They typically use some secret ingredients to make their treats extra special, so I check out a few popular cookie bakeries to see that most use oil in their cookies. Yes, OIL in COOKIES?
But it totally works! These sugar cookies are baked with a combination of butter and oil. The butter is there to add flavor, while the oil keeps these cookies super moist and tender. It’s just the right balance to where you can’t taste the oil, but we still get too reap all the textural benefits!
Additionally, these cookies are baked in bakery-style amounts. In other words, they’re big! This not only makes them extra special, but big cookies also bake better. It takes longer for the oven heat to reach the center which leaves us with a super dense and tender center.
After the cookies have cooled, they’re topped with a simple homemade vanilla buttercream that’s slightly fluffy and so smooth. The best part – it can be dyed with any color!
Tips for baking soft sugar cookies
- Flour – I say this in every post, and for good reason. It’s the number one reason why most recipes fail, especially for cookies. If there’s too much flour, the cookies will turn out dry and they will not spread. If possible, measure the flour with a food scale. Otherwise, to ensure the exact amount, gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level if off with a flat edge. If scooped directly into the flour container, the flour packs down into the cup which could leave you with 1/4 cup or more of added flour.
- Cornstarch – Don’t skip this ingredient! It helps create an extra tender sugar cookie.
- Butter – Start with room temperature butter! The soft butter is mixed with sugar to create tiny little air pockets which helps the oven heat freely flow through the cookie. If the butter is too firm, this process cannot happen.
- Mixing – Right when the dough comes together, stop mixing! Over worked dough can lead to tough cookies.
- Scoop – Use a large 2 oz cookie scoop, or 1/4 measuring cup. The larger size is key to a tender and soft center.
- Press – Roll the dough into a ball but then lightly flatten the top with your palm. This gives the cookie a head-start on spreading since it’s a fairly thick dough.
- Appearance – The cookies may look a bit too puffed when they’re fresh from the oven, but they should settle and flatten out as they cool.
How to make frosting for sugar cookies
The frosting for these sugar cookies is really easy to make and consists of just 4 ingredients – butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla.
First, the room temperature butter is mixed until smooth. It’s very important that it’s at room temperature before mixing, otherwise you will end up with a lumpy buttercream.
The powdered sugar is then mixed in one cup at a time, followed by the vanilla and milk.
At the end, the frosting can be assessed. If it appears too thick, mix in another tablespoon of milk. If it’s too thin, mix in another cup of powdered sugar.
This buttercream recipe is very forgiving, so it should turn out perfect every time!
How to add color to frosting
For the best outcome, use gel food coloring. A tiny bit goes a long way, so it will not affect the consistency of the frosting.
For a pale color, one drop of gel color is all that’s needed. But most gel food coloring is a bit too vibrant for my liking, so just a touch of brown food coloring helps mellow out the intensity.
Simply dip the tip of a toothpick into the brown gel food coloring and swipe it into the frosting. This should be the tiniest smudge! It’s best to add a small amount at first, and then mix and assess to see if more is needed.
How to frost sugar cookies
The one thing to remember when frosting sugar cookies is to make sure the cookies are COMPLETELY cooled before adding the frosting on top. If there’s even a slight hint of warmth, the frosting will slip around.
Once cooled, my method of frosting goes like this:
- Scoop – Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop a dollop of frosting right in the center. If you don’t have a scoop handy, simply plop some buttercream on top using a spoon.
- Spread – Using an offset spatula, I then work the glob of frosting from the inside out to the edges to cover the cookie.
- Swirl – Once the cookie covered, I go pack in and roughly swirl the layer of frosting.
- Sprinkle – Immediately top with sprinkles before a skin forms! If you wait to add the sprinkles after all the cookies have been frosting, the sprinkles will not stick as well.
Just like that, the frosted sugar cookies are ready to enjoy!
For even more sugar cookie recipes, check out my:
- Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
- Perfect Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Peanut Butter Neapolitan Cookies
- Frosted Lucky Charms Cookies
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram if you make these Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies. I love seeing my recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print