Grandma’s Christmas Sugar Cookies

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Grandma’s Christmas Sugar Cookies will bring everyone into the holiday spirit. Buttermilk keeps them soft and tender, with great flavor. Perfect for frosting.

My grandma passed away Fall of 2021 at 99 years old. She (and my other grandma too) were the inspiration behind many of the recipes on Tastes of Lizzy T. They passed them on to my mom, who passed them on to me.

Although I have several cut out sugar cookies on our site that we make regularly, I had to share my grandma’s recipe. I remember her making these every Christmas, and my sister made them when my grandma no longer could. I hope your family loves this simple recipe for Grandma’s Christmas Sugar Cookies as much as we do. 💜

closeup of frosted cut out cookies on a wire rack
  • Simple sugar cookie flavor, not overly sweet.
  • Buttermilk keeps them soft and tender. Not hard and crispy!
  • Perfect cookies for kids to frost quickly and easily with buttercream and sprinkles.
  • Makes a large batch of 48 cut out cookies.

You should also try our Christmas tree butter cookies!

How to Make Christmas Sugar Cookies

Plan two days to make these cookies. You’ll make the dough first, then chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator and roll the next day.

  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and sugars.
  • Add the buttermilk, vanilla and egg. Mix again, on low speed, so it does not splash. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture will have a weird texture, not smooth at all, and that’s ok.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the shortening/sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until combined. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl a few times during mixing to ensure it all gets incorporated together.
  • Once the cookie dough is well mixed, move the dough to a glass bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill overnight.

Tips for Rolling Out the Dough

  • This dough will be very sticky. That’s partly why they are so soft. You’ll need flour to roll the cookies out, but be careful how much you add. I measure out ½ cup of flour and don’t use more than that for rolling all of the cookies. Lightly flour the rolling pin as well.
  • Roll out the dough when it is cold. It will get stickier when it is at room temperature.
  • Divide dough into two balls. I do this to try to prevent the dough from picking up too much flour with multiple times of rolling it out.
  • Sometimes recipes call for rolling out sugar cookie dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. I don’t recommend that for this recipe since the dough is so soft.
  • Cut the cookies with basic cookie cutter designs. Because the cookies puff up, they won’t hold intricate shapes well.

Best Way to Bake Sugar Cookies

Bake these cookies on a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper or on silicone baking mats.

I tested my grandma’s recipe at several different oven temperatures. She had written down to use a very hot oven (425º Fahrenheit). I found that 350º Fahrenheit at about 9 minutes worked perfectly. I take the cookies out of the oven before the get brown at all. If you like a brown edge, feel free to leave them in the oven a minute or two longer.

First of all, this cut out cookie recipe is NOT good for royal icing. The cookies are too soft and the royal icing will get wrinkles and crack.

This recipe is best with a simple powdered sugar glaze or a vanilla buttercream frosting. I highly recommend making your own vanilla buttercream. But if you’re really in a pinch you can use store bought frosting. Some bakeries allow you to buy their frosting too if you want a semi-homemade option.

Don’t forget the sprinkles and decorations for the tops of the cookies.

sugar cookies with red and green frosting and sprinkles

How to Store and Freeze Christmas Cookies

The cookies are safe to store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Then refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

This cookie dough does not freeze well, but the cookies do freeze well after they are baked. Wrap the cookies tightly (preferably before frosting). When defrosting the cookies, take them out of the freezer and allow them to come completely thaw to room temperature before taking the cookies out of the packaging.

You may also love our pecan tassies!

pile of ufrosted christmas cut out cookies
pile of ufrosted christmas cut out cookies

Grandma’s Christmas Sugar Cookies

4.84 from 12 votes
Grandma's Christmas Sugar Cookies will bring everyone into the holiday spirit. Buttermilk keeps them soft and tender, with great flavor. Perfect for frosting.
Servings 48
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Chill Time 12 hours

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Ingredients
 

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup shortening 205 grams
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 110 grams
  • 1 cup buttermilk 8 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract * 5 grams
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) 618 grams
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder 10 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 5 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 grams

For topping:

Instructions
 

Make the cookies:

  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and sugars.
  • Add the buttermilk, vanilla and egg. Mix again, on low speed, so it does not splash. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture will not be smooth and that's ok.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the shortening/sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until combined. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl a few times during mixing to ensure it all gets incorporated together.
  • Once the cookie dough is well mixed, move the dough to a glass bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  • Sprinkle a pastry mat with flour. The dough will be sticky so you want to be sure the pastry mat is well floured so the dough doesn't stick. I use about a total of ½ cup more flour when rolling.
  • Divide the dough in half and roll out one-half of the dough on the floured surface, sprinkling flour on top of the dough as needed.
  • Cut out the dough in the shapes you'd like. Place the cookies on a nonstick baking mat.
  • Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, removing them before they are browned.
  • Repeat with remaining dough, rerolling as needed. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once the cookies are cool, frost them with buttercream frosting and sprinkles, if desired. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

*You can use almond extract if you’d like.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 48 cookies, with 1 serving being 1 unfrosted cookie. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 110
Keyword christmas cookies, cut out cookie recipe, vintage recipe

Other Sugar Cookie Recipes

I’ve never met a sugar cookie I didn’t like. Fluffy and light, thick and rich…all are necessary and good. Here are a few new recipes for you to try.

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Rose
2 years ago

5 stars
Any recipe with that includes “Grandma” is a sure winner. Grandma knows best!

wanda
2 months ago

Can I make this as drop cookies?

Ruth
2 years ago

Can I use butter instead of shortening
.