Take my simple soft cut-out sugar cookie recipe, add a little cinnamon, then cut them in the shape of donuts. All that’s left is to add the glaze or in this case simple chocolate or royal icing. Don’t forget loads of sprinkles too.

Adapted from my Easy Iced Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing, this is the best simple sugar cookie recipe and is a great base to customise your own flavours.

A batch of donut sugar cookies on a marble surface with a chocolate coated one on top.

If you love a good cookie, you’re in the right place. Without a doubt my favourite cookie (or biscuit as we call them here in Australia) was definitely Arnotts 100’s and 1000’s biscuits. My own sugar cookie recipe design is base on this and technically so are these donut cookies.

This is a simple recipe and you can bake them to your perfect texture. I actually prefer my sugar cookies to be a bit crisp but the recipe for these is written so they turn out soft. If you like them crisp too, you simple bake them a little longer. Easy!

They’re buttery and filled with cinnamon to give them a little donut flair.

Ingredients

Ingredients for donut cookies in bowls on a white marble benchtop.

You’ll find all your regular sugar cookie ingredients in these – flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, egg and vanilla.

Where this recipe differs is the cinnamon, chocolate, royal icing and sprinkles.

How to make donut cookies

This is my favourite sugar cookie recipe. It’s perfect for soft cut-out sugar cookies that you can cut into any design and frost with royal icing. You could even try marbling your icing like these Easy Easter Sugar Cookies.

4 images showing the steps to making donut cookies.
  1. Start by creaming together butter and sugar, then add an egg and vanilla (photo 1).
  2. Once that’s mixed in, just add the dry ingredients until you have a soft dough. Then chill it.
  3. Roll the dough out and use a large and a small round cookie cutter to cut out donut shapes.  (photo 2).
  4. Place them on baking trays – spaced an inch or so apart (photo 3), then bake for 12-14 or up to 18 minutes depending on if you want soft or crisp cookies.
  5. Make up a batch of royal icing and colour it, and melt some chocolate (photo 4). Either dip or use a spoon to spread the toppings over then add some sprinkles and let them set.

Tips and tricks for perfect donut cookies

  • Cream the butter and sugar: This just means to beat these two together, really well until it looks light and fluffy.
  • Chill the dough: This is really important as it helps the cookies keep their shape while baking.
  • Give them space: On the baking trays, make sure to give them an inch or two space between them. This allows the air to flow around the cookies, resulting in a more even bake.
  • Dip or pour? I find it easiest to spoon the icing on top, then spreading it out with the spoon. You can dip them but be gentle as too much pressure and your cookies may break. The latter method can be a little more messy too.
  • Give it minute for the icing / chocolate to set slightly so that when you add the sprinkles, they don’t slide off the edge.
  • Set on a rack over a lined baking tray: The tray will catch the drips and makes for an easier clean up.

You can see these exact same donut cookies in miniature form on these Chocolate Doughnut Cupcakes.

A stack of 4 chocolate coated donut cookies with a stack either side.

FAQ’s

How to make perfect sugar cookies

It’s important to really cream the butter and sugar together well but once you’ve added the flour, only beat it enough to bring it to a clumping dough. These steps will keep your cookies soft and light.

Are sugar cookies supposed to be soft?

This is a personal choice. While many seem to prefer soft cookies, I’m actually a lover of crispy cookies. The texture is easy to change by how long you leave them in the oven – 12-14 minutes for soft or up to 18 minutes for crisp.

Can sugar cookies be frozen?

Yes, sugar cookies can be frozen. You can freeze the dough as well and both ways will keep well for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap them well in plastic wrap first. The dough is best thawed in the fridge overnight before use.

Why do sugar cookies spread?

If your butter is too soft, the environment is too warm or you’ve added too much leavener (baking soda or baking powder), sugar cookies can spread. The best way to prevent sugar cookies from spreading is by chilling the dough first. If your home is particularly warm, chill the dough after cutting it out as well.

Can I use a substitute for royal icing?

If you don’t like or want something other than royal icing, try white chocolate, then jazz it up with food colouring.

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A batch of donut sugar cookies on a marble surface.

These frosted donut cookies are perfect for a party treat. Fun, colourful and super tasty, they’ll be gone before you can say ‘mmmm, donuts’.

If you try these cinnamon donut sugar cookies, make sure to leave a rating and comment below.

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A batch of donut sugar cookies on a marble surface.

Donut Cookies (Cinnamon Sugar Cookies)

5 from 3 votes
The best cut out sugar cookie recipe just got better. These donut cookies, a simple cinnamon sugar cookie topped with chocolate or royal icing and sprinkles, are a fun baking project for your weekend.

Ingredients

FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR COOKIES

  • 226 g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup / 2 sticks)
  • 200 g caster (superfine) sugar (1 cup / 7oz)
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 355 g plain (all-purp) flour (2 ¾ cups / 12.5oz)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

FOR THE TOPPINGS

  • 130 g icing (powdered) sugar (1 cup / 4.6oz)
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • Food colouring
  • 100 g dark or milk chocolate (3.5oz / ½ cup)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sprinkles

Equipment

Instructions
 

FOR THE COOKIES

  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment recommended but not absolutely necessary. Beat the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes on med-high until lightened and fluffy. Scrape down the sides a couple of times during the process.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down the sides half way through.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, then add to the butter mix. Beat on low, until all incorporated and clumping.
  • Take the dough out of the mixer, divide in two and shape into disks, 1 inch thick, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (you can also freeze it at this stage – see notes in post).
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 340F / 160C fan forced. Line two large cookie trays with baking paper.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a little flour over the top.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 5mm thick (up to ¼ inch), adding a little more flour only if required to stop it sticking.
  • Use a 7.5cm (3 inch) round cookie cutter to cut as many circles as you can, then use a 2.5cm (1 inch) cutter to cut a hole in the centre. Reroll only once if possible to cut more donuts.
  • For miniature donuts, use the holes from the larger ones, then a large drinking straw (thickshake straw) to cut a hole in the centre of each.
  • Transfer the shapes to the baking trays and chill for a further 10 minutes before baking 12-14 minutes until the edges are beginning to turn golden for soft cookies or until golden all over for crispier, drier cookies.

FOR THE TOPPINGS

  • Line a large cookie tray with baking paper or foil, then set a wire rack over the top. You may need two of these to fit all the cookies.
  • Mix together the icing sugar and half the water as much as possible. Now add the water a little at a time (notes 6) until you get a thick icing that takes about 10-12 seconds to settle into itself again.
  • Divide the icing between two or three bowls and colour as you like.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well between each, until it’s 80% melted. Melt it the rest of the way by stirring.
  • Dunk the cooled cookies into the toppings or use a spoon to spoon it over. Set them on the rack, icing side up and let the set for a minute or two before adding sprinkles.

Notes

  1. Recipe makes roughly 26 large cookies and 26 smaller cookies.
  2. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon
  3. All ovens vary – always test for doneness 2-3 minutes before the recipe suggests
  4. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  5. The butter should be just softened enough that your finger will make a slight dent when you press on it – not so soft that your finger goes through or that it’s greasy.
  6. The amount of water you need in the icing will depend on your icing sugar brand, so just add it slowly until it’s the right consistency
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