Easter is my second favourite time of year. I love the festivity of it, I love an excuse to eat delicious food with friends and family around and I love making new traditions.

These Easy Easter Sugar Cookies are a tradition I can totally grab onto. Grab a friend and spend an afternoon decorating these super sweet little cookies. So much fun.

Easter egg and bunny shaped iced sugar cookies sitting randomly on a table

I just adore the pastel colours of the marbled royal icing on these cookies. They look sweet and pretty and just perfect for Easter time. I used a spin on my previous Iced Sprinkles Sugar Cookies base recipe for these, with just a couple of tiny changes to the cookie dough.

The royal icing on top of each is the exact same recipe. It sets crispy after a day or so (depending on how much liquid you add to it). You can also top them with chocolate – like these Donut Cookies.

Sugar cookie ingredients

Sugar cookies only use a few simple ingredients.

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Egg (sometimes & in this recipe)
  • Flavourings
  • A little water or milk to get the dough to the right texture.

They use very little leaveners and this is so they don’t spread too much while baking. This means you can make cutout cookies in all different shapes and they’ll keep that shape while baking.

Looking down on a pink and yello iced sugar cookied

How to make sugar cookies

Sugar cookies should be baked until they are just starting to turn golden. If they colour too much it means they’ve cooked too long and you’ll likely end up with hard cookies.

The finished cookie should be slightly crisp on the edge but soft in the centre.

2 photos: Prepared sugar cookie dough in a glass bowl, then roll into a disk

Once the dough is at a point where it is clumping together and not falling apart (photo 1) pull it into a smooth disk with your hands (photo 2).

2 photos: Sugar cookie dough rolled out, cutting the dough with egg shape, bunny shape and carrot shape cookie cutters.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin until it’s 3-4mm thick (photo 3) then use cookie cutters to cut out shapes (photo 4).

13 sugar cookie dough cutouts sitting on a baking tray

Bake the cookies on a tray, set about 1 inch apart (photo 5) for around 10 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

What is royal icing?

Royal icing is a type of icing that sets hard and is used for adding decoration to cookies and cakes. Made traditionally from icing (powdered) sugar and egg whites, it can be made in different consistencies to allow the decorator more decorating flexibility.

You might think icing cookies is tricky but this marbled royal icing is the simplest method there is. Often, decorating cookies can require an outline, then the middle is flooded with a slightly runnier icing and then left to set.

With these sugar cookies, there’s no need to flood. The cookies are simply dipped into the royal icing and then left to drip and set on a wire rack.

How to make marbled icing

To make the marbled icing, start by transferring part of the icing to a small, high-sided dish.

Now add a spoonful or two to three small dishes and mix a different colour through each. Transfer the coloured icings to small ziplock bags.

2 photos: White, yellow, pink and green icing in a white dish, creating marbled pattern.

To get the marbled effect, cut the corner off the small bags with the coloured icing and drizzle lines of the colour all over the top of the white icing. Repeat this with each colour (photo 6), then run a toothpick through it to create a pattern (photo 7).

2 photos: Dipping sugar cookies in marble icing. Some sitting on a tray to set.

Dip the tops of each cookie into the icing (photo 8). Allow some to run off, then turn the cookie upright onto a wire rack to drain and set (photo 9). Make sure to allow excess icing to run off otherwise it will run down the sides of your cookies.

Can you freeze sugar cookies?

Yes, you can. You can freeze sugar cookies baked or just the dough however, they are best frozen without the royal icing decoration.

Place them in an airtight bag or container and freeze as normal. To thaw, just remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight or even at room temperature still covered.

How to store sugar cookies

Store sugar cookies (both decorated and undecorated) in an airtight bag or container in a cool place. They will keep well for 2-3 weeks.

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A closeup of an iced sugar cookie with more in the background

So are you ready for some Easy Easter Sugar Cookies this Easter. Check out the video showing how to make the marbled royal icing.

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Iced sugar cookies stacked against each other surrounded by sprinkles

Easy Easter Sugar Cookies

4.58 from 7 votes
Looking for a classic sugar cookie recipe to jazz up your Easter table? These Easy Easter Sugar Cookies with their pretty marbled icing are foolproof and super pretty. Just the fun Easter treat you need.

Ingredients

FOR THE SUGAR COOKIES

  • 390 (3 cups / 13.8oz)plain (all-purp) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon  baking powder
  • cup  caster (superfine) sugar
  • 113 (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • large egg, room temp
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 3-4 teaspoons milk

FOR THE MARBLED ROYAL ICING

  • 4 1/4  cups  icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ½  teaspoon  cream of tartar
  • tablespoons  meringue powder (or Pavlova Magic) (notes)
  • teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • Food colouring in 2-3 pastel colours

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced and line 2-3 large cookie sheets with baking paper.

FOR THE SUGAR COOKIES

  • Sift together flour and baking powder.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until lightened. Scrape sides of bowl. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well, scraping down the bowl a couple of times until well mixed.
  • Add flour mixture in 3 parts. Keep mixer on low and mix until it comes together as a dough. If it looks too crumbly and isn't coming together, add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of mil until it starts to form big clumps of dough. Be patient. Don't add more milk than necessary.
  • Bring the dough into a smooth ball with your hands and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it to about 3-4mm thick (notes).
  • Use cookie cutter of choice to cut out cookies. Re-roll the dough as required but get as many out of each rolled batch of dough as possible.
  • Space the unbaked cookies at least an inch (2.5cm) apart and bake for 10-11 minutes, turning the trays halfway, until just starting to turn gold on edges. Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

FOR THE MARBLED ROYAL ICING

  • Place the icing sugar, water, cream of tartar, meringue powder and vanilla into a glass bowl (if using a handheld beater) or bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  • Beat on low until all combined then turn it up to med-high for about 1 minute. Now you have a basic royal icing.
  • Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency you are after. You want it to be runny enough to slowly run off a spoon and leave a visible trail for 8-10 seconds (notes).
  • Portion 1/3 of the royal icing between 3 small bowls. Add a little colouring to each and mix well. Transfer each coloured icing to its own piping bag or small snap lock bag.
  • Place half of the remaining royal icing into a small high-sided plate.
  • Set a wire rack over a baking paper lined tray.
  • Cut a very small corner off each of the coloured bags and drizzle lines of coloured icing over the white icing then drag a tooth through to marble it.
  • Dip the tops of the cookies into the icing then turn them with the icing facing up, and place onto the wire rack to drain and dry.

Video

Notes

  1. 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).
  2. Pavlova Magic is available in supermarkets in Australia. Meringue powder can be purchased online or in cake decorating supply shops.
  3. The thinner you roll the dough, the crispier the cookies will be when finished cooking. The thicker you roll it, the softer the finished cookie will be. I like them 3-4mm as this creates a nice crispy edge and soft centre.
  4. For the icing consistency: a trail in the icing should be visible for 8-10 seconds. Too runny and it will all run off the cookies. To thick and it won’t set nice and smooth.

TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE

  1. I used Easter cookie cutters but you could use whatever suits the time of year you're making them
  2. Simple cookie trays
  3. A stand mixer is easiest for making the dough

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