Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookies

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These Sugar Cookies created by Ms. Martha Stewart can be cut into any shape for all holidays and occasions.

Heart Cookies decorated with Royal Icing

I have been baking Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookies for many years. They’re a good solid sugar cookie recipe that is perfect for using to decorate. You can add some sprinkles or chunky sugar before baking them, ice them with royal icing, or simple spread some frosting on top and adorn them with festive goodies.

Supplies you might like to have for baking these Sugar Cookies:

  • My favorite baking sheets: These are rimmed baking sheets, and I use them for cookies, sheet pan meals, baking chicken- everything!
  • Cut Parchment Paper: These are perfect for the rimmed baking sheets. You don’t have to bother trying to cut the right size yourself!
  • Silpat Mats: Use these again and again and again for baking cookies. You just need to wash between uses, but they last forever.
  • Cookie Spatula: A handy, small spatula that is perfect for cookie baking.
  • Cooling Racks: You’ve gotta have these!
  • Silicone Pastry Mat for Rolling: This one is the one I have. It’s nice and big, so it contains cookie/flour mess and is easy to use and easy to clean.
  • My favorite Rolling Pin: I’ve had this silicone rolling pin for years and it has never failed me. Love it.
  • Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter: I like the shapes in this set. But remember… this recipe isn’t just for Valentine’s Day!
  • Meringue Powder: You will need this for the Royal Icing. There are no substitutions!
  • Color Gel Paste: So you can color your Royal Icing and make some fun decorations on your cookies!
  • Piping Bags: This set will last you a long time.
  • Small Round Icing Tip: This will be good for outlining your cookies as well as adding decorations on top.

Valentine Sugar Cookies decorated with Royal Icing

How to make Sugar Cookies:

You will follow the instructions in the recipe below for making the dough for the sugar cookies. Then you’ll divide the dough in half, pat each half into rectangles, and then wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven while you are preparing to cut the cookies into shapes. You’ll roll out a cookie dough rectangle on a floured surface and use cutters to cut the dough into shapes. The shaped cookies are then transferred to parchment-lined baking sheets. The baking sheets with the cut-out cookies on them are placed into the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Don’t skip this part- it helps the cookies to maintain their shape while baking. You’ll repeat the process with the remaining dough. Allow the cookies to cool completely before adding icing.

Valentine Sugar Cookies

How to make Royal Icing:

The royal icing is a combination of powdered sugar, meringue powder and water. When you use an electric mixer to blend these together, the consistency will become dense and fluffy. If you don’t want to order the meringue powder from Amazon, you will be able to locate it at craft stores like Michael’s and baking supply shops too. If you have a Michael’s coupon, use it for the meringue since it’s kind of pricy! There are instructions included in the recipe below for how to add the royal icing to the sugar cookies.

The meringue powder has a little bit of a marshmallow flavor to it, and it imparts a good flavor to the royal icing. These cookies are pretty, but they’re delicious too!

Sugar Cookies decorated for Valentine's Day with Royal Icing

How to store Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing:

The first thing you need to know is that it’s super important for the royal icing on the cookies to dry completely. And by “completely,” I mean that you should be able to tap the cookie with your fingernail and not have it leaving an indentation. Store them in a covered container with layers separated by parchment or wax paper. They will be fine at room temperature for a day or two, and they can be stored in the freezer too.

Here are a few more Valentine’s Day treats you might like to try:

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Martha Stewart's Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies can be shaped into anything. They are great for holiday celebrations!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 274kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Martha Stewart, sugar cookies



  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

ROYAL ICING (makes 2½ cups):

  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • liquid or gel paste food coloring (optional)



  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt; mix on medium-high speed until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in two batches, mixing until just incorporated.
  • Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide it in half, and pat into flattened rectangles; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F., with rack in upper and lower thirds. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one rectangle of dough to a scant ¼-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Using a small offset spatula, transfer the shapes to the prepared baking sheets, placing about 2 inches apart. Chill in the freezer or refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes. Set the scraps aside. Repeat the process with the remaining rectangle of dough. Gather all the scraps, and roll out again. Chill 15 minutes; cut out more shapes, and place on sheets.
  • Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until the cookies are golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the sugar, meringue powder, and a scant 1/2 cup water on low speed. Beat until the mixture is fluffy yet dense, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • To thin the icing for flooding (filling in areas with a thin layer of icing), stir in additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Test the consistency by lifting a spoonful of icing and letting it drip back into the bowl; a ribbon should remain on the surface for 5 to 7 seconds.
  • To tint the icing, dip a toothpick or wooden skewer into food coloring, and gradually mix it in until the desired shade is reached. Use a piping bag with a fine tip to pipe the royal icing around the outside edge of each sugar cookie. Then you can use a small spoon to spoon the icing onto the cookies and spread it to the edges. Let the royal icing dry completely before storing- it may take a few hours to harden completely.


  • *If you don't wish to use royal icing, you can decorate the cookies with sanding sugar or sprinkles, if using, before baking.
  • *Cookies can be kept in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed or parchment paper, at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 332IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Thanks to Tara Liptak from the blog, Smells Like Home for the beautiful photography on this post. 


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  • Carol wrote:

    Are these soft sugar cookies?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      No, they’re hard. Royal icing works best with more sturdy cookies!

  • Anna wrote:

    I want to use this sugar cookie receipe to make some party favors. How far ahead can I make them? I need to make about 100 of them and need to decorate them.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      @Anna, You can make them a week or so ahead and freeze the actual cookies, but as far as decorating them… I wouldn’t do that more than a couple of days ahead of time.

  • Carrie Leva wrote:

    I was wondering; after baking how long the cookies will stay fresh for and also if they can be frozen?

    Thanks so much

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Carrie- These cookies keep really well. After baking, you can probably store them for several weeks in the freezer if they are stored properly- between layers of waxed paper and in a sealed container. At room temperature, they’ll be fine for a few days. Ice them just before you want to serve them.