Surprise your Valentine with these thick and delicious Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies. They are easy to make, hold their shape and have plenty of room to frost! Use your favorite cookie cutters or a cup, mason jar or ramekin to cut them out in a pinch! Then top them with our royal icing recipe and decorate with a Valentine theme.
If you want a sweet treat for all of your valentines this year, you should make these valentine cookies! This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe that you can decorate with royal icing so the designs look amazing.
The cookies are perfect for icing and they’ve been tested so many times! They always turn out with the best texture and hold their shape so you end up with a platter of the most beautiful cookies – everyone will think you bought them!
What You’ll Learn in this Post
If you’ve never decorated cookies like this, don’t worry! I am walking you through every step so you can make the best homemade iced sugar cookies. I’ve used this same recipe to make July 4th cookies and Halloween cookies.
For this recipe, we’re starting with the best sugar cookie recipe. They are thick and sturdy and taste amazing!
I like to make round sugar cookies, but you can use other cookie cutters to create your own fun shapes. Heart cookie cutters would be perfect for Valentine’s day!
For the decoration, we’re using royal icing. This is a type of icing that sets once it’s dry. It makes these cookies perfect for gifting because they look as good as when you first made them.
For the designs, I’m sharing a few options but feel free to get creative and make your own special designs. With a few tips, you’ll be working with the icing like a pro!
I’m sharing all of the ingredients, tools, and supplies you need to make these amazing Valentine’s day sugar cookies – I know you’re going to have so much fun making them.
- All-Purpose Flour – no fancy flours required!
- Cornstarch – this gives the cookies a nice soft texture and also prevents spreading while the cookies bake.
- Salt – even sweet things need a pinch of salt!
- Unsalted butter – leave the butter out for at least 30 minutes or so before making the cookies. It needs to be softened.
- Granulated Sugar
- Large egg – leave this out, too, so it’s at room temperature. It will be easier to mix into the dough.
- Vanilla Extract
- Almond Extract – if you don’t have this on hand, you can use all vanilla if you like.
Royal Icing Ingredients
- Powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) – this type of sugar is used to make frosting because it’s very fine and dissolves completely so your icing is nice and smooth.
- Meringue powder – old-fashioned royal icing is made with raw egg whites. It’s what makes the icing harden when it sets. The good news is that you can skip the raw whites and use Meringue powder as a substitute. Look for it in the baking aisle!
- Gel food coloring – gel coloring makes really vibrant colors for your cookies.
How to Make the Cookies
Mix the Dry Ingredients: Sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk to combine them and then set the bowl aside.
Mix the Wet Ingredients: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed for about five minutes. It should be nice and creamy with the sugar completely incorporated. Adjust the speed low and add the egg. Once it’s mixed in add both kinds of extracts and mix to combine.
Combine to Make the Dough: With the mixer running, add the flour mixture one cup at a time to the butter mixture. When the sugar cookie dough is thoroughly mixed and pulling away from the bowl, it’s ready.
Chill: Form the dough into a ball and then flatten it into a disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Roll and Cut: Once it’s cold, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it to a thickness of about 1/4 to 1/2″ thick. Cut as many rounds out as you can and then gather the scraps, roll them out again, and cut more cookies. Repeat this process until you’ve used up the dough.
Bake: Place the cut-out cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Bake them for about 12 minutes at 375°F. Turn the sheets halfway through the baking time so they cook evenly.
Cool: Let the cookie cool for a few minutes on the cookies sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they are completely cooled, you can ice them!
How to Make the Icing
Mix: Place the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Stir the mixture at a low speed to combine them.
Whip: With the mixer at low speed, slowly add the water. Once the dry ingredients are moistened, turn up the speed to medium and whip the mixture for seven to ten minutes or until the mixture forms tips.
Test: Once you see the tips forming, stop the mixer and lift up the whisk. If the icing falls off and melts back into the rest of the icing within 5 to 10 seconds, it’s ready to use. If you’re not using it right away, cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
How to Decorate Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies
Once your cookies are cooled and your icing is made, it’s time to decorate the cookies! These designs work great for round or heart sugar cookies. You can do any colors and designs that you like, but here are the ones I enjoy making.
Background: To keep things simple I like to do a white background for the cookies. You can choose any color you like or a mix of colors. Pipe a line around the edge of each cookie first. Then, fill in with more icing. Use a toothpick to spread it so it’s evenly filled.
Sprinkles: For a very simple decoration, you can add your favorite valentine’s sprinkles. Add them while the icing is wet. If you want to pipe a design onto your cookies, let the background color set first before you pipe more icing on top.
Open-Heart Design: To create this decoration, tint some icing red or other color that you like onto the white background. Pipe small circles so they make a heart shape. Using a toothpick, carefully drag it through the center of each circle going in one direction around the heart. This will create little hearts that form the big heart.
Red Roses: For this design, you will need some green icing and red icing. To make the roses, carefully pipe thin lines of icing in rows so they look like a rose. Or you pipe little circles and use a toothpick to create thin lines. Once the red is set, pipe the green stem and a few leaves.
Solid Hearts: Use red icing to pipe the heart outlines. You can do one big heart or several smaller hearts on each cookie. Fill the hearts with more red icing and then use a toothpick to spread the icing evenly.
XOXO Cookies: This is a fun design that’s easy to do. Pipe “XOXO” in red and then add a heart at the end of the line. Fill it in with red icing.
Rolling Tip: When you cut out the cookie dough, try to cut as many as you can. Rerolling the dough over and over will make some of the cookies tough. So squeeze in as many as you can each time you cut them out.
Make-Ahead Tip: You can make and bake the cookies a day in advance. Once they are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to ice them. You can also freeze the unfrosted cookies for several weeks and then thaw them to ice later.
Cookie Cutter Tip: If you use a round 2 1/2″ cookie cutter you will get 18 cookies. If you use other shapes the number of sugar cookies you get will vary and you may need to adjust the baking time depending on their size.
Icing Tip: The more colors you use, the more piping bags you will need. When I make these, I try and keep it simple and use white icing for the background plus two to three more colors for the design.
Piping Bag Tip: The easiest way to fill a piping bag is to first place it in a tall drinking glass. Roll the edge of the bag down the glass and then add the icing. This keeps the outside of the bag from getting messy. Use rubber bands to tighten the bag so the icing is squished to the tip. It’s much easier to pipe that way.
Storage Tip: For the best results, store your decorated sugar cookies in an airtight container. Instead of stacking them, I place parchment paper or wax paper between the layers to keep the cookies from sticking to each other. They will keep for several days at room temperature.
I just love these valentine’s cookies! They are simply the best sugar cookies for Valentine’s day or any time you want to treat your family and friends. They are always so fun to make – I hope you give the recipe a try!
More Valentine’s Day Recipes
- Make my easy sweet and salty Snack Mix for all the Valentine’s in your life! This is a fun recipe to make with kids, too!
- For a special dessert, my Valentine’s Swirl Cake is the perfect centerpiece for your celebration!
- Hot Cocoa Bombs are all the rage and my heart-themed recipe is great for gifting!
- Skip the expensive storebought ones and make a batch of Chocolate Covered Strawberries!
- A batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are the perfect treat for the day, too!
Did you try this recipe and love it? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment with your five-star rating – it will make my day!
If you snap a photo, please be sure to tag me on Instagram at @julieseatsandtreats or #julieseatsandtreats so I can see your beautiful Valentine’s day sugar cookies!!
- 2-1/2 c All Purpose Flour
- ¼ c. Corn starch
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¾ c. Butter Unsalted room temperature
- ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
- 1 Large Egg room temperature
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Almond Extract
- 4 c. powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp Meringue powder
- 9-10 Tbsp water room temperature
- Gel Food Coloring optional
- Sift the flour, corn starch and salt into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Run a whisk through it to mix well and set aside.
- With a stand mixer, In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and the sugar together, on medium speed, until creamy, about 5 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the egg while beating, then add the vanilla and almond extract.
- One cup at a time add the flour mixture until it is well incorporated. The sugar cookie dough will pull away from the mixing bowl at this point.
- Take the dough and form a ball, then flatten out into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Take a rolling pin and roll out to about ¼” – ½” thick.
- Using a 2-1/2” round cookie cutter, cut as many discs out of the dough as possible and place onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (or parchment paper).
- Take the remaining dough and mold into a ball again and roll out again. Cut out more cookies until all the dough has been used.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for 12 minutes. Turn the tray around half way.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little on the baking sheet before transporting to a wire rack.
- Once cooled completely decorate as desired.
- Add the powdered sugar to a large mixing bowl attached to your stand mixer, as well as the meringue powder and stir a little to mix.
- Using your wire whip, turn on your stand mixer on a low speed and slowly add the water. As the powder subsides you can turn up the speed to medium.
- Whip the mixture well for about 7-10 minutes, until you start to see tips forming.
- Check the consistency of the icing. If it falls off the wire whip and melts back into the bowl of icing within 5-10 seconds then it’s perfect.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap until you are ready to use it.
- Take a piping bag and a number three tip and place into a tall glass, folding the edges over the outside of the glass. This is the easiest way to fill up an icing bag with less mess.
- Use a rubber band to tie the top of the icing bag. Place a piece of wet paper towel in the bottom of the glass, this will help the tip stay moist while you are working.
- If you are using other colors, pour a little of the remaining icing into a small bowl and mix in a little of the food color until you reach the desired color.
- If your cookies have a white background, which most of mine did (in the images), use the piping bag to pipe the icing around the outside edges, and then fill the middle. Use a toothpick to spread the icing evenly.
- Leave cookie to set while you move onto the next, or if you are using sprinkles on your cookies sprinkle them on at this point, while the icing is still wet.
- Use the colors you have mixed and a toothpick to create the designs on the cookies. If you are putting a design on the white background let the white set first before you start with your next color.