No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies

A quick and easy Christmas cookie, chewy, colorful and festive. They are just two buttery bites big and taste like the very best sugar cookies – without the fuss and mess of rolling! Looking for color for your Christmas cookie plate? This is it!

No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies

Forget big-name chefs and hot-shot TV-food personalities. The real food celebrities are the countless home cooks who put healthy affordable meals on the table seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.

You know, like you. YOU.

Enter Food52, the website and new cookbook but most importantly, the first organization to coax the best recipes from the best home cooks in an organized fashion.

During its first year, Food52 made two or three seasonal challenges each week.

In summer, it was “Send us your best corn chowder recipe” and in winter, “Send us your best baked ham recipe”. Home cooks did send their best recipes – in droves, especially as word got out.

Each week, Food52 and a growing community of contributors and followers somehow tested each challenge’s recipes and selected just one as “best”. And then they published The Food52 Cookbook, what Food52 founders and cookbook editors Amanda Hesser (she of Cooking for Mr. Latte fame) and Merrill Stubbs call the “love child of 52 weeks of recipe contests”.

And it’s fabulous. The cookbook is organized by season, just one recipe per challenge. The recipes are almost always practical and often inventive. They’re filled with insider tips and suggestions, the ones a friend would pass along when sharing her own recipe. I like to think that most would fit into Kitchen Parade like butter slides onto hot toast.

At Food52, what I call No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies are called “Secret Cookies”. They are so simple that I really do recommend fresh butter and even fresh flour. They’re easy to mix, require no chilling before baking and add color to a cookie tray. Kids and cousins? Grownups and grandpas? Everyone loves ‘em!

ALANNA’s TIPS If you want sugar on all sides, roll each ball in colored sugar, then flatten. Dark-colored sugars show up best; yellow, say, doesn’t contrast enough. I don't recommend making this dough ahead of time. Either refrigerated or left out, the texture changes somehow and the dough is harder to work with and the cookies lack the crisp definition that make them so special. Is this cookie a Scandinavian butter cookie in disguise? Made with almond extract instead of vanilla, No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies remind me of a simple unleavened butter cookie that I learned to bake in a home ec class while living in Finland.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite traditional easy Christmas cookie recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 3 dozen small two-bite cookies (easily doubled but a triple batch is too much for my stand mixer)
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks, 170g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (200g)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1-3/4 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 230g
  • Colored sugars – red, green or a mix

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the yolk and extract and combine well. Add the flour and combine well.

Roll the cookie dough into balls (one-inch balls, that's 12 grams, for two-bite cookies, larger balls for larger cookies) and arrange quite close together (they spread just a little) to fill a baking sheet.

Hunt through the cupboards and china cabinet to find a glass with a patterned bottom – here, my grandmother’s sugar bowl worked perfectly. A smooth-bottomed glass also works but a pattern helps hold the sugar and if you’re really lucky (I wasn’t) the sugar will impress the pattern into the dough.

Rub the bottom of the glass with a little butter. Place the colored sugars on small plates, one color per plate. Dip the bottom of the glass into a colored sugar, then gently and evenly press the glass to flatten the cookie until, well, it’s flatter and squatter (like a thick button) but not thin and not flat.

Bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the cookies are baked clear through and the bottoms are crisp and golden. Let cool for five minutes, transfer to paper towels on the counter to cool completely. Transfer to a storage container.

Delicious immediately but over a few days, the buttery, chewy flavor and texture continue to develop.

BAKING SHEETS These cookies were tested bare and baked perfectly in 13 minutes on my favorite thirty-year old non-stick baking sheet (sorry, no one is sorrier than I that it’s no longer available since I've misplaced one) and Airbake cookie sheets, also on a metal baking sheet topped with a silicone mat. The Airbakes took several additional minutes to bake and even then, the bottoms were pale.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Small Cookie: 83 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 15mg Cholesterol; 27mg Sodium; 11g Carb; 0g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2, WW PointsPlus 2
Adapted from the fabulous Food52 Cookbook, a curated collection of "best of my best" recipes from home cooks, it's The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks by Amanda Hesser, Merrill Stubbs & the Food52 Community. DISCLOSURE The good folks at Harper Collins sent a complimentary copy of The Food52 Cookbook and provided a giveaway copy for Kitchen Parade readers. The opinions, as always, are my own. My Disclosure Promise

No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies

The buttery taste makes this a butter cookie! The pretty colored sugars make this a sugar cookie! The chewy texture makes it my favorite kinda cookie! DISCLOSURE Many cookies were sacrificed in order to form these opinions. Do not let their demise go unappreciated.

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2010

Frosty Christmas Trees Saturday Soup Cranberry-Mac Morsels Cranberry Pudding Elk Meatloaf Cinnamon Apples Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies Finnish Meatballs Mexican Fruit Salad

This Week, Elsewhere

Veritas Vegetable Soup from Veritas Gateway to Food & Wine
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

More Cookies for Christmas Cookie Plates

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies Colored Roll-Out Sugar Cookies Frosty Christmas Trees
~ Holiday Baking Tips ~
from a Certifiable Cookie-Baking Fiend

~ more Christmas recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)


For all who have entered to win the copy of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich, thank you! Your cookie-baking traditions made me laugh and cry, some times at once. Thanks for sharing those stories! That giveaway remains open through December 8th, so you've still got another day to enter, see Holiday Baking Tips.


Food 52 Cookbook Giveaway!

THE COOKBOOK The Food52 Cookbook, 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks by Amanda Hesser, Merrill Stubbs & the Food52 Community

IMPORTANT! Each entry must include your e-mail address so that you can be notified if, I mean when! you win. If you like, disguise your address so a real person can can read it but automated address collectors cannot, something like cookie hyphen baker at lovechristmas dot dot com.


"When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, ... .

SECOND ENTRY - SIGN UP FOR A FREE E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION, then come back and leave an additional comment saying you did that. (Don't forget that e-mail address!)

Sign up for either Kitchen Parade or A Veggie Venture, here's the subscription information.

THIRD ENTRY - TWEET or SHARE on Facebook something like what's below, then come back and leave an additional comment saying you did that. (Don't forget that e-mail address!)

"No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe & Food52 cookbook giveaway @kitchenparade"

THE FINE PRINT This giveaway is open to all U.S. and Canadian (hello, Canadian readers!) readers. All entries must be received by midnight CST on Wednesday, December 14, 2011. Winners will be chosen by and notified via valid email address. If I don't hear back from the winner within 48 hours, I will select another and try again. This giveaway is sponsored by publisher Harper Collins.

The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks

© Copyright 2011 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I look forward to it all year! When time allows, I set aside an entire day to mix, roll, cut, spread and sprinkle. The kitchen becomes a disaster area, but the results are completely worth it!
    decklededgesblog at gmail dot com

  2. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, you'll know right away that I value taste over looks! I'm not very good with icing or sprinkles.

    onehotstove AT gmail DOT com

    These look lovely and easy- hate rolling out cookies.


    "When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, ... I go the easy "sprinkle" route most of the time...will frost or "paint" on occasion.


    I subscribe to your email


    I "liked" on FB :)

  6. Laurie Blackshear12/07/2011

    "When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, ... . I'm kind of stuck in a rut! This recipe has me interested. Not only does it sound like a good holiday recipe but a year-round one as well. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Anonymous12/07/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I believe decadent is the only way to go! One of my favorite things in life, baking fabulous cookies and giving them to friends and family. I usually bake around 80 dozen and ship them off. The recipe for NO FUSS - NO MESS NO-ROLL CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES is MY FAVORITE COOKIE RECIPE EVER! TASTES FABULOUS, WAY better than most bakery sugar cookies, and SUPER EASY! The recipe is almost identical to one I got from the Chicago Tribune about 30 years ago. The recipe was from the Senn High School kitchen, and I have made at least 10 batches a year ever since. I use it as my "beginner" cookie that I make with toddler grandchildren (even 2 years olds can help mix and roll into balls, and LOVE to roll them in the sprinkles - be prepared to have multicolored fingers for a while!). LOVE IT!!! Thank you for sharing it again.

  8. Anonymous12/07/2011

    When is comes to decorating Christmas cookies my children and I relive so manny memories over the years. We are making memories for when they are parents and carry on the tradition! Looking forward to making your no roll sugar Christmas cookies. Joan our email address is: Have a very Merry Christmas

  9. Anonymous12/07/2011

    I've been a Veggie Venture subscriber for a long while. In fact, we've just finished a batch of Savory Pudding with Chard, Butternut & Cheddar -- actually much more like a souffle, I think, than a pudding.

    Just joined Kitchen Parade and am already looking forward to trying those recipes, especially these easy sugar cookies.

    Please enter me in the drawing for the cookbook. I'll keep my fingers crossed, when I'm not cooking....

  10. Anonymous12/07/2011

    "When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, grandchildren are a requirement. As they grow older we decorate fewer cookies so this new to us will fit right in.

  11. Anonymous12/07/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I think "simple" is the way to go. I'll add a candied fruit, a nut, a sprinkle of colored sugar, or best yet, leave it plain! The cookie itself is the best part for me; therefore, the recipe must be FABULOUS. Looks like this 'NO FUSS - NO MESS NO-ROLL CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIE'
    just made my list!

  12. When is comes to decorating Christmas cookies, we usually opt for spinkles and/or coloring the dough itself.

  13. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, you will discover that my cookies always taste better than they look! I'm going to work harder at making attractive cookies this year, because I plan to bake most of my gifts.

    I'm also a long time subscriber of Kitchen Parade and Veggie Venture.

  14. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I always am reminded of the fun of doing this as a child with my siblings, fighting over the bowls of colored frosting and sprinkles and making a mess of the kitchen. That's what keeps me doing it with my own family every year.

  15. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, my 6 and 4-year old grands are all about the sprinkles! We have sprinkles in every color, for every holiday. I'm sure they will work on this recipe - can't wait to try.
    daustin55 at hotmail dot com

  16. I've heard this is a great cookbook When it comes to baking Christmas cookies I like to make a lot and then spread the cheer by giving them away to family and friends.

    I already signed up to receive your blog posts for both blogs by email. Unfortunately I don't always have time to reply.

  17. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I always do the simplest!! I actually prefer any other Christmas cookies but decorating.... to time consuming!!

  18. Anonymous12/07/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I think the best way to do it is to have an assembly line where one person does one color and another person does the sprinkles and yet another person does the baking. Make it a family affair!

  19. Anonymous12/07/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I'm a rookie. But I am determined to go semi-pro this year! ;)

  20. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I love all the different colored sprinkles and decorations.

  21. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I generally go the lazy route. When the kids were little we went all-out with colored frosting and sprinkles, but it's not as much fun to do by yourself. My granddaughter will be old enough to help in a few years and we'll have to get back to making a wonderful mess!

  22. "When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies.........I am terrible."

  23. OK, I facebooked you!

  24. Anonymous12/09/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies...I always make sure to have the undecoarad batchess frozen late November or early December so I don't have to rush during holiday times. Thank you for putting the weight of the flour, by the way!

  25. Anonymous12/09/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas Cookies, I'm grateful to have a hubby who cleans up after me!

  26. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I use colored sprinkles, chocolate chips, and press patterns into cookies, all depending on cookie type. pattilou 1952 at gmail dot com

  27. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I believe less is more--very minimal decorating!

  28. Anonymous12/10/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies I'll make these NO FUSS - NO MESS NO-ROLL CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES...

  29. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies,I just have no patience! But I love making the cookies and make loads of them. Then I invite over lots of artistic friends who DO like to decorate them. We all share the finished cookies. I love seeing everyone's different takes on how to decorate the same basic shapes.

  30. Anonymous12/11/2011

    "When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I use basic ingredients because they are tradition to our family. I love using almond flavoring to sugar cookies, they give it a homey-taste.

  31. Anonymous12/11/2011

    "No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe & Food52 cookbook giveaway @kitchenparade" I wanted to let you know that I did step 3 of this cookbook contest........I posted the above on my FB page. Thanks........Terrie Miller

  32. Anonymous12/13/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, the more icing and "bling" the better.

  33. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I like to use lemon extract in the frosting and also the cookie to add a special touch to the sugar cookie.

  34. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I can use all the help I can get!

  35. I signed up for a free subscription to Kitchen Parade.

  36. I posted this on Facebook.

  37. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies it is with my grandchildren who like to go all out in the designs. I have taken pictures of some of them they are so special!

  38. Emily38012/13/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I tend to keep it simple because my family eats them too quickly to appreciate miniature works of art...

    Emily380 at insightbb dot com

  39. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies I am the annoying sister/girlfriend/daughter that likes steady hands and neat lines. What? I'm a perfectionist!

  40. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I'm too excited to eat the cookies to actually decorate!

  41. "When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, ... . it's most fun to decorate with my sister.
    raidergirl3 at gmail dot com

  42. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, these were the easiest and most delicious I've ever made! I LOVED THEM! Thank you so much for providing the great recipe. I was skeptical that they'd turn out well without chilling first, but they waaaaay exceeded my expectations. I happened to have some extra chopped nuts and rolled some of the cookies in them before baking -- it's a great addition! Merry Christmas!

    alipsah at hotmail dot dot com

  43. Cathleen12/14/2011

    sugar sprinkles is as far as I usually go. I want them to be delicious natural beauties - make-up is optional.
    chf385 at hotmail dot com

  44. Anonymous12/14/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I don't mind making mistakes because I get to KEEP all of the ones not pretty enough for friends and family!
    kat0412 at gmail dot com.
    - kat

  45. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, I usually put the icing in a ziploc, cut a tiny end off and proceed to zig-zag lines across the cooled cookies while they sit on a rack. Then, before the icing hardens, I "plant" silver dragees in the lines of icing. They look elegant but are so simple. vivian twenty two at telus dot net.

  46. When it comes to decorating Christmas cookies, my son does it best! He just loves it and I get so happy seeing him using his imagination and I love to see his creations

  47. I already get your emails - and my email is in my profile!

  48. I tweeted!/frugalohio44/status/147041887717564416

    my email is in my profile

  49. Anonymous12/15/2011

    When it comes to decoration Christmas cookies, I let someone else do it because I suck at it.
    sarash55 at yahoo dot com

  50. Anonymous12/18/2011

    When it comes to decorating Christmas Cookies the ideas are endless.

  51. When it comes to decorating (oatmeal) cookies, Don't forget the kosher salt and turbinado sugar

  52. Anonymous12/09/2012

    Just finished my first batch! They turned out perfect, so easy. I took your advice and went to my crystal cabinet and used the bottom of a bud vase that my mom brought back from Czechoslovakia to imprint the colored sugar. Thank you!

  53. Arlene2/24/2020

    Just a note to let you know that I enjoy your Seasonal Sundays. Love the stories & great recipes. [Over Christmas] I made your No Roll Christmas sugar cookies And Frosty Trees. Needless to say they disappeared quick and got rave reviews! Nothing like homemade cookies!

    1. Arlene ~ So glad you liked the recipes! There’s so much cookie competition at Christmas, it’s good to know these get rave reviews! Thanks for letting me know!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna