Martha's Easter Sugar Cookies

Prep Time:
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
20 to 30

A foolproof recipe for the sugar cookie dough and royal icing that we use for Easter cookies. Find out more about the easy techniques for decorating these cookies and learn about the story behind these treats from Martha.



  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy

Royal Icing

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar (1 pound), sifted, plus more if needed

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 2 to 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice Gel-paste colors, for decorating


  1. Cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and cognac until well combined. Add flour mixture; beat on low until just combined. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough evenly and shape into 2 disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 45 minutes and up to 5 days.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate until very firm, about 30 minutes, or freeze 10 minutes. Stamp out shapes. Transfer cutouts to prepared sheets, about 1 inch apart. Reroll scraps; stamp out more shapes and transfer to sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes, or freeze 10 minutes. Bake until set and golden around edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool completely.

  3. Royal Icing: In a bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, egg whites, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice until smooth. If necessary, add more lemon juice or confectioners' sugar to reach desired consistency. Divide and tint with gel-paste colors as desired. Pour some into squeeze bottles for detailing.

    colorful frosted spring themed and easter egg sugar cookies
    Marcus Nilsson

Cook's Notes

For richer flavor, refrigerate the dough for at least one day and up to five.

Store decorated cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Note that raw eggs (used in the icing) should not be consumed by pregnant women, young children, the elderly, or anyone with compromised health.

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