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The best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with some Easy Shamrock Sugar Cookies! Homemade sugar cookie cutouts are topped with frosting and sanding sugar for a sweet treat everyone will love. Make them entirely from scratch, or check out my semi-homemade tips to make them even easier.

Close up shot of shamrock sugar cookies decorated with green sanding sugar


Easiest Ever Shamrock Cookies

If you need a sweet treat for St. Patrick’s Day, these shamrock sugar cookies are what to make. Soft sugar cookies topped with green frosting and decorative sugar are easy to make and so cute. Trust me; if I can make them, anyone can do it!

These are easy, from scratch, using my absolute favorite sugar cookie recipe, with a delicious buttercream frosting. Instead of using royal icing or sugar cookie icing and having to deal with a piping bag or drying time, and you won’t need meringue powder or egg whites: we’re doing a no fuss decoration with sanding sugar. You can even use chocolate cut out sugar cookies!

You’re going to love how easy and fun this recipe is – and the kids can help!

Overhead shot of everything needed to make sugar shamrock cookies

Ingredients in Sugar Cookies

  • Read my in depth post about cutout sugar cookies and perfect tips to make them.
  • Flour: These use All-Purpose Flour – be sure to measure flour correctly.
  • Powdered Sugar: Confectioners’ sugar in the cookie dough makes them soft and delicate.
  • Butter: Use unsalted and make sure it’s softened.
  • Cream of Tartar: This is my secret ingredient for soft sugar cookie cutouts. Learn all about cream of tartar (with substitutions).
  • Extract: I love using vanilla and almond extract in my cookies. Almond extract is optional.
  • Decorating: Green food coloring and green sanding sugar makes the decorations SO easy.

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

How to Make Shamrock Sugar Cookies

  1. Place all of the cookie dough ingredients in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine them at medium speed. Stop to scrape the bowl if needed. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  2. I roll out my cookie dough between sheets of wax paper to avoid a messy lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll them to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Once the dough is rolled out it needs to chill until firm.
  3. Cut out the cookies using a shamrock cookie cutter (approximately a 4-inch one for the size I made). Chill the cookies again.
  4. Bake the sugar cookies for six to ten minutes (if you do a different shape or size, the baking time will vary). Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

Semi-Homemade Swaps

Not in the mood to make everything from scratch? Here are some handy-dandy swaps you can use to make these shamrock cookies even easier!

  • Use store-bought sugar cookie dough to make the cookies.
  • Skip making the frosting and use canned icing instead. Look for green, or you can tint white frosting with food coloring.
Overhead shot of three decorated shamrock sugar cookies with one undecorated next to gold sprinkles

How to decorate Shamrock Cookies

Mix up your frosting like you’d make regular buttercream. This is the EASIEST decoration EVER:

  1. Place the sanding sugar in a shallow bowl.
  2. Frost each cookie with green tinted frosting.
  3. Dip the frosted cookies frosting-side-down in the sugar.

FAQ

Where to buy a shamrock cookie cutter?

I’ve seen them at craft stores, Target, or you can buy them on Amazon.

How to store sugar cookies?

Store the decorated cookies in a single layer in an airtight container for the best results. They will keep up to three days at room temperature.

Can you freeze sugar cookies?

Yes, they freeze great! Once you’ve decorated the cookies, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place the sheet pan in the freezer. Or, you can freeze them unfrosted and decorate them later. Once the cookies are frozen, transfer them to a freezer container. You can stack them in the container, but be sure to unstack them before thawing.

Close up shot of shamrock sugar cookies decorated with green sanding sugar

Shamrock Sugar Cookies Recipe

5 from 1 vote
If you need a sweet treat for St. Patrick’s Day, these Shamrock Sugar Cookies are what to make. Soft sugar cookies topped with green frosting and decorative sugar are easy to make and so cute.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 24 cookies
Serving Size 1 cookie

Ingredients
 

Cookies:

  • 2 ½ cups (310g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups (141g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Frosting:

  • 2 cups (452g) powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk regular low- or non-fat are all fine
  • Green Food Coloring
  • Green Sanding Sugar

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer). Mix on low, scraping the bowl occasionally, until the mixture forms a cookie dough. Be sure to start on low or the dry ingredients will fly everywhere!
  • Divide the dough in half. Place a large sheet of waxed paper on a large cutting board or flat surface. Place the cookie dough on the wax paper. Place another large sheet of wax paper on top of the cookie dough. Press down into a flat disk with the palm of your hand, then roll out the dough between the two pieces of wax paper. After each 3-4 rolls, carefully lift the top sheet of wax paper off the dough, then replace it, flip the dough over, and carefully peel the other wax paper sheet, replace it, then continue rolling until the dough is about 1/4” thick. Place the dough, still between the wax paper sheets, on another cutting board or cookie sheet.
  • Repeat with second half of dough. Place both rolled out cookie dough sheets in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or wrap them well with plastic wrap and chill overnight).
  • When ready to cut cookies, preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Cut cookies in desired shapes and place them on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Save the scraps of dough and re-roll them as needed. Note: once you re-roll the dough, you may want to chill those cutouts for about 10 minutes before baking them so they’ll keep their shape.
  • Bake cookies for 6-10 minutes depending on the size. I take them out as soon as the bottoms start to brown because we like them softer. If you want crunchy cookies, let them cook longer. Cool completely before frosting and decorating.
  • To make frosting, beat butter until smooth in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, then vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until the frosting is the consistency you desire.
  • Tint the frosting green. Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Frost cookie then dip frosting-side down in sugar.
  • Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Can freeze cookies in a single layer, then stack in an airtight container (be sure to unstack them before thawing). Or freeze cookies unfrosted in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

Swaps:
  • Use store-bought sugar cookie dough to make the cookies.
  • Skip making the frosting and use canned icing instead. Look for green, or you can tint white frosting with food coloring.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 367IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American

More St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Last Updated on February 23, 2024



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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