Buttercream Christmas Sugar Cookies

If you want the most beautiful cookies with a clean edge and smooth surface, you need to be looking into Royal icing. But for flavor, nothing beats buttercream. Unfortunately, that can be a challenge when you want cookies both beautiful and delicious AND you only make sugar cookies once a year, so you don’t get a lot of practice making and using icing.

It is best to use an icing recipe that will crust a bit on the surface so that your cookies can be stacked, but the icing should still be relatively soft to have a pleasant texture. If you need such a recipe, please see my recipe for buttercream cookie icing.

Next, please see the following images for Christmas cookies decorated with buttercream. Many also have decorations found on Amazon and Etsy.

Frosty, Abominable Snowman, Santa For Frosty, carefully spread the white frosting on before the black. Be careful that the black and write frosting do not touch. Frosty is a nice design if you do not having any piping tools as you can place some red frosting in a sandwich bag and cut a little off the corner to pipe.
Sweaters primarily used star tips, but the green one used a grass tip. This tip has proved versatile when creating wreaths, trees, window boxes, and sweaters.

Snowglobes. The main thing I would do differently with these snowglobes would be not trying to pipe around the edges as this made them look much messier. Snowglobes are definitely an area where I have a lot of room to improve!

Easy Santa Cookies without Piping Tools

Would you like to step up your sugar cookie game, but don’t want to buy or use a piping bag and tips? Are you also disgusted by the taste of Royal icing, preferring a tasty buttercream instead? These Santa cookies can be decorated with buttercream icing and the only tools necessary are cookie cutters, plastic sandwich bags, and some easy-to-find eyes.

To make these Santa cookies, I started with this large Santa cookie cutter.

I made my favorite sugar cookie recipe with the cookie cutters.

Next, I made buttercream icing and colored small portions red and flesh colored to match the photos above.

Then, the fun part started!

Spread the three different colors of icing to match the photos above. Avoid allowing the different colors to touch.

Decorate the faces by pressing the eyes into the frosting. This gives Santa a more natural look. Roll up a small ball of the flesh frosting for a nose.

Fill a plastic sandwich-sized or larger bag with some white frosting.

Cut off the tip, twist the top to remove as much air as possible.

Use icing to pipe on the edge of the hat, the ball at the end, sideburns and mustache. If you love a lot of icing, you could even use pipe on the beard.

If the icing seems to soft, put it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

If you do have a piping bag and star tip, the results look a little fancier, but either cookie is clearly Santa!

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Buttercream Cookie Icing

I love this icing for a few different reasons:

  • Unlike Royal icing, it tastes great!
  • It can be piped and spread.
  • It doesn’t require any messy measuring of powdered sugar
  • It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks
  • Almond extract is absolutely essential to tasty sugar cookies


  • Servings: ”24-48″
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
  • Print

This recipe is versatile allowing easy spreading and piping. It is very sweet, so add a pinch or more of salt if you do not like sweeter icings.


  • 2 pound package powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, half-and-half or cream


1. Whip the butter using an electric mixer for minute or two.

2. Place bowl in sink and carefully add powdered sugar, extract and about 1/4 cup of cream.

3. Mix on low until powdered sugar is incorporated. Gradually add more cream or milk until no powdered sugar is visible Scrape with a spatula.

4. Turn mixer up to high and whip, adding additional milk or cream until desired consistency. Peaks should hold their shape.

5. Add to bowls to color icing, then add to piping bags as needed.

6. To store, place clear plastic film directly on icing in bowls and cover with a fitted lid. The tips of piping can be covered with plastic film and bags stored in zippered bags. Frosting will keep up to two weeks.

20 Ways to Magically Light Your Home at Christmas (that aren’t a tree)

What types of lights are available?

  • Battery-Operated Metallic String Lights. These are ideal for installations where plug-in lights would be impossible or unsightly. They automatically come on at the same time every day and stay lit for six hours. This means that you can use them almost anywhere AND the battery will last a few weeks. If you buy rechargeable batteries and a charger, you can save money over time.
  • “Outdoor” Solar Lights. These lights work well near a window so the solar panel can be placed against the window pane. They even come in colors such as pink!
  • Battery-Operated Candle Lights. These lights have a sensor which detects outdoor light. This allows them to automatically come on at dusk and stay on for many hours afterwards. This means the batteries last between Thanksgiving and New Years without replacing.
  • Wired Lights. These work well when an outlet is nearby and the lights can be installed without the cord showing.
Glass Vase. These battery-operated metallic string lights intertwine with antique mercury glass ornaments in a large glass vase.
Domed Cake Stand. These battery-operated metallic string lights and boa surround a vignette placed on a cake stand and topped with a glass cloche. The vignette includes a house from World Market and bottle brush tree such as these.
Ornaments in a bowl. Here, battery-operated metallic string lights intertwine with antique ornaments and boa in a large decorative bowl.
Shadow box. To create this shadow box, a Christmas saying was designed, printed and matted to serve as the backing. A crescent moon was hung and some favorite miniatures: a Corvette, an Airstream trailer , and bottle brush trees similar to these, were placed in the bottom, along with some fake snow.
Wreaths. Wreaths are ideal for battery-operated metallic string lights since no unsightly cords will hang below.
Centerpiece. These battery-operated metallic string lights twist around garland, pearls, lace and a boa surrounding candelabras with pink candles.
Chandelier. Battery-operated metallic string lights are ideal for a chandelier Add ornaments, boa and pearls for extra interest. Garland and lace could also work well.
Indoor Plants. Pink solar lights intertwine with herbs planted in a rustic wooden planter on a kitchen windowsill.
Behind a Fireplace Screen. These wired lights are hung behind a stained glass fireplace screen. Please see our tutorial on how to create this screen.
Gingerbread House. Battery-operated metallic string lights are used both inside and surrounding a gingerbread house. For tips on creating this house, please see this post
Christmas Card Display. These battery-operated metallic string lights surround an entry closet door. Decorative clothespins are used to attach Christmas cards as they arrive. The center of the door features an antique card sent by the original owner of the home.
Candle Lights in Windows. These Battery-Operated Candle Lights conserve energy through the light sensor. The candle is surrounded with garland, wire lights, pearls, lace, and a boa. Above the candle lights hangs a crystal snowflake ornament.
Atop a Mantle. These battery-operated metallic string lights illuminate a collection of vintage Santas amongst garland, lace, pearls, and boas. Other decorations include a Santa advent calendar, ivory stockings, and round ornaments placed on candlestick holders.
China Cabinet. These battery-operated metallic string lights help to illuminate Bavarian china, though the glass front of a china cabinet. An ornament hangs on the door.
Garland. Garlands can be created from tree decorations and hung above windows and mirrors. With battery-operated metallic string lights there is no need to be near an outlet.
Front of a Shelf. These battery-operated metallic string lights illuminate a yard-long print and a boa.
Plate Display Rack. Battery-operated metallic string lights front a plant display rack decorated with vintage Santa figurines, boas, and Bavarian china dishes
Bathroom window. “Outdoor” Solar Lights are ideal to surround a bathroom window even indoors since wired lights would be unsafe above a bathtub. These lights are relaxing for warm winter bubble baths. A glittery miniature tree sits in the copper tray on the windowsill. In the spring, seeds will be planted here.
Atop an Armoire. These battery-operated metallic string lights draw attention to the framed Christmas tree created with ornaments.
Headboard. These wired lights pair with a pink boa above a headboard. To learn how to create this headboard, please see this tutorial.

Some posts on this site include affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This commission allows us to avoid banner ads and popups. Please know that the opinions expressed are entirely our own.

Some posts on this site include affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please know that the opinions expressed are entirely our own.