Best Ever Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies

Best Ever Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies

I’ve been making Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies every year since I was newly married (36 years ago). And before that, it was my favorite Christmas cookie as a child.

It’s the cookie that brings back the most wonderful holiday memories for our sons and for me, and it’s the cookie that we all still consider one of our very favorite Christmas food traditions.

Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe | Kudos Kitchen by Renee

**Please Note – The printable recipe card with detailed instructions, complete ingredient measurements, and nutritional information for making Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookie is available near the end of this post. 

This recipe for Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies is one I originally shared on my blog back in December of 2010. While the recipe has remained virtually unchanged, I thought it was time for a few updated photos (as you’ll notice from the photo below from 2010) and the addition of helpful printable recipe card (which you can find at the bottom of this post).

Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies Recipe Redo. From 2010 to 2017 | Kudos Kitchen by Renee

The ingredients you’ll need to make Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies are;

  • brown sugar
  • granulated white sugar
  • butter flavored Crisco (butter can substituted)
  • egg
  • baking soda
  • cream of tartar
  • salt
  • vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • red and green decorating sugars

Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies Recipe | Kudos Kitchen by Renee

My mom got this recipe from our neighbor, Mrs. Rogers, back when I was a kid. The way I remember these cookies being made was they were rolled in white granulated sugar.

Mrs. Rogers called them sugar cookies, and it was obvious why. However, after I got my hands involved in making these cookies and added the red and green sugar touch, they soon became known as Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookie.

Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies | Kudos Kitchen by Renee

*Note – Christmas memories and traditions start here. Keep scrolling if you’d rather just get to the recipe already. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings!  😉

When we got married, and Mark and I started our own family, there were certain traditions I wanted to continue from when I was a little girl and hopefully pass along to our two boys. These cookies were one of the things I incorporated throughout the years to fondly rekindle my joyous Christmas memories.

I am happy to report that our boys (now grown) feel exactly the same way about these cookies as I did, and still do to this day.  Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies.

Some of our favorite times spent eating Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies was during Christmastime at the zoo when the boys were little. 

We’d bundle everybody up, hop in the car and go to the Brookfield or Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago along with a thermos of hot chocolate and a bunch of candy canes. There was something magical about walking among all the twinkling white lights, visiting the zoo animals, and munching on these tasty cookies feeling all safe, snug, and happy.

It warms my heart just thinking about those times.

Or there were the times (many of them) that we’d grab a blanket, a tin of these cookies, more hot chocolate, and then jump in the car and drive around the different communities in our area looking at all the Christmas lights and decorations. With Christmas music gently playing on the car radio, we were safe, warm and blessed to be together.

And of course, I can’t forget the essential part these cookies have played throughout our family’s yearly Christmas traditions.
These were the cookies our boys always left out for Santa, along with a big glass of milk on Christmas Eve. Santa never disappointed, and always finished them off leaving only a few crumbs behind, which is why they’re so aptly named Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies.

Being the animal loving family we are, we always fed Santa’s reindeer, too.

On Christmas Eve we’d toss apple and carrot chunks up on the roof for the reindeer to munch on while Santa was busy leaving presents under the tree.

On Christmas morning, our boys would run down to the tree, then check the plate to see if Santa had liked the cookies they’d left for him, then head outside to see if the reindeer had enjoyed their snack of carrots and apples.

Those reindeer never failed to bring delight to our two small boys because wouldn’t you know, those apples and carrots were always gone by Christmas morning, so it was nice to know that everyone, the reindeer included, had a lovely snack before continuing on into the night! 🙂

Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies | Kudos Kitchen by Renee

Below is the printable recipe card for Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies. If you’ve enjoyed this recipe and look forward to making it (or have already made it), I’d appreciate if you’d take a moment to give it some feedback by way of stars near the comment section at the end of this post. Thank you so much!

0 from 0 votes
Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe | Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
Deliciously crispy and festive with a red and green sugar coating. This cookie will become a new family tradition.
Course: Christmas dessert, Dessert - Cookies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies, sugar cookies
Servings: 42
Calories: 85 kcal
Renee - Kudos Kitchen: Renée - Kudos Kitchen
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup shortening I used butter flavored Crisco, or softened butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • red and green decorating sugars
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Cream the sugars and shortening (or butter) together in a large bowl.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla. Blend to combine.
  4. Blend in the salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, and flour until just combined.
  5. Roll the dough into balls approximately 1" in size and roll the balls into the decorating sugar.
  6. Place the sugared cookie balls onto a parchment-lined (optional) baking sheet.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until slightly puffed.
  8. Remove baking sheets to a cooling rack and cool completely.
  9. Continue with the remaining batter.
Recipe Notes

Tools and equipment:

baking sheets, parchment paper (optional), stand mixer or hand mixer, large bowl, spatula, measuring spoons, measuring cups, colored sugars

Nutrition Facts
Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 85 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 84mg4%
Potassium 23mg1%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Sugar 4g4%
Vitamin A 5IU0%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

For other wonderful Christmas cookie recipes you may want to try, please click on the following titles for;

Thanks for allowing me to take a walk down memory lane, twinkling lights included! 🙂

Should you have any questions regarding this recipe for Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies, or anything else you see on my site, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly, or leave me a comment in the comment section below. It is always my pleasure to get back to you with a reply just as soon as possible.

For additional information regarding my Kudos Kitchen recipes, and/or my hand painted glassware or fabrics items, please visit me on:


Kudos Kitchen by Renée ~ Where food, art, and fun collide each and every day!

Sending you warm holiday wishes for a very Merry Christmas!

Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!

Kudos Kitchen by Renee Signature




  1. Hello-

    I am a new baker-can butter be used rather than the shortening? And would you say that this recipe will make about 60 cookies?

    • Yes, butter can be used in place of the shortening but the cookie texture will be slightly different as the shortening contains 100% fat and the butter does not. This recipe makes approximately 42 cookies.

  2. Kudos Kitchen

    That's a good question. I've never tried this recipe with butter before (I've stuck with tradition and not messed with this) but I'll bet it would work fine. I'd love to know how they turn out if you try it. Let me know.

  3. Beautiful post! Sounds like your boys have an amazing Mama. 🙂

  4. So pretty! And I'm sure the kids as well as the adults love to devour them. 😉

  5. Everything looks so festive! The cookies, the house, the mood. I love it!

  6. Oh Renee, I so enjoyed reading about your family traditions with these cookies. Such a lovely post and such a lovely cookie. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  7. They look so beautiful!!! And I am assuming utterly delicious. 🙂 Great job!

  8. I'm sure these cookies taste as good as they look! Love the sparkle! Your house looks so festive too!

  9. This is probably one of the best posts I've ever read! I loved it. I could taste these cookies and the hot chocolate as I walked through the zoo with you. I may take your cookie tradition and make it one of my own with my Little Butt. I'll bet she would love to help me roll these through the red and green sugar. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. I love it when recipes bring back memories. I think it's great that you've passed down such neat traditions to your children. I'm sure they'll always treasure them. By the way, I'm holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you're welcome to come by and enter.

  11. Beautiful family story! I don't know if is the time of the year or if I'm really a very sensitive person but I had water in my eyes while reading your post! I think you are a very good writer and have beautiful stories to tell!
    Love the recipe! And the tradition!
    Have a good week!

  12. Kudos Kitchen

    I'm glad to have touched a chord with many of you about this post. I never know how my writing will sound to others but I'm glad to hear that it translates well.

  13. Ms. WhitePlates

    I love sugar cookies! The sugar cookies out of my step-dad's huge "Great American Cookbook" were the first cookies I baked on my own without any adult supervision and I still have a special fondness for them. For some reason that recipe called for refrigerating the dough for an hour but I don't always see that in sugar cookie recipes. It did make them extra soft.

  14. Using butter will make the cookies flatter, I imagine, as the melting point for butter is lower. Also, I doubt you will get 60 cookies with about 4-ish cups of dough unless you make your balls smaller to begin with.

    Looks like a nice recipe though, and I love the memories you talked about. So many of my own memories are tied to food

  15. Such Christmassy colours! Thanks for linking this in as well. Have a good one

  16. You write beautifully, many thanks for sharing your family tradition and your recipe. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  17. Renée, do just the tops get dipped in the coloured sugar? Do I flatten the balls or will that magic happen as they bake?

  18. Ho! Ho! Ho! Thank you for this lovely recipe, I’m going to try it with half shortening and half butter, I’ll let you know how the taste and texture turn out, I’m hoping for crispy outsides with soft and chewy in every bite.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this comment you agree to share your name, email address, website and IP address with Kudos Kitchen by Renee. This information will not be used for any purpose other than enabling you to post a comment. *