A slightly crispy outside and an ever so slightly chewy center with a colorful sugar coating is what makes Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies so enticing.
Leave these colorful red and green rolled sugar cookies out, along with a tall glass of cold milk, and I'll bet Santa dear will leave you everything you wish for under the tree.
**Please Note - The printable recipe card with detailed instructions, complete ingredient measurements, and nutritional information for making Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookie is available at the end of this post. OR you can hit the "jump to recipe" button (found above) to be taken directly to the recipe.
This recipe was originally shared in 2010, and updated in 2017 with new photos. In 2020 I'm updating this post once again with additional valuable information, including a recipe card with nutritional information. However, the recipe itself has remained unchanged.
The ingredient list:
**Note - The following lists of ingredients plus kitchen tools and equipment contain affiliate links (highlighted in blue) for your consideration and shopping convenience. #CommissionsEarned
- brown sugar
- granulated white sugar
- butter-flavored shortening (butter can be substituted)
- baking soda
- cream of tartar
- pure vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- red and green decorating sugars
Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- measuring cups and spoons
- large bowl (if using a hand mixer)
- small bowls (for colorful sugar)
- baking sheets
- parchment paper
- cooling rack
- air-tight containers (for storage)
Can these cookies be frozen?
Store them in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 6 months, and then celebrate Christmas in July! LOL
How many cookies does this recipe make?
42 cookies, if you roll into an approximate 1" ball.
Crisco or butter? Which to use?
You can use either, but I always use the butter-flavor shortening. I think it gives the cookies a lighter texture, and that is what gives these cookies their retro feel (in my honest opinion).
Can these cookies be rolled in something other than red and green sugar?
How much fun would these be rolled in colorful sprinkles for birthdays? Or red and blue sugar for patriotic celebrations? Or green for St. Pat's Day? Or just red for Valentine's day?
I think you can see where I'm going with this.
The only thing you can't do then is call them Santa's favorite sugar cookies. HoHoHo!
So don't forget to print this recipe out, and use it all year through! You'll be glad you did!
How this recipe came to be:
I've been making Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies every year since I was newly married. 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.
Below is the original photo from 2010 and an updated photo from 2017 below that.
How to make Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies:
- Cream the shortening and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and egg and blend until combined.
- Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt until a soft dough forms.
- Roll the dough into 1" balls and then roll into sugar.
- Place the cookie balls onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 12-15 minutes.
Not your typical sugar cookie recipe:
My mom got this recipe from our neighbor, Mrs. Rogers, back when I was a kid.
I remember these cookies being rolled in plain granulated sugar. Mrs. Rogers called them sugar cookies, and it was obvious why.
However, after I got my hands involved I added the red and green sugar touch, and soon they became known as Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookie.
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.
Why these are Santa's favorite cookies?
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.
Don't forget the reindeer:
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 to the plate to see if Santa had liked the cookies they'd left for him, then quickly 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!
It was always so wonderful to know that everyone, the reindeer included, had a lovely snack on Christmas eve before continuing on into the night! 🙂
Thanks for allowing me to take a walk down memory lane, twinkling lights included! 🙂
Additional Christmas cookie recipes:
- Christmas Cream Cheese Sprinkle Cookies (shown below)
- Soft Cinnamon Sugar Gingerbread Cookies (not shown)
- Peppermint Shortbread Cookies (shown below)
- Gingersnap Cookies (not shown)
- Snowball Cookies with Pistachios and Cranberries (shown below)
- Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies (shown below) THIS IS THE PLACE!!
Below is the printable recipe card along with the exact ingredient measurements and nutritional information for making today's easy and delicious sugar cookie recipe.
If you've made this recipe, or are excited to make this recipe, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a moment to leave it a star rating in the recipe card, along with a comment if you're so inclined. Thank you. 🙂
Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
- Cream the sugars and shortening (or butter) together in a large bowl.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Blend to combine.
- Blend in the salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, and flour until just combined.
- Roll the dough into balls approximately 1" in size and roll the balls into the decorating sugar.
- Place the sugared cookie balls onto a parchment-lined (optional) baking sheet.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until slightly puffed.
- Remove baking sheets to a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Continue with the remaining batter.
I sincerely hope you've enjoyed today's easy Christmas cookie recipe for Santa's Favorite Sugar Cookies as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you!!