Valentine Sugar Cookies (soft & sweet)

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These Valentine Sugar Cookies could not be more perfect for Valentine’s Day! They are soft, thick and chewy plus have a light almond flavor to them which is my all time FAVORITE taste in a sugar cookie. Top with sprinkles, because EVERYONE loves sprinkles! Based off of my Classic Sugar Cookie Recipe and Sugar Cookie Bars, these festive Valentines Day Cookies are delicious with a simple glaze or my Vanilla Buttercream recipe.

This has been my go-to sugar cookies recipe because it’s reliable and always turns out perfectly. Whether it’s for the holidays, birthdays or just getting a craving for really good sugar cookies, this should be your go-to recipe. You don’t need to plan ahead to soften butter, you don’t need to refrigerate the dough overnight and they always bake up soft and chewy every time. This recipe makes a lot of cut-out cookies, so you might want to think about giving some away. These would be so fun for your kid’s class parties, or friend or neighbor gifts. You could bag these up in cellophane bags and some ribbon. So cute and easy!

heart sugar cookie with frosting

Want more Valentine Treat Ideas? Try these recipes: Valentine’s Day Cake Pops, Valentine’s Day Brownies, Valentine’s Slice and Bake Cookies, Valentine’s Day Cream Puffs, Nutella Deviled Strawberries, Cheesecake Brownies.

Sugar Cookie Basics

Here are a few helpful tips and tricks I do with this recipe to get the most perfect Valentine’s Day Cookies every time.

Use Cold, Salted Butter

I know this may seem like a little controversial, but I LOVE using not only cold butter, but salted butter for these cookies. My recipe doesn’t call for salt, so I like using salted butter. Also, using a stand mixer to cream cold butter with sugar helps the dough maintain its stability so you can roll it out immediately without having to refrigerate it first.

If you only have room temperature butter for this recipe, you can definitely make this as written, but you might want to refrigerate the sugar cookie dough before rolling and cutting, just to make your life a little easier.

Almond Extract: To Add or Not to Add?

While I am a firm believer in always using Almond extract for any and all sugar cookies, there are people out there who strongly disagree with me. If you are one of these people, simply replace the almond extract with more vanilla extract and complete the recipe as written below.

Finding Valentine-Shaped Cookie Cutters

You can find these at various places, but Walmart or Michaels is generally a good place to find these, especially around February. Here is a link for a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Here is a link to the X&O cookie cutters. There are many decorating techniques out there. I like to keep it as simple as possible with simple designs.

Do I Have to Chill the Dough Before Cutting and Baking?

Yes and No. The two main reasons to chill a cookie dough you would cut out include (1) helping the cookies maintain their shape during the baking process and (2) to make it easier to cut out. Gingerbread cookies are a great example of this. The dough is much wetter, so you would want to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a good hour before rolling and cutting.

For these sugar cookies, easiest way to work with the dough is right out of the bowl because I use COLD butter. So, you can cut your Valentine shapes out immediately and then freeze for a few minutes before baking. This will help keep their shape.

Ingredients Needed For Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Just a few simple ingredients are needed to make these soft sugar cookies:

for the sugar cookies:

  • all-purpose flour– I used unbleached, this is used to fill out the rest of the cookie and help bring all the ingredients together.
  • salted butter– cold & cut into chunks
  • baking powder– this is used for leavening.
  • granulated sugar– to sweeten, this IS a sugar cookie recipe after all. You can also use vanilla sugar here.
  • egg– used for texture and structure
  • pure vanilla extract– for flavoring
  • pure almond extract–  If you’re not a fan, leave this ingredient out and consider doubling up on the vanilla.

for the frosting:

  • butter– softened
  • vanilla extract– for flavoring
  • confectioners’ sugar– aka powdered sugar, provides sweet flavoring, structure and texture
  • milk– helps bind everything together

if using a glaze:

  • confectioners’ sugar– aka powdered sugar, provides sweet flavoring, structure and texture.
  • milk– helps bind everything together
  • vanilla extract– for flavoring
  • liquid food coloring– could divide up the glaze and use different colors too.
  • valentine’s sprinkles and jimmies– optional

How to Make Valentine Sugar Cookies

For ingredient measurements and full directions, scroll to the bottom of this post to view the printable recipe card. Here is step-by step directions for making this sugar cookie recipe:

Preheat + Prep

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

Make Dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl, cream cold butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment or electric hand mixer. Stir in egg and both extracts. In a small bowl, stir flour and baking powder together. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients to the butter mixture until a dough forms.

Roll Out Dough + Cut

Freeze + Bake

Place baking sheet with cut-out cookies in the freezer for 5-7 minutes. Next, pull them out and bake 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms have lightly browned but edge of the cookie are still light in color. Bake time can vary slightly in every oven. Cool 3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to wire racks.

How to Decorate Valentine Cookies

Decorated cookies can be a labor of love for sure. Don’t feel like you have to go above and beyond every time. After the cookies have been baked and cooled, you can decorate them with glaze or frosting. I love both ways, so I’ve included information about both.

Icing & Frosting: What’s the Difference?

Frosting is a thick, pipe-able topping you can use for cakes and cookies. My Vanilla Frosting and Chocolate Frosting (sometimes called buttercream) are simply powdered sugar mixed with softened butter, vanilla extract and milk or cream. Sometimes different extracts or flavoring agents, like cocoa, are added to make different kinds and flavors.

Icing is thinner in consistency and is made from powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk, cream or even water. You can glaze these Valentine sugar cookies with an icing for a smooth finish that looks really pretty. If you’re familiar with royal icing and prefer working with it, I have a great post all about Royal Icing made without meringue powder.

Making Icing

In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and red food coloring together until glaze is smooth and runny. Dip each cookie into the glaze, let it drip, then place onto a cooling rack to drip dry.

Making Frosting

I suggest heading over to my full post about making frosting to get a full recipe and details. This is a great resource. I obviously dyed half of the frosting pink and kept the other half white. Then used a disposable piping bag and piping tips for an easy way to decorate. I like to use the star or round tip for cookies. A zip top bag with a corner snipped works just as well. Also feel free to spread the frosting on with a butter knife.

Add Sprinkles and Jimmies (Optional)

Once each cookie is dipped in glaze or topped with frosting, be sure to add on colorful sprinkles immediately before it has a chance to dry to ensure the sprinkles stick! If you want to skip the sprinkles entirely, the cookies look really classy; just make sure to use a toothpick to pop the air bubbles on the icing. Because we were adding on some of these fun festive sprinkles, there was no need to pop any air bubbles before hand. Allow to dry 1-2 hours if using the icing.

Storing Sugar Cookies

This recipe makes a lot of sugar cookies. Good news is they will stay soft and tasty for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature, covered in an airtight container. Topping the cookies with frosting or icing actually helps to seal in the moisture of the cookie, lengthening its shelf life. You can also cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days. The edges may get a little crispy in the fridge, but it certainly does help keep them fresh.

Freezing Directions

Consider freezing these cookies to make them ahead of time (baked or unbaked)! Here’s how to do both:

Freezing the Dough

Make the cut-out sugar cookie recipe as written below. Form prepared dough into one or two thick discs and place into a large food storage bag or wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil. As long as the dough is wrapped well, it should be good in the freezer up to two months. To defrost, place at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until soft. Cut out and bake cookies as desired.

Freezing Baked Sugar Cookies

Completely cool your baked cookies and transfer to plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Containers will help prevent baked sugar cookies from breaking. Freeze for up to three months.To defrost, set out at room temperature for about an hour. Decorate as desired.

Love Sugar Cookies? Try Some Variations:

There you have it- perfect XO and heart-shaped sugar cookies to share with those you love! Way better than a box of conversation hearts, if you ask me. These are the perfect cookies for Valentine’s Day. Make a few dozen now and wait for the compliments to roll in cause they certainly will! The printable recipe is below. Have a great day, friends! 🙂

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

valentine sugar cookies with frosting