These pretty decorated Easter cookies flavoured with lemon and vanilla can be made in any shape you like and topped with springy pastel royal icing. You don't need to be a piping expert to make these little sugar cookies look adorable, just a bit of food colouring and some sprinkles.

For more cute Easter treats, try our Easter bunny cupcakes, Easter brownies with holiday candies baked in, or easy no-bake Easter rocky road! If you'd like to try a slightly larger project, give our sourdough hot cross buns a go.

Several pastel-iced cookies in spring shapes like carrots and flowers.
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Ingredients

Easter cookies ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Lemon zest: try to get an organic, unwaxed lemon and wash the skin well with warm water before zesting.
  • Make it dairy-free: use a good quality vegan butter than comes in block or stick form and be sure to chill the dough well before baking. You could add an extra tablespoon or two of flour if the dough is very soft, which can happen with non-dairy butter alternatives.

Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the printable recipe card with full ingredient measurements and complete instructions.

How to Make Easter Cookies

Cookies steps 1 to 4, mixing the dough and adding flour.

Step 1: cream the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes.

Step 2: add the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest.

Step 3: mix again to combine.

Step 4: add the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Sugar cookies steps 5 to 8, finished dough and cut out cookies.

Step 5: mix to just combine. The dough will look crumbly.

Step 6: divide the dough into two parts and press into discs.

Step 7: roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes.

Step 8: place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for a few minutes before baking.

Top Tips

  • Use room temperature ingredients: if the butter or egg are cold, the cookie dough won't come together properly and might split. To quickly soften butter, rinse out a heat-safe glass with boiling water and then place the glass over the stick of butter (not touching it). For the egg, submerge it in warm water for 10 minutes.
  • Chill the dough: we recommend chilling the dough in the freezer for a few minutes after cutting the shapes. The room-temperature dough is easier to roll out and chilling will prevent too much spreading.
  • Add the colouring slowly: start with a few drops and work your way up, keeping in mind that you want pastel colours and not really vivid ones. We like gel food colouring.

Recipe Notes

If you don't have Easter cookie cutters, you can use plain rounds and roll them slightly with a rolling pin to make little ovals that can be turned into eggs. The decoration is what will make them really special.

For a different icing, you can try sandwiching the cookies with vanilla frosting or a little chocolate orange frosting. For something a little less sweet, use cream cheese frosting.

If your dough is a bit soft and sticky, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper instead of on a floured surface. We recommend using weights rather than cup measurements if possible to be more accurate with the amount of flour used.

How to Store

Storage: to store cookies decorated with royal icing, keep the decorated cookies out at room temperature for 6 hours before transferring to a sealed container. Layer parchment paper between the layers of cookies and refrigerate for up to a week. Plain cookies can be kept in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week.

Freezing: dry the icing the same way as above, and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in single layers before serving.

Unbaked: keep the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container. Bring it up to room temperature before rolling, chilling, and baking as usual. The dough can be frozen for up to a month, as can individual cut-out cookies (to bake from frozen, simply add an extra couple of minutes in the oven).

If you make this Easter Sugar Cookies recipe or any other cookie recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Several pastel-iced cookies in spring shapes like carrots and flowers.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Easter Cookies

These pretty decorated Easter cookies flavoured with lemon and vanilla can be made in any shape you like and topped with springy pastel icing.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Chilling Time15 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Yield: 30 cookies

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
  • Large bowl
  • Hand or stand mixer
  • Rolling Pin
  • baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie cutters ours are rather small
  • Wire rack

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter room temperature
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 batch royal icing coloured as needed

Instructions

  • Add the sugar and butter to a large bowl (or the bowl of your standing mixer) and use an electric mixer to beat on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until fluffy and light.
    1 ¼ cups sugar, ¾ cup butter
  • Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla, and beat again until well combined.
    1 large egg, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine, but don't over-mix. The dough will look crumbly but will hold when pressed between a finger and thumb.
    2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Divide the dough into 2 parts for easier rolling. Pat into discs and place onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to about ¼-inch (6-mm) thick.
  • Cut the dough into your desired shapes. Any extra dough can be re-rolled once.
  • Place the cut-out cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. (If you don't have freezer space, chill in the fridge for 30-40 minutes instead.)
  • While the cookie shapes are chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly golden. The baking time will vary depending on the size of the cookie cutters, so look for colour around the edges. Repeat for the remaining dough.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. Take the cookies off the tray and let them cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
  • To ice, divide your royal icing into several bowls (one bowl for each colour) and whisk in food colouring until it reaches your desired shade. You can dip the cookies or pipe and flood, whatever you'd like. Top with sprinkles and dry before storing.
    1 batch royal icing

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.

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