These soft and delicious 4th of July Sugar Cookies will be the star of your dessert table! Topped with homemade red, white, and blue buttercream frosting and sprinkles, these patriotic cookies are adorable and oh-so-yummy!
The Best 4th Of July Cookies
These yummy and soft loft-house-style Red, White, and Blue 4th of July Sugar Cookies are a recipe I make every time I get the chance! The patriotic colored icing makes them perfect for all the summer parties and get-togethers.
If you are headed to a 4th of July gathering, you need to take these cookies. (Especially if there are little ones present – they can’t resist the brightly colored frosting and sprinkles.)
If you’re pressed for time, of course, you could always just make sugar cookies from a pre-made roll you buy from the store, but this recipe is truly one of the best soft sugar cookie recipes out there.
If you have kids who are old enough to toss on an apron, let them help whip up the cookie dough, frost, and more. Cookies are a fun way to teach them how to navigate in the kitchen.
In fact, I should probably disclose, I did not even make this particular batch of cookies. My 13-year-old made and decorated them all by herself! (All I did was photograph and eat, lol.)
Ingredients Needed to Make This Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe
Want to make a batch of these cookies? Here are the ingredients to add to your shopping list. (scroll to the bottom for the printable list)
- Butter | Softened (but not room temp) will give the best cookie. Soft squishy butter will not allow the eggs and butter to cream properly. Proper creaming incorporates air into the batter, which helps create a puffy and light cookie. Either salted or unsalted works. If you use salted, omit the additional salt that is added to the recipe.
- Sugar | White granulated sugar works best for this recipe.
- Sour cream | Sour cream is the secret ingredient in these cookies. The acid in sour cream helps tenderize the cookie by breaking down the gluten molecules, which leads to a softer, cake-like cookie,
- Eggs | Large
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour | The lower protein in all-purpose flour also adds to the soft cakelike texture of this cookie.
- Baking powder |
- Baking soda | Yes, you need both. The baking soda helps to create a soft, Lofthouse-style texture of this cookie.
- Salt |
- Butter | Softened to room temp for easy blending. Both salted or unsalted will work in frosting. The jury is still out on which is better. Many recipes call for unsalted butter. However, a little salt brings out the flavor. I personally prefer to use salted butter.
- Vegetable shortening | Yes, both butter and shortening are used in the frosting. Shortening helps with stability and texture, plus it helps cut the richness of pure butter frosting. Crisco is usually what I use.
- Vanilla extract
- Milk | For the creamiest, dreamiest frosting, I like to use heavy cream, but whole milk or 2% works. The lower the fat level, the more powdered sugar you may need to thicken it up.
- Powdered sugar | Powdered sugar works better than granulated sugar for frosting. Granulated will not dissolve all the way, leading to a grainy frosting,
- Red and blue food coloring | I recommend gel food coloring over liquid
How To Make 4th Of July Sugar Cookies
(You can print out the recipe card if you scroll down)
Make the Cookies:
- Wet ingredients: Start by creaming your butter and sugar. Then add sour cream and eggs. Once that is mixed well, pour in your vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients: Grab a small bowl and add in your dry ingredients and mix it up. Then slowly add-in in the dry ingredients and mix until it is incorporated. Don’t over-mix, or it will make cookies dense and chewy rather than the soft loft-house style we are going for.
- Chill the Dough: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Bake the cookies: Bake the cookies at 350° F for 8 to 10 minutes. DO NOT OVER-BAKE- you want your cookies soft, not crispy.! The oven rack position and the baking pan will affect the cooking time, so keep an eye on your cookie, starting at the 7-minute mark. (My prettiest cookies came with using a silpat mat and baking stone.) Dark baking sheets will make for a more brown cookie bottom.
- Make the frosting: Using a mixer, combine butter and shortening til completely combined (about a minute.) Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth; add another 1/2 cup and beat until smooth. Add Vanilla, and mix. Gradually add the remaining sugar and milk. Continue to mix until smooth. If the frosting seems too runny, add more powdered sugar. Too thick? Add a bit more milk.
- Frost the cookies: Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting. Add sprinkles quickly after frosting for best adherence.
How To Decorate Your 4th Of July Sugar Cookies
This is where these cookies get fun. Feel free to decorate your 4th of July cookies exactly how you would like. Make a firework design, flag, or even a tie-dye style look. If you are a fan of royal icing, here is a great royal icing recipe.
The best part of this soft sugar cookie recipe is you can make these cookies exactly how you want.
Of course, you don’t have to use this recipe for the patriotic holidays, change up the icing colors, and you can have cookies for Easter, St Patrick’s Day, or even Christmas!
Short Cut Icing Tip
So not everyone is the best at making and decorating with icing and frosting. If that’s you, here is a tip:
You can use store-bought vanilla frosting. Add the frosting to a bowl or stand mixer, and use powdered sugar to thicken it up. Just add a tablespoon of the powdered sugar at a time and whip until the frosting gets to your desired thickness. Then divide the icing into three bowls and add in your food coloring.
It is a simple way to get thicker, homemade-looking frosting without all the work. No one will ever know!
- Do not overbake!
- Measure your ingredients precisely.
- Don’t skip chilling the dough.
- Use a silicone mat or parchment paper instead of a greased cookie sheet. Makes for easier cleanup and helps prevent spread.
- If baking multiple batches, let pans cool in between use.
- Try adding different extracts to the frosting for a different taste. (I love almond extract in the frosting.) Or use lemon juice and zest in place of the milk.
- Add cinnamon to the cookie mix and use a cream cheese frosting.
- Change up the frosting colors and sprinkles for different holidays.
Store these cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days or a week in the fridge. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Love my food saver for this.
What equipment do I need to make these 4th of July Sugar Cookies?
Do I Have to Chill the Cookie Dough?
You need to refrigerate your sugar cookie dough, to get it nice and firm. With most sugar cookie dough, you will find that if you just drop and bake they flatten out too much. Chilling the dough will help give you that perfect soft sugar cookie you want that has some thickness to it. It also helps to keep the dough from being too sticky.
What type of Baking sheet should I use?
For sugar cookies, it is better to use a light-colored cookie sheet. Dark pans absorb more heat which can make the cookies brown too quickly. Light aluminum pans will give you soft, chewy sugar cookies with a golden bottom and pale top. For recipes like pizza crusts or roasted potatoes, a darker baking sheet is the better choice, as dark pans create crispier bottoms. (See my cookie sheet recommendation above.)
Why are my cookies hard?
If your soft sugar cookies are hard after cooling, they are most likely over-baked. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, checking at the 7-minute mark for doneness. They should be just barely starting to brown on the bottom. The cookies should be set ( but not brown) and no longer appear soft and uncooked. After cooling, they should be perfect.
How Long Will These 4th of July Cookies Last
You need to store your cookies in an airtight container. They will store for around three days. You can freeze your cookies if you don’t plan to eat them right away. Just place them in a proper freezer container and store them for 2-3 months. I recommend thawing the cookies in the fridge before bringing them to room temperature.
Craving More Sweet 4th of July Recipes?
- Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream | This is the perfect ice cream to spoon up for a chilled dessert. Fresh berries in every bite that will totally be a delight to enjoy on a hot summer day.
- No-Bake Blueberry Pie | Here is another fruit-filled dessert. This pie is crazy simple to make and these studded blueberries are perfectly sweet for your enjoyment.
- Strawberry Trifle | Feel free to add in other berries to get that full red, white and blue look. This trifle is a super easy dessert that is great for parties, weeknight desserts, and entertaining guests.
- Easy Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Sandwiches | Want something super easy? You can’t beat these sprinkle-dipped, Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream Sandwiches. They are made using a store-bought ice cream sandwich!
- Mini Bunting for Your 4th of July Celebration | Print out this adorable mini cake bunting to decorate your desserts!
If you end up making these cookies, be sure to come back and let us know how it went, or tag me on Instagram with your photos using #scatteredmomrecipes!Print
These soft and delicious 4th of July Cookies will be the star of your dessert table! Topped with homemade red, white, and blue buttercream frosting and sprinkles, these patriotic cookies are adorable and oh-so-yummy!
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1–1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (crisco)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Red and blue food coloring
- In a large bowl combine sugar and butter. Mix untill butter is light and fluffy looking and sugar is weel incorporated. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well.
- In a smaller bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt,
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until everything is just incorporated. Do not overbeat!
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 1 to 2 hours.
- With a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out even size scoops of dough and then roll in a ball in your hand and place on a cookie sheet and slightly flatten with your hand so it’s in a circular shape.
- Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until light golden brown, for 8 to 10 minutes. (you want them soft!)
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.
- Using a mixer, combine butter and shortening til completely combined (about a minute)
- Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth, add another 1/2 cup and beat until smooth.
- Add Vanilla, mix. Gradually add the remaining sugar and milk. Continue to mix until smooth.
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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.