You don’t need to be a pro (or spend 10 hours decorating!) to make super impressive Christmas cookies this holiday! Use these 5 EASY Christmas Tree Cookie Decorating Ideas to create perfect decorated sugar cookies! No finicky royal icing required!
5 Christmas Tree Cookie Decorating Ideas That Are Actually Easy
When you google “Christmas tree cookie decorating ideas”, most of the results are intricate, elaborately decorated sugar cookies using royal icing. While those are beautiful, I personally don’t have the time or desire to spend 2 days decorating Christmas cookies that my 2-year-old cousin will take two bites of before running into the next room. But I still want them to be cute! Because let’s be honest, I’m too Type-A to not show up with cute cookies.
So in this post, I’m showing you 5 ways to decorate Christmas cookies that are easy AND cute!
Psst! For help achieving the perfect green frosting color, check out How To Make Dark Green Icing (5 Shades!).
Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
While you can certainly use any of these decorating ideas with premade dough & canned frosting, if you’re going to the work of decorating, let’s make the cookies actually taste good! Pair my thick cut out sugar cookie recipe with any of the frostings below for bakery-level taste, texture, and appearance! My Christmas Cookie Frosting is my favorite in terms of taste but you can’t go wrong with any of the recipes linked below.
Decorating Idea 1: Star Tip
This is one of my favorite go-to Christmas tree cookie decorating ideas! It’s easy, foolproof, and creates a beautifully textured cookie.
- Starting at the edge of your cookie, gently touch down the tip of your metal star tip to your cookie (creating a border first will create a well-defined edge).
- While applying light pressure to the bag, gently squeeze and lift.
- Repeat until the surface of the cookie is filled with frosting. If you see any gaps, simply fill them in.
Decorating Ideas: Top with white nonpareil sprinkles, red pearl sprinkles, or white sanding sugar to give it a winter, snow look!
Decorating Idea 2: Layered Lines
This is a fun technique for creating a realistic tree texture. Flock the trees with white sanding sugar for an added touch! I love using a variety of green frosting colors, which you can find formulas for in my Christmas Cookie Frosting guide!
- Starting at the bottom, vertically pipe 1/3 of the way up the cookie. Add your next layer by overlapping the previous layer.
- Tip: When piping frosting, you never want to drag the tip along the cookie. Rather, “touch down” once at the beginning and at any sharp corners, then drag the frosting above the cookie.
Decorating Idea 3: Horizontal Lines
Using simple back and forth lines are another one of my favorite Christmas tree sugar cookie decorating techniques! It’s quick to do and creates a clean, bakery-level cookie! Top with pearl sprinkles and a star to finish it off.
- Pipe an outline around the cookie to create your border; this will help you achieve smoother edges and a more refined cookie.
- Next, “zig zag” back and forth horizontally across the cookie to fill it in.
Decorating Idea 4: Dip in Glaze
Glazing sugar cookies is an easy trick for decorating cookies quickly! With a thinner consistency than traditional royal icing, this water & sugar glaze allows for a smooth & shiny finish (that hardens!). You may never want to use that tubed Wilton cookie icing ever again!
Tools: Shallow bowl or dish (with a bottom wide enough to fit a cookie)
Icing Recipe: Quick Icing Glaze
- Dip the top of the cookie into the glaze, ensuring the surface is covered.
- Before flipping it over, gently shake the cookie to remove the excess icing.
- Flip over and allow to dry on parchment paper or cooling rack.
Tip: If you wish to add more detail or color to your cookie, you can use any leftover glaze and thicken it with powdered sugar until it becomes a more pipeable consistency. I love adding a simple white drizzle to create a garland and then add ornament sprinkles.
Decorating Idea 5: Dip in Sanding Sugar
This is the EASIEST decorating method of them all! Simply spread buttercream frosting on your favorite cookie, then dip the top in white sanding sugar to create sparkle & shine. Use white frosting & white sanding sugar to create a winter wonderland white christmas tree!
- Pipe or spread frosting on sugar cookie.
- Immediately dip the top in sanding sugar, gently moving it around so all corners are covered.
Other decorating ideas: This technique works great for snowflakes, snowmen, mittens, and Christmas cookie ornaments!
PSST! Don’t want to decorate your cookies at all? Dye your dough green and make Easy Christmas Tree Cookies – a fun (and less messy) Christmas baking activity for kids!
For more sugar cookie recipes & ideas, check out my Cut Out Sugar Cookie 101 library!