Skip the fancy decorating and make these EASY Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies instead! By coloring the dough green & pressing in a few mini M&M ornaments, you can achieve easy Christmas cookies without all the work! The perfect Christmas baking activity for kids!
If you don’t like the idea of decorating Christmas tree sugar cookies all fancy but still want a cute easy Christmas treat, these are the perfect cookies for you! An easy kid friendly Christmas recipe that is fun for the whole family!
Tips for making these Easy Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Fun Baking Recipe for Kids: The kids can help dye the dough & add on the M&M ornaments! It’s like playing with play-doh, but edible!
- No Decorating Required: Although the dough is flavored with vanilla & almond extract (making is similar to a shortbread or butter cookie!), you can add an icing or Christmas Cookie Frosting if you’d like! If doing that, wait to add the M&M’s until after frosting. You could also just do an icing drizzle on top for an easy way to add a slightly sweeter taste!
- Don’t have a Christmas tree cookie cutter? You can roll these out & then use a knife to cut into triangles! Or use a round cup to make them into wreaths instead.
- Make them mini! These would also be so cute with mini Christmas tree cutter & mini M&M’s! I love miniature cookies because they’re perfect for gifting on holiday cookie platters.
What you need:
- Sugar Cookie Dough (recipe below)
- Christmas tree cookie cutter
- Green gel food coloring
- Mini red M&M’s for decorating
- Optional: icing or Christmas Cookie Frosting to drizzle or spread on top (if using frosting, cut the extracts in the dough in half)
How to Make Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies:
Step 1: Make the sugar cookie dough
Make the sugar cookie dough using the instructions in the recipe card below. You can also use premade sugar cookie dough from store-bought or Pillsbury tubes.
If doing this, I’d recommend adding an easy Christmas cookie icing or frosting to drizzle/spread on top since the dough won’t be as flavored. You could also use a traditional royal icing, although that’s more work and we’re trying to go simple here!
Step 2: Dye dough green & cut out cookies
Use food coloring to color the dough green. I highly recommend using a gel food coloring or dough dye, as liquid coloring will require a lot and therefore alter the taste. We want it to look green but not taste green!
Once dyed, roll out into 1/2″ thick sheets and cut with a Christmas tree cookie cutter.
Don’t have a Christmas tree cookie cutter? You can roll these out & then use a knife to cut into triangles! Or use a round cup to make them into wreaths instead.
Step 3: Press on red M&M’s
Before baking, press a few red mini M&M’s on top to make the ornaments. If you plan to add frosting, wait to add these M&M’s until after baking/frosting. In this case, you can also add festive or green sprinkles to the frosting!
Tip: You could also add a yellow M&M to the tip for a “star”, just make sure it’s fully on the dough and not hanging off the top or it will melt faster!
Step 4: Bake
Bake according to instructions in recipe card below, let cool, and enjoy! If desired, top with Christmas Cookie Frosting!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I add frosting or icing?
What if I don’t have a Christmas tree cookie cutter?
You can roll these out & then use a knife to cut into triangles! Or use a round cup to make them into wreaths instead. So many ways you could make this xmas cookie recipe your own!
What food coloring do you recommend?
How do I get a lime green color?
Lime green is achieved with a mixture of green & yellow food coloring (or blue and yellow). When trying to get a light color, I always recommending using a toothpick and dipping it in the gel food coloring instead of squeezing in drops (see my food coloring post for reference photos). This allows you to control the “build” the color as you please! But don’t stress about the color, any green color works for these!
Looking for more Christmas baking ideas & EASY Christmas cookie recipes? Here are a few of my favorites!
- Christmas Holly Cookie Cups
- Soft Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
- The Ultimate Guide to Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Christmas Cookie Frosting (Buttercream)
- Easy Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe
Easy Christmas Tree Cookies
Skip the fancy decorating! Simply dye the sugar cookie dough green & top with mini M&M's for an easy Christmas tree cookie!
Sugar Cookie Dough
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (microwave cold butter for 10 seconds to slightly soften)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (nut allergy? you can substitute this with extra vanilla!)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Green gel food coloring
- Mini red M&M's
- Christmas Tree Cookie Cutter
- Buttercream Frosting (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed for 20-30 seconds. Mix in egg, vanilla and almond extract. Add in baking powder, salt, and flour and mix until combined.
Use green gel food coloring to dye dough and mix until all color is incorporated. Transfer to a flour-covered surface and use a rolling pin to roll dough 3/8" to 1/2" thick.
Use a Christmas tree cookie cutters to cut out, then press on red mini M&M's into the dough.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Depending on size of your cookie cutter and thickness of dough, you may need to bake for a few extra minutes.
Once baked, remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack. Do not remove cookies from hot pan. Let them rest on the hot pan for 10-15 minutes to finish baking before removing from the pan.
Optional: when completely cooled, top with icing or frosting. See notes section below for frosting ideas.
Store in airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze for later.
- Can I add frosting or icing? You sure can! While my sugar cookie dough recipe is flavored with vanilla and almond extract, you can add more sweetness to these tree cookies by adding icing or Christmas Cookie Frosting. If adding frosting, cut the extracts inside the dough in half.
- What if I don’t have a Christmas tree cookie cutter? You can roll these out & then use a knife to cut into triangles! Or use a round cup to make them into wreaths instead. So many ways you could make this xmas cookie recipe your own!
- What food coloring do you recommend? I highly recommend using a gel food coloring or dough dye, as liquid coloring will require a lot and therefore alter the taste. We want it to look green but not taste green!
- How do I get them lime green? Lime green is achieved with a mixture of green & yellow food coloring. When trying to get a light color, I always recommend using a toothpick and dipping it in the gel food coloring instead of squeezing in drops. This allows you to control the “build” the color as you please! Check out my Christmas Cookie Frosting Guide for holiday color formulas.
Did you make these cookies? Be sure to leave a comment below with how you liked them!