Sugar Cookie Bars

filed under: Bars · Dessert · Food + Drink · Sugar Cookies on December 4, 2020

Sugar Cookie Bars are soft and chewy dessert bars topped with a festive red homemade American buttercream frosting. If you love classic cut-out sugar cookies and decorating them, be sure to check out my Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe.

Sugar Cookie Bars

For the same great taste as my Ugly Sweater Sugar Cookies, but without any rolling or cutting of the dough, this recipe is the way to go. The bars give you all the sugar cookie flavor in a thick dessert bar. Then, the bars are piled high with plenty of frosting.

Sugar Cookie Bars for Christmas Stacked

Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe

It starts with the sugar cookie dough for this recipe. Then, it’s all about the homemade buttercream frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Salt
  • Whole milk
  • Red gel food coloring–Gel food coloring will give you a more vibrant color. If you are using liquid food coloring (not gel), you may need to add a little peppermint extract to offset the bitterness. 

Overhead of Sugar Cookie Bars for Christmas

How to Make Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars

Get out your stand mixer, a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, and preheat the oven to get started. There is no need to chill this dough; it’s easy to get these made!

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined (about 2 minutes).
  2. Next, with the mixer on low, add in the eggs and egg yolks.
  3. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Then, with the mixer back on low, add the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Mix in the flour mixture about a cup at a time until fully incorporated.
  7. Press the batter into the baking dish.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes. You don’t want to overbake these bars.
  9. Let the bars cool as you make the buttercream frosting.

Sprinkles Being Dropped on Sugar Cookie Bars for Christmas

American Buttercream Frosting

American buttercream is the easiest style of buttercream to make with very few ingredients and steps. You will be able to pile on the frosting and make it as bright in color as you desire!

  • To properly cream the butter and sugar to form the buttercream, the butter must start at room temperature. If the butter is too cold, the emulsion might break causing a separated buttercream.
  • A great reason to use buttercream for these bars is it accepts color so beautifully.
  • If the buttercream will not be used right away it must be stored in the refrigerator. It will firm up quite a bit and should be allowed to come back to room temperature before piping or spreading. Depending on how long it was stored you may need to re-mix it quickly.

How to Make Bright Red Frosting

If it’s at all possible to plan ahead, make your icing a day or two in advance. The color will deepen considerably as it sets. The ratio I use is a 1-ounce bottle of McCormick red food color in about 4 cups of buttercream. If using gel, it will be much less. 

I make the frosting as directed and add the food color when I add the vanilla. Make sure it is fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. I will then dampen a towel and set it over the bowl for a few hours. If the red looks perfect after a few hours I will place it in an airtight container and store it until needed. If the color doesn’t seem red enough I will add more food color 1/2 teaspoon at a time allowing it to set for a few hours between each addition. If you have the time to let the frosting rest overnight you will see that it darkens considerably and you often do not need any more food color!

Overhead of Cut Sugar Cookie Bars for Christmas

Looking for More Dessert Bars?

Butterfinger Bars

Snickerdoodle Rice Krispy Bars

Birthday Blondies

Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars

4.86 from 7 votes
Sugar Cookie Bars
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins

Sugar Cookie Bars are soft and chewy dessert bars topped with a festive red homemade American buttercream frosting.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sugar Cookie Bars
Servings: 12
Calories: 821 kcal
Author: Amanda
  • cups (3 sticks or 340g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (454g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons whole milk, as needed
  • red gel food coloring, as much as needed for desired color
  • *If you are not using gel food color, you may want to add peppermint extract to cover the bitterness of red food coloring.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well-combined (about 2 minutes).

  3. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs and egg yolks, mixing until well incorporated.

  4. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.

  5. With the mixer back on low, add the vanilla and almond extract.

  6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

  7. Mix the flour mixture with the butter mixture about a cup at a time until fully incorporated.

  8. Press the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes.

  9. Remove from the oven and let cool as you make the buttercream frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
  1. Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

  2. Start mixing on low speed until the sugar is incorporated with the butter. Increase the mixing speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  3. Adjust the consistency with milk as needed.

  4. Add in food coloring until desired color is reached. Spread the buttercream over the cooled sugar cookie bars. Cut and enjoy!

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  • Stephanie M says:

    Making these right now because I accidentally on purpose showed them to my husband after dinner… The batter seemed too thin to put into the oven right away (I had a hard time spreading it in the pan) so I’m cooling it down before I bake it. I hope that’s right to do, although it doesn’t say to chill it. We’ll see! Lol

  • Stephanie M says:

    Actually, not sure why I only rated this 4 stars. They were such a hit!!! Another great recipe, Amanda!!! So delicious.

  • V Jones says:

    I love your recipes! Have you ever considered including vegan adaptations at the bottom of each one?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I haven’t… I am not a vegan and simply not informed enough to make sure I am adhering to the guidelines.

  • Michelle says:

    Just made these today and they turned out fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      So glad!

  • Gail Richardson says:

    Hello from Aunt Gail in Nevada!

    Just wanted to let you know I am paying attention to “the blog” and also wanted to wish all of you at I am Baker a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Love to all!

  • Toni P says:

    Great recipe. Delicious!

  • Linda Clark says:

    I have always used Almond Extract in addition to Vanilla in sugar cookies. Would never make them without it. So good and so is this recipe for a chewy cookie alternative.

  • Martha Anderson says:

    I might just eat the printout of the recipe – these look SO GOOD. Thank you for adding the extra decadence that my Cookie Season needed!!! xox

  • Beth says:

    delicious! tastes like a traditional sugar cookie from my childhood. those were always my favorite at Christmas time. this recipe is quick and easy. i had to bake mine a little longer – left them in until they were light brown on top and around edges – about 10 minutes longer than recipe recommends. (probably my oven!)

  • Danielle Muscarelle says:

    Do I have to add coloring to the frosting?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      No, of course not. 🙂

  • Susan Jane Maxwell says:

    I will be making the crinkle cookie and the sugar cookie bars. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sarah says:

    These are SO good! I made a half recipe to try them out and wish I’d made a full pan. I sort of can’t be bothered with sugar cookies (just not quite baker enough to break out the rolling pin) but these are seriously perfect. These will be on repeat!

  • Kate Hamilton says:

    These are delish! Turned out amazing! Thank you!

  • Katie says:

    OMG. These are perfection. Awesomely buttery sugar cookies that I don’t have to roll out! I may need to retire my cookie cutters since I only (reluctantly) use them once a year. I made these with ermine frosting since I had a hankering for it and they were divine.

  • Jane Wright says:

    Help!! What did I do wrong?? I made these today for the first time and after adding an additional 10 minutes to the cook time it still looked raw in the middle. I know they’re supposed to be chewy but I suspect mine was too mushy. I used a 9×13 but maybe mine is more shallow?? I don’t know what I did wrong. 🙁

    Also, I was reading the comments and I wish I could react to the comment asking you if food coloring is mandatory for the frosting! bahahaha

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Oh dear! So sorry. So if that happens in the future and you notice the edges browning but the middle is not done, you can tent the pan around the edges with foil, and continue cookie. Yes, I have noticed that every 9×13 seems to be different in size. (so weird!) You can also do this trick: When making the bars, press the dough away from the edges a bit so that it is thicker in the middle. The dough naturally rises more where it is exposed to the most heat (the pan) so having a bit less dough there will mean things cook more evenly. Hope that helps!

  • doris stuart says:

    can you omit the almond cuz I dont have it or add more vanilla

  • LindaThomas says:

    I’m so happy to see this recipe! I’ll be able to make more sugar cookies now! Thank you 😃

  • Cindy says:

    I wish I could give these 10 stars!! They are DELICIOUS!!! And so pretty! I left the frosting white and used red and green sprinkles. They are so chewy, taste just like a thick sugar cookie! Thank you for this recipe!!