No cookie cutters needed to make the cutest St. Patrick’s Day sugar cookies ever! These festive treats feature royal icing designs and shamrocks for the luckiest treat ever.
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You all know I love a good decorated cookie.
I do all sorts of fun seasonal things around the holidays with the kids that involve decorating sweets and treats.
But I am not about the life where we make it all homemade.
Unless I am looking to fill two afternoons with an activity.
Which right now with three small kids, homeschool, and working at home I am decidedly not.
So for St. Patrick’s Day, I figured why not play with cookie decorating, which is the best part of making cookies anyway aside from eating the cookie dough.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that come Christmastime, I love to make sugar cookies. The best part for me is decorating them with royal icing.
While I’m still by no means an expert, it’s fun to play with and gives me an outlet for my creative side.
But…. I’m not about making from scratch sugar cookies all the time just so I can decorate.
Why don’t we make them easy? Like, easy enough to do with 3 kids including a baby who’s not always sleeping through the night.
Then my oldest and I can still go to town decorating without me having to work too hard to make it happen.
Easy St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies
That’s exactly what these shamrock sugar cookies are! So easy I can do it even in my constant state of caffeine fueled cheese brain (you know when it feels like mom brain and sleep deprivation have turned your mind into a hole filled slice of Swiss?).
These cookies use store bought cookie dough so you don’t have to fuss making cookie dough.
You can get right to the fun stuff with this St. Patrick’s Day cookie tutorial and start decorating almost right away!
And don’t worry, we’ve even made decorating cookies with royal icing super easy so you can just have fun.
Ingredients and Supplies
To make these cute decorated sugar cookies, you’ll need a set of ingredients for the cookies and one for the royal icing.
For the cookies you will need:
- Sugar cookie dough- The 16.5 ounce roll of premade Pillsbury dough you can find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
- Flour- All purpose flour to make the dough a bit less sticky when you roll it out.
For the royal icing you’ll need:
- Powdered sugar– This is the base for royal icing. Don’t substitute it for any other ingredient.
- Meringue powder– A lot of royal icing recipes call for egg whites but it weirds me out tbh. I prefer using meringue powder, which you can buy online here or in the food craft sections of craft stores, or near the party supply section in Walmart, and with the baking items in Target.
- Water– Room temperature.
- Food coloring– I highly recommend gel food coloring. It will give you the best, most vibrant color without changing the taste.
You’ll also need some kitchen supplies including:
- Cookie Cutters * optional- There are adorable shamrock cookie cutters available if you want to go that route. I didn’t and just cut my cookies into rectangle shapes for ease.
- Baking sheet
- Icing bottles or piping bags and icing tips
How to Make the Cookies
Combine dough and flour.
Roll the dough to ¼” thickness with a rolling pin.
Cut out cookie shapes.
Bake at 350 for 8 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
How to Make Royal Icing
Add the sugar and meringue powder to the base of a stand mixer.
Add 8 tablespoons of water, using the whisk attachment, beat for 1 minute on low.
Continue to add water one tablespoon at a time until the icing slowly drizzles from the whisk when lifted.
Separate the icing into small mixing bowls and add different food coloring to each, mixing well.
Tip: Keep it easy and just stick to 2 or 3 colors like green, yellow, and white or just green and white. Remember there’s no need to add any food coloring to make white royal icing.
Scoop the icing into piping bags or icing bottles.
How do I know if the royal icing is the right consistency for flood icing?
Flood consistency icing should be a little runny but still able to hold its shape- sort of like honey.
To see if it’s just right, take a spoonful of icing or lift the beater out of the bowl and let the ribbon of icing fall back into the bowl. After 15-20 seconds, the icing ribbons should smooth out into the rest of the icing. This is known as 15 or 20 second count royal icing.
How to Decorate Cookies with Royal Icing
- Start by outlining around the edge of the cookie with icing.
2. Once the cookie is outlined, fill the middle with icing. Use a toothpick to poke bubbles or direct icing into holes.
If you want to make the following designs do not let the icing dry first and continue working on each cookie while the icing is still wet (wet on wet decorating).
To make wet on wet decorations on your sugar cookies try these:Polka Dots: before the flooded area dries, add dots of different colored icing.
Before the flooded area dries, add three dots of white icing, drag a toothpick through each dot, creating a shamrock.
Before the flooded area dries, add stripes of different colored icing and then drag a toothpick through the stripes.
Ok this isn’t really wet on wet decorating since the sprinkles aren’t wet but, before the flooded area dries, add sprinkles so they stick.
Other Designs (Not Wet on Wet)
To make a plaid pattern, you want to allow the flooded icing to dry for four hours. Then, add stripes of white and light green icing to the cookie, creating a plaid pattern.
If you plan to add any details with edible markers, you also want the icing to be fully dry first.
Tips and Tricks
- You can use your favorite homemade sugar cookie recipe instead of store bought dough if you prefer.
- When you make the icing, adding a little water a time is key to getting the proper consistency. It may seem like a drop or two at a time won’t change the consistency much, but it will!
- If you want to use candy as decoration, glue to it the cookie with a drop of icing.
- To use edible marker, allow the icing to completely harden for at least four hours.
Other St. Patrick’s Day Ideas
Looking for other delicious food to make for St. Patrick’s Day? Try these recipes:
And for a fun activity for little learners check out St. Patrick’s Day color by number printables for preschool, kindergarten and homeschool.
Did you make this St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies or any other recipe or project on my site? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked it. And make sure you follow along with me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to see everything we’ve got going on.
- For the cookies:
- 1 package Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- For the royal icing:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 8-12 tablespoons room temperature water
- Gel food coloring
To make the cookies:
- Combine dough and flour.
- Roll it out with a rolling pin to ¼” thickness.
- Cut out cookie shapes.
- Bake at 350 for 8 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
- Let the cookies cool before decorating.
To make the icing:
- Combine sugar and meringue powder in a stand mixer and add 8 tablespoons of water.
- Using the whisk attachment, beat the mix for 1 minute on low. Continue to add water one tablespoon at a time until the icing drizzles from the whisk when lifted and holds its shape for about 15 seconds before spreading into the rest of the icing.
- Once prepared - if the icing is too hard, add more water one drop at a time. Too runny, add more sugar one teaspoon at a time.
- Separate the icing into small mixing bowls and add desired food coloring. Mix well.
- Scoop the icing into piping bags or icing bottles.
- Decorate as desired.
- Line around the edge of the design with icing and fill the middle.
- Use a toothpick to poke bubbles or direct icing into holes.
- For wet on wet techniques like polka dots, shamrocks and zig zags, make the desired pattern in the royal icing while it's still wet, piping on the icing as directed above. Use sprinkles and candy while the icing is wet.
- For a plaid pattern, let the flooded royal icing set for 4 hours prior to decorating with the plaid design.
See post for more instructions on how to make the royal icing designs.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 0gSugar: 39gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information depends on the number of cookies you get out of each batch.