Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

Frosted sugar cookie bars are everything you love about a big, soft, frosted sugar cookie, in an easy to make bar form. This beloved sugar cookie recipe has been a fan favorite for years. They’re perfectly soft and buttery. However, the downside of sugar cookies is that they’re a lot of work. Discovering you can bake the whole batch of dough in a rimmed baking sheet is a game changer. You still get the perfect soft bite and a layer of fluffy buttercream icing, but they take just minutes to whip up. You have a lot of flexibility on quantity as well. Cut these sugar cookie bars into big squares for some drama, or little bites to stretch for a crowd of 50! These will become a go-to for party treats for sure.

Ingredient and Equipment List

  • Butter – Butter is a main component for both flavor and texture. I recommend real, salted butter. If you use unsalted butter, you’ll want to add about 1 teaspoon extra salt to your dough.
  • Sugar– White granulated sugar.
  • Eggs – It’s important to use large or extra large eggs in this recipe or your dough may turn out a little dry.
  • Vanilla Extract – Pure or artificial vanilla extract is fine.
  • Almond Extract – I love almond extract in my sugar cookies, but if you aren’t a fan, you can omit this, or replace with additional vanilla, or even another flavor extract of your choice (lemon is also pretty great).
  • Flour – Use regular all purpose flour. It’s very important to measure your flour carefully in this recipe, see tips in recipe.
  • Baking Soda – Baking soda will help your cookie bars rise.
  • Salt – I suggest using normal table salt in this recipe, because the small granules will distribute better.
  • Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar is used for the fluffy buttercream frosting.
  • Milk – Just a small amount of milk is used for the consistency in the frosting. Any type of milk will work just fine, even a plant based one.
  • Sprinkles and food coloring – Optional but fun!
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Prepare your dough by creaming together butter and sugar, adding egg and extracts, and finally adding dry ingredients until you have a soft, cohesive dough.
  3. Press the dough into your lined baking sheet. I find it’s easiest to drop dough in small piles first, evenly over the baking sheet, and then press them down evenly with your hands. To get a nice smooth and even top, place a piece of parchment over the top of your dough and use your hands to smooth it out.
  1. After the dough is cooked and removed from the oven to cool, you can prepare your buttercream icing.
  2. To prepare frosting, whip together butter and sugar, add extracts and salt, and then add liquid until you get the consistency you like.
  3. Spread frosting on completely cooled bars and cut.
sugar cookie bars with pink frosting on a baking tray

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best container to freeze sugar cookie bars?

One of my most favorite tools for freezing baked goods is a Foodsaver. It vacuum seals food and will keep things fresh and delicious for several months. If I’m making large batch bars for a special occasion, I almost always vacuumm seal the cookie base and frost them fresh.

What would cause my sugar cookie bars to be dry?

Aside from over-baking, the biggest culprit to dry cookie bars is over-measuring your flour. The best solution is to use a food scale for accurate measuring. If you don’t own a food scale, then first fluff your flour in its container using a large spoon. Gently take spoonfuls of flour and add them to your measuring cup, leveling with a knife when it gets full. Never scoop your flour with your measuring cup, or tap the flour down inside the cup.

How do I tell if my sugar cookie bars are done?

These bars are best when slightly undercooked so they stay nice and soft. You want to watch the texture and color of the top of the bars. If they are turning golden brown, they are probably getting overcooked. I take mine out when they are still pale in color, but I can see that the texture of the top of the bars is set and matte and not shiny and slightly glossy from the raw dough.

How do I get sprinkles to stick to my sugar cookie bars?

Make sure you add sprinkles immediately after spreading the frosting. If you wait even a few minutes, the frosting quickly sets and the sprinkles won’t stick.

pink frosted sugar cookies stacked on a baking tray

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

4.97 from 31 votes
Soft chewy sugar cookies, in an easy-to-make bar form! Great for feeding a crowd. Your new family favorite!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings24 pieces

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 cups butter softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs large or extra large
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 6 cups flour 750g weighed, or spooned lightly into the measuring cup and leveled with a knife.
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

Frosting

  • 1 cup butter softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or more, if needed milk; whole or evaporated if you have it handy
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a half sheet-sized rimmed baking sheet (13x18x1") with parchment, or spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, and extracts.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. *Note: weighing your flour is recommended.  If you don’t have a food scale, use a large spoon to fluff your flour in its container first, and then lightly spoon it into the measuring cup, leveling with a knife.
  • Slowly add flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated.
  • Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking sheet. It helps to drop it by spoonfuls evenly all over, and then press down with clean hands.  Place a piece of parchment on top and then use your hand to smooth it out as even as possible.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Ideally, you should remove from oven before it starts turning golden brown.  You may see slight browning on the very edges, but the center should look pale, but set.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • While the cookie bars are cooling, prepare the frosting. Whip the butter until light and fluffy and slowly add powdered sugar a bit at a time until incorporated.
  • Add extracts.  Very slowly, add a little bit of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring.
  • When the pan of cookies is completely cool, spread with frosting and sprinkle with colored sprinkles immediately.
  • Cut into squares. The number of bars this makes will depend on how big you cut the squares, but these are VERY rich and you can get away with cutting these into 40+ servings!

Notes

Tips for the best, soft bars:
  • Weighing your flour is recommended.  If you don’t have a food scale, use a large spoon to fluff your flour in its container first, and then lightly spoon it into the measuring cup, leveling with a knife.
  • Make sure to use large or extra large eggs.
  • Do not over bake!

Nutrition

Calories: 449kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 339mg, Potassium: 50mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 731IU, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
Calories: 449kcal
Author: Sara Wells
Cost: $5
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!

Helpful Tools

kitchen scale
Nicewell

Food Scale

Inexpensive, sturdy, super easy to clean, and sleek. I can’t recommend this kitchen scale highly enough!
stand mixer
KitchenAid

Stand Mixer

Always a beautiful, classic choice, this KitchenAid mixer is a great choice for all-purpose heavy-duty mixing. While this isn’t the biggest size, we actually prefer this one, especially for everyday mixing.
half baking sheet
Nordic Ware

Half Baking Sheet

These heavy-duty pans will yield even and consistent cooking and browning. For baking cookies, plan on having 3-4 of these in your kitchen.
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Just made these today for a Father’s Day luncheon at church. The cookies were good – much like a soft shortbread, I agree. But the frosting was AH-MAZING! I used the listed recipe for frosting, and used evaporated milk as suggested, and I’ve never had frosting so good! I’ll never go back to my other frosting recipes.

  2. I made this for a Baby Shower tonight. I think I may have inadvertently sold 20 of your cookbooks in the process. AMAZING!

  3. In case anyone is still looking at these comments, I made these cookies as written and liked them (and got rave reviews from everyone who tried them). But the texture was a little too shortbread-y for my taste, so I tried splitting the dough in half and pressing it into 2 jelly roll pans instead (13×18), and it was perfect! It is more the thickness of a “regular” sugar cookie, and it goes twice as far if you need to make a bunch of cookies at once. I have made it many times since, either the full recipe in two pans or half the recipe in one pan. Love it!

    1. Katie, this is exactly what I was wondering. And yes, I was still looking through the comments to see if anyone had done what you did. Glad to know it works!

  4. 5 stars
    Made these as St Patrick’s Day treats for my department (with green icing and sprinkles of course!) And they were a big hit. I love that they are super easy to make and take. I think I might try lemon extract in the bars and frosting sometime.

  5. 5 stars
    This is what my daughter chose for to take to her class for her birthday tomorrow, with green icing of course. I made them and we sampled them (you know to make sure they were ok before sharing) and they are AWESOME!! I’ve been using your sugar cookie recipe for a while now (and have gotten much praise) but this is SO much easier that we may be making bars from now on. Bravo and thank you!

  6. In this recipe there is almond extract, but there is someone in my house that is allergic to almonds. Would it be alright to not use the almond extract?

  7. OMG, what a terrific idea. I love sugar cookies. I bake a lot of cookies, but avoid the ones I have to roll out. Boy Howdy, problem solved! I wish I had read this post prior to Valentine’s Day. Oh well—it’s all good.

  8. 5 stars
    Mmmhmm. A giant pan of fail is what I got when I tried using a different recipe. But YOUR’S!?? They turned out so perfect and exactly what I was looking for. I made them twice this last weekend for valentine parties and they were a hit all around. THANKS!

  9. 5 stars
    I made them. They were epic. My advice–just use vanilla extract.
    That way all of the kids will eat them and you won’t have to buy new pants.

  10. I almost never leave comments, and I never leave a “great recipe! I just changed everything about it” comment. But. I made these yesterday, and I may or may not have been trying to both watch Downton Abbey and read the recipe on my iPad, which involves switching the screen and apparently not reading closely. Because I read “2 cups butter” as 2 sticks of butter. And so that’s what I used. And then I might have been distracted while I was scooping and leveling my flour (because of something with Lady Mary, or Anna, or someone) and I couldn’t remember if I was on five or six, so I stopped and figured I see how the dough looked. Anyway. It all mixed together, pressed into the pan nicely, and baked up wonderfully. And while making the frosting I only used 1 stick of butter, because that’s how my buttercream icing recipe goes. And can I say, those cookies are still yummy! In fact, I didn’t suspect anything was off at all until I flipped to the recipe again today and noticed that my butter measurement was way off! So, long story short, if the pound of butter is freaking you out, you could cut it down and use one cup less of flour. (I think. ;)) I am now, however, wondering how much richer these cookies would be with more butter…

    1. I did this, too, with 2 sticks vs 2 cups (I think I skipped down to the ingredients for the frosting). They turned out great. I was thinking while mixing that the dough looked a bit dry, for all that butter, but it wasn’t til they were cooling that I re-read and flipped out a bit. But they were still very delicious! I am going to try the recipe the way it’s written, still, although I’m going to try Megan’s idea of making a half pan in my Pyrex. I didn’t frost the first batch, so I’m definitely frosting this one. At least you have the excuse of an engrossing TV show, Jolie; I was singing Disney tunes and punk rock anthems with my cat, so should have been able to concentrate properly. 😉

      1. Oh, the one thing I noticed about less butter is that it did stick, just a Little Bit, but not enough to ruin the cookie. 🙂

        1. I didn’t notice any sticking because I lined my pan with parchment paper–I did that little trick where you leave some overhang so that you can lift the whole thing out of the pan once it’s cooled (and frosted, in this case), which made it a cinch to slice and serve. I actually really liked the cookie base on this with the 2 sticks of butter. I think I must have used just five cups of flour, which basically made this very close to the sugar cookie dough I usually make. The cookies were thicker than my rolled-out ones, but still nice and chewy and flavorful and not at all dry or crumbly. And certainly not cakey (blech).

          Glad I’m not the only one who misread the recipe!

  11. Have you found it possible to overbeat this frosting? I accidentally let it go a little too long, and though the flavor was ok the texture was weird. It almost seemed to become a waxy consistancy. Tis odd because everything I have read online seems to indicate that it isn’t possible to overbeat buttercream…

  12. Have you thought about listing the flour by weight instead of volume? This would produce a more reliable measure. Once I started baking by weight (bc of Alton Brown’s Baking Book), I found my results more predictable. If the flour is a big issue, this could help! Weigh the flour, then also fluff it up with a whisk before putting it in? Just a thought.

  13. Okay, lame question, but would a half recipe work in a 9×13 Pyrex? I only have one pound of butter in the fridge and am not going out again in time to pick more up. I love this idea, I hate cutting and frosting 50 individual cookies!

    1. Not lame at all! Lame would be, “So I’m out of butter, could I substitute a pound of applesauce??” Anyway. Yes, you can totally make half a recipe in a 9×13″ pan. 🙂

      1. They turned out great! I did have to bake them the full 30 min even though it was a smaller batch. Probably because of my clear glass pan though. They were a hit at my baby sisters mission call opening!

        1. Thanks for trying this out, Megan! I’m thinking of trying the half batch, after failing How To Read 101 the first time I tried this. 😉

  14. 5 stars
    Yum! I have made sugar cookie bars before and I loved how easy it was but the recipe I used wasn’t amazing but I love your sugar cookie recipe so I am excited to try it this way! Thanks for being so awesome!

  15. 5 stars
    I made these this weekend, and have heard nothing but good things ever since. (except for the part where I forgot to tell my nut-allergy friend that there was almond extract in them…agh!!) They are delish!! And I may never go back to making rolled out cookies.

  16. Just FYI, on your frosting instructions it doesn’t say when to put in the extract. I put it in with the butter and powdered sugar. Thanks for the inspiration to make a yummy Valentine treat!

  17. 5 stars
    I have four baking sheets of this size, too! I love them all, and would definitely miss one of them if it disappeared. I am considering buying another couple just in case someone did try to steal one. 🙂 Thank you for your recipe for these that actually fits into this size pan. Other (inferior, I’m sure) sugar cookie bar recipes always seem to be for a 9×13 pan. That is not nearly enough yumminess to go around!

  18. I’m going to make these for Valentine’s using a heart-shaped cookie cutter and then the “scraps” as “broken hearts” or “Take a little piece of my heart” along with the pretty heart shapes…

    1. Update: I made these last night and used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, pressed into the bars just after coming out of the oven and they came out perfectly! One pan made 36 hearts…and lots of “scraps” for me to eat. I may or may not have made myself just a litttttle sick on cookie last night.
      Also, the almond extract addition to sugar cookies? Life. changing. Thanks for another home run ladies!

  19. A few things:

    First: Ladies. Ease up. This is not rocket science. If you do anything *other than* plunge your measuring cup into the bag of flour and use whatever ends up in the cup, you will do fine. Folks have been baking without the benefit of weight measures forever. Some of my grandmother’s cookbooks list “butter the size of an egg”, for goodness’ sake. The fact that one should “scoop and level” should not be a baking revelation; it’s pretty basic baking protocol. Anyway, it will be good no matter what, to be honest. With a pound and a half of butter total, how can it not be?

    Second: A pound. And a half. Of butter!!!!

    Third: My family recipe for (homemade) slice & bake sugar cookies includes lemon zest and nutmeg. It’s awesome! Just throwing that out there for inspiration. I have been known to make it just to eat the (unpasteurized, potentially salmonella-filled) cookie dough. So good!

  20. 5 stars
    I made them yesterday and had no problem at all with the texture. I creamed the butter/sugar really well but stopped the mixer as soon as the flour was combined. Maybe that would help Jill for next time? My friends talked me into making cream cheese frosting but I’m trying yours next time. They were a huge hit so thank you!

  21. 4 stars
    So, I made these. The taste was phenomenal. But, the texture was not quite as phenomenal. They were just kind of dense. I promise that I spooned the flour!!! I followed the recipe to a tee!!! The only thing I can think of is that I over-mixed them. Is that a thing? Overmixing your cookies? (Sorry for such a rookie question)

    1. Overmixing is totally a thing! 🙂 That could be it. How fresh was your baking powder? That’s my best guess, but I can’t say for sure. 🙂

      1. It might be the brand of flour, too. My sister gave me some Gold Medal, I think it was, flour once (and now that I think about it, she should have known better!). I have only used White Lily flour in the past, and I could NOT get my biscuits to bake up normally. I finally threw the rest of the bag away!

  22. 5 stars
    Made these over the weekend and they are delicious. Problem is, I have gained 5 lbs from eating the entire pan. I need to stay away from your site the week of Valentines. Sugar cookies are my favorite cookie (and my weakness), therefore, Valentines is my favorite holiday. 🙂

  23. 5 stars
    I made these and they were great! Don’t stress about the weight of the flour, just spoon it in and then level it. Just watch them carefully in the oven; I took them out when they were barely, barely the lightest brown around the edges but NOT on top and they were perfect. I don’t love almond extract either, but the amounts are just right in this recipe!

  24. 5 stars
    I’d like to add my voice to those asking for the weight of the flour. I use a kitchen scale as much as possible in my baking as I find it makes for much more consistent results. However I’m making these today whether you get around to the weighing of flour or not! Maybe it’s something you could consider for future baking posts? I know it would be appreciated by many.

  25. How many ounces is a cup of flour “lightly spooned?” I think everyone “lightly spoons” bit differently, and I find the scale way easier and more consistent.

    1. I would have to weigh it out. But…I just get a regular spoon (like for soups or cereal) and spoon heaping spoonfuls in, then level it out and it comes out great. 🙂

  26. Would you be willing to do a weight measurement of the flour? I think that would help my OCD self to make sure I don’t do too much.

    1. I would…but not tonight, hahaha. In the meantime, just grab a cereal spoon and just spoon out heaping spoonfuls (wow…could I say the word “spoon” more??) until the cup is heaping, then level it off. 🙂

  27. 5 stars
    I’ve been craving sugar cookies, and these look perfect! I think I’ll make them for my primary class so I don’t end up eating half the pan myself.

  28. 5 stars
    THANK YOU!!! I don’t love the whole chill and roll and cut out part of sugar cookies…but being that they’re my hubbys face I try…but these are awesome and so so so easy!! Especially when I have leftover buttercream in the fridge needing a place to go !! 🙂 I only made a quarter sheet just to try..about the same cooking time. Perfect!!!!