Hi all — welcome to my Reader’s Recipes series of holiday cookies. I’m going to be sharing YOUR family recipes here on Saturdays from now until the New Year. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent in recipes for me to try, and if you want to participate, there’s still time — you can get the submission form here.

*submissions are now closed for 2015

recipe box This recipe for Swedish Sugar Cookies was sent in by Jane, who lives in Nipomo, California.  Jane says it was given to her by her husband’s Norwegian aunt and she has been making the cookie for almost 50 years!  Now that’s a cookie with a proven track record ;)  These cookies are utterly simple, but absolutely divine. Jane told me that “They are a bit crunchy on the edges but softer in the middle.  It is by far one of my top five cookie recipes and I bake a LOT of different cookies, cookies are kind of my thing!”  She doesn’t lie, people, this cookie is a real winner.  I was leery of it at first because of how plain the recipe is, but I’m so glad I tried them.  Promise me you will too!

Reader's Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies

The first thing I thought of when I tasted these was that they’re like the ‘real deal’ version of slice and bake sugar cookies from the supermarket refrigerator aisle.  I admit I’ve been guilty of leaning on those too many times when my kids begged to bake during busy holiday seasons.  If I’d only taken a few more minutes to make a simple cookie like this with them, the payoff is much better flavor and texture, and definitely more delicious memories!

Reader's Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies for the holidays

Surprisingly, sugar cookies aren’t always that easy to nail.  I’ve had so many that were too soft, too crisp, or too ‘eggy’ tasting.  This one is just perfect, the only change I made was to double the vanilla because I’m a fanatic about my vanilla.  These just have an old fashioned holiday taste, that’s the best way I can describe them.  The crisp outer edge and the soft center is fantastic.

Swedish Sugar Cookies with colored sugar

Jane’s recipe says to roll the balls of dough in sugar before baking.  The plain sugar was wonderful, but I decided to go with colored sugar for a more festive feel.  You can purchase colored sugar or you can easily color it yourself at home with a drop or two of food coloring, just mix it up with a spoon.  You can see in the photos I used regular sugar and some larger crystal sugar in the raw for a variety of textures and sparkles.  I have a post all about it here.

Swedish Sugar Cookies

When you make your own colored sugar you can customize it to whatever holiday you’re celebrating, and your kids can help you make it.

Making sugar cookies with homemade colored sugar

Jane was quite insistent that I try this recipe in her message to me, and I’m glad she was so persuasive because I might have passed them over and missed a gem of a cookie.

Sedish Sugar Cookies rolled in sugar and ready to bake

Reader’s Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies


  • I cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla paste)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (I used baking powder)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour (measure with the fluff and scoop method)


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and egg well.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and combine with the sugar mixture.
  4. Form into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and roll in sugar.
  5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until they just start to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.


  • I used my trusty 1 inch cookie scoop and slightly rounded the dough.  My cookies cooked in 8 minutes.  I got about 2 dozen cookies.
  • Cookies rolled in sugar before baking can lose some sparkle as they expand and bake.  You can sprinkle on extra sugar halfway through the baking time, or sprinkle more on just as they come out of the oven.

Decorating Swedish Sugar Cookies

Classic Swedish Sugar Cookies decoated with homemade colored sugar

 My family will be enjoying your Swedish Sugar Cookies this year Jane, thank you!

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13 Responses to Reader’s Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies

  1. Susan says:

    I appreciate that the yield of the recipe is smaller than the usual 3-4 dozen. Living with just one other person, that cookie jar can be such temptation when it holds a huge batch. I also like the sugar colors you chose! Just so pretty!

  2. Beautiful cookies and I love sugar cookies (as does all my family!). I’ll be making a batch of these for the holidays :)

  3. cheri says:

    Hi Sue, what beautiful cookies, I can see myself making these for the holidays, thank you!

  4. They are so festive with colourful sugar sprinkles.

  5. I love reader recipes! They have some real gems :D And I do love the way that the Scandinavians bake. I’ve never had a Swedish cookie that I didn’t love!

  6. These look like jewels Sue! How pretty they would be on a platter with your beautiful color sugar. It’s funny how sometimes the best recipes are the simplest ones that would be easy to pass by.

  7. Such pretty cookies, I love the sparkling sugars!

  8. Jen says:

    Man, these are my favorite kind of holiday cookies. Nice and simple!

  9. So pretty! You did a beautiful job on the color – I love that you make your own colored sugar :) Pinning!

  10. Irene says:

    Every year I get lazy and buy the slice and bake from the store and every year I’m so mad at myself for not getting it together to make cookies from scratch, I’m going to make these this year they look fantastic :)

  11. Shaun says:

    I love these! The colors are so beautiful!!

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