Reader’s Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies

Reader's Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies

Reader’s Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies ~ these pretty Scandinavian sugar cookies are a deliciously simple cookie that you can decorate with your own homemade colored sugar!

Reader's Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookiesrecipe box

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,

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!

Decorating 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

Classic Swedish Sugar Cookies decoated with homemade colored sugar

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


notes ~

  • 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.

Reader's Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies ~ pin


Reader's Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies
3.62 from 18 votes

Reader’s Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies

Reader's Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies ~ these pretty Scandinavian sugar cookies are a deliciously simple cookie that you can decorate with your own homemade colored sugar!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Yield 2 dozen cookies
Author Sue Moran


  • 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


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and egg well.
  • Mix the dry ingredients and combine with the sugar mixture.
  • Form into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and roll in sugar.
  • Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until they just start to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.



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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    I made this last year, and they were beautiful and tasty. This year I have tried 3 attempts and each time they spread. I am very careful to make the butter is room temperature. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

    • Reply
      December 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Not sure either, but you might try refrigerating the balls for 15 minutes before baking, and make sure you use a cool cookie sheet, not one that has just come out of the oven from the last batch.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Why did you use baking powder in place of cream of tartar? Why do you use vanilla paste instead of vanilla? I’m trying to understand the underlying reasons so I know how to apply them in other recipes. I’m going to make this next week for a luncheon at work. Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2019 at 2:07 am

      Baking powder is just the more common leavener, and I use vanilla paste because it has a better flavor, in my opinion.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2015 at 6:16 am

    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!

    • Reply
      December 27, 2017 at 6:14 am

      I agree with the prettiness of the colors, but am not quite sure what makes these cookies Swedish?

      • Reply
        Connie Moore
        January 4, 2018 at 5:59 pm

        My step Dad was both Swedish and Norwegian and every Christmas his parents made these. Everything we had on Christmas Eve was from their mother land. So thankful to find this recipe after so many years. Happy Happy Happy?

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    November 16, 2015 at 9:28 am

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

  • Reply
    November 15, 2015 at 6:29 pm

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

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s+Recipes
    November 15, 2015 at 4:13 am

    They are so festive with colourful sugar sprinkles.

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    November 14, 2015 at 11:05 pm

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

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    November 14, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    November 14, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Such pretty cookies, I love the sparkling sugars!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2015 at 5:29 pm

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

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm

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

  • Reply
    November 14, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    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 🙂

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Go for it, Irene, these are so easy!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2015 at 11:31 am

    I love these! The colors are so beautiful!!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Thanks Shaun, I love to color my own sugar because I can get an array of unusual shades without spending all that $$.

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