Shamrock Sugar Cookies Recipe

St. Patrick's Day calls for plenty of green, and cookies are no exception. If you are looking for a fun sweet to serve on this particular holiday day, then look no further than these delicious shamrock sugar cookies. Recipe developer Miriam Hahn came up with this wonderful recipe, and there's no doubt that these yummy sugar cookies will hit the spot. "I love having something festive for every holiday, and this is just perfect for St. Patty's day," Hahn raves. "They look so pretty on a platter and are fun to bring to neighbors or serve to kids after school!"

And if you're vegan? No problem! You can make a vegan-friendly version. "These are easy to make vegan by using Earth Balance butter, dairy-free milk, and Aquafaba," Hahn explains. Aquafaba, by the way, is leftover chickpea liquid, which whips up to a similar consistency of egg whites. "You use 3 tablespoons of this for one egg," Hahn notes. "You can't taste the difference!" Whether you go vegan or not, these adorable cookies are sure to bring some festivity to your holiday.

Gather the ingredients to make shamrock cookies

Ready to make some fun and festive cookies? The first thing you will need to do is head to the grocery store. Pop by the refrigerated section and pick up some butter, eggs, and milk. This recipe also calls for sugar and the zest from one orange.

When you head to the baking aisle, grab some baking powder, salt, powdered sugar, meringue powder, and vanilla extract. To make these cookies festive, pick up green food coloring and sprinkles. The last thing you need is water, which you should have at home already. Also, be sure to check your pantry and fridge before grabbing these ingredients at the store — if you bake often, you likely already have many of them on hand!

Beat the first round of ingredients

Now that you have your trip to the store out of the way, it's time to start baking. This recipe won't take too long, but be sure to carve out 45 minutes, most of which are just letting the dough chill. Grab a large bowl and start tossing in ingredients. First, throw in the softened butter, followed by the sugar and orange zest. At this time, you can also mix in the vanilla. Use a hand-mixer to beat everything together for about three minutes. Then, add the egg and 1 ½ tablespoons of milk and beat again until well-combined.

Mix the dry ingredients and combine

In another medium-sized mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients, including the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine and then begin adding the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Blend all of the ingredients until you form a stiff dough. Split the dough into two balls and then cover each with plastic wrap. Stick them in the fridge for 30 minutes. "You put the dough in the fridge to harden it up. This makes it easier and less sticky to roll out and cut into shapes," Hahn shares.

Preheat the oven and prep the work surface

Once you set your dough in the fridge, you can preheat the oven to 375 F. This will give it plenty of time to get hot before you need it. In the meantime, flour a work surface and remove the dough from the fridge. Roll the first ball of dough into an ⅛ inch-thick piece. Use shamrock cookie cutters to cut out shapes and then place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the steps with the other ball of dough.

Then, pop the cookies in the oven and let them bake for about six minutes. They should be firm but not browned. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool for 10 minutes.

Make the frosting

While you wait for your cookies to cool, take out a small bowl to make the frosting. Dump in the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk. Then, add the meringue powder, and mix until combined. Take about ¼ of the frosting mixture and set it to the side if you want white frosting. If you just want green, you can keep all the frosting together. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir well. Use either a freezer bag or a frosting tool and fill it with green frosting. Line the edges of the cookies with frosting. 

Decorate the cookies

After you outline the cookies, add a little bit of water to the frosting. Use a toothpick to spread the center frosting to meet the borders. "You can get as fancy or as simple as you like with these cookies," Hahn notes. "You can skip the piping steps and just spread the frosting with a knife. They will look just as cute." It's totally up to you with what is easiest to do. If you want the white dots, you can add them now. Then, sprinkle the sprinkles over the top.

Serve and enjoy

Congrats, you have completed the recipe! Wasn't that easy? These cookies would be wonderful on their own but there are also plenty of other ways to serve them. "These are good to serve as a snack or as a dessert after a meal. Great with milk or coffee," Hahn shares. "Store in a covered container for a week." If you'd like, you can make the dough ahead of time. "Yes you can easily make the dough ahead of time and just roll it out when you are ready," Hahn shares. We hope that these festive cookies bring a smile to your face, and they're sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike!

Shamrock Sugar Cookies Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
These shamrock sugar cookies are adorable, sweet, and perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cookie on plate
Total time: 51 minutes
  • ⅔ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 4 ½ tablespoons milk, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons meringue powder
  • 3 drops green food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons water
Optional Ingredients
  • green sprinkles
  1. Add the butter, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla to a large bowl, and beat with a hand mixer for about 3 minutes. Add the egg and 1 ½ tablespoons of milk, and beat again until well mixed.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this mixture, ½ cup at a time, to the wet mixture and blend until a stiff dough is formed.
  3. Split the dough into 2 balls, cover each ball with plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  5. Flour a work surface and roll out 1 ball of dough into an ⅛-inch thick piece. Then, use cookie cutters in shamrock shapes to cut out cookies. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with other ball of dough.
  6. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes. They should be firm but not browned. Cool for 10 minutes before frosting.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, the remaining 3 tablespoons of milk, and the meringue powder. Take about ¼ of the frosting mixture and put it in another bowl to be used for the white frosting (or skip this if you're using green frosting only). Add 3 drops of green food coloring (or however much you'd like) to the larger batch and stir.
  8. Using either a frosting tool or a plastic bag with the end snipped off, line the edge of all the cookies with green frosting. Now add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to the remaining green frosting, add to frosting device and fill in the cookies with green frosting. Use a toothpick to help spread the frosting around the cookie to meet the borders.
  9. If you are adding white dots, use the white frosting to add dots to the cookies. You can also add green sprinkles if desired, then you're ready to serve.
Calories per Serving 207
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 4.5 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 27.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 33.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 22.8 g
Sodium 69.7 mg
Protein 2.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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