These Sugar Cookie Bars are some of the easiest and tastiest cookies you can make! They are soft and chewy and topped off with a thick layer of buttercream sugar cookie frosting and lots of sprinkles. These cookies are easy to decorate for any occasion – or to just enjoy for a simple family dessert.
When it comes to cookies I love to bake and eat them! But some cookies are more time consuming to make than others, and for me regular sugar cookies are complicated.
Making sugar cookies is a multi-hour endeavor, which starts with making and chilling the dough. Then, once you have spent hours waiting for the dough to chill you need to roll the cookies out and get out the cookie cutters.
This inevitably leads to flour all over the kitchen table and frustration as fragile cookies fall apart when they are transferred to a cookie sheet. Plus it is easy to lose track of time as you roll out dough for the next tray of cookies and end up with burnt cookies.
So while I love sugar cookies I usually only make them once a year for Christmas, when the lure of decorating cut out Christmas shapes is too strong to resist.
The rest of the year I get my sugar cookie fix with these much quicker and simpler sugar cookie bars. There is no chilling, rolling or cutting shapes out – just a quick and easy desert that is versatile enough to decorate.
Why You Will Love These Sugar Cookie Bars
- The frosting is as thick as the cookie part, making them super delicious!
- The cookies still have all the delicious taste of sugar cookies, just in bar form.
- You can make them Christmas sugar cookie bars or Easter sugar cookie bars or whatever occasion you are celebrating without changing the recipe.
- They are easily portable making them a great option taking along to a party or potluck or picnic.
Butter – For best results use unsalted, room temperature butter. Just get the butter out of the refrigerator an hour or so before you plan to make the bars.
Cream cheese – The cream cheese should also be room temperature.
All the other ingredients needed for the bars and the frosting are standard baking staples. You will need granulated sugar, egg, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and powdered sugar.
As long as you remember to get the butter and cream cheese (which are used in both the batter and the frosting) out of the refrigerator and to room temperature this recipe is simple!
Tip: Don’t try to microwave them if you forget! That rarely ends well and if they are too warm the batter and frosting won’t be the right consistency either
How to Make Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
1. Prepare the Pan
The cookies are baked in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. You want to be able to get the cookies out of pan cleanly, so the easiest thing to do is line the pan with foil or parchment paper.
This means after the cookies are baked and cooled you can just lift them right out of the pan. That makes it much easier to cut them into perfect little squares.
2. Make the Cookie Dough
In an electric mixer combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar until it is all well blended. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix it again.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add these dry ingredients to the mixer until a thick dough forms.
Tip : Don’t dump all the flour in at once or you might end up with flour everywhere.
The final dough will be thick, much thicker than a cake batter. It doesn’t need to be chilled, it just needs to be pressed down into the baking pan.
Use your fingers or a flat spatula to push it down evenly into the prepared baking pan, making sure to get it into all the corners. Try to make it more or less level, but remember the frosting will hide any imperfections!
If you want you can add a layer of sprinkles in the unbaked dough, pressing them down into the top. It will make the cookies look even more festive after baking.
Bake the dough in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. It is important not to over bake the cookie bars so that they are soft and chewy.
So set a timer for 20 minutes and take them out as soon as the center of the cookies is cooked.
The dough has to completely cool before frosting. After it has cooled for about 20 minutes use the parchment paper or foil to lift the dough out of the baking pan.
Set it on a wire rack and it will finish cooling more quickly. Allow at least 1 hour for it to cool before frosting.
In a mixer bowl mix the butter and cream cheese until they are completely blended. Stir in the vanilla, then slowly mix in the powdered sugar. If you like you can add food coloring to tint the frosting.
The cream cheese makes the frosting thick and easy to spread. Spread a thick layer of frosting over sugar cookie base, evenly covering the cooled dough.
Tip: This recipe makes a really thick layer of frosting, which makes the final cookies extra sweet. You can halve the frosting recipe and spread a thinner layer if you prefer less sweetness.
Once the cookies are frosted simply decorated them with your favorite sprinkles and cut them into squares.
One of the nice things about this recipe is how easy it is to change it up for any holiday or celebration you like. I have made these for all kinds of occasions and just changed up the color of the festive sprinkles.
Here are just some of the ways I have decorated these bars over the years:
No matter what the occasion you can decorate sugar cookie bars to match!
- Valentine’s Day – pink and white sprinkles
- St. Patrick’s Day – green sprinkles
- Christmas – green and red candy
- Graduation – use your school’s colors
- Thanksgiving – orange, red and yellow sprinkles
- Birthday – use rainbow sprinkles or funfetti
- Sporting events – decorate in the color of your favorite team
And so on, the possibilities are endless. You can use this delicious sugar cookie recipe whenever you need an easy themed dessert that doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make!
How to Store
Store these in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Yes and no! You can freeze the bars before they are frosted. The frosting would not stand up well to freezing. For best results freeze the dough before cutting, then when you are ready to serve them thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, frost and cut them into squares.
The frosting hardens some, but it will not get rock hard. I have successfully stacked these, but I always use a layer of parchment or waxed paper between the layers.
I have used salted butter in the recipe and it works fine. You might want to decrease the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon though.
Find More Bar Cookie Recipes
- ¾ Cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- ½ Cup cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- ½ cup cream cheese (room temparture)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Assorted sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350. Either grease a 13x9 pan very well or line it with parchment paper or foil
- In the bowl of a mixer blend butter, cream cheese and sugar, until well blended. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until completely combined.
- In a medium bowl mix the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Slowly add in baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour until a thick dough forms.
- Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Cool completely before frosting. About 20 minutes after baking your can lift the dough out of the baking pan, using the foil. Put it on a wire rack to finish cooling.
- For the frosting, In the bowl of a mixer add the room temperature butter and cream cheese and mix until blended.
- Add in the vanilla and slowly mix in the powdered sugar. Mix until creamy and smooth.
- Spread the icing evenly and thickly across the cooled cookies.
- Sprinkle the icing with lots of seasonal sprinkles.
- Cut into squares and enjoy.
Take the butter and cream cheese out of the refrigerator an hour or so before you start baking for best results.
Don't dump all the flour into the mixer at once or you might end up with a big mess. Add it gradually.
This recipe makes a really thick layer of frosting, which makes the final cookies extra sweet. You can halve the frosting recipe and spread a thinner layer if you prefer less sweetness.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 39gProtein: 4g
Nutrition facts are estimates.