Healthier Sugar Cookies

Healthier Christmas Sugar Cookies

Healthier Christmas Sugar Cookies

Be sure to aerate your flour before measuring. I find the whole wheat version just as good as the white flour version. This is a forgiving dough. If it's too firm to handle, stir in a little milk. Too soft? Add a bit more flour. - Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Makes: about 4 dozen

Healthier Christmas Sugar Cookies


  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbsp. / 2.7 oz.) butter at room temperature (I use unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 1/4 cups cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 1 1/4 cups a/p flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the butter, oil, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. On low speed add flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. FOR CUTOUTS: Cover and chill dough for 1 hour to overnight or freeze for 20 minutes. To bake, divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4-inch thick and cut out shapes. (re-roll scraps) Lift cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, add sprinkles and bake at 375° F for 9-12 minutes.
  4. FOR COOKIE PRESS: Do not chill dough. Press cookies onto an ungreased baking sheet. Add sprinkles and bake at 375° F for 9-12 minutes.

Note: For cookie press, it's best to use a finely ground colored sugar to sprinkle, which will stick better.

53 Comments on "Healthier Christmas Sugar Cookies"

  1. Kris

    Could I use maple syrup or coconut palm sugar instead of regular sugar?

  2. Ginny

    Hi Jenny.
    Can I add cocoa powder to make chocolate cookies with this recipe? I love all of your recipes and videos!
    Have a blessed holiday season.

  3. Beth

    This recipe is so outstanding, Who knew cookies could taste amazing— with less butter than most recipes. Game changer!!

  4. Sally

    can you use sprinkles while baking or after, I’m not very good at applying sprinkles on cookies.

    • Jenny Can Cook

      Sprinkles should be added before they go in the oven; otherwise, they won’t stick.

  5. Emma

    Hey Jenny I was just wondering if there’s anything we can use in place of the egg for these cookies? Thank you for your time love your videos!!

    • Jenny W.

      Hi Emma in place of the egg you can use unsweetened apple sauce! I tried it once so good

  6. Robert

    Has anyone ever tried adding ground coffee to this great recipe?

  7. Ranch Girl

    Can you make a Christmas stolen video for us next year?? PLEASE

  8. adela uribe

    Hi Jenny have you made it into a pizza cookie thanks

  9. Jenny Can Cook

    UPDATED Dec. 16, 2017:
    I just simplified the process for these cookies and found that you can make them with part whole wheat pastry flour and they taste just the same. So why not make them even healthier? I used one cup of whole wheat pastry flour + 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour. ~ jenny

  10. Toni Stowe

    You don’t say how many calories per serving, and how many cookies. Per serving. Thank you

  11. Jeffrey

    I made these with my 13 year old niece today, and they’re REALLY GOOD! Of course, I have to play with the temperature setting a bit as to the did burn a little, but they were still edible. I’ll be making them again tomorrow.

  12. Kerry C

    Hi Jenny, I have been really enjoying your bread-making videos and recipes. Would you consider posting a recipe of yours for gingerbread men? There are lots of recipes out there, but I trust you to know the very best one.
    Thanks, Kerry

  13. Claire

    Thanks for the amazing recipe! I think the type of vanilla extract I used wasn’t very good because they came out with barely any flavor. Otherwise, they turned out great! What brand of vanilla extract did you use?

    • Jenny

      I use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. They sell it at Williams-Sonoma.

  14. Carol

    What brand or make of all purpose flour do you use? Thanks!

  15. Kathy Murray

    I found your site last holiday season while looking for a no knead bread recipe and have been a ‘devotee’ since then. Your videos are the best! Short, sweet and entertaining, but alas there are too few of them! I know you get that comment regularly and do appreciate your production efforts to get them out to us. Thank you! and I do have a question today. Should I use salted or unsalted butter in this sugar cookie recipe?

    • Jenny

      I use unsalted butter.

    • Maria

      Hi! Jenny states she uses unsalted butter. It’s right under the pic of the cookies she posted. Good luck!

  16. T

    Hi Jenny, Do you think the recipe would work ok if I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose? Let me know your thoughts. Thank you!

    • Jenny

      I have never made them with whole wheat pastry flour because they are usually given as gifts and I was afraid they would be too dry and crumbly. But if you try, please report back.

  17. Ange

    What difference does make if we put vanilla and not put vanilla?
    -please reply ASAP because i really want make some for my class。

    • Jenny

      Vanilla is the main source of flavor in sugar cookies and should be included.

  18. Luisa

    They sound yummy. I’m going to try them tomorrow. Thanks for posting all the comments, I’ll be sure to add some extra flour if needed.

  19. Grandma Crick

    I’m thinking about trying your Christmas cookies, but my husband just loves my cookies and said don’t you dare change your recipe. I still might try yours..Thanks so much for all the healthy recipes, I tried a few of them and I liked all of them so far..You are a hoot..Not to get off the subject, but I was wondering where you buy all the pretty bowls you use to make your food in?

    • Jenny

      I find most of my colorful kitchen stuff at places like Sur La Table, Pier One, World Market, Target, and even some grocery, drug stores, and hardware stores.

      • Grandma Crick

        Thanks Jenny…Will keep watching your videos…

    • mariette

      grandma crick, would you like to share your recipe for the sugar cookie, i have no luck making them ty

  20. Mana

    Hi Jenny: I like this cookies, delicious… but the dough for cut-outs still soft almost all the cookies got broken when I was transferred them to the cookie sheet….Do I need to sifted the flour? Do I need to add more flour to the mix? when you said in the step #1 “until smooth” means all sugar dissolve so you test with your finger that you don’t feel any sugar?

    Thank for your attention to my questions.

    • Jenny

      It’s important to chill the dough for at least an hour before rolling. If it’s not cold, it will be hard to transfer the cookies. Let me know how long you chilled it. And “until smooth” only means until they are well combined and that should take about a minute.

      • Mana

        Hi Jenny I left the dough overnight but when I rolled it got soft very fast and I have flour on my table where I rolled it, so I will try again….thanks again

        • Jenny

          Make sure to use real butter and not a light butter or margarine because that would cause it to soften too much. I hope the next one works out – let me know.

  21. Rame

    Hi Jenny I just want to say I use to make this cookies a while back for the holidays. But your receipe was so good and very very yummy lol my kids waited and waited until I bake them and they are gone like literally gone already. I could make these everyday I just want to say the olive oil really gives it so much taste and its the bomb thank u so much for sharing.

  22. Carol

    Jenny I have to tell you your better than watching tv.I really love watching and listening you on YouTube,I came across you looking for sticky buns, to have for the holiday.Thank you so much,I would love to meet you someday.please keep putting new recipes on YouTube. Oh and you are funny to you make me laugh. Carol

  23. Ethan

    Hi Jenny–so I started making your xmas cookies last night (made the dough, wrapped it in foil, put it in the fridge, and took it out this morning, about twelve hours later), and when I took the dough out to begin rolling and cutting, it was pretty much just as wet and soft as the night before, and therefore difficult to lift shapes out without breaking up into little pieces. I was attempting to roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper–could that be my problem, because it’s not moisture resistant? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    • Jenny

      I apologize. This is likely my fault because I usually use a cookie press and the dough has to be soft to inert it in the press. When I roll them, I just add a little more flour but I should have stated how much. I think you can still save the dough by letting it warm to room temperature, stirring in some more flour (2-3 Tbsp?), refrigerate or freeze it as directed, then proceed. I noted the extra flour in my printable recipe but I will figure out how much extra flour and specify that later today. I hope they still turn out – they really are delicious.

  24. Charlotte

    Hey Jenny! Just a couple quick questions…did u apply egg white and sugar sprinkles on the cookies before baking? or did u use some kind of icing before sprinkling sugar on baked and cooled cookies ?

    • Jenny

      Oh, I should have specified that. I just put my sprinkles on before baking – no egg white. They stick just fine.

      • Charlotte

        Baking these now. went with 8 minutes. Also I thought I would mention that I had to use more than 2 cups of flour ( scant 1/2 cup maybe?)because the dough seemed too soft/sticky. Also found I had to freeze the dough after rolling out because cookies wouldn’t transfer to baking sheet without becoming very mishappen or breaking! Cookies are delish- my 19 month old is gobbling his up now!! will def make these again- I’m loving the reduced butter!!

        • Jenny

          I’m glad you mentioned that. I usually use a cookie press and the dough has to be soft to insert it in the press. I will make a note on the recipe to add more flour for rolling cutouts. Make sure you chill the dough for an hour before rolling – that should help. I’m glad you like them, though…

  25. olive oil in recipes

    oh!!!!! it’s a very delicious sugar cookies i had never ate.

  26. Christine

    hi…how are you….by the way I love your recipes of what I have cooked so far. but I do have a question about your xmas sugar cookies…is there a way to make that recipe into a ginger bread cookie as it has mixed spice ginger and honey added…the only thing I have a problem with is how much of these things too add with out over powering the recipe or make it too sweet…please reply im really looking forward to your reply…thanks
    ps. by the way im hoping you come up with more recipes….

    • Jenny

      I know that gingerbread cookies traditionally use brown sugar and molasses along with spices but I’m afraid I would not know how to adjust my recipe to make it work. You might be better just to go with an original gingerbread cookie recipe.

  27. John

    Hi Jenny: I been enjoying your videos. Just wondering, you’re trying to cook on the healthier side but your still using white processed sugar. What are your thoughts on that?
    Thank you,

    • Jenny

      I haven’t found another sweetener that provides the same texture to baked goods so I use as little as I can where I still enjoy eating my creation.

      • John

        Thanks for the reply. Have you tried Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) with your recipes? I’ve used it in your Brownie recipe and it came out great after a few tweekings because the crystals are large and takes more time to dissolve and need a little more moisture.

      • Soph

        I’m a latecomer to this discussion, so the sugar issue is probably irrelevant by now. Am putting in my 2 cents anyway. I’ve found as you have, Jen, sugar substitutes are yich. Diet sweeteners either turn bitter in recipes or don’t sweeten. So I turned to the so-called ‘natural’ sweeteners: Agave, once touted as healthy has been recently given the nutritionist’s boot. Organic honey also alters recipe taste (often not for the better) and is no healthier than organic sugar for those on sugar restricted diets. Coconut sugar is fine but has a malt taste that, once again, alters recipe taste, not to mention is more expensive than nutritionally valid. As to the Turbinado–place in coffee grinder or spice grinder to pulverize to finer consistency, but you still wind up using as much of it as you would regular sugar to achieve the same result. I give up! In the end, Jen, your solution wins out–use as little as possible organic cane sugar to achieve good taste. Just have to, arrrgh, LIMIT my intake of goodies. Hm, a feet more daunting than finding a healthy sweetener!

  28. Marjorie

    Can’t wait to make your Christmas cookies!!

  29. Sue

    I made your Christmas cookies yesterday with spring time sprinkles. My sister visited with four children and Jessies boyfriend. They came up to meet their new cousin and nephew, Lobo. Long story short, cookies are gone!

  30. Sue

    I made your Christmas cookies again this year. Everyone loved them last night! I even had to print out the recipe for my brothers girlfriend and my mother.

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