Ugly Sweater Cookies (Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies)

You’re going to love these ugly sweater cookies, aka sweater weather sugar cookies. While they can be enjoyed all year long, they make a fun and colorful addition to your holiday cookie tray.

Ugly Sweater Sugar Cookies

This week has flown by in the blink of an eye. As I explained in a previous post, January is typically a quiet month around here, but that’s not going to be the case this year. I think the waters have finally settled for a bit, however, and I can get back to the business of blogging.

Despite my intent to shed holiday pounds in January, I always seem to get the urge to cook and bake. I suspect the colder weather brings on the need to turn on the oven and stay cozy with comfort food.

Earlier this week, when I was preparing my home for the photoshoot with Better Homes & Gardens, I decided I wanted something on hand to represent my love of food and baking. For me, those things are an important aspect of a home. They’re also part of who I am and what I do.

So, I tapped into my “quirky” side and whipped up these fun and delicious sweater weather sugar cookies. (AKA ugly sweater cookies—though they are totally cute sweaters!)

Ugly Sweater Sugar Cookies decorated on a countertop
sweater shaped sugar cookies decorated in blue and green icing

I found this sweater cookie cutter on Amazon and thought it’d be perfect for Christmas and the colder months here in PA (January through March).

It’s challenging to avoid the post-holiday blues as the tinsel and lights come down, so why not continue the fun with winter baking that’s still colorful and tasty but not holiday themed?

Thankfully, the folks from BHG loved the cookies and snapped a shot for the magazine. I assumed I’d have to wait until the release of the issue later this year, but I was given permission to share these cookies now, which thrilled me to no end—I have a hard time keeping secrets.

4 colorful sweater sugar cookies on a serving tray
sugar cookies laid out on a baking sheet


These ugly sweater cookies are quite simple to make, with a sugar cookie base and buttercream frosting topping. There are a few twists to make these as flavorful and delicious as they look.

You can find exact measurements in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Cookie Ingredients:

  • All-Purpose Flour: I’m sticking with the basics for this recipe!
  • Baking Soda: This leavening agent makes the cookies soft and fluffy.
  • Vegetable Shortening: Instead of butter, shortening makes these cookies super tender and soft to bite into.
  • Sugar: You can’t have a sugar cookie without sugar. White sugar works best for a classic cookie.
  • Eggs: Large eggs, please!
  • Buttermilk: Rather than regular milk, buttermilk adds a pleasant tang to the cookie and also adds more flavor thanks to its fat content.

Frosting ingredients:

  • Vegetable Shortening: Since we cover these cookies with a lot of icing, we want to ensure the icing keeps well while piping. Shortening helps the icing keep its shape.
  • Butter: You need butter for buttercream frosting! For this recipe, you’ll want unsalted.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: The base of the icing. If your frosting isn’t thick enough, add a hint more of confectioner’s sugar.
  • Food Coloring: You need these to make all the fun designs. Make a plan ahead of time for your cookie design so you know you have the right colors ready to go.
  • Vanilla: A splash of vanilla gives a subtle flavor to the icing.
  • Milk: Just a hint of milk is used in the icing. You can use a non-dairy alternative, but it may affect the flavor slightly.
pink and red decorated cookie

How To Make

Despite their complicated look, the cookies are simple to make. (They do require a little time and creativity.)

  1. Start with the basic sugar cookie recipe that I’ve shared below. My mom has been using this recipe for years, so it is highly recommended.

You’re going to need a sweater cookie-cutter.

Pressing a sweater cookie cutter to sugar cookie dough
sugar cookie dough in sweater shapes
  1. With the cookies baked, I chose a variety of colors for the frosting to represent the winter season. Blues, teals, and greens were obvious choices. I also opted for red, pink, and white.

I think these cookies would be an amazing and unique Valentine’s Day surprise!

bowls of colored buttercream frosting
colored buttercream frosting in piping bags
  1. I filled several piping bags with frosting and got to work.
  2. Using a small star and round tip, I created a variety of patterns for my sweater weather sugar cookies. As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless. Feel free to copy some of these designs or have fun with your own creations.
ugly sweater cookies
Valentine's themed ugly sweater cookies

They are pretty adorable, right? While the piping does take some time (and your hand may cramp up a bit), the results are totally worth it.

So, if you’re looking for a unique winter treat, something quirky for Valentine’s Day, or just an excuse to bake, give these sweater weather sugar cookies a try!

And although they aren’t really ugly sweaters, you can dress them up any way you’d like!

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies
ugly sweater sugar cookies

Looking for more festive cookies? Try these instead:

Valentine's Day themed sugar cookies
Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies

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Ugly Sweater Cookies / Sweater Weather Cookies

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas, cookie, dessert, holiday
Servings: 4 dozen
These Ugly Sweater Cookies make the perfect holiday / Christmas cookie recipe!


  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter - softened
  • 7 cups (2 pounds) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk - as needed
  • Gel food coloring
  • Piping bags and tips - small star tip and round tip


  • Begin by preparing the cookie dough. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegetable shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined, add half of the dry ingredients. Begin to mix and pour in the buttermilk. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least four hours or overnight.
  • After your dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • On a well-floured surface, roll out about a quarter of the dough to a 1/8 – 1/4-inch thickness, depending on your preference. Cut out the dough using a sweater-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer each cut out to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the first sign of browning appears on the surface of the cookies. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cutting board or your counter top to cool completely.
  • While the cookies cool, prepare your frosting*. With a mixer, cream together the vegetable shorting and butter. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add milk as needed for a smoother consistency. Divide the frosting into smaller bowls and add gel food coloring to achieve the desired colors.
  • Place the frosting in a piping bag with the desired tip. A small star tip is great for the sweater texture, and a round tip is recommended for details and dots.
  • Once your cookies have cooled, use the prepared piping bags to create designs on your sweater cookies.
  • Allow the frosting to set before packing and storing the cookies in an airtight container.


*I like to use a variety of colors when creating these cookies, so I double this recipe. Typically that will leave me with extra frosting, but I’d rather have extra in order to have fun with my designs without fear of running out.

Made it? Share it!Tag @inspiredbycharm on Instagram and use the tag #myIBC so we can see what you’re cooking in the kitchen!
Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies pin
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  • Ivory at

    These cookies are so cute and looks sooooo yummy. Thanks for sharing, and Happy Holidays

  • Stan Kapuchinski at


  • Donna at

    These are stunning and undoubtedly delicious! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Sarah K at

    These are adorable Michael! I’ve reviewed your site before and pinned some recipes. I never realized you are from Pittsburgh! Happy to see your recipes have graced BH&G!! My sis in law is a field editor in Atlanta, LisaMowry. Com… Happy Holidays and thanks for your abundant creativity!!

  • Funky Junk Interiors - Donna at

    Cutest things I’ve EVER seen in my life!

    I’m a sugar cookie fanatic, and ice them too. I’ll have to watch out for a sweater cookie cutter!

  • Chris at

    These are so cute! I am not a baker, but I could see making these for Valentine’s for my class and the teachers at school!

  • Dani H at

    These really are too cute to eat! (Almost!)

    Am I not reading the ingredients list correctly? I don’t see the amount of confectioner’s sugar for the frosting.

    I’ve never made frosting with shortening — would it hold up to layering between sheets of waxed paper for shipping? My granddaughter is going to college in Northern Arizona where it snows frequently and I thought these would be adorable to include in a care package if they can be shipped — what do you think?

    Congratulations on the BHG photo shoot. Looking forward to seeing it.

    Happy New Year!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Dani, Well that’s embarrassing! I totally forgot to add in the confectioner’s sugar! Thanks! It’s been adjusted. 🙂

      These cookies do stack well on a cookie tray, but I would expect the details of the piped frosting to be smushed if shipped. It does stiffen, but not enough to hold up to shipping. I assume.

      xo Michael

      • Dani H at

        Thank you, Michael!

  • sandra` bryant at

    i love a sugar cookie my favorite with buttercream frosting or do you say icing i’m going to try your recipe can’t wait don’t feel bad i have winter weekday gain. can’t stop munching trying to lose 10lbs too……good luck to you and me

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You favorite buttercream frosting would be wonderful on these! You can use whatever frosting you like best. I personally like this recipe as it gives a more white frosting, plus I find it stiffens up a a bit better.

      xo Michael

  • Anne at

    I think that the sweater cookies look gross.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Good, more for the rest of us. 😉

      xo Michael

  • Karen at

    Oh my god, this would be worth the blowing of any weight loss goals for me. How adorable, and how tasty looking. They are fabulous…. and that sweater cookie cutter is definitely one I don’t have! Thank you!

  • Kendal Hauck at

    These are precious!! Clever and beautiful!
    I bet Pinterest is blowing up 🙂

  • heather (delicious not gorgeous) at

    these look so good! i heard that trader joe’s had a sweater gingerbread cookie set, but apparently the cookies were gross and they definitely skewed towards ugly sweaters, not cute ones.

  • Lisa at

    Ahh, Michael! These look so yummy! I think your cookie cutter could do double duty as a puppy face too, if you were ever inclined to make puppy sugar cookies!

  • Lori H at

    Cutest cookies I have seen for a long time. So creative!

  • Ardith at

    Edible coziness, who knew? These are wonderful cookies, Michael. I’d be oh so happy to chomp into a couple right now. Thank you for the recipe and uber cool photos. Cheers, Ardith

  • JulieD at

    These so cute, Michael!

  • Pam at

    So adorable!

  • Vanessa at

    These are adorable! So happy for you and BHG-well deserved! Stay warm 🙂

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