4th Of July Cookies are the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day! Decorate the easy sugar cookies with red, white, and blue polka dots, fireworks, or zig-zag designs. Step-by-step photo tutorial.
Celebrate Independence Day with these fun red, white, and blue sugar cookies! There is a full photo tutorial for the dots, fireworks, and zig zag designs in the royal icing.
Summer celebrations are in full swing which means the 4th of July is right around the corner! What better way to enjoy the holiday than with festive red, white, and blue sugar cookies!
The sugar cookies are simple to make using a pre-made sugar cookie dough that you can find at any grocery store, or follow the easy recipe. Once you bake them, they are ready for decorating!
The fourth of July cookie designs are achieved using a basic royal icing recipe that only requires a few ingredients that get mixed with food coloring. Then, decorate them in fun fireworks, dots, or zig-zag designs.
These cookies are sure to be a hit at any fourth of July barbecue or potluck!
Why Make This Recipe
The icing designs are easy to make but look like a professional bakery-style cookie.
Great for kids to get involved in decorating these fun treats.
Save time by using a pre-made cookie dough that tastes delicious.
Great to bring to a 4th of July BBQ or any summer celebration!
For the cookies:
- Butter, Sugar, Vanilla, Baking Powder, Salt, AP Flour
Tip: you can use store bought sugar cookie dough to make them quicker.
For the royal icing:
- Powdered Sugar - This sugar is finely milled and blends in with the icing ingredients for a smooth texture.
- Meringue Powder - This is a key ingredient that helps the icing to thicken, stiffen, and have a glossy sheen.
- Water - Room temperature water helps thin out the icing to create the right consistency.
- Food Coloring - You'll need red and blue gel food coloring to create the American flag colors.
Please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full quantities.
Wondering how to make this 4th of July Sugar Cookies recipe? It's easy!
Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
For the cookies:
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
To make the sugar cookie dough:
- Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat it into the wet mixture.
- Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
- Use your favorite cookie cutter to make shapes. These cookies were cut with a rectangle cookie cutter.
- Place the cookies on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely.
For the royal icing:
Mix the dry ingredients: To a stand mixer, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder and whisk until combined.
Water: To the stand mixer, add the room temperature water and continue to whisk on low. Add the rest of the water one tablespoon at a time until the icing slowly drizzles in ribbon-like strands from the whisk.
Food coloring: Separate the icing into small mixing bowls and add desired food coloring, then mix well. Spoon the icing into piping bags or icing bottles.
How To Decorate Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing
Before starting the designs, line around the edge of the cookies with icing and fill the middle. Use a toothpick to poke bubbles or direct icing into holes.
Zig zags: Before the flooded area dries, add stripes of different colored icing and then drag a toothpick through the stripes in alternating directions.
Fireworks: Before the flooded area dries, drop one large drop of different colored icing, use a toothpick to drag icing from the dot outwards into the flooded area in a firework pattern. Drop a smaller dot of a different color into the center of the firework and use a toothpick to draw the icing into the flooded area.
Polka Dots: Before the flooded area dries, add dots of different colored icing.
You may not need to use all of the water. If the icing is too stiff, add more water one drop at a time. If it’s too runny, beat in more icing sugar one teaspoon at a time.
Before decorating, make sure the cookies are completely cooled or the icing will melt off.
Before the flooded area dries add the decorations before allowing the Fourth of July sugar cookies to dry completely at room temperature.
Storage & Freezing
Storing: Though serving within the first 48 hours is best, decorated cookies can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Freezing: The unfrosted cookies can be frozen for up to two months. Cut out the shapes and bake as directed from frozen adding an extra minute or two to the baking time. Once the cookies are fully cooled, decorate with royal icing.
Meringue powder is a dried form of meringue that is used as a stabilizer in royal icing. It can be found at most craft stores or online.
I prefer to use gel food coloring as it doesn't thin out the icing too much.
Royal icing is a firm icing made with meringue powder or egg whites that dries hard and is often used for decorating cookies. Decorating icing is thinner and primarily used for cake decorating. It doesn't harden and can be made without meringue powder or egg whites.
More dessert recipes
We hope that you love this tasty sugar cookie recipe! Be sure to also check out these other desserts too!
4th Of July Sugar Cookies
- Stand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Rolling Pin
- Baking Sheet
- Wire rack
- Cookie Cutters
- Icing bottles
- Icing tips
For the sugar cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the royal icing
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 12 tablespoons water at room temperature
- Red and blue gel food coloring
Sugar cookie dough
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth (about 4 minutes). Then beat in the egg and vanilla for another 2 minutes.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, then, a little at a time, beat it into the wet ingredients until it forms a thick dough.
- Wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thick. Cut out cookie shapes (I used a rectangle cookie cutter). Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
For the royal icing:
- Add the powdered sugar and meringue powder to a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl with an electric mixer), and whisk to combine.
- Add 8 tablespoons of the room temperature water, and beat with the whisk attachment on low for 1 minute.
- Add the remaining water, a tablespoon at a time (you may not need to use all of it), and continue beating. They royal icing is ready when the icing slowly drizzles from the whisk when lifted, in ribbon-like strands.
- If the icing is too stiff, add more water one drop at a time. If it’s too runny, beat in more icing sugar one teaspoon at a time.
- Separate the icing into small mixing bowls and add desired food coloring, then mix well. Spoon the icing into piping bags or icing bottles.
- Line around the edge of the cookies with icing and fill the middle. Use a toothpick to poke bubbles or direct icing into holes. Before the flooded area dries add the decorations as below, before allowing the Fourth of July sugar cookies to dry completely at room temperature.
- Zig zags: Before the flooded area dries, add stripes of different colored icing and then drag a toothpick through the stripes in alternating directions.
- Fireworks: Before the flooded area dries, drop one large drop of different colored icing, use a toothpick to drag icing from the dot outwards into the flooded area in a firework pattern. Drop a smaller dot of a different color into the centre of the firework and use a toothpick to draw the icing into the flooded area.
- Polka Dots: Before the flooded area dries, add dots of different colored icing.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.