Reindeer Sugar Cookies

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Make these Reindeer Sugar Cookies for Santa and his crew this year! These cookies start with the best brown butter sugar cookies and are topped with a simple layer of icing. The reindeer face is simple for amateur decorators like me!

It’s time to make cookies for holiday gatherings! Try some Oreo Brownie Cookies, Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies, or these Soft and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies!

Overhead view of several reindeer sugar cookies with powdered sugar on top.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Like I’ve said before, I’m all about the taste of my cookies and less about the look – thanks to my mother and her powdered sugar icing. I’ve never made royal icing or anything of the sort. I’ll never say never, but for now, we’re doing taste first and look second!

Case in point – these reindeer sugar cookies!

Why we LOVE this recipe:

  1. SIMPLE BASE – The brown butter cookies require an extra step, but are still VERY simple to make.
  2. EASY TO DECORATE – These use a basic powdered sugar icing and a then just a few steps to decorate. Like I said, if I can do it, you can too!
  3. PREP AHEAD – During the holidays, I always keep extra sugar cookies in the freezer and then thaw and decorate. A perfect activity for your family to do together.
  4. DELICIOUS – The brown butter sugar cookie adds a true gourmet flavor. Topping these with a powdered sugar icing is just the right touch. Your family will love these!
A plate with a reindeer sugar cookie decorated with red hots.

What You’ll Need:

  • Butter – You’ll need one cup of unsalted butter. See below for how I brown the butter.
  • Eggs – Two eggs, at room temperature.
  • Sugar – A combo of brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract – I love the Watkin’s Vanilla brand.
  • Flour – You’ll need 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour.
  • Salt – I use kosher salt.
  • Baking Soda – The leavening agent for the best sugar cookies.
  • Cream of Tartar – Gives these cookies a tasty tang and helps to stabilize the egg whites, as well as act as a leavening agent.

How to Make Reindeer Sugar Cookies:

Step 1
Brown the butter. 

  1. Place the butter in a pan on the stove, over medium heat.
  2. Let the butter melt, and when it starts sizzling, start stirring with a spatula. 
  3. Keep the heat at medium, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, keeping the butter moving in the pan.
  4. After about 8-10 minutes, you should see some brown bits starting to form on the bottom. When you see this, stir for a few seconds longer and then remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Pour the butter immediately into a bowl. You’ll see the brown specks in the butter.
  6. Let the butter cool slightly.
  7. Now you are ready to use it in your cookies!

Step 2
Combine wet ingredients. To a medium bowl, combine the slightly cooled browned butter and both sugars. Use a hand mixer to cream together. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix again. Finally add the peanut butter and combine.

Step 3
Add dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl – the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just combined.

Step 4
Form cookie dough balls. Use a cookie scoop to form balls and place on a parchment lined pan.

Step 5
Chill dough. Place the cookie balls in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.

Step 6
Bake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies (about 6 at a time) on large baking sheets prepared with pieces of parchment paper or silicone mats for about 12 minutes.

Step 7
Cool. Let the cookies sit on the pan for about 5 minutes after baking. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 8
Make icing. In a medium bowl, melt the butter. Add the vanilla extract, half and half (or milk). Add the powdered sugar and use a hand mixer to combine until creamy.

Step 9
Decorate. Use a spoon to add a thin layer of icing to each cookie, spreading to all sides.

  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 50% power until creamy. Don’t burn! Then spoon into a small bag and clip off the ends. Draw the reindeer antlers on each cook. Add two mini chocolate chips for the eyes and a red hot candy for the nose.
  • Arrange cookies on a tray and add a dusting of powdered sugar.

Storing and Freezing

  • STORE these amazing cookies in an airtight container on your countertop for up to three days.
  • FREEZE these cookies BEFORE DECORATING in freezer bags for two to three months.
Overhead shot of several reindeer sugar cookies on a black surface.

Cookie Baking Tips:

  • Use room temperature butter and eggs to up your cookie game. This allows the ingredients to form an emulsion which traps air. While baking, this trapped air expansionists to produce a fluffier cookie. Using cold ingredients will prevent this magic from happening.
  • Chill your dough. This will allow the fat in the cookies to chill and firm up. When baking, this chilled fat will prevent an over-spreading of the cookies. The resting time will also allow the flour to soak up the liquids in the dough. When the cookies are fully-hydrated, they brown better, bake more evenly, and have a more complex flavor.
  • Bake your cookies to YOUR preference. If you like your cookies darker, bake them longer. If you like them gooey, then slightly under-bake them. You do you!
  • Bake one batch at a time. If using a regular oven, baking one batch at a time is recommended for more even baking. If using a convection oven, you can bake two batches at a time.

You can fix cookies that over-spread by taking them out of the oven a few minutes early and using a spoon to gently push the edges in. Then pop them back in the oven to finish baking!

Side view of a black plate of a sugar cookie, decorated with a face.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

Closeup on a black plate with a reindeer sugar cookies.

Reindeer Sugar Cookies

Make these Reindeer Sugar Cookies for Santa and his crew this year! These cookies start with the best brown butter sugar cookies and are topped with a simple layer of icing. The reindeer face is simple for amateur decorators like me!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes
Servings: 16 cookies
Calories: 360kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter – browned
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the decorating:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter – melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons half and half
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons red hot candies
  • 1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  • 3 oz. melting chocolate

Instructions

  • Brown the butter. Place the butter in a pan on the stove, over medium heat. Let the butter melt, and when it starts sizzling, start stirring with a spatula. Keep the heat at medium, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, keeping the butter moving in the pan. After about 8-10 minutes, you should see some brown bits starting to form on the bottom. When you see this, stir for a few seconds longer and then remove the pan from the heat. Pour the butter immediately into a bowl. You’ll see the brown specks in the butter. Let the butter cool slightly.
  • Combine wet ingredients. To a medium bowl, combine the slightly cooled browned butter and both sugars. Use a hand mixer to cream together. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix again. Finally add the peanut butter and combine.
  • Add dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl – the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just combined.
  • Form cookie dough balls. Use a cookie scoop to form balls and place on a parchment lined pan.
  • Chill dough. Place the cookie balls in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.
  • Bake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies (about 6 at a time) on large baking sheets prepared with pieces of parchment paper or silicone mats for about 12 minutes.
  • Cool. Let the cookies sit on the pan for about 5 minutes after baking. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate cookies:

  • Make icing. In a medium bowl, melt the butter. Add vanilla extract, half & half, and powdered sugar – and use a hand mixer to mix well. Adjust consistency as needed.
  • Add icing. Spread a thin layer of icing to each cooled sugar cookie.
  • Draw antlers. Place melting chocolate in a glass dish. Melt in microwave at 50% power until creamy. Add the chocolate to a small bag. Clip off the tip of the bag and carefully draw the reindeer antlers.
  • Add eyes and nose. Add the mini chocolate chips for the eyes and a red hot candy for the nose.
  • Let cookies sit on wire racks so the frosting sets up completely.

Notes

  • STORE these amazing cookies in an airtight container on your countertop for up to three days.
  • FREEZE these cookies BEFORE DECORATING in freezer bags for two to three months.
You can fix cookies that over-spread by taking them out of the oven a few minutes early and using a spoon to gently push the edges in. Then pop them back in the oven to finish baking!

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 228mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 444IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

2 Comments

  1. I love the Holiday season and these fun recipes!

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