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These Valentine’s Day Cookies are a cut out sugar cookie decorated with an easy royal icing. These cut out sugar cookies are made with just 7 ingredients in one bowl and they hold their shape when baked! I’ll show you how to decorate them simply with icing or with dehydrated strawberries.

decorated heart sugar cookies on pink background.

Dress up your Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day cookies with a little royal icing, crushed strawberries, white sprinkles or rose petals. The sugar cookie recipe uses melted butter and can be mixed by hand in one bowl. Roll out immediately before refrigerating.

I used my royal icing with meringue powder for these heart shaped sugar cookies but you could also use this easy cookie icing instead. Omit the food dye and decorate plain white icing with rose petals, dehydrated strawberries and white sprinkles.

Why You Will Love these Valentine’s Day Cookies

  • Flavorful soft cookies. You don’t have to choose between flavor and beauty with these cookies! The vanilla sugar cookie base is delicious without any decoration, but is outstanding when paired with my lemon royal icing!
  • Versatile decorations. These cookies are beautiful with just a simple icing or try your hand at making tiny hearts! Sprinkle with jimmies, sprinkles or dehydrated berries for a pop of color!
  • Easy to make ahead. Don’t you hate when V-Day falls on a weekday?! Same. These decorated Valentine’s Day Cookies stay fresh and soft at room temperature for over a week!
red heart decorated sugar cookie.
Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies melty chocolate
The Ultimate Pastry Chef's Guide to Perfect Cookies
Get all professional tips you need whether you want to bake thick, thin, chewy or crunchy cookies!

Professional Tips for Making Valentine Cookies

  • Roll the dough immediately. This dough firms up when refrigerated, so it is best to roll it immediately after mixing. This also makes for a faster chill time!
  • Reroll & cut the scraps. This dough is rolled using two pieces of parchment paper, which means you can press all the scraps together and roll back out again and again! Using parchment eliminates the need for bench flour, so the third round will taste just as good as the first!
  • Decorate with any icing you want! I love the flavor of royal icing but my easy cookie icing is also an excellent choice. You could also use this cream cheese icing for cookies for a fun twist.

Ingredients Needed

ingredients for valentines day cookies.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Both all-purpose flour or pastry flour would work in these cookies. There is just enough gluten to create structure without making them tough. Don’t even consider looking at bread flour in this recipe. No, ma’am.
  • Baking Powder: There is just enough baking powder to leaven these cookies without making them puffy. Too much will create a dome on the top of the cookies.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. The melted butter adds fat and moisture and makes these simple cookies chewy and soft.
  • Granulated Sugar: There is just enough sugar for the perfect flavor, but not so much that makes the cookies spread. Unlike chewy sugar cookies, which are intended to spread, these soft sugar cookies hold their shape.
  • Whole Egg: The eggs are here to add fat, moisture and emulsify the dough. The fat from the yolk adds richness and helps keep the cookies chewy.
  • Vanilla Extract

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Experiment with icing: Try with this cream cheese icing for cookies or simply brush with beaten egg white then dip in sanding sugar or sprinkles.
  • Flavor the dough: Tired of plain vanilla? Heard. Try using a little almond extract instead. You can also zest lemon, orange or another citrus into the sugar before mixing. Try my chocolate sugar cookies for a soft chocolate variation.
  • Add sprinkles, chocolate chips or other add-ins: That’s right, you can (and should) add some fun mix-ins to the dough. Try chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles or other small additions that will still allow you to roll and cut the dough.  
iced sugar cookies stacked and broken open.

How to Make Valentine’s Day Cookies

Use these instructions to make decorated heart cookies! This tutorial will focus on the decorating. You can find more detailed instructions for the cut out sugar cookies in this post or more than you even knew you could know about royal icing in this post!

Make & Bake the Cookies:

Step 1: In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set aside. Whisk the butter and the sugar together in a large bowl, followed by the egg and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is emulsified. You shouldn’t see any streaks of butter or egg. Last, slowly stir in the flour mixture.

whisking eggs into batter.
mixing sugar cookie dough by hand.

It does look like a dry dough, so I like to finish by hand, squeezing the dough together. This incorporates the flour faster without developing too much gluten.  

Step 2: Roll your dough while it is at room temperature. Roll the dough to approximately ¼ inch. You will have the best results if rolled between two pieces of parchment, but you can also roll out on a lightly floured surface. Refrigerate the dough until chilled.

This will only take 30 minutes, but I like to give it a full 2 hours or overnight to let the gluten relax.

Step 3: When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325° F convection or 350° F conventional,  and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unstick the parchment from both sides of the dough, then cut shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Chill the cookies before baking. It will only take about 20 minutes.

Step 4: Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until the cookies look matte in the center and have a few small cracks. Some of the edges might have begun to brown. Cool completely before icing.

rolling sugar cookie dough between parchment.
cutting sugar cookie hearts.
baked heart shaped sugar cookies on baking sheet.

Make Royal Icing:

Step 1: In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the dried egg whites (or meringue powder) and lemon juice. Whisk until soft peaks form.

Step 2: Add all the powdered sugar and whisk to combine. Separate the icing into different bowls and add food dye. Be sure to keep an eye on the consistency and stop adding if it gets too thin.

I recommend using gel food coloring for the most vibrant colors. You can use liquid food coloring but the resulting icing will be pastel. If you add enough for vibrant colors, the icing will be too thin to set or outline.

Step 3: For outlining using the ribbon test. The icing should cascade slowly off your spatula and remaining clearly visible on the surface for a few moments (about 5-6 seconds) before slowly disappearing.

Step 4: For flooding using the same ribbon test, the icing should cascade off your spatula and almost disappear instantly into the rest of the icing.

You can make the icing too thin and then it won’t set hard. It will take a little practice to get your perfect consistency: thin enough to easily spread but not so thin as to not set or be transparent.

Step 5: Transfer outline and flooding icings to separate bags.

How to decorate cookies for Valentine’s Day:

Step 1: Starting smaller than you think, cut the tip off the outline piping bag. Test a line. If it squiggles when you squeeze it, cut it just a little bigger. Test and repeat until you get a thin straight line. Repeat the same process with the flooding bag but cut it large enough to get a nice flow of icing without squeezing too hard.

Step 2: Working with 1-3 cookies at a time, use the outline bag to trace the outline of the cookie. Leave a 1/16th in border around the edges so it doesn’t run off the cookie!

Step 3: Switch to the flooding bag and squeeze a squiggle of icing inside the outline across the cookie you are icing. Use a cake tester, wooden skewer, or be lazy like me and use the tip of the flooding piping bag, to spread the icing around into one even layer.

outlining sugar cookie with red royal icing.
red royal icing squiggle.
flooding red royal icing on heart shaped sugar cookie.

You should not be able to see the cookie through the icing, but it should not be so thick that it flows over the outline. The outline should blend perfectly with the filling. If it doesn’t and you have a visible line, you can try to blend them or you can just outline fewer cookies before flooding next time.

Step 4: To make the little hearts, you will need to work quickly. I typically only decorate 1 cookie at a time when doing this technique. Make dots of the second color along the edges or wherever you want the hearts. Take a cake tester or toothpick and drag the tip through the center of each dot. This will make little hearts!

light pink dots on red royal icing.
pink dots on red royal icing making hearts with toothpick.
creating pink hearts with toothpick.

Step 5: For the other style of heart cookies, decorate up to 3 cookies with the icing then sprinkle on your décor. Try crushed dehydrated strawberries or blueberries, sprinkles, mini hearts, or gold jimmies. The options are limitless.

outlining sugar cookie with white royal icing.
sprinkling dehydrated strawberries on white hearts.
adding sugar pearls to sugar cookie hearts.

Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip

Royal icing needs to dry at room temperature overnight. I always let them dry unwrapped for at least 3 hours before wrapping. I don’t freeze them. Don’t even look at the refrigerator. The moisture will be absorbed by the icing and it will soften and bleed. You didn’t work this hard for that.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store decorated Valentine’s Day Cookies?

Store uniced cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days before decorating, but I prefer to store them frozen. Store iced cookies at room temperature for up to 10 days. The royal icing will keep the cookies soft! After drying overnight, wrap the cookies well for best freshness.

Can you freeze decorated cookies?

I would not advise freezing icing sugar cookies. They will absorb moisture and the icing will bleed.

Do these cookies ship well?

These are excellent shipping cookies! The icing keeps them fresh for longer and more durable. Package in a closed container with ample padding. I like to put bakery paper as a cushion in the tin or box.

red and white decorated sugar cookies.
white red hearts with pink strawberries and rose petals.
5 from 2 ratings

Valentine’s Day Cookies

These Valentine’s Day Cookies are a soft sugar cookie decorated with an easy royal icing. These easy sugar cookies are made with just 7 ingredients in one bowl and they hold their shape when cut! I’ll show you how to decorate them simply with icing or with dehydrated strawberries.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total: 58 minutes
Servings: 40 Cookies

Ingredients 
 

For the Cookies:

For royal icing:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar 1, 1 pound box
  • 6 ½ tablespoons Lemon Juice juice from approximately 2 medium lemons
  • ¼ cup dried egg whites or meringue powder 22g
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk as needed

Instructions 

Make the cookie dough:

  • In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, melt the butter (I used the microwave) just until melted but not hot. Whisk in the sugar followed by the egg and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is emulsified. You shouldn’t see any streaks of butter or egg.
  • Slowly stir in the flour mixture.
  • It does look like a dry dough, so I like to finish by hand, squeezing the dough together. This incorporates the flour faster without developing too much gluten.
  • Roll your dough while it is at room temperature. Roll the dough to approximately ¼ inch. You will have the best results if rolled between two pieces of parchment, but you can also roll out on a lightly floured surface.
  • Refrigerate the dough until chilled. This will only take 30 minutes, but I like to give it a full 2 hours or overnight to let the gluten relax.

Cut & bake cookies:

  • When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325° F convection or 350° F conventional, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Unstick the parchment from both sides of the dough, then cut shapes with a lightly floured cookie cutter. Chill the cookies before baking. It will only take about 20 minutes.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until the cookies look matte in the center and have a few small cracks. Some of the edges might have begun to brown. I bake all the same shapes on one sheet to ensure even baking.
  • Cool completely before icing.

Make Royal Icing:

  • In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the dried egg whites and lemon juice. Whisk until soft peaks form.
  • Add all the powdered sugar and whisk to combine.
  • Separate the icing into different bowls and add food dye. Be sure to keep an eye on the consistency and stop adding if it gets too thin.
  • For outlining using the ribbon test. The icing should cascade slowly off your spatula and remaining clearly visible on the surface for a few moments (about 5-6 seconds) before slowly disappearing.
  • For flooding using the same ribbon test, the icing should cascade off your spatula and almost disappear instantly into the rest of the icing.

Notes

Yield – 40, 2-inch cookies rolled ¼ inch thick.
Variations – Try using lemon or orange zest in the sugar, different extracts or small mix-ins like mini chocolate chips or sprinkles.
Storage – Store soft sugar cookies with royal icing at room temperature for up to 10 days. Allow the icing to set 24 hours before stacking, and allow it to set 3 hours before wrapping with plastic wrap (not touching the surface).

Nutrition

Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 78IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 124
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Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed Valentine’s Day recipes! You might also love these Valentine’s Day Desserts or Easy Chocolate Desserts!

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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