This Sugar Cookie Bar recipe is the soft and chewy, swoon worthy dessert for every occasion – and you will be blown away at how easy it is!
These Sugar Cookie Bars are the incredibly easy, soft, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth dessert of your dreams crowned with silky, tangy, cream cheese frosting and sprinkles! They boast everything you love about individual sugar cookies but are so much quicker and easier to make – no chilling, rolling or cutting required! Just spread your dough into a 9×13 pan, bake, cool, and frost – all at once – for a no hassle recipe that almost makes itself! Best of all, these Sugar Cookie Bars are incredibly versatile – dye the frosting and customize the sprinkles for every occasion from Christmas to birthdays, baby showers, Valentines Day, 4th of July and more!
How to Make Sugar Cookie Bars Video
This Sugar Cookie Bar recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients; just keep some cream cheese handy, and you can make this recipe at a moment’s notice! Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need (full measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
For the vanilla cream cheese frosting:
How to Make sugar cookie bars
This Sugar Cookie Bars recipe come together in a few simple steps. Here’s an overview of the baking process (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Step 1: Mix the dry ingredients together. Combine the flour, baking powder, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl. Mixing the dry ingredients separately ensures that everything is evenly dispersed before combining with the wet ingredients and helps prevent overmixing.
- Step 2: Cream the butter and sugar. Beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium high speed until fluffy.
- Step 3: Add wet ingredients. Add eggs, and egg yolk, one at a time, beating on medium speed just until blended. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract.
- Step 4: Add dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat just until combined.
- Step 5: Spread dough in pan. Transfer the dough to a 9×13 pan lined with overhanging parchment. The batter will be extra thick and sticky, so I’ve found it’s easiest to spread by coating a piece of parchment paper with nonstick spray, laying it on top of the dough, then using your hands to spread the dough into an even layer.
- Step 6: Bake. Bake the bars just until the edges are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Step 7: Cool. Let the bars cool completely in the dish. Use the parchment paper overhang to remove the cooled bars to a cutting board to frost.
- Step 8: Make frosting. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes.
- Step 9: Frost cookie bars. Frost the bars with a thick layer of frosting and decorate with sprinkles if desired.
- Step 10: Slice the bars. I love that you can control the size of the bars – make them small or make them larger depending on how many you are serving. But remember, everyone will want more than one!
Tools Used in This Recipe
Sugar Cookie Bars
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Sugar Cookie Bars
- 2 1/2 cups (312 grams) all-purpose flour, spoon and level (see notes)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (reduce to ½ tsp if using salted butter)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract (optional, recommended)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (omit salt if using salted butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream, plus more as needed (may sub milk)
- Food coloring if desired
- Sprinkles for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 if using a glass dish). Line a 9×13” baking dish with parchment paper so it overhangs the long edges. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed just until fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, followed by the egg yolk, beating on medium speed just until blended. Beat in vanilla and almond extract just until blended. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat just until combined (don’t overmix!).
- Add the batter to the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Spreading Tip: The batter will be extra thick and sticky so I suggest coating a piece of parchment paper with nonstick spray and laying it on top of the dough (spray side down) and using your hands to spread the dough into an even layer.
- Bake for 30-36 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out shiny but clean. (Take note that glass dishes can bake more quickly.) The edges should just have a little color and the center should be barely set (it will still look shiny). Let cool completely in the dish.
- Once cool, use the parchment paper overhang to remove the bars to a cutting board to frost.
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (recommended), beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes.
- Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and ⅛ teaspoon salt with the mixer running on low. Increase speed to high and beat for 3 full minutes. Beat in food coloring, if using.
- Adjust as needed: Add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. I usually add anywhere between ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Frost the bars with a thick layer of frosting and decorate with sprinkles if desired.
Tips and Storage
- Don’t pack the flour. It is important that you measure the flour correctly because too much flour will result in denser, drier Sugar Cookie Bars. The best way to measure flour is with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have one, then fluff your flour with a spoon, scoop it into the measuring cup and then level; as opposed to scooping the measuring cup into the flour which can cause the flour to compress.
- Room temperature eggs hack. Add warm (not hot) tap water to a bowl then add eggs (still in their shells) for at least 20 minutes.
- Make ahead: You can make the Sugar Cookie Bars and frosting and store separately up to one day in advance. Store the unfrosted bars, tightly covered, at room temperature and the frosting in the fridge. Storing the bars at room temperature helps prevent them from drying out. Frost before cutting and serving.
- To store: Once frosted, tightly cover and refrigerate the bars for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- To freeze: The bars can be frozen with or without the frosting and either before or after slicing. If freezing the bars with frosting, I recommend slicing, laying in a single layer on a baking sheet and flash freezing until solid. Transfer the bars to a bag with a piece of parchment paper in between each layer. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Add food coloring to the frosting for different occasions: You can make the frosting any color you like to create festive cookie bars! Try pink or blue for baby showers, pink for Mother’s Day, red for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day, red, white or blue (or stripes!) for 4th of July, green for Christmas (then cut into triangle trees!) or pick a theme and run with it!
- Top with crushed candy: You can top the Sugar Cookie Bars with any chopped or crushed candy or cookie like M&Ms, crushed Butterfingers, crushed candy canes, crushed Oreos, etc. and even create designs with different candies.
- Use a different frosting: You use any frosting you’d like! Eggnog frosting could be especially fun at Christmas time!
- Top with fruit: Create a “fruit pizza” by topping with sliced strawberries/and or any fruit like kiwis, mango, pineapple, blueberries, etc. You can also make an American flag out of strawberries and blueberries for the 4th of July.
- Add chocolate chips: Try chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, cinnamon chips or another favorite baking chip folded into the dough.
- Add nuts: Add chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts or cashews to the dough.
- Peppermint: Add ½ teaspoon peppermint extract when you add the vanilla extract then sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
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