Sugar Cookie Bars

These sugar cookie bars? Well, they are phenomenal. The glorious goodness of sugar cookies in bar form. And that in itself is truly brilliant. I adapted my favorite-sugar-cookie-of-all-time for these babies and I may never go back to chilling, rolling and cutting. Ok, actually, I will, because sugar cookies have a special place in my heart. But if you don’t want to chill, roll or cut, these sugar cookie bars are for you. They are perfect for a sugar cookie fix that needs to be satisfied nearly immediately and talk about a stinking cute treat to bring to a potluck or to a friend or surprise kids after school. Your fellow potluckies and friends and kids will love you forever.

Sugar Cookie Bars

One Year Ago: Spring Penne Pasta with Light Butter Sauce
Two Years Ago: Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter
Three Years Ago: Philly Cheesesteak Calzone

Sugar Cookie Bars

Yield: Makes 9X13-inch pan of bars

Sugar Cookie Bars


  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to cool room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press and/or spread the sugar cookie mixture gently into an even layer into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Don't overbake! The bars shouldn't have any color around the edges and barely be set in the middle. Let the bars cool completely before frosting.
  5. For the frosting, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth (if the mixture has trouble coming together, add a drop or two of milk). Add in the vanilla and mix. Add the milk or cream and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

80 Responses to Sugar Cookie Bars

  1. Jennifer says:

    I love these sugar cookie bars! (I’m far too lazy to roll/cut sugar cookies most of the time.) I do prefer them without the lemon zest and a whipped cream cheese frosting… Oh, and don’t forget the rainbow sprinkles!

  2. Patty says:

    Mel I’m looking for a sugar cookie recipe to make ice cream sandwiches from a sheet cake for a big gathering do you think these would work

  3. Nikki Densmore says:

    Hey Mel, is there anyway to turn these into chocolate sugar cookie bars? Adding cocoa powder to it? Or no? I just love these and have seen a chocolate sugar cookie bar before but since I love this recipe I thought I’d ask 🙂 let me know what you think! Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never made these into a chocolate version, Nikki – and would be hesitant to recommend without experimenting myself. have you tried googling for a chocolate version?

  4. Jaci says:

    Ummmm…these were AMAZING and dangerous all in one. We’ll just leave at–these cookies have changed my life! Thanks for yet another delicious recipe. Mel! I’m making your truffle brownies and bacon jalapeno popper cheeseball for a baby shower I’m hosting on Thursday, and I know that they will not disappoint.

  5. Natalie says:

    Made these according to recipe, but baked them 15 minutes. They were still raw and I’m very disappointing. What a waste of ingredients. The only thing that worked out well was the frosting.

  6. Sherry says:

    Made these exactly as stated – sadly had to throw them out. They were terrible!!
    Flavorless dough and sickening sweet, thick icing.

  7. Amy Pedersen says:

    I made these to take to a party and doubled the recipe. I baked them in a jelly roll pan ( giant cookie sheet from costco) and they turned out great, They needed a bit more time baking than stated – more like 16 minutes for me. The frosting was fabulous and creamy! Thanks!
    My family is loving all the recipes we are testing out from your site! I love it! It feels like the blog I always wanted. Thanks for the time, effort and thoughfulness you put into it!

  8. Kami says:

    Can these be made a day ahead? Or should I choose a different cookie bar?

  9. Nita says:

    These bars are super delish! I’ve made them before and they were yummy but this time I didn’t leave out the lemon zest and I used Madagascar Tahitian bourbon vanilla and they were wonderful!

  10. Marcia S. says:

    Hi Mel! I have tried 3 or 4 different cookies bar recipes, although they were all very good, they did not come close to these in deliciousness! This is THE cookie bar I will make forever!!! Thank you!!!

  11. Jen says:

    I make a birthday “cake” for my nephews each year. I have one nephew who doesn’t like cake, he’s a sugar cookie lover. This year, I want to make him a basketball court cake and I came across this recipe. If I made this recipe for the court, is it like one huge cookie? Or, is it like a blondie/brownie? He loves chewy sugar cookies so if this recipe makes a large, chewy sugar cookie that I can frost with Royal Frosting it just might be the answer! Can anyone tell me how thick these are and if they are chewy or cakey? THANK YOU!

    • Mel says:

      These bake up about an inch thick (as thick as the pictures in the post). I’d say they are more on the cake side than chewy. Like a really soft sugar cookie in bar form.

      • Jen says:

        Thank you!! I’m definitely going to give them a try! I’ll bake them for myself first and even if I can’t use them for the project, I’m sure they’ll be yummy!

  12. monica says:

    What kind of texture does this sugar cookie frosting have, does it harden on the cookies?
    as once their cooled & cut I plan to store them stacked one on top of each other in a covered container in the refrig, would this frosting hold up to stacking? as I live in a very humid tropical climate. Can you recommend a good cookie icing that will harden on the cookies but that also tastes good?

    • Mel says:

      monica – This frosting is on the soft side so I wouldn’t recommend stacking the bars after they are frosted. Unfortunately every recipe I’ve tried for frosting that hardens is not very tasty so I don’t have one that I love and use. Perhaps a google search may help you (but I’ve learned over the years I’m much more partial to soft, creamy frosting). Good luck!

  13. Made these yesterday and they turned out FANTASTIC! Thanks!

  14. Lynda M. says:

    I made these yesterday afternoon as was craving a good sugar cookie. Amazing bar, these totally hit the spot! I am not sure I can have these in my house they are so good. My son took them to youth group, a big success with the kids and leaders. Super easy to throw together and I always have the ingredients in my house.

  15. Teresa says:

    These bars are so scrumptious. Made them yesterday morning to take to my son’s 8th grade reception last night. They were the first to go. I did them exactly how you did, sprinkles and all, added just one drop of red coloring, and they were the perfect shade of light pink. I cut them with my trusty Pampered Chef heavy duty spatula and I got perfect squares. They are very easy to cut and present so nicely. Love this recipe, so delicious. Thanks again–everyone wanted the recipe.

  16. Megan says:

    These are perfect…perfect cookie to frosting ratio…perfect frosting (with cream….I’m a big fan of cream in frosting- it makes a huge difference). I did add a little almond extract to the dough and frosting, because I love almond. I used a little paring knife to cut and they turned out nice, even the corner.

  17. Monica says:

    These are delicious and easy to make – a dangerous combination! Like one of the comments above, I used a large kitchen knife and got pretty clean slices. I also baked them with parchment paper underneath so I could lift them out cleanly to slice. Thank you, Mel, for all your great recipes!

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  19. Jessica says:

    This recipe is probably one of the most addictive desserts I’ve ever had. I’m not even big on sugar cookies. But this just tastes like sugar cookie dough–absolutely amazing! I’m pretty embarrassed to say that I’ve actually had to vow never to make them for just our family again. I have to make sure they are only made for large gatherings, so I can guarantee that others eat them. I probably gained 5 pounds the past few days because I kept sneaking bites. Your website is my go-to place for recipes!

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  21. Lana says:

    In reading through the comments I see the question about cutting them neatly. A plastic knife will cut just about any bar neatly. I keep those plastic bagel knives for just that.

  22. viktoriya says:

    Could I try blue food coloring? I don’t have any red/pink, and would it look nice plain?

  23. Katie says:

    Would this recipe work well for fruit pizza…for the crust?

  24. Katie says:

    People have mentioned doubling the recipe on these and using a jelly roll pan. A 9 x 13 cookie sheet is actually a half size cookie sheet. Full size cookie sheets are 18 x 26, so the person that said they used a large pan and doubled it probably had an 18 x 26 pan. Just an FYI!

    • Megan says:

      My jelly roll pans, which are the standard size, are 12×17, which has slightly less area than 2 9×13 pans, which would make them slightly thicker if you double and use a jelly roll pan. Either way, it minor and they will probably turn out amazing.

  25. sarah says:

    I’m going to skip the frosting and add some cookie butter and a drizzle of cocoa powder= Um, yes.

  26. Leah says:

    I also tried doubling the recipe and cooked it in a jelly roll pan. I actually thought they were too thick, haha! So now I take out some of the dough and make it into cookies or a giant cookie in a cake pan. It is difficult to spread the dough. I had to keep spraying my hands with nonstick spray to get it to spread. That’s my two cents, anyway. 😉

  27. Katy says:

    I have doubled the recipe and made the bars in a jelly roll pan. They were perfect! I suppose they were slightly less thick than the regular recipe (don’t know since that was the first time I made them) but they were plenty thick. I did have to work at the dough to get it to spread all the way across the whole pan but once I did, they cooked great!

  28. Katy says:

    I have doubled the recipe and made the bars in a jelly roll pan. They were perfect! I suppose they were slightly less thick than the regular recipe (don’t know since that was the first time I made them) but they were plenty thick. I did have to work at the dough to get it t

  29. Katy says:

    I have doubled the reci

  30. Leah says:

    I noticed someone said they doubled the recipe and baked them in a large cookie sheet–I am assuming they meant a jelly roll pan? I am going to try the same, but am nervous because it seems like maybe a little less surface area than two 9×13 pans. Any suggestions/have you tried this Mel? TIA!

  31. Kathleen says:

    These are the bomb. Kids love them if I leave any for them.

  32. Emily says:

    I made these yesterday and they are AMAZING. I needed a recipe that didn’t use chocolate chips because we were all out, and this was definitely the one. I underbaked them a little because I was being cautious of overbaking, and they came out buttery, soft, and delicious! They taste even better than they look… Thanks, Mel!

  33. LindsayP says:

    I made these (for the second time) for a baby shower a little over a week ago. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a large cookie sheet. They turned out awesome and I got so many compliments at the shower! I couldn’t stop eating them myself! Thanks for the great recipe!

  34. NorthDakotaGirl says:

    I made these bars for my graduation party but died the frosting green. They were dangerously good! I could not stop eating them and many other people were commenting on them. Thanks for the recipe!

  35. Kelly says:

    So easy, so good! I love that the cookie turned out soft but still tastes like a sugar cookie. The frosting is easy and tasty. This is going to the next potluck!

    PS about cutting the bars- I lined my pan with foil so I could lift them out when cool. Frost, then use a big kitchen knife to chop them, rather than cut, without dragging through them.

  36. Jodi says:

    Made these yesterday they were super! The girls loved them and yes we used sprinkles. So quick and easy and yummy!! Thanks for sharing.

  37. Katie says:

    My hubby took one bite and proclaimed that these are his new favorite cookie. I have to agree, these cookies are so, so good! I also love how they are baked in a pan; yay for not having to roll out sugar cookie dough!

  38. Cammee says:

    I am not even being dramatic here–Sugar Cookie Bars are totally life changing!! My life at this time does not allow devoting an entire day to making and decorating cookies. Unlike you, I may never roll and cut sugar cookies again! I think I discovered these a year ago and have probably made them 30 times. I get asked for the recipe so many times that I have it as a document on my computer so I can easily email it. Love, love, love!!

  39. grace says:

    i love that pretty pink frosting–it makes all the difference to me. 🙂

  40. Oh, Mel….you never disappoint. Can’t wait to try these.

  41. Amy Wolin says:

    MAKING THESE THIS WEEK! My husband recently got a giant bottle of vanilla from Mexico and hinted he would love to try the special vanilla in sugar cookies. As much as I die over your divine sugar cookie dough, ahem, cookies, I didn’t want to roll em. BARS I CAN HANDLE!!!! Rolling happens only around Christmas time! 🙂 YAY!!!!!

    Thanks for the heads up on the site being down! Excited to see the new look!

  42. rachel says:

    We’re getting hit by all the winter weather in the Rockies, so I made these yesterday and they were so easy and so awesome! Can’t wait to finish eating them all today since the weather hasn’t cleared up and we’re snowed in 🙂

  43. Jen T says:

    Love these! They are so good!!!

  44. Kathy says:

    My mom made something similar to these at Christmas time. They were delicious! I froze the leftovers and they tasted great!

  45. Jenn says:

    I honestly can’t thank you enough for the time you have spent sharing this blog with everyone. My family is in heaven right now because we’ve had so many phenomenal meals. I love trying to cook with my three girls…and your recipes are helping us all come together more at dinner around a really good meal…seriously, thank you for the time you sacrifice teaching me and so many others.

  46. Suzanne says:

    Someone told me years ago to use a plastic knife (just a disposable one) to cut brownies- it definitely helps with crumbs/ edges. Something about the crumbs not sticking to the plastic? I don’t know the science, but it does help!

  47. Julia says:

    Thank you!!!! I am getting my mixer out right now to make theses!

  48. Jane says:

    Can’t wait to try these – I giggled at the color of the frosting. I get the feeling all the boys were at school and Cam got her choice! Very nervous to be without you for the weekend – thanks for the heads up.

  49. Oooh, those look delicious – and easy! Thanks! 🙂

  50. I am a sugar cookie monster! These look phenomenal.

  51. These cookies are so very pretty and I know they taste amazing, there’s nothing like an old fashioned sugar cookie! Can’t wait to see your new site!

  52. Mary A. says:

    Mel, These look great as I rarely want to spend the time making sugar cookies. We will try these this week!

    Kira – this recipe makes absolutely fabulous lofthouse style cookies – we made them for valentines day and loved them!

  53. kira says:

    Oh these look so good! Do they taste like a lofthouse type cookie? My mom loves those but we would love to find a homemade version since we are cutting out all processed foods….. either way we will be trying these in the near future. Excited to check out the new design.

    • Mel says:

      Kira – I’ve only had lofthouse cookies a time or two so I can’t really compare these bars to them but these bars are just a delicious, traditional sugar cookie in bar form. Overbaking makes them dry but a short baking time will result in a soft bar cookie if that’s what you are looking for.

  54. Colleen says:

    The bars look delicious. Do they keep well? Can they be made ahead and frozen (with or without frosting)?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Colleen – these keep just fine for 1-2 days covered at room temp. I’ve never tried freezing them but since regular sugar cookies freeze well, it’s probably worth a try with these.

  55. Olha Dunbar says:

    Hi Mel,
    You’re adorable. Where do you get that ‘ever-ready-bunny’ energy level??? Nice blog, I’m glad I bumped into it.

  56. Kelley says:

    Can’t wait to try these beauties!! And I love your site so much…can’t imagine it getting any better.

  57. These look so fabulous, Mel! Can’t wait to see your delish new design. So excited for you!

  58. Suzanne says:

    I used your sugar cookie recipe/frosting for a fruit pizza last week- it was AMAZING and dangerously delicious. It was after another recipe failed us- my sister believes it was fate that the first one failed so we would find and use yours. It’s a keeper!

  59. Nicole Hunn says:

    Can’t wait to see the new site, Mel! All that hard work will most definitely be worth it. 🙂

    xo Nicole

  60. LeAnne says:

    Hey… I love your recipes! This may be a funny question, but how do you cut your bar cookies and get that nice, smooth edge?? Your food looks delicious as well as tastes delicious. When I try to cut brownies and bars, they never turn out so nice and square… lots of rough edges!

    • Mel says:

      LeAnne – hmm, I’m afraid I don’t have any really great tips! I use my long utility knife (it’s like paring knife but with a longer blade) or my bench scraper that has a thin metal edge. And remember that I’m only taking pictures of the pretty ones; I’m fairly sure there were some rough edges!

  61. heather says:

    laura, I struggled with flat cookies (called them paper cookies) for awhile. Check the baking soda/baking powder you are using to see if they are expired/old. Also chilling the dough (about 1 hour in the fridge) helps reduce the “cookie spread.” I’ve also heard of people chilling the cookie sheets, although I’ve never tried it.

    I’m definitely making these this week. My hubby and son are choc chip cookie fanatics, but I need change. I think this will bridge the gap, especially if I sprinkle chips on half.

    And Mel? Still making your choc chip pumpkin muffins 2x a month. I don’t think we could live without them!!! Looking forward to the redesgin.

  62. Laura says:

    I love all these cookie bar recipe you’ve been posting! I love cookies but never make them because mine always turn out super flat-like paper. There bars are the perfect solution to my problem-no more flat cookies!

  63. twisterfish says:

    I’m a huge sugar cookie fan … can’t wait to try these!

  64. Teresa R. says:

    I am printing now for the weekend! Can’t wait to see the new site! I love sugar cookies, so this recipe is one of the ones I’m printing.

  65. Thanks for the headsup! I cook from your site on the weekends, so I will print ahead of time!

    Love these bars 🙂

  66. Lisa Clark says:

    I’m excited to see the new site design! Can’t wait!!

    I’ve made these cookies once before and loved them. I’ll have to try your take on it! Thank you!

  67. Dru @ Teenage Cakeland says:

    These look great! I love sugar cookies, but I hate the whole process of making them. I cant wait to try these and to ser your new site!

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