Sugar Cookie Bars

Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars cut with sprinkles on top ready to serve

Active Time:

25 mins

Total Time:

2 hrs 20 mins



If you’re craving frosted sugar cookies but don’t want to deal with chilling and rolling or scooping out cookie dough, these sugar cookie bars have all of the flavor without the extra work. They are thick, chewy, and topped with just the right amount of buttercream frosting.

Because they’re so quick and easy, sugar cookie bars are perfect for any occasion—especially if the occasion is that you’re just craving cookies. For fans of the large sugar cookies from cookie chains, try using the optional almond extract in the frosting and serving these bars chilled.

Learn how to make sugar cookie bars, and grab sprinkles to match your celebration.

Sugar Cookie Bar Ingredients

These sugar cookie bars are easy to make with pantry staples.

For the bars, you will need:

  • All-purpose flour: The base of the dense, chewy cookie bar.
  • Baking powder: This helps the cookies rise during baking.
  • Table salt: A little salt is needed to balance the sweet.
  • Unsalted butter: If you use salted butter, cut back on the salt you add to the frosting and cookie dough.
  • Granulated sugar: For sweetness.
  • Egg: To help behind the cookies.
  • Milk: For moisture to mix the cookie dough:
  • Vanilla extract: Adds a warm, smooth flavor to the cookie bars.

You’ll also need powdered sugar, along with more butter, salt, milk, and vanilla for the frosting. If you like almond extract, you can add 3/4 teaspoon to the frosting. A few drops of food coloring and sprinkles are optional, but highly encouraged.

Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars ingredients

How To Make Sugar Cookie Bars:

Full instructions are below, but here’s a quick recap:

  • Step 1: Prepare your pan, and preheat the oven. We line the pan with parchment paper to make it easier to lift out the cookie bars later.
  • Step 2: Mix together the dry ingredients. This helps ensure the baking powder and salt will be evenly distributed in the dough.
  • Step 3: Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the egg, milk, and vanilla. After that, add the flour mixture and mix until smooth.
  • Step 4: Bake the cookies, then let cool completely on a cooling rack before adding the frosting.
  • Step 5: Mix the frosting. Beat the butter and salt until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then add the milk, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat until fluffy. You can add a few drops of food coloring, if you like, but it’s not necessary.
  • Step 6: Decorate the cookie bars. Lift the cooled cookie bars out of the pan, spread with frosting, and immediately sprinkle with the sprinkles. Now they’re ready to cut and serve!

How To Store Sugar Cookie Bars

In an airtight container, sugar cookie bars will last at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. You can also keep them in the fridge for a few days more. Place a sheet of parchment or wax paper between the cookie layers if you need to stack them. This will help keep the frosting tidy.

To freeze sugar cookie bars, wrap them in storage wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze up to 3 months. If you’re making the bars to get ahead for a future party or birthday celebration, bake, cool, and freeze just the cookie layer. Then, thaw it overnight in the fridge, and make the frosting the day you plan to serve the cookie bars.

Decorating Sugar Cookie Bars

This is your time to have fun! While optional, you can use food coloring to tint the buttercream frosting to match a party theme or holiday colors. Mix up the sprinkles, sanding sugars, or candies, too. This is a great opportunity to get kids involved, and they’ll enjoy being creative with all the fun edible decor options.

More Easy Cookie Recipes

If you’re in the baking mood, try one of these recipes next:

  • Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies
  • Chewy Molasses Cookies
  • Chocolate-Mint Cookies
  • Preacher Cookies
  • Brownie Cookies


Cookie Bars:

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • Pink food coloring (optional)
  • Sprinkles, for garnish (optional)


  1. Prepare oven and baking pan:Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13- x 9-in. pan with cooking spray and line parchment paper, letting the long edges hang over the sides of the pan slightly.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars preparing the pan with cooking spray and parchment paperCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  2. Combine dry ingredients:In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars whisking together the dry ingredientsCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  3. Make cookie dough:In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy and combined, about 2 minutes.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars beating the butter and sugar togetherCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXAdd egg, milk, and vanilla; beat until smooth.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars adding the egg, milk and vanilla to the batterCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXGradually add flour, mixing on medium-low speed. Continue to mix only until a smooth, soft dough forms.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars dough after adding the flourCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  4. Add dough to pan:Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars pressing the dough into the panCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  5. Bake cookie bars:Bake 22-25 minutes or until cookie bars are golden brown on edges, center is set, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, about 1 1/2 hours.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars after baking on a cooling rackCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  6. Prepare Frosting:In a large bowl, beat butter and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until butter is smooth and light, about 1 minute.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars beating the butter until it's smoothCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXAdd powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add milk, vanilla, and almond extract (if using); beat until evenly combined and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add food color, if using, until desired color is reached, beating until smooth and combined.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars frosting after mixingCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  7. Decorate cookie bars:Using the parchment paper as handles, remove cookie bars from the pan.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars after lifting the cookies out of the panCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXSpread icing on top of cooled cookie bars.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars spreading with the frostingCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXSprinkle with sprinkles, if using. Cut into squares to serve.Southern Living Sugar Cookie Bars with sprinkles on topCAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX