These easy, no chill, Citrus 4th of July Sugar Cookies are a fun activity for the whole family and a great addition to any 4th of July celebration. The touch of citrus adds refreshing summer flavor.
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These cookies are perfect for any celebration - 4th of July, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, the Election, and so much more.
They are also an easy, fun activity for kids and parents, especially when it’s too hot to play outside and staying in the AC is key.
Citrus Sugar Cookies
Baking and decorating cut-out cookies is a holiday favorite. Most people associate it with Christmas, but it can be used for any holiday or celebration. They’re also fun to do just because. An any day activity!
You may also like my Frozen-Inspired Sugar Cookies. They’re perfect for Frozen-themed birthday parties!
If you're looking for more Patriotic desserts, check out - Funfetti Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes.
I decided to add orange extract to these sugar cookies for a burst of summer. To me, citrus screams warmer weather. I also LOVE anything orange, including these Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies.
You could add lemon extract for the same summery effect.
This recipe is PERFECT for cutting out shapes. The dough does not spread while baking. The shape you put in the oven is exactly what comes out!
It also does not need to be chilled! Woo woo!
After mixing the ingredients together, simply place the dough on a piece of parchment paper, roll it out, then cut the desired shapes.
I use cookie cutters from this Wilton Cookie Cutters Set. It includes different size stars, hearts, lots of numbers, all the letters, and so much more.
If you are looking for more specific Patriotic shapes, there is this 4th of July Cookie Cutter Set.
After cutting out the shapes, place the cookies on a prepared cookie sheet and bake! That’s it. No chilling required.
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Decorating Tips for 4th of July Sugar Cookies
I used royal icing to decorate my cookies. The recipe is included below. I prefer to use disposable piping bags with a tip already attached.
I found a set of disposable piping bags at Walmart that let me cut my own design and size in the attached tip. They held up well. I haven’t found them online yet though.
When outlining a design, most people use a thick royal icing. This icing is too stiff to get flat and smooth. BUT, if you used a thinner royal icing, it’d just run right off the cookie.
After outlining the desired design, wait about 5-10 minutes for it to dry. I learned this the hard way! The icing all ran together. It was a mess! And almost impossible to fix.
After the outline is dry, “flood” in between the lines with a thinner royal icing.
You can thin the stiffer royal icing by adding some water. I recommend doing this in small increments. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of water then mix. If you want it thinner, add another 1/2 teaspoon of water then mix again. And so on.
Royal Icing does dry quickly. Add any sprinkles or embellishments right away.
I waited and it was a big mistake. As you can see with the big, blue star cookie above, I had to press the white star sprinkles down to make them stick. This cracked the royal icing and made the cookie look messy!
The Perfect Blue
I definitely recommend using gel food coloring for red and blue icing.
For a vibrant red, you have to add a lot of red food coloring.
For the perfect Patriotic blue, I added some purple gel food coloring from Betty Crocker's Food Color Neon Gel. It's usually waaay cheaper in the grocery store though. I'm a bit shocked at the price on Amazon.
This helped to create a more navy blue, which is closer to the blue on the American flag.
Ingredients for Citrus 4th of July Sugar Cookies
- 3 cups Flour
- 1 cup Butter, softened
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 Egg
- 1.5 tsp. Orange Extract
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Ingredients for Royal Icing
- 3 Egg Whites
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 4 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
Directions for Citrus 4th of July Sugar Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Do not melt the butter completely. This changes the dough’s ability to retain shape during baking.
- Add the vanilla extract, orange extract, and egg. Stir!
- Add the baking powder and flour. Mix it well! I usually abandon my spatula and massage the dough by hand.
Spread & Shape
- On a sheet of parchment paper (Reynolds Kitchens Pop-Up Parchment Paper Sheets are my absolute favorite), sprinkle a little flour. Plop the sugar cookie dough on the paper.
- Spread the dough out and roll it to your desired thickness with a rolling pin. If you have a wooden rolling pin, spread flour on it first! This prevents sticking.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
- Place the cutouts on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
Directions for Royal Icing
- Beat the egg whites until foamy.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Stir in the confectioner’s sugar.
- Mix until smooth. For stiffer royal icing, add more sugar. For thinner royal icing, add some water. I described this step above.
- Separate the icing into three separate bowls.
- Add red gel food coloring to one. Stir well. This is your red royal icing.
- Add blue and purple gel food coloring to another bowl of icing. I start with the blue then mix. Once I have a deep blue, I slowly add some purple food coloring in small increments. Too much purple will result in a weird, gray-ish purple color. It is important to add slowly, mix, then evaluate. This is your blue royal icing.
- Transfer the icing from the three bowls (red, white, and blue) to three separate piping bags.
- Once the 4th of July sugar cookies are completely cool, line them on another sheet of parchment paper.
- Begin designing!! Have fun with it!
If you plan on using sprinkles, please remember to add them RIGHT after you ice a cookie. Royal icing dries very fast.
Happy Baking! I would love to see your designs!