Iced Heart Cookies Recipe

24 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Chill Dough 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 21 minutes

Iced Heart Cookies are the perfect Valentine’s treat, with cut-out sugar cookies topped with sweet royal icing. Try today and share the love!

These Iced Heart sugar cookies look as good as they taste! The base recipe is easy to make with simple pantry ingredients for buttery, Rolled Sugar Cookies. Cut them into heart shapes for a festive appearance, then bake until crisp but not hard. By topping the Heart Cookies with royal icing, you can get a wonderful color and extra sweetness. Because royal icing hardens as it dries, it’s great for creating marbling or other patterns because the colors will stay in one place on the iced cookie recipe. These adorable sugar cookies are perfect for a party or bake sale. For more Valentine-themed Dessert Recipes, try Valentine’s Day Cupcakes or Valentine’s Day Chocolate Oreos

Sabrina’s Iced Heart Cookies Recipe

Sabrina’s Iced Heart Cookies are a delightful treat. Cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, then mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters and bake until perfect. For the icing, combine meringue powder, water, and powdered sugar, adding red and pink food coloring for flair. Pipe borders, fill in colors, and sprinkle heart-shaped toppings. Don’t forget the glitter or other decorations before the icing dries. It’s a fun activity for kids too! Bake, decorate, and share these homemade treats for Valentine’s Day parties or as gifts, beautifully packaged in cellophane bags with ribbons. Homemade love in every bite!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups Unsalted Butter: You want to use softened, unsalted butter so that it creams smoothly with the granulated sugar. However, to get the best cookie texture, you’ll want to bake the cookies with chilled butter. Because of this, it’s best to let the dough chill for a couple of hours so that the fat can chill before the cooking time.
  • 3 cups Sugar: Sugar sweetens the cookies and helps with their texture, creating a soft and chewy interior. Brown sugar can be used for a deeper flavor.
  • 4 large Eggs: Eggs act as a binding agent, providing structure and moisture to the dough. Vegan alternatives like flax eggs can be used.
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract: Vanilla enhances the cookies’ flavor profile with its warm, aromatic notes. Bonus points if you can use real vanilla extract for the best taste! 
  • 5 cups Flour: You can use regular all-purpose flour for this recipe. There are 5 cups of flour in the dry ingredients, which is more than you’ll find in a lot of other cookie recipes. The flour mixture creates more structure in the cookie dough, which stops the cookies from spreading too much and losing shape during the baking time.
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder: Baking powder aids in the cookies’ rise, making them tender.
  • 1 teaspoon Salt: Salt balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor. Sea salt or kosher salt can be used for a subtle variation.

For Royal Icing:

  • 2 tablespoons Meringue Powder: Making icing with meringue powder makes it easier to add decorations and patterns because the icing hardens as it dries. 2 egg whites can be used as a natural alternative.
  • ⅓ cup Water: Water helps achieve the desired consistency of the icing. Adjust the amount to control thickness.
  • 2 ½ cups Powdered Sugar: Sweeten the royal icing with confectioner sugar. Along with the powdered sugar in the icing recipe, you’ll also want some extra to roll the dough onto. While you could use a floured surface, opting for icing sugar instead adds a little extra sweetness to the cookies. Rolling the cookies out on a floured work surface can also make them taste too floury.
  • Red Food Coloring (4-6 drops): Red food coloring adds a vibrant hue to the icing, perfect for Valentine’s-themed cookies. Consider a natural alternative for those with red-dye allergies. 
  • Pink Food Coloring (4-6 drops): Pink food coloring adds a fun touch with its soft shade. Consider a natural alternative for those with red-dye allergies.
  • Heart Sprinkles: These decorative elements add a charming finishing touch to the cookies, but other sprinkles or decorations can be used creatively.

Kitchen Tools and Equipment

  • Mixer: A Mixer (stand or handheld electric mixer) helps efficiently cream the butter and sugar, achieving a smooth consistency for the cookie dough. A stand mixer is ideal for larger batches, while a hand mixer works well for smaller quantities. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl for even mixing.
  • Rolling Pin: A Rolling Pin is essential for rolling out the cookie dough to the desired thickness. Dust it with powdered sugar to prevent sticking and maintain uniformity in cookie thickness.
  • Cookie Cutters: Cookie Cutters, especially heart-shaped ones for this recipe, are used to create the desired shapes. Dip them in flour to prevent sticking and maintain clean cuts.  
  • Piping Bag with Tips: A Piping Bag equipped with tips (e.g., #5 tip) is crucial for decorating with royal icing. It provides control and precision when piping borders and filling cookies.
  • Baking Sheets: Prepared baking sheets or cookie sheets are essential for baking the cookies. Line sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats to prevent sticking and make clean-up easier. Ensure cookies are evenly spaced to avoid sticking together while baking.

How to Make Iced Heart Cookies

Time needed: 1 hour and 21 minutes.

  1. Step 1: Prepare Cookie Dough 

    Attach the paddle attachment (you can also use the whisk attachment) to medium-high speed and cream softened butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill dough for at least an hour or overnight.cookie dough pile and pin ready for rolling

  2. Step 2: Roll and Cut

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough until it’s ¼ to ½ inch thick on a surface dusted with powdered sugar. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to stamp out shapes. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.cutting heart shapes into the rolled out cookie dough

  3. Step 3: Bake and Cool

    Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes until golden. Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.15 baked hearts on a cookie sheet

  4. Step 4: Make Royal Icing

    In a mixer, combine meringue powder and water. Add powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Separate into three medium bowls, add red food coloring to one bowl, pink food coloring to another, and leave the last one as simple white icing. Adjust consistency with 2 tablespoons water if needed to thin out the icing for piping.decorating the first cookie

  5. Step 5: Decorate

    Using a piping bag with a #5 tip, pipe a border on cookies, then fill in with icing. Leave a 1/2″ border. If layering colors, let the first layer dry for 2 hours before adding secondary colors. That way, the colors don’t bleed together. You can also add sprinkles or any other decorations you like before the icing hardens. Let the Iced Heart Cookies dry on wire racks before serving.all the heart cookies topped with contrasting sprinkles

Can This Be Made Ahead?

Yes, you can make the cookie dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months. You can also prepare the royal icing in advance and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Iced Heart Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 357 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 0.5g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 148mg6%
Potassium 43mg1%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 37g41%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 394IU8%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Store Heart Cookies

Storing

Wait for the royal icing to dry before serving these delicious sugar cookies. You don’t want to leave this cut-out cookie recipe sitting uncovered for more than a few hours, or the cookies will start to dry out. To keep the sugar cookie recipe fresh, you can cover them in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container. Kept sealed, they can stay good at room temperature for up to a week. 

Freezing

To keep the cookies longer, you can put them in a freezer bag to keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Place them in a large ziplock bag or another airtight container with a piece of parchment paper between each layer, so the cookies don’t get stuck together. Then you can let the Iced Heart Cookies thaw at room temperature before serving. 

Frequent Questions

Why use softened butter?

It’s important to use softened butter for cookie dough so that it can be creamed with sugar. Creaming softened butter and white sugar together incorporates air bubbles into the cookies so that they can rise during the baking time. 

Do I need to refrigerate sugar cookie dough?

Most cookie recipes call for refrigerating the dough. This re-chills the butter to achieve the right texture. It’s especially important to use chilled dough for sugar cookies because it makes the dough easier to handle. If you don’t let the dough chill, it will be more sticky and difficult to roll out. Make sure to set aside at least an hour to let the dough sit in the fridge. 

Can I use different kinds of icing?

Yes. You can use different kinds of icing or frosting depending on your preference. Royal icing is ideal for decorating sugar cookies because you can achieve vibrant colors, and it hardens as it dries, so the decorations will stay in place. But you could also top your Heart Cookies with Buttercream Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, and Rich Chocolate Frosting if you like. 

Are there alternatives to artificial red food coloring for those with allergies?

Yes, consider using natural alternatives like beet juice or pomegranate juice to get the fun red hue without the risk of allergies associated with artificial food coloring. Keep in mind that the color might not be as intense as artificial dyes, but it’s a safer and natural choice.

Recipe Card

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Iced Heart Cookies

Iced Heart Cookies are the perfect Valentine's treat, with cut-out sugar cookies topped with sweet royal icing. Try today and share the love!
Yield 24 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 21 minutes
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

Rolled Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Royal Icing:

  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • red food coloring , 4-6 drops
  • pink food coloring , 4-6 drops
  • heart sprinkles

Instructions

Sugar Cookies:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cover, and chill dough for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Roll out dough, using powdered sugar on the surface and rolling pin ¼ to ½ inch thick.
  • Using assorted cookie cutters, stamp out the shapes you'd like to ice. (We used heart shape cookie cutters.)
  • Carefully, with a spatula, place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Royal Icing:

  • To a stand mixer add the meringue powder and water on medium speed for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
  • Separate icing into three bowls, adding red food coloring to one, pink food coloring to the second and nothing to the third.
  • Add gel colors of your choosing and if you need to thin for thin piping add small amounts of water at a time.
  • Using a #5 tip on your piping bag, pipe a border first then fill in with the desired color with a larger tip, leaving a 1/2" border around the cookies.
  • If layering colors allow the first layer to dry for 2 hours before adding secondary colors.

Notes

  • Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 394IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Iced Heart Cookies

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Variations on Iced Heart Cookies

variations on heart cookies with various colors and little frases like XOXO and Kiss Me
  • Cookie Shapes: You can use this same recipe to make cookies for any occasion. Instead of cutting the dough into heart shapes, you could make them into clovers, eggs, stars, Christmas trees, or any other fitting shape. After baking, prepare the icing with whatever food coloring matches the shape you chose and decorate the cookies how you’d like. 
  • Flavor Additions: You can add flavored extracts or spices for a slight twist on the classic sugar cookies. Try mixing in a drop of peppermint extract, almond extract, coconut extract, or lemon extract. You could also try adding warm spices like ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger. All these flavoring ingredients have quite a strong taste, so make sure you only add a little bit at a time. 
  • Chocolate Heart Cookies: For rich chocolate flavor, add unsweetened cocoa powder to the rolled sugar cookie ingredients. For chocolate Iced Heart Cookies, add 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder for every 2 tablespoons of flour that you remove. Removing some of the flour ensures that there aren’t too many dry ingredients in the recipe. 

More Valentine's Desserts

Iced Heart Cookies Pin

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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