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Sugar Cookie Bars are a classic! Fluffy, soft and a little bit chewy, these bars are topped with a creamy homemade frosting.
An easy recipe, but definitely one to keep!
Step by step photos and instructions below!
I love this classic recipe, it’s one to make over and over and is always a crowd pleaser!
While I do love me some cookies, these sugar cookie bars are a massive favorite because they are so easily adaptable.
The basic recipe has us make a simple dough, press it into a tin, then bake.
While the bars cool, whip up the frosting and then slather it on. Top with sprinkles! I love how I can change up the color of the frosting and types of sprinkles to suit any occasion.
Adding vanilla, raspberry, almond or even peppermint to the frosting can really change up your flavor profile. See the notes for suggestions!
These is a wonderful recipe to make for pot lucks, family events or to have on your counter for whenever you have a need for a sweet treat.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Easy. No culinary degree required!
- Delicious. These sugar cookie bars are a classic!
- Adaptable. Use whatever color you like for frosting, and complement with sprinkles. Great for game days, winter holidays, St Patrick’s Day – you get the idea!
I have included step-by-step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
Kylee’s Notes & FAQs
Be sure to use room temperature butter. If you forget to plan ahead, you can microwave butter for 10 second intervals until soft. Don’t overdo it and use melted butter, or your bars will come out flat and greasy.
Don’t skip the cream cheese, it helps make the bars soft and fluffy.
I prefer to use gel food coloring, because it doesn’t affect the texture of the frosting. As always, use what you have and adjust.
I use unsalted butter, but you can use salted if that is what you have. Just omit the 1/2 tsp of salt from the bars.
You can use almond extract in place of vanilla extract if you prefer.
Adding raspberry extract to the frosting (or any other flavor) will let you customize your bars for any occasion.
How to store sugar cookie bars
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Baking Sugar Cookie Bars
Use a metal baking dish if you have one. Metal performs better for making this recipe (even heat distribution). A glass dish will work in a pinch.
Be careful not to overcook your bars! Overcooking, they will be too dry. Undercooking, the center will deflate, and it will be too doughy.
Mine are perfect at 23 minutes. However, all ovens are different! Set your timer for 20 minutes and check every few minutes until your toothpick comes out clean.
They should be golden around the edges. The bars will continue to cook and set as they cool.
About the buttercream
If you prefer to, you can use half and half or milk. Heavy cream is always preferred as it makes the frosting nice and creamy!
If the buttercream is too sweet for your tastes, you can balance it by adding a pinch of salt.
Recipe Ingredients and Possible Substitutes
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
How to make this recipe
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper and set aside.
Make the base
In a stand mixer, beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar for 2 minutes until blended, light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla, egg and egg yolk and beat for 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the edges to get it well mixed. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low until just combined.
Add the rest of the flour, scraping down the edges until everything is fully mixed. Stop when you no longer see flour.
Transfer the dough to your prepared baking pan and press down with a spatula or with your hands spreading the dough. The dough will be very sticky and thick! You may need to grease your fingers to help keep it from sticking.
Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until bars are lightly brown around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack for about 30-45 minutes.
Make the buttercream frosting
Whisk butter with a metal attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, almost completely white about 5 minutes.
Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Mix on low speed until combined then turn up the speed to high.
Whisk until very fluffy and light, about 2 minutes.
Add two drops of food gel if using and beat until completely mixed, and the color even.
Once your bars are cool, frost them and add sprinkles.
Remove bars from pan and cut them into squares.
More delicious desserts:
- Slutty Brownies. Cookie dough on the base, oreos in the middle and brownie batter poured over the top, these are the ultimate dessert!
- Oreo Dirt Pudding Parfaits. Make this classic chocolatey deliciousness into individual servings, for an easy dessert!
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Flaky pie crust filled with a custard-like filling, that will invoke memories of times gone by.
- Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
Sugar Cookie Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper and set aside.
Make the bars
- In a large bowl beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until blended, light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla, egg and egg yolk and beat for 3 minutes, stopping to scrap down the edges to get it well mixed. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
- Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low until just combined, add the rest of the flour making sure to scrap down the edges until fully incorporated, stopping when you no longer see flour.
- Transfer dough to prepared baking pan and press it down with a spatula or with your hands, covering the whole pan evenly. The dough will be very sticky and thick so if you need to grease your fingers to help keep it from sticking.
- Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until bars are lightly brown around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely on a wire rack for about 30-45 minutes.
Make the buttercream frosting
- Whisk butter with a metal attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, almost completely white about 5 minutes.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream and mix on low speed until combined then turn up the speed to high and whisk until very fluffy and light, about 2 minutes.
- Add two drops of food gel if desired and mix until you no longer see white, scraping the edges down if needed.
- Once your bars are cool, frost them and add sprinkles, if desired.
- Remove bars from pan and cut them into squares.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.