No matter how big or small the holiday, I love to use the holidays as a reason to have some fun in the kitchen. But it all has to be kept pretty simple because that’s my way! These St. Patrick’s Day Cookies are super cute but also super easy to make!
Scroll down to get a printable recipe card or keep reading to get the full recipe along with tips and tricks for making your own Shamrock Cookies this St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick’s Day Cookies
Baking is a great holiday tradition to start because everyone loves sweets, right? So St. Patrick’s Day baking just makes sense. You don’t have to go as crazy as you might around Christmas, but it’s still super fun to do.
There’s tons of inspiration too. You can make shamrock cookies like this recipe I’m sharing or be inspired by rainbows, pots of gold, and even leprechauns!
One reason I like making these shaped cookies is that shamrocks and clover cookies represent luck with their shape. Some people believe clovers represent hope, faith, love, and luck which are all good things to bring into your life!
So you can have fun with these but I like that they can have a little meaning too!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy Family Tradition: St. Patrick’s Day baking blends tradition with the joy of making green cookies. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids or for your family to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this is a great idea!
- Versatile Base Recipe: The basic sugar cookie dough in this recipe can be used for any cookies that you want!
- Perfect for Parties/All Ages: You can make these basic green cookies for class parties and let the kids decorate them with frosting and sprinkles. You can do this at home as a family activity too!
Shamrock Cookies Ingredients
You will need the following ingredients to make this cookie dough recipe:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
- Green food coloring
You can get the full measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the recipe.
You will also need some basic kitchen equipment to make this recipe:
- 2 Mixing bowls
- Silicone spatula
- Electric mixer
- Plastic gloves (to protect your hands from the green food coloring)
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Rolling pin
- Clover/Shamrock cookie cutters
- Wire rack
St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies Instructions
This recipe makes about 36 cookies. The number of cookies depends on how you roll your dough. Sometimes I can get more cookies out of my dough and sometimes less but generally around 3 dozen.
This recipe needs about 30 minutes of prep time, an hour (minimum) of chill time, and then 10 minutes to back each batch of cookies. So 40 minutes total time plus additional bake time depending on how many batches you can bake at once.
1. To start, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. You can use an electric mixer or a stand mixer.
3. Then add the egg and vanilla, and beat to combine.
4. Mix in the flour mixture until a thick dough forms.
5. Next, work the green food coloring into the dough using your hands. Wear plastic gloves to keep the coloring from staining your hands.
6. Once you’ve got the food coloring mixed in well, separate the dough into two balls. Flatten the balls into disks.
7. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.
8. When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
9. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s around 1/8th inch thick, then use shamrock cookie cutters to cut out the cookies.
After cutting out a set, combine all the scraps and re-roll the dough until all the cookies have been cut.
10. Put the cut cookie shapes into the freezer for 3-4 minutes so they can solidify again (this will help you stop the cookies from spreading).
11. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
12. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
You can serve these green cookies just as they are or you can use frosting and sprinkles to make them even more festive!
Tips & Tricks
If you’re not the type to make your own sugar cookie dough, have no fear! If you’re worried your St Patty’sDay cookies are going to look more like blobs and less like clover cookies, I’ve got a few tips for you!
Chill the dough.Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before cutting. If you can chill it for longer (even up to 24 hours), you will probably have more success. This helps the dough cut more easily and keeps the cookies from spreading too much while baking. It gives the fat in the butter a chance to solidify which will help your cookies spread less when baking.
Freeze the dough.If refrigerating the dough doesn’t seem to help you, you can try freezing the cookie dough before you cut it. To do this, split your dough into two balls. Then flatten them as listed in the recipe. But then roll each one out on a piece of parchment paper and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Put the dough on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer. Once the dough is frozen, you can take it out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about five minutes. Then cut out your shapes and bake!
Roll dough on a cool surface.After chilling the dough, it can help to roll the dough out on a cool surface versus one that is too warm.
Use parchment paper.Using parchment paper or a silicone baking mat can help prevent your cookies from spreading. They grip the dough and can help the cookies brown more evenly as well.
Use ungreased cookie sheets.Do not grease your baking sheets. The extra grease can cause your cookies to spread. Use parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet to avoid cookies sticking to the pan.
Avoid overmixing the dough.
If you overmix the dough, you can end up with flatter, crispier cookies. You can also end up with tiny air bubbles on the surface of the cookie. You can try kneading your dough by hand instead of using the mixer the whole time.
Decorating Shamrock Cookies
By adding green food coloring to the cookie recipe, you already end up with a festive cookie.
But there are other fun ways to decorate these cookies too!
- Buttercream frosting: – You can spread buttercream frosting (or store-bought frosting) on the cookies. Or use a pastry bag and a thick frosting tip to pipe simple patterns like polka dots.
- Royal icing: If you know how to make royal icing, you can use it to make cute designs on these cookies. You could make a darker shade of green than the cookies or even use white royal icing.
- Stencils: You can use a stencil and sprinkle some powdered confectioners’ sugar on the cookies for a fun effect.
- Sprinkles: Sprinkles are an easy way for everyone in the family (no matter how young or old) to decorate cookies. They work well with buttercream or store-bought frosting. Spread frosting on the cookies and then add sprinkles!
Leftovers & Storage
If you have any leftover cookies, be sure to let them cool completely before storing them.
You will need an airtight container to store any leftovers and keep them fresh.
Undecorated cookies can be stored at room temperature for about a week. If you refrigerate them, they will last about two weeks.
If you want to freeze any of your cookies, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They can be stored for up to 3 months.
Can I use store-bought cookie dough for cut-out cookies? Can I use premade refrigerated cookie dough?
You definitely can! I would recommend you skip coloring the dough green and instead use one of the other decorating ideas to add green to your shamrock cookies.
Break the dough into pieces and then slowly knead in about 1/2 cup of flour until the dough is smooth. Roll out the dough and follow the rest of the recipe as provided.
How do you make a shamrock cookie without a cookie cutter?
If you don’t have a clover cookie cutter, you can make a template with cardboard. Cut out a piece of cardboard in the shape of a shamrock. Then lay the cardboard on the cookie dough and use a sharp knife to cut around the stencil.
More St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
If you’re looking for more fun things to make to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, try one of these:
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine.
- Mix in the flour mixture until a thick dough forms.
- Work the green food coloring into the dough using your hands. Wear plastic gloves to keep the coloring from staining your hands.
- Separate the dough into two balls, then flatten the balls into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s around 1/8th inch thick, then use shamrock cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. After cutting out a set, combine all the scraps and re-roll the dough until all the cookies have been cut.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.