Frosted sugar cookies piped with colorful, frosting smiley faces. Perfect for kids’ birthday parties, school birthday treats, and any occasion. A fun celebration alternative to cake or cupcakes.

Smiley Face Cookies Header

Originally posted on Live Party Love – moved to Northern Yum

Smiley face cookies—we’re excited to share a piece of our childhood with you. These cookies are the ultimate birthday treat and a great alternative to cake. They bring back some great memories. Walking into class with a cardboard flat of smiley face cookies was a BIG deal back in the day.

Smiley Face Cookies

Ingredients

Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make these fun cookies.

Sugar Cookies

  • 2 cups sugar – white, granulated.
  • 1 cup butter – unsalted butter (or skip the added salt).
  • 3 eggs – whole eggs.
  • 6 tablespoons milk – 2% milk.
  • 5 cups flour – all-purpose.
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder – regular baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – regular table salt.

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup butter – salted butter.
  • 3/4 cup shortening – plain shortening, not butter-flavored.
  • 5 2/3 cups powdered sugar – confectioners sugar.
  • 6-7 tablespoons cream – heavy cream.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla – clear if possible.
  • Food coloring – any colors you’d like.

Note: We wanted the base frosting to be as white as possible, so we used a mix of shortening and butter, along with a clear vanilla. You can use all butter and regular vanilla extract if needed.

Supplies

  • 4-inch cookie cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Angled icing spatula
  • 3-color icing coupler set
  • Disposable decorating bags

When using a 4-inch cookie cutter, this recipe makes approximately 24 to 28 cookies.

How to Make Smiley Face Cookies

Here is a step-by-step tutorial for both the sugar cookies and frosting.

Step 1 | Preheat oven to 350°F

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2 | Mix the cookie dough

Begin by creaming together the sugar, butter, eggs, and milk. Add the dry ingredients, including flour, salt, and baking powder.

Step 3 | roll and cut cookies

Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Then, cut the cookies with a 4-inch cookie cutter. Carefully transfer the cookies with a flat spatula to a parchment-covered baking pan.

Stack of plain round sugar cookies

Step 4 | Bake cookies for 10 minutes

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. It’s important you don’t overcook them to make sure they turn out super soft.

Step 5 | Allow cookies to cool

Allow the cookies to cool. Otherwise, you may end up with droopy faces, and nobody wants that. *Haha*

Step 6 | mix frosting

Begin by mixing together the softened butter and shortening. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix well.

Mix in cream and vanilla. Add additional cream to reach the desired consistency.

Frosting round sugar cookies

Step 7 | Frost cookies with the white base layer

Frost all the cookies using white icing.

Step 8 | Add food coloring to the remaining frosting

Then, separate the remaining icing into 3 different bowls. Add food coloring to reach the desired brightness.

Frosted white sugar cookies with tri color piping bag

Step 9 | Add to frosting piper with decorating tip

We used a 3 color icing coupler set to pipe the eyes and mouth. It worked really great!

To use the 3-color icing coupler, Insert the white plastic end into the piping bag. Add each color into a separate decorating bag. (Folding the bag down makes it easy to load with frosting.)

Bring together each icing bag and line up the plastic ends. Attach the decorating tip and fasten. We used a star tip, but feel free to try different decorating tips.

Frosted sugar cookies with piped smiley faces

Step 10 | Pipe eyes and mouth on cookies

Apply the eyes and mouth on each cookie.

Step 11 | Enjoy or store for later

Then, store them in a plastic container to keep them soft until you serve them.

They are great for kids’ birthdays, but they truly will brighten any occasion. And it’s so simple to change the colors to match your party palette.

Smiley Face Cookies

More About This Recipe

  • If you’re from Sidney or have spent much time in Sidney, Montana, you know how big of a deal ‘face cookies’ are. Philadelphia has Philly Cheese Steak, Minneapolis has the Juicy Lucy, Seattle has Coffee & Dungeness Crab—and Sidney, Montana has Smiley Face Cookies. The bakery has since closed, but you can still find them at the local grocery store.
  • Our version may not be exactly the same, but they’re still delicious and so much fun. It brings back that nostalgic feeling from our childhood.
  • Smiley face cookies are perfect for school birthday treats or birthday parties. And the way the piping on our eyes turned out, they’d work great for an emoji or clown-themed party.
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Frosted sugar cookies with piped smiley faces

Smiley Face Cookies – Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Frosted sugar cookies piped with colorful frosting smiley faces. Perfect for kids’ birthday parties, school birthday treats, and any occasion. A fun celebration alternative to cake or cupcakes.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 to 48 cookies 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Sugar Cookies

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 5 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 67 tablespoons cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (clear if possible)
  • Food coloring

Instructions

  1. Begin by creaming together sugar, butter, egg, and milk. Add dry ingredients including flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix to form dough.
  2. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Cut cookies with a 4-inch cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet covered with parchment.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. It’s important that you don’t overcook or the cookies will not be soft.
  5. Allow the cookies to cool.
  6. For the frosting, mix together softened butter and shortening.
  7. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix well.
  8. Mix in cream and vanilla. Add additional cream to achieve desired consistency.
  9. Frost all cookies using white icing.
  10. Then separate the remaining icing into 3 different bowls. Add food coloring to reach desired brightness. 
  11. Add to a piping bag (we used a 3 tip coupler) with a decorating tip. (see tips for filling piping bag here)
  12. Apply eyes and mouth on each cookie.
  13. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight plastic container to keep them soft.

Notes

  • Do not overbake these cookies to make sure you have soft cookies!
  • Store these cookies in an airtight plastic container to keep them soft.
  • Author: Kelsey Restemayer
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about making smiley face cookies.

How should I store frosted sugar cookies?

We like to store cookies in an airtight plastic container. You can store them in the refrigerator or the freezer for more extended periods.

How do I make sure my cookies are soft?

Two tricks here: 1) make sure you don’t overbake them, or they will be crunchy, and 2) store them in an airtight plastic container to maintain softness.

Final Thoughts

These frosted sugar cookies, piped with colorful smiley faces, are a delightful and simple alternative to traditional cakes and cupcakes, perfect for school birthday treats, kids’ parties, or any special occasion. Get creative with frosting colors and share the joy with your loved ones today!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Smiley Face Cookies – Frosted Sugar Cookies Recipe

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