Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies are the happiest cookies on the planet – See why they have gone completely viral all over the internet! These soft and delicious cookies are covered in sprinkles, but so buttery and chewy, they will melt in your mouth!
They are the perfect special treat for a birthday, Valentine’s Day or the best for a Christmas Cookie Swap! Our version is better than any bakery cookie!
Better than Bakery Sprinkle Cookie Recipe
Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies are covered in baked-on sprinkles. (The key to making them soft is including cream cheese in the recipe!)
Just looking at them makes you smile, but eating them is even better! AND, we even got the gluten-free cookies thumbs-up (see notes on how to change it to make them gluten-free)
Do you have a food that totally brings you back to your childhood? Something that as soon as you see or smell, it immediately reminds you of a location or a person or a time in your life. Well, these cookies do just that for me.
Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles … that’s an understatement!
They bring me back to years ago, when I was a little girl and I would go visit my grandpa at his work, he owned a dry cleaner. These were the days where you didn’t just drop off your laundry and leave.
The owner knew everyone who came in and they knew him. They would chit chat while picking up their cleaning.
I loved to visit there and I knew that at the end of my visit, we would go a few stores down to the Jewish bakery and my grandpa would let me pick something out.
Every single time, I would get the exact same thing – a big, giant rainbow sprinkle cookie. Not just your average sugar cookie with sprinkles, this cookie was special.
The sprinkles were baked into the cookie, no icing to take away from the delicious vanilla with a hint of almond flavor. Just the cookies and the sprinkles! Every time and they were always delicious!
They kind of remind me of an Italian Cookie, also known as an Italian Wedding Cookie, but they really are pretty different. The main difference is our cookies have to glaze (and a lot more sprinkles!)
So when I tried these King Arthur sugar cookies from King Arthur’s Flour, they immediately reminded me of the taste of my giant rainbow sprinkle cookies!
They brought me right back to that bakery by my grandpa’s dry cleaner! I thought with a little adaptation, I could re-create my favorite childhood cookie.
How to make Sprinkle Cookies
So, as usual, I called my sister, Julie, to help me make it happen! We spent the day tinkering with the recipe, which was almost perfect, to make our sprinkle cookies!
I have to say, not only were they spot on with the flavor, they were actually even better than the cookies we had from the bakery. The bakery cookies were crunchier and a little drier than these cookies.
These cookies were soft, moist, and totally addicting.
Note: I beg of you, do not lazy out and go get those slice and bake cookies and cover them in sprinkles! I am all about baking hacks, but do not deny yourself the pleasure of these soft and fresh-baked sprinkle cookies! They are a zillion times better than a slice and bake sugar cookie any day of the week!
Then it was time to add my favorite part, the sprinkles!!!!
Now you don’t want to just put the sprinkles on with frosting…that just wouldn’t cut it.
You don’t want the frosting to get in the way of the sprinkle to cookie ratio. That is why you have to make the sprinkles on top of the cookie!
The key is rolling the raw cookie dough into tiny balls (or larger if you want a bigger cookie) Then you roll the dough balls in the colorful sprinkles or nonpareil sprinkles, but not on the bottom of the cookie, just the top and the sides.
Be sure to cover them really, really good!
I am always asked “do you put the sprinkles on the cookies before baking?” Yes, you do it before you bake them! They bake right into the cookie perfectly. Don’t worry, the sprinkles will not burn! Trust me on this one…I am a sprinkle expert!
Then using a glass to gently flatten the cookies (but not too much, because you don’t want it to get too crisp). What do you end with – the perfect Rainbow Sprinkle Cookie
What type of sprinkles to use on Sprinkle Cookies
Sprinkles vs. nonpareils, that is the question! Which do you like better?
The crunchy nonpareil or the softer rainbow sprinkle or jimmies. Personally, I prefer the colorful nonpareil, but Julie, she is a jimmie girl. Either way, these cookies are so incredibly cute.
I swear I could stop screaming about how adorable they are! These cookies are just so happy – they actually could be called “Happy Cookies” because just looking at them makes me smile.
Just wait until you taste them…they will really make you smile then!!
My son, Joey, is a protege in the making! As soon as he saw these, he grabbed two cookies off of the plate and a tub of ice cream and made this delicious Rainbow Sugar Cookie Ice Cream sandwich!!
Seriously…what could possibly be better than this?
Recipe adapted from King Arthur’s Flour Sugar Cookie Recipe
Ingredients needed for Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract (you can use only vanilla if you have a nut allergy)
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Sprinkles, jimmies or nonpareils
These cookies can easily be adapted for pretty much every single holiday! All you need to do is get some holiday colored sprinkles (i.e. for Christmas Sprinkle Cookies grab some red and green Christmas cookie sprinkles. For Valentine’s Day grab some pink and red and white nonpareils. Same for Halloween, Easter, etc.)
Want to make them Gluten Free Sprinkle Cookies?
Follow the recipe as is, just substitute the flour for Gluten Free Flour. My friend, Lisa, who tested them out recommends Gluten Free Flour by Jules. She says it is THE ONLY gluten-free flour she will use!
Lisa also put the dough in the refrigerator and chilled for about 10 minutes before rolling in the sprinkle! She said they were one of the best Gluten Free Cookies she has ever tasted!
Are you a cookie fan? Have you ever heard of the Secret Copycat Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie story? You must check it out and try to make these better than you have ever tasted chocolate chip cookies!
We have some of THE BEST COOKIE RECIPES ever! Be sure to take a few minutes and check them all out!
More Great Rainbow Desserts
Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter softened
- 1 ¼ Cups Sugar
- 4 Ounces Cream Cheese
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ⅓ tsp Almond Extract (use 1 1/3 vanilla if you have a nut allergy or don’t want almond)
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 3 Cups Flour
- Non-Pareils or Rainbow Sprinkles (or both!!)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in cream cheese, egg, vanilla extract, almond extract. Mix together until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix into the large bowl on slow to medium speed, adding in a little at a time, until evenly moistened.
- Place sprinkles or nonpareils in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, roll cookie dough into balls (about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of dough or to preference. You can make little cookies or extra large!)
- Roll the dough in the sprinkles, leaving the bottom of the ball sprinkles (no sprinkles on the bottom section). BUT, cover the rest with as many sprinkles as possible – the more the better – and place on the cookie sheet about 2 inches or so apart. (the cookies will spread a bit, so leave space!)
- Use the bottom of a glass and gently press down on the cookie to slightly flatten it. You want them between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 10-12 minutes (every oven cooks differently so watch them, mine took closer to 12 minutes, but you don’t really want them to brown).
- Let cool on pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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