Best Ever Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe

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Sugar Cookie Bars – The fabulousness of sugar cookies without all the rolling, cutting, and decorating. Everyone LOVES these soft and delicious bars!

Bar cookies are such a yummy treat that can be whipped up in just a few minutes. Make sure and check out my Maraschino cherry cookie bars, butterscotch bars, and lemon brownies.

squares of sugar cookie bars with pink cream cheese frosting and sprinkles

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good homemade sugar cookie. But with all that chilling, rolling, and cutting, they take a fair amount of time to prepare. These sugar cookie bars can be made in a fraction of the time, and they are just as yummy!

They are perfect for feeding a crowd. Every time I serve them I get rave reviews! Who doesn’t love biting into a soft bar cookie topped with a thick layer of creamy frosting?

close up of cookie bars with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles

I am a huge fan of almond extract, so I add it to both the bars and the frosting. I always get compliments, but if you hate the stuff, you can just substitute additional vanilla.

sugar cookie bars on a cooling rack

The base for these bars isn’t overly sweet, so it pairs perfectly with the creamy frosting. I’ve made these with buttercream and cream cheese frosting, and we prefer the cream cheese frosting.

Because really, it can’t be beat, can it? That stuff is incredible! Feel free to eat a couple spoonfuls. I won’t judge.

After you try these fabulous sugar cookie bars, you may never go back to making regular sugar cookies again! I used pink frosting, but you can adapt them to any holiday or event by using white frosting and sprinkles in any color. They are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

overhead shot of sugar cookie bars with pink cream cheese frosting

How to make sugar cookie bars:

Ingredients you need for this recipe:

  • butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • flour
  • salt
  • baking powder

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with a stand mixer till light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and extracts. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Press the dough into a greased cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, then cool completely.

How to make the Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • cream cheese
  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • dash of salt
  • milk 
  • food coloring (optional)

When your sugar cookie bars are cool, whip up the frosting. Beat the softened butter and cream cheese till fluffy. Then beat in the remaining ingredients, adding milk if needed.

You can decorate these sugar cookie bars to match any holiday or party. You can use different colors of food coloring in the frosting, and switch up the type of sprinkles you use. They are a perfect bar cookie for feeding a crowd, and they are so versatile!

How do I store my cookie bars?

I like to store mine right in the pan. I have a handy plastic lid that fits over my cookie sheet, and I LOVE it. After I frost the bars, I pop on the lid. They store perfectly at room temperature.

Tip: If you don’t cut the bars till right before you serve them, they won’t dry out as fast.

If I only have a few bars leftover, I put them into a smaller container.

sugar cookie bars recipe collage

Here are a few more fabulous bar recipes:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Oat Bars
Maraschino Cherry Bars
Snickerdoodle Blondies
Nutella Cheesecake Bars

Recipe for Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Yield: 4 dozen bars

Best Ever Sugar Cookie Bars

Best Ever Sugar Cookie Bars
Buttery soft sugar cookie bars topped with perfect cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • dash of salt
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 2-3 tsp milk if needed

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat till well blended.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and stir till well combined.
  3. Press into a 17" x 12" rimmed baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until barely light brown. Cool completely, then frost.
  4. Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl till smooth. Add powdered sugar, extracts, salt, and food coloring. Beat till smooth and creamy, adding milk as needed. Top with sprinkles if desired.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

48

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216 Total Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 41mg Sodium: 163mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 20g Protein: 2g
To see all my dessert recipes, click HERE.


Comments

  1. JulieAgnesSmith says:

    The first time I made these I used vanilla extract instead of almond extract. What difference could it make, really? If I never would have made them again, they would have been an ok but unremarkable cookie. But because they were still ok and sugar is like cocaine (they say-I don’t know that personally), we still pounded the cookies down. Since I intentionally used vanilla extract instead of almond, I thought I’d give the recipe another shot-maybe it was my fault that they weren’t remarkable. I made them again for work using the almond extract. WHAT A HUGE DIFFERENCE! These are really good cookie bars. Yes, they have a thicker heavier dough, but it is a BAR! Any recipe you make that’s a “bar cookie” has a different texture than a rolled or drop cookie. This is now my go to dish to pass, they don’t last long anywhere! I like these so much, I have the recipe broken down to halve and quarter so I can make a 9×13 or 8×8 pan of cookies (and way less guilt!) Thank you for posting this Kara!

    • I’m so glad you gave them a second try with the almond extract, it’s amazing what a difference it makes! Thanks for the tip about making a half or quarter of the recipe. It’s good to know they worked. I should do that when I don’t have anywhere to take them. If I have a huge pan sitting around, I can’t stop eating them!

  2. Very good, especially loved the icing. Sweet but not overwhelming. Everyone at work loved them

    • The cream cheese does add a tanginess to the frosting that keeps it from being too sweet. That’s why I love it so much. Glad they were such a hit at work!

  3. Is it salted or unsalted butter?

  4. I have made these and just love them. My daughter wants me to make them for her wedding, has anyone made and froze them?

  5. I made this too. But I added crushed walnuts and let bake longer than the 20 minutes because at 20 minutes it’s still wet in the middle.
    Also, instead of icing, I made a glaze, poked fork holes all around, and poured and spread the glaze on top.
    My toddler LOVED it.
    I want to add for those that want an almond type flavor but don’t have almond extract, a really GOOD sub is anise!

  6. I made these for the first time. I cooked them at 350 for 20 min. The bars are super soft, but I’d prefer they cooked longer. The dough was too soft… they didn’t have the texture of a sugar cookie and I felt like I was eating raw dough with frosting on top.

  7. Best recipe….I am a baker and this is a hit! Excellent texture and flavor. Add 1 T cornstarch to flour for a soft texture.

  8. Saw your recipe after seeing an Instagram ad for a similar recipe (made from packaged kits I didn’t have). These cookie bars are amazing. Delicious, moist and a new family favorite.

  9. Tabitha McCoy says:

    I made these a couple of times. In fact I’m making them again for my ward party tomorrow. Anyway, I used root beer extract for one batch & I got Amazing compliments from them!

  10. Are they crispy at all or just cake-like? Also how big are your squares? Are they firm enough?

    • I like to partially under-bake mine so that they are super soft. You can bake them longer if you want them more crisp. You can cut them any size. I’ve made them large and small depending on the number of people I need to feed. I would say that the firmness compares to a thick sugar cookie or a chilled brownie.

  11. I used this recipe for my school project and it got some amazing comments! Well done.

  12. Kristie says:

    I saw your comment about making them the night before and they are ok left out. Have you put them in the fridge over night?

    • I have never stored them in the refrigerator. I bet they would be fine, but I’d let them sit at room temperature before serving so they will soften up.

  13. The salt is really overwhelming and I used even less than the recipe recommended. They were also a smidgen too thick. Much more of a cake recipe than a cookie one. Back to the drawing board with this one !

  14. These were the worst cookie I’ve ever made or tasted. Tasted like pure flour. I followed the recipe exactly and the only thing good about them was the icing. Threw them right in the trash.

  15. My new favorite recipe even tho I gain 30 pounds cause I eat all of them! Sooooo yummy

  16. Liz Denvers says:

    Saw this on Pinterest and made for my sister’s birthday… Delicious!!

  17. Made these cookies for my daughters party and they didn’t taste like a sugar cookie to, but it didn’t matter cause they were delicious! We baked them the night before and sad to say they never made it to the party cause we couldnt stop eating them.

  18. Can these be made a day in advance and be put in the refrigerator overnight?

    • Definitely! Because of the high sugar content in the frosting, they are actually fine left at room temperature as long as it isn’t too hot that the frosting will melt.

  19. You’re speaking my love language Kara!!

    • They say music is the universal language, but I think sugar must be the universal love language!! 🙂

  20. I love that this recipe gives you so many cookies. This is going to the top of my list for our next family get together!

    • The first time I made them was actually for a family reunion. They were gobbled up within minutes! 🙂

  21. OH Yum those look and sound amazing!

  22. YUM! These sound so delicious!

    I would love for you to share this with my Recipes, Crafts, Tips and Tricks Facebook group:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    You can also share it with Cooking and Crafting with J & J:
    http://www.pluckys-secondthought.com/cooking-crafting-j-j-link-49-48-features/

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