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Christmas Cookie Trees

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  • Prep 60 min
  • Total 60 min
  • Ingredients 8
  • Servings 5
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Christmas Cookie Trees are a fun and festive holiday recipe the whole family will love. Made by arranging stacks of Christmas Pillsbury cookies (baked with refrigerated Pillsbury™ Sugar Cookie Dough) into the shape of a holiday tree, then piping on plenty of sweet, colorful frosting—this treat is a fun holiday DIY project with an absolutely delicious result!

An iconic shape that always brings up merry holiday feelings, a Christmas tree just says “joy.” Whipping up this fabulously fun Christmas Cookie Christmas Trees recipe is the perfect way to savor the season. With just a few ingredients, it’s oh so easy to create something absolutely magical.

From rolling and cutting the dough, to the mouthwatering smells that fill the house while your Pillsbury Xmas cookies bake, this incredible recipe will have you feeling the holiday spirit every step of the way. Especially while decorating! The whole family will love putting their own festive spin on frosting this merry masterpiece made with Christmas Pillsbury cookies.

When you bake up this Christmas Cookie Christmas Tree recipe, you aren’t just making cookies—you’re making memories. Start a new tradition when you gather your loved ones in the kitchen, crank up the holiday music, and get baking. And make any gathering of family and friends so much merrier when you add your homemade Christmas cookie tree to the table. It’s a sure fire holiday hit!

Want to create an even more epic cookie spread this holiday? Try a few more Pillsbury xmas cookies, like these Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies or these tasty Sugar cookie variations to add to the fun.

Updated Jun 29, 2024
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Ingredients for a Christmas Cookie Tree

Making your own Christmas sugar cookie trees this holiday is easy and fun. You only need a few ingredients to make holiday magic happen!

Cookie dough: No need to stress about making it from scratch, refrigerated Pillsbury™ Sugar Cookie Dough is so simple and so, so yummy! You’ll get decadent, soft, and buttery sugar cookies every time! Don’t forget the flour for your baking surface so your cookies are easy to roll out and cut.

Frosting: You’ll want to have enough on hand so you can decorate your tree just how you like it. We recommend two containers of fluffy white whipped ready-to-spread frosting. Or you can change it up and try some pre-colored options for extra pizzazz.

Food coloring: You’ll need plenty of food coloring in your favorite holiday hues. There are a few different types to choose from, so go ahead and pick your favorite. Liquid food coloring works great for pastel shades, while gel or paste food coloring gives you more vibrant results. It's all about personal preference and getting those colors just right. If you’d prefer to omit this step, you can pick up pre-colored frosting to make this recipe even easier.

Decorations: This is where you can really let your creativity shine! We recommend yellow sanding sugar to add a sparkly touch, or red and white candy sprinkles to bring some festive cheer. Coarse sugar adds a crunchy texture, perfect for mimicking snow. Use your favorite sprinkles when personalizing your sugar cookie tree.

Using premade dough and frosting saves you time and effort, while the different frosting options and decorations let you get as creative as you want. So go ahead, mix and match, and let your inner cookie artist shine!

How to Make and Assemble a Cookie Tree

With just a few simple (and super fun!) steps, you’ll have an impressive holiday dessert that doubles as decor. The full detailed directions for making Christmas Cookie Trees are below, but here’s a rundown of how it’s done.

Prepare the Dough

Knead your cookie dough in a bowl along with flour to add some oomph that will help them keep their shape while they bake. Then lightly sprinkle your work surface with flour before rolling out the dough. You want about ?” thickness to guarantee a perfectly chewy, golden finished cookie.

Cut out Shapes

With your assortment of star and flower cookie cutters, cut out five of each shape and size, for 25 total cookies. Arrange them on two cookie sheets covered in parchment paper, with the larger sizes together on one sheet and the smaller ones together on the other.

Bake and Cool

Bake your cookies in a 350°F oven, with smaller cookies baking for 6 to 8 minutes, larger cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they’re just light golden brown. Once out of the oven, transfer your cookies with a spatula to wire cooling racks. Let them cool completely before moving on to the next step so your frosting doesn’t melt when you start frosting.

Time for Frosting

Mix your frosting and food coloring in small bowls until you achieve the shades of yellow and green you like. For the yellow stars, frost your cookies and sprinkle with yellow sugar. Spoon frosting into a piping bag, if you have one. Or use a resealable food-storage plastic bag and cut off one corner to create a simple DIY piping bag.

Build the Tree

Start with the largest cookie as the base of your tree and pipe on your green frosting. Then stack the next cookie on top, pipe with frosting, and repeat the process working from largest to smallest. To keep it straight, you can use a ruler or a tall glass as a guide. As you build, step back every now and then to make sure your tree is coming together nice and straight. Once your layers of green are in place, sprinkle with coarse sugar and candy sprinkles. When you reach the top, place the star-shaped cookie on top to finish off your masterpiece.

Storing Leftover Cookies from Your Tree

Storing your leftover Pillsbury xmas cookies properly will ensure you can keep enjoying your festive creation, even after the party’s over.

If you’ll be eating your leftover cookies within a day or two, you can store them on the counter in an airtight container. Just make sure they're not sitting in direct sunlight or near any heat sources—nobody likes a soggy cookie.

Your sugar cookies will stay fresh for a bit longer, if you pop the container in the fridge. Just be aware that the frosting might get a little hard, so you might want to let them sit out for a bit before digging in.

And if you're really looking to stretch their lifespan, you can put your leftover sugar cookies in the freezer. Wrap them up tight, then place them in a freezer bag or airtight container marked with the date. They'll stay fresh for up to three months—perfect for those emergency cookie cravings!

One thing to know about frosting: if it's sandwiched between cookies, it might get a bit melty if it sits for too long. So, if you're storing leftovers for more than a day or two, you’ll definitely want to disassemble your cookie tree to keep things intact. The sanding sugar and coarse sugar may get a bit melty during storage, but your cookies will still taste amazing!



Decorations, if desired

  • Yellow sanding sugar
  • Red and white candy sprinkles
  • Coarse sugar


  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper. In medium bowl, knead cookie dough and flour until combined. (DO NOT EAT RAW COOKIE DOUGH AFTER COMBINING WITH FLOUR.)
  • 2
    On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. With 1 1/4-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 5 stars. With flower-shaped cookie cutters in 5 different sizes (3 1/2, 3 1/4, 2 3/4, 2 1/4 and 1 1/2 inch), cut 25 cookies, 5 of each size.
  • 3
    Place stars and smaller flowers 1 inch apart on one cookie sheet. Place larger flowers 2 inches apart on second cookie sheet. Bake smaller cookies 6 to 8 minutes, larger cookies 8 to 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  • 4
    In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the frosting with yellow food color. Frost star cookies with yellow frosting; sprinkle with yellow sugar. Set aside.
  • 5
    In medium bowl, mix remaining frosting with green food color. Spoon frosting into resealable food-storage plastic bag; cut off one corner of bag. To assemble each tree, pipe green frosting on one large flower cookie; stack with 4 cookies, largest to smallest, piping frosting on each cookie. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Decorate with candy sprinkles. Top each tree with star cookie.

Tips from the Pillsbury Kitchens

  • tip 1
    You can still create a Christmas Cookie Tree, even if you only have one size cookie cutter. Just stack fewer cookies on each layer, rather than the same number of smaller cookies.
  • tip 2
    Want to make sure your sugar cookie tree turns out every single time? Pick up a cookie cutter tree set—it will have all the right sizes and shapes you need for perfectly assembled tree tiers.
  • tip 3
    Going big with your holiday sugar cookie tree? If you’re making a Christmas cookie Christmas tree taller than six layers, use a wooden skewer in the center to add stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting the Layers of a Christmas Cookie Tree to Stick

Is there such a thing as too much frosting? We certainly don’t think so. And in this festive Christmas Cookie Trees recipe, all that sweet, creamy goodness acts as the glue that holds your layers together.

When you're assembling your christmas tree stacked cookies, don't be shy about piping on the frosting. You’ll want enough on each layer so that the cookies you stack on top will have something to stick to. And as you stack each layer, press down gently to make sure they're sticking together nicely. If you're worried about stability, you can strengthen each layer with a little extra frosting around the edges. It's like adding extra reinforcements to your cookie fortress.

When it comes to assembling your sugar cookie Christmas tree, the more frosting, the better. So go ahead, slather it on and get stacking!

How to Get Your Sugar Cookies to Keep Their Shape

Using refrigerated Pillsbury™ Sugar Cookie Dough is a great shortcut to creating sugar cookie Christmas trees with not a lot of prep. But this time-saving trick can also mean that sometimes your cut out cookies may spread a bit during baking. Luckily, we have a few easy tips to help them hold their shape.

If you're aiming for picture-perfect sugar cookie shapes, cornstarch is the key! When you're rolling out your premade dough, sprinkle a little cornstarch on your work surface and rolling pin, along with your flour. This will prevent the dough from sticking and help maintain those crisp edges. Or, knead in a teaspoon or two to the dough to really ensure those cookies stay in shape.

Another tip? Chill your dough after cutting out your shapes. Just pop your cookie sheets with your cut out dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm it up. This helps prevent spreading and ensures your cookies keep their shape during baking. This helps them hold their shape even better when they hit the oven.

With these tricks up your sleeve, you'll have bakery-worthy cookies in no time!

Nutrition Information

950 Calories, 44g Total Fat, 5g Protein, 125g Total Carbohydrate

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
2 Starch; 6 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 9 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
8 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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