These are the BEST cotton candy sugar cookies! They’re soft and thick, with cute crinkled edges, a cotton candy buttercream swirl, and pink and blue cotton candy sprinkles!
What makes these cotton candy sugar cookies the best?
These cookies are a fun, kid-friendly twist on my viral Lemon Sugar Cookies. The cookies still have everything that people love about the lemon version – a thick, soft, and chewy cookie, and a swirl of silky and pillowy buttercream. But this frosted cotton candy sugar cookie is a fun summer spin that will be a hit with kids and adults alike.
- Powdered Sugar. There’s powdered sugar in both the frosting, AND the cookie. It’s one of the secrets that results in a super soft cookie.
- Cream of Tartar. This is another ingredient that’s important in achieving the soft, thick, and chewy texture that make these cookies so special.
- Canola Oil. The base of this cookie has both butter and oil. The oil keeps the cookies super soft and moist and prevents them from having a more dry, shortbread-like texture. If you don’t have canola oil, any neutral oil will work fine!
- Cotton Candy Extract. This is where the cotton candy flavor comes from. I used this one which you can order from Amazon or find it at specialty baking stores.
How to make cotton candy sugar cookies
Make the cotton candy cookie dough.
In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the granulated sugar and powdered sugar for 3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, slowly stream in the oil and mix until combined.
Add the egg, egg yolk, sour cream, vanilla, and cotton candy extract. Mix for an additional 2 minutes until the egg is fully incorporated and the mixture becomes fluffy and glossy, as pictured below.
Add in the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the mixing bowl and place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
After the dough is chilled, use a large cookie scoop to portion 12 cookies. Roll them into a ball in your hands, then place 6 on each cookie sheet leaving room in between. The cookies won’t spread much in the oven, but we are going to press them flat once they’re baked so you’ll want some space in between.
Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will still seem a bit under baked, but they will finish baking on the hot cookie sheet outside of the oven. While the cookies are still hot, use a flat bottomed glass to press the cookies flat to about 1/2 inch thickness. This is what will create those cracked edges. Let cookies cool completely before swirling on the cotton candy frosting.
Make the Cotton Candy Buttercream.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter, salt, vanilla, and cotton candy extract for a few minutes, until the butter is smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time and mix for 2 minutes until it’s well combined. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, add heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency. I like to make mine very soft for these cookies!
You can spread the buttercream on as is, or separate it into two bowls and color one pink and one blue if you want to do a cotton candy swirl like I did. You only need a tiny bit of food coloring to achieve those pastel colors.
Assemble the cotton candy sugar cookies.
Once the cookies are cool enough to handle, grab a 1 TBSP cookie scoop and an offset spatula. Scoop a little blue frosting and a little pink frosting into the scoop at the same time. You want about 1/2 TBSP of each color frosting per cookie. Place the frosting on the cookie, then use your offset spatula to spread the frosting almost to the edges and then create a swirl towards the center. Do this by slowly dragging the spatula inwards in a circle, then quickly pull your wrist up and away from the cookie. Finish with pink and blue sprinkles! I used a blend from River Road Sprinkles!
Tools and Equipment
- Mixer. I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer for the dough and a hand mixer for the frosting, but either will do. Unfortunately, you wont be able to make this recipe by hand without an electric mixer.
- 1 TBSP Cookie Scoop. You can definitely just spoon the frosting onto the cookies, but a 1 TBSP cookie scoop makes it super easy.
- Cookie Sheets. My favorite sheet pans for baking cookies are these half sheet pans from USA Pan. They really are the best and stand the test of time!
- Parchment Paper. I bake A LOT and these precut parchment sheets make my life so much easier. No more curled up parchment or wrestling with the box to tear a piece off.
Cotton Candy Sugar Cookie FAQs
- Can I make these cookies gluten free? Yes. You should be able to swap the all purpose flour for a 1 to 1 gluten free flour with no issues.
- Can I make ahead/freeze? Yes. You can prepare the dough, portion it into 12 balls, then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen at 350 for 13-14 minutes. I would recommend making the buttercream fresh and frosting the cookies right before serving.
- Can I do other flavors? Absolutely! Omit the cotton candy extract and use whatever flavors you like! Classic vanilla, almond, coconut, or my viral lemon version are all great choices!
Cotton Candy Sugar Cookies
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 12 min
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Yield: 12 Large Cookies 1x
For the Cookies
- 3 1/2 C (450 g) All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 C (113g) Salted Butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 C (110 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 C (55 g) Powdered Sugar
- 1/3 C (55 g) Canola Oil
- 1 Lg Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
- 2 TBSP Sour Cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Cotton Candy Extract
For the Cotton Candy Buttercream
- 1/2 C Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Cotton Candy Extract
- 2 C Powdered Sugar
- 3–6 TBSP Heavy Cream
For the Cookies
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars.
- With the mixer on low slowly stream in the oil and mix until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, sour cream, vanilla extract, and cotton candy extract. Mix until the egg is fully incorporated and the batter becomes glossy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough starts to come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl. About 2-3 minutes.
- Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Use a large cookie scoop to portion the dough into 12 cookies.
- Roll the dough into a ball in your hands and place 6 cookies per cookie sheet with plenty of room between.
- Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes. Then, while the cookies are still hot, press them with a flat bottomed glass to about 1/2″ thickness. This will create the cracked edges.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
For the Cotton Candy Buttercream
- Use a hand or stand mixer to cream the butter, salt, vanilla, and cotton candy extract until smooth.
- Add 1/2 of the powdered sugar and mix for 3 minutes, then repeat with the remaining powdered sugar.
- Add heavy cream 1-2 TSBP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. For cookies, I like my buttercream extra soft so I added about 5 TBSP of cream.
- Separate the buttercream into 2 bowls. Use a small amount of gel food coloring to color one bowl a soft pastel pink and the other a pastel blue.
- Use a 1 TBSP cookie scoop, fill 1/2 of it with pink and the other half with blue frosting. (So you have both colors in the cookie scoop at one time) Place it on top of the cookie. Then use and offset spatula to gently spread it almost to the edges, trying not to mix the colors too much. Create a swirl by dragging the spatula around the edges toward the center. Then quickly pull your wrist up and away.
- Finish with sprinkles and enjoy!
Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for a day or two, then pop them in the fridge. They are delicious served room temperature or chilled!
Keywords: cotton candy cookies, cotton candy sugar cookies, frosted sugar cookies
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I don’t. Want to rate yet because I think I did something wrong. This cookie was extremely dry once I added in flour. I couldn’t even get it to cohesively come together and when I did bake them they tasted like flour and dry. Should I add 2.5 cups instead of 3.5? Thanks!
Hey Stephanie! Shoot sorry to hear it didn’t work out. I’ve tested this recipe so many times im sure it’s correct. It’s also the same base for my lemon sugar cookies. How are you measuring your flour? The best way is to weigh it. It sounds to me like you used too much. It is 3.5 cups but make sure if you aren’t weighing it that you’re using the scoop and level method.