These Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies are perfect for the 4th of July. The hidden star shape inside the cookies is surprisingly easy to make, and I’ll show you all the tips and tricks you need to know to make these dazzling cookies.

Red, white, and blue sugar cookies with striped stars embedded inside.
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🌟 How to Make Star Sugar Cookies

Oh say can you see…these super cute sugar cookies?! They’re crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, and best of all, have an eye-catching design of bright stripes and embedded stars. Obviously they’re appropriate for the Fourth of July, but you can switch up the stripe colors and the inside shape and make them for any occasion. Think pink and red stripes with a hidden heart for Valentine’s Day, or pastel stripes with a flower inside for Easter–the possibilities are endless!

These cookies were inspired by our super-popular Christmas Pinwheel Cookies, and originally they were just going to be red, white, and blue pinwheels. (And if you want to try that design, check out the Variations section below for instructions!) But instead, we took the same basic sugar dough and used it to create the stars and stripes design instead, perfect for patriotic potlucks and BBQs.

More Sugar Cookie Recipes

If you’re on a sugar cookie roll after making these, you’ll also love my Big Soft Sugar CookiesCinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies, and Watercolor Rose Sugar Cookies. Or get playful and make some Sugar Cookie French Fries!

Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies stacked on a plate and leaning against a glass of milk.

Table of Contents

🧾 What You’ll Need

Overhead shot of ingredients needed to make Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies.

Ingredients

Like many cookie recipes, these require just a handful of pantry staples, most of which you probably have on hand already. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when assembling the ingredients. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Butter: Your butter should be at room temperature to make these cookies. This means it’s pliable but cool–you don’t want it to be greasy and melty. I always recommend unsalted butter in baking, so you can control the precise amount of salt. If you only have salted butter, use that but omit the additional salt in the recipe until you have tasted the completed dough, then add additional salt if desired.
  • Egg: The egg you use should be large size, and at room temperature. Tip: if you need to warm up an egg quickly, place it in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes. This won’t cook the egg, but will bring it to room temperature so it’s perfect for baking.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla is the classic sugar cookie flavor, but you can experiment and add other extracts in addition to or instead of vanilla. Try almond, orange, or lemon!
  • Food coloring: For the best results, you will want to use gel food coloring. It is more concentrated than typical water-based colorings, so you don’t have to use as much coloring to get strong, vibrant shades. I use and recommend Americolor gel coloring. For this recipe, I used Americolor Super Red and Americolor Royal Blue shades.
  • Sprinkles: I used nonpareils for these cookies, but most sprinkles will work. Jimmies, nonpareils, and sparkling sugar are all great choices. Avoid any sprinkles that are too large, or made of chocolate or royal icing.
Hand holding up a Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookie from a plate of other cookies.

Equipment

The equipment list is pretty basic, but you will want to make sure you have the right size cookie cutters to achieve the look you see here. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Circular cookie cutter: Grab a circular cookie cutter – the one I used is 2.25″, but anything from 2-2.5″ should work well. I own and love this set of circular cutters that gives me lots of options!
  • Star cookie cutter: The size of the star is flexible, but you’ll just want to make sure that the cutter you use doesn’t come too close to the edges of the cookie. I have this star cookie cutter set and I used the one that is about 1.5″ wide.
  • Baking sheets:Heavy-duty baking sheets will keep the bottoms of the cookies from burning and help cookies bake evenly
  • Parchment paper: I never bake directly on my baking sheets–it’s all about the parchment, baby! Save time and cleanup by using silicone liners or parchment paper when baking cookies. I also roll my cookie dough out between sheets of parchment to avoid adding extra flour, which will make the cookies tough.
  • Rolling pin: I like using a French rolling pin to roll out cookie dough, but whatever you have should work just fine.
  • Mixer: a stand mixer or a hand mixer will both work in this recipe.

📋 Instructions

Here’s how to make these stars and stripes cookies, step by step! You can also check out the video for more help, and you can find printable instructions in the recipe card down below.

Two photo collage showing how to make sugar cookie dough.

Make the cookie dough

  • Combine the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Mix the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Two photo collage showing adding an egg to cookie dough.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix until well-incorporated.
Two photo collage showing the final texture of sugar cookie dough.
  • With the mixer still on low speed, slowly add the flour and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Stop the mixer, and finish scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • The dough should be soft and supple but not sticky when you press it between your fingers.
Two photo collage showing dividing and coloring sugar cookie dough.

Divide and color the dough

  • Divide the dough into 3 parts, with one part twice the size of the other two. If you have a kitchen scale, the large portion should be 15 oz and the two smaller portions each about 7.5 oz. 
  • Leave the large portion uncolored, and form it into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. 
  • Use gel food coloring to color the other two portions red and blue. Wrap those in plastic as well, and refrigerate the dough for at least 45 minutes, until firm.
Two photo collage showing how to roll out the different colors of cookie dough.

Roll out the dough

  • Roll the red and blue doughs out between two sheets of parchment paper until they are rectangles ¼” thick, approximately 5” x 7” long. Try to avoid adding additional flour at this step, or else the cookies might be tough.
  • Roll out the uncolored dough to a long rectangle 1/4″ thick, about 5″ x 14″. You can do this step now, or wait until later when you’re ready to cut out the circles.
Two photo collage showing how to make striped cookie dough.

Cut the dough into strips

  • Cut the red and blue doughs into thin strips widthwise. Arrange the strips into a long rectangle, alternating the colors red-blue-red-blue, and pressing the strips together as you go.
  • Once all of the red and blue strips are arranged into one long rectangle, place a piece of parchment over the top and gently roll over the top so they adhere together. Refrigerate again until firm.
Two photo collage showing cutting circles out of striped and plain cookie dough.

Cut out cookie dough circles

  • Cut 2.25″ circles from each rectangle of dough. You should get about 12 circles of each type. You can re-roll the uncolored dough to make more cookies, if you’d like. (You can also re-roll the striped dough, but you will lose the stripe pattern.)
Two photo collage showing how to decorate and assemble star sugar cookies.
  • Roll the edges of the cookies in sprinkles and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. If the sprinkles don’t stick well, you can lightly brush the edges with egg whites or corn syrup.
  •  Take a star cookie cutter and cut a star from the middle of each cookie.
Overhead shot of Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies on a silver baking sheet ready to bake.
  •  Press the plain stars into the middle of the striped cookies, and add striped stars to the plain cookies. 
  • Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, until they have spread and puffed, and no longer have a raw shine in the center.

💭 Variations

  • Change the dough colors and shape to make them suit any holiday. How about red and green stripes with a Christmas tree shape? Or orange and black with a pumpkin?
  • Instead of sprinkles, roll the cookies in finely chopped nuts or toasted coconut. You can also bake them without rolling the edges in anything!
  • Mix up the flavorings–add some almond in addition to the vanilla (start with 1/2 tsp and add more to taste), or swap in coconut instead. Or, add some lemon or orange zest and extract!
  • Pinwheel variation: divide the dough into 3 equal parts, leaving one plain and coloring the remaining two red and blue. Follow these instructions for creating red, white, and blue pinwheel cookies.
Close-up of a hand with a red nail holding a Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookie.

💡 Tips and FAQs  

Will this method work with other cookies?

I can’t guarantee it will work with your favorite recipe, but I can tell you that it is pretty flexible and forgiving! If you have a sugar/rolled cookie recipe that’s medium textured–meaning not too dry/stiff, and not extremely soft/sticky, then odds are good you can use this technique. If you do try other recipes, please come back and let us know how it goes!

How long will these cookies last?

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and should be enjoyed within 4-5 days for maximum freshness.

Make Ahead/Storage Instructions

If you want to make the dough in advance, you have a few options. You can freeze the colored portions of dough, wrapped very well, for up to 3 months. I recommend letting it defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then rolling and assembling as usual.

You can also freeze individual unbaked cookies. I don’t recommend adding sprinkles if you are planning on freezing unbaked cookies, since many sprinkles will bleed color due to condensation. Freeze the cookies in single layers in an airtight container or freezer zip-top bags for up to 3 months. To bake, let the frozen cookies sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, then add a few extra minutes to the baking time to make sure they’re baked all the way through.

Close-up of Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies with a bite taken out of one of them.
Close up of a Fourth of July Layer Cake.

Fourth of July Layer Cake

Celebrate Independence Day with a bang by making this Fourth of July Layer Cake! Four tall layers of red and blue velvet cake are finished with silky-smooth buttercream and a fun assortment of red, white, and blue candy on top. 
View Recipe
Close up of a Red, White and Blue Cupcake.

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

These Red, White and Blue Cupcakes are perfect for the Fourth of July! Moist red velvet cakes are topped with beautiful ruffles of red, white, and blue buttercream.
View Recipe

Don’t miss the step-by-step tutorial showing how to make Stars & Stripes Cookiescheck out the web story here!

Leave a Review!

If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Close-up of red, white, and blue striped sugar cookie with a star embedded in the middle.

Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies (Fourth of July Cookies)

5 from 6 votes
These Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies are perfect for the 4th of July…or any time! The hidden star shape inside the cookies is surprisingly easy to make, and you can customize the colors and shapes to so they suit any occasion.
Prep1 hour 15 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Chilling Time2 hours
Total3 hours 25 minutes
Yields24 cookies

Ingredients

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Instructions 

  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside temporarily.
  • Combine the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Turn the mixer to low, add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix until well-incorporated.
  • With the mixer still on low speed, slowly add the flour and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Stop the mixer, and finish scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The dough should be soft and supple but not sticky.
  • Divide the dough into 3 parts, with one part twice the size of the other two. If you have a kitchen scale, the large portion should be 15 oz and the two smaller portions each about 7.5 oz.
  • Leave the large portion uncolored, and form it into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Use gel food coloring to color the other two portions red and blue. You can stir the food coloring in by hand, knead it in like bread dough, or mix it in using the mixer. (If you use the mixer, keep a close eye on the dough and run it for a short time so the dough doesn’t get overmixed and tough.)
  • Wrap the red and blue in plastic wrap as well, and refrigerate the three discs of dough for at least 45 minutes, until firm.
  • Roll the red and blue doughs out between two sheets of parchment paper until they are rectangles ¼” thick, approximately 5” x 7” long. Try to avoid adding additional flour at this step, or else the cookies might be tough.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the red and blue doughs into thin strips widthwise, about ¼” x 5” each. Arrange the strips into a long rectangle, alternating the colors red-blue-red-blue, and pressing the strips together as you go. If the dough becomes too soft to easily work with, refrigerate or freeze briefly to chill.
  • Once all of the red and blue strips are arranged into one long rectangle, place a piece of parchment over the top and gently roll over the top so they adhere together. Refrigerate again until firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment. Roll out the uncolored dough to a rectangle ¼” thick, about 5” wide and 14-15” long. Cut out 2.25” circles of dough.
  • Roll the edges of the cookies in sprinkles and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. If the sprinkles don’t stick well, you can lightly brush the edges with egg whites or corn syrup. You should get 12 cookies – you can re-roll the scraps and cut out more dough if necessary.
  • Do the same with the red and blue dough: cut out 12 circles and roll the edges in sprinkles. Now, take a star cookie cutter and cut a star from the middle of each cookie. Press the plain stars into the middle of the striped cookies, and add striped stars to the plain cookies.
  • Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, until they have spread and puffed, and no longer have a raw shine in the center. They will continue to cook for a few minutes after they’re out of the oven, so don’t wait until they feel firm in the center or they will be overcooked.
  • Once cool, remove from the baking sheets and enjoy! These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and should be enjoyed within 4-5 days for maximum freshness. Unbaked cookies can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?

Nutrition

Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.
Photo of Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies with text overlay for Pinterest.

Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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12 Comments

  1. these are so easy and very festive the kids can help and we can do a bake day together cant wait!

    1. Thanks Beth! I think they are so fun and different from the other Fourth of July desserts I’ve seen!

  2. These cookies are too cute. I’m going to try these with my kids. I’m sure we will have fun making the stars and eating them this weekend.

  3. I love these cookies, simple but so stunning! Can’t wait to see what other holidays I can make these fit with. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Thank you for your comment Nathan! Come back and tell us what you come up with for other holidays!

  4. Just adorable, I wish i had the time to make beautiful creations like this on. I bake some but nothing like you. I think you are amazing. I love looking at the gorgeous baked items you post. I have made a few off them but no that many. Thank you and God Bless. Happy 4th of July to you and your family.

    1. Happy 4th to you Donna! Thank you so much for your comment 🙂 I’m sure all of your desserts are stunning!