St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing are great for royal icing beginners! Step-by-step instructions to help you learn.

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

I’m not Irish.  Not even a little bit.  But my name is Meghan, and I married an Irish boy with a very Irish last name, so I consider myself Irish by proxy.

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.  As a kid, my mom always made corned beef and cabbage, my aunt prepared her famous Grasshopper Pie, and we had green snake bread and green popcorn. (Again, I’m not Irish).

In college, St. Pat’s was always about fun parties and bars.  Green beer, green shots, Shamrock stickers, beads, etc. Not that I don’t still enjoy that type of thing (and not that I didn’t partake in a ‘Leprechaun pee shot’ a few weekends ago-ew), but now this holiday is also an excuse for me to make festive desserts.

LOOKING FOR MORE ST. PATRICK’S DAY DESSERTS? Check out these Bailey’s Irish Cream Mini Cheesecakes!

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Recipe Details

I’ve been wanting to try royal icing for a while now, after seeing the beautiful cookies Annie made.   I looked everywhere for a shamrock cookie cutter (ok, so Michael’s and Dollar Tree are not everywhere, but still). Bob suggested I look on Amazon – why didn’t I think of that?! We ordered one in the parking lot of Dollar Tree, thanks to his iPhone, and it arrived a few days later. It’s quite a bit smaller than I imagined, but that’s ok.  

This is my first time making these sugar cookies. I’m not a big fan of sugar cookies in general, but these are pretty tasty. The lemon zest and almond extract give them a little something extra. I split the dough in half and tinted one portion green with Wilton gel food coloring.

green unbaked cookies on a sil pat
untinted baked sugar cookies shaped like shamrocks
baked green shamrock sugar cookies on a cooling rack

I used a basic royal icing recipe and did some simple outlines and flooding.

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Other St. Patrick’s Day Desserts

Bailey’s Irish Cream Mini Cheesecakes
Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake
Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie
Turkey Pastrami Reuben Sandwiches

Looking for More Royal Icing Cookies?

Check out these other Royal Icing Sugar Cookie creations:
Sugar Cookie Gender Reveal
Penelope Bird Cookies
Butterfly Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Butterfly and Dragonfly Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies
Brown Sugar and Spice Winter Mitten Cookies
Monkey Face Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Bridal Shower Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Baby Shower Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Halloween Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Pastel Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Easter Cookies with Royal Icing

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing are great for royal icing beginners! Step-by-step instructions to help you learn.
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Dry Time: 17 hrs
Total Time 18 hrs 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 3 dozen (approx.)


For the Sugar Cookies:

  • 12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (pure or imitation)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar (for rolling)
  • Wilton icing color gel (optional)

For the Royal Icing:

  • 3 tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons warm water (for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less)


Make the Sugar Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
  • Add in vanilla, almond, and lemon zest. Beat for 10 seconds. Add in baking powder and salt, beat again.
  • Add in flour 1 cup at a time, mix for 15 seconds between each addition. Do not over mix.
  • Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll and cut right away. At this point, I split the dough in half and added Wilton icing gel in Kelly Green to one portion. I then flattened each dough ball into a disc and wrapped in plastic wrap to store in the fridge overnight.
  • Bake on parchment lined cookie sheet for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.

Prepare the Base Royal Icing:

  • Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).
  • Transfer mixture to airtight container. This can be stored at room temperature as long as it is covered. Makes 3 cups

Prepare the Piping Icing:

  • Remove a small amount of the base icing mixture to a bowl and add small amount of water (1 tablespoon at a time, or less) to achieve a consistency that allows for easy piping.
  • Add icing color if desired. At any point, if mixture is too thick, add water; too thin, add more powdered sugar. Always keep the icing mixture covered, either with an airtight lid or a piece of plastic wrap, to prevent it from hardening or drying out.

Outline the Cookies:

  • Place a pastry bag in a glass about 3 inches shorter than the bag; fold top of bag over edge of glass to form a cuff. Fill bag with icing. Squeeze out air and close opening of bag, securing it closed with a twist tie. This can also be done with a large resealable plastic bag. I bought some cheap icing tips but didn’t get an adapter, so I just cut off the tip of the bag (just a few millimeters from the end). You can place a damp paper towel or washcloth in the bottom of the glass at this point to create a place to set the icing bag and prevent the icing on the tip of the bag from hardening.
  • Outline your cookies as desired. Let icing set for at least 1 hour.

Flood the Cookies:

  • Either using the rest of the icing from step 3 or some fresh icing from step 2, thin out the icing with water until the consistency is quite fluid – when you allow the icing to drip off the spoon/spatula, it should disappear into the rest of the icing within 3-5 seconds. Again, fill a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag with the icing. Snip off tip if you don't have an icing tip. Apply the thinned icing inside each outlined cookie. The outline provides a 'dam' to hold in the fluid icing. Use a toothpick to help the icing get to the edges, if necessary.
  • Allow the icing to set. This may take several hours, or up to 24. You can gently transfer the cookies to an airtight container to store overnight, but be careful not to stack them, even if using waxed paper between layer, or you might disrupt the icing. If you must stack them, do so in a single layer with a piece of aluminum foil between each layer.

Finish the Cookies:

  • After the flooded icing has dried completely, pipe on thicker icing (freshly prepared from mixture in step 2 or leftover from step 3) in designs as desired.


Sugar Cookies Source:  Adapted from Good Things Catered
Royal Icing Source: Adapted from instructions provided with Wilton Meringue Powder and tips provided by Annie’s Eats and Baking 911
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword American, cookies, dessert, royal icing

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