These Sugar Cookie Bars are easy to make, ultra soft, and have the most amazing flavor! Topped with my favorite Buttercream Frosting for Cookies, these cookie bars will win everyone over! 

Looking for a cut out sugar cookie recipe? My No Fail Sugar Cookies are a success every single time! Sugar Coated Cookies are also easy and fun to mix up for the holidays! Or make my Classic Sugar Cookies which are thick, soft and delicious! 

Cut sugar cookie bars topped with pink buttercream frosting.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Best sugar cookie bars! This sugar cookie bars recipe is the best! The thing that sets it apart from all the rest (my secret ingredient) is the combination of vanilla extract and almond extract in the cookie dough. It’s the perfect combination to help give a depth of flavor so it isn’t just straight sugar or sweetness you taste. Trust me on this! You’ll love it! 
  • Soft sugar cookies. Not only do these bars taste amazing, but they are incredibly soft and chewy!
  • Topped with the most amazing Buttercream Frosting! You will love this frosting recipe! It’s smooth, perfectly sweet, and made with three different flavor extracts that marry together so well for the ultimate flavor! 

Ingredient Notes

Sugar Cookie Bars ingredients portioned into glass bowls on a white textured background.
  • Unsalted Butter: Use room temperature butter to ensure it combines with the remaining ingredients well.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is what we’ll use for this sugar cookie bar recipe. 
  • Vanilla Extract & Almond Extract: Using a combination of almond extract and vanilla extract makes these the best sugar cookie bars ever! 
  • Flour: Getting the right flour to fat ratio is what will give us the ultra soft sugar cookie bars texture. 
  • Baking Powder: The dough will be a fairly thin layer in the pan — don’t worry! The baking powder will help the cookie bars rise really well in the oven. 
  • Salt: Adding the salt helps to cut through some of that sweetness from the sugar cookie bars and creates a perfect balance.
  • Buttercream Frosting for Cookies: You’re doing to love, love, love this frosting recipe! It’s my all-time favorite. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Prepare the pan. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray, or spray the pan directly with cooking spray (I always use spray that contains flour if directly spraying the pan). Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream wet ingredients. Add 1 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 large egg and 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp almond extract. Mix until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients. Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix until just barely combined. Do not over mix.
Six process photos showing how to make Sugar Cookie Bars, all photos feature a glass mixing bowl on a white background with various steps of adding butter, sugar, mixing and adding dry ingredients to form a dough.
  1. Spread dough into prepared pan. Place the sugar cookie dough in the prepared baking pan and using your hands or a spatula spread into an even layer. 
  2. Bake. Place the sugar cookie bars in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The edges should look set and the middle no longer shiny. Remove and let cool in the pan until room temperature. 
  3. Make a batch of Buttercream Frosting for Sugar Cookies. Follow the instructions in the recipe for my buttercream frosting! 
Two side by side images of sugar cookie bars in a baking dish, the left photo is unbaked, the right photo is baked Sugar Cookie Bars.
  1. Frost the sugar cookie bars. Using an offset spatula, frost the sugar cookie bars with the sweet buttercream frosting and top with festive sprinkles if desired. Remove from the pan by grabbing the parchment paper or aluminum foil (if used) and cut into squares. Enjoy! 
Pink frosting covered Sugar Cookie Bars topped with a sprinkling of white sprinkles, and the bars are cut into small squares.

Recipe Tips

If you don’t have a stand mixer, that’s fine. Use an electric mixer and a large bowl. 

I used a 9×13-inch glass pan, but metal will work as well. 

Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with a bit of nonstick spray to make spreading the dough out much easier! 

The dough will form a thin layer in the bottom of the pan. Don’t worry! The baking powder in the dough will help give great rise and lift to these cookie bars and they’ll bake up to be like the thickness pictured. 

Do not over bake these sugar cookie bars! If you do, they will be dry and crumbly — which is not what we want in a cookie bar recipe! When checking for doneness, the toothpick should have a few moist crumbs clinging to it. 

Looking for a Christmas sugar cookie bars recipe? You can use this one! Make the dough as instructed, but mix up the frosting by dying it red and green food coloring for the holidays! You can also do this for the Fourth of July and do red and blue; Valentine’s Day and do pink and red; Halloween and do black, orange, purple or green; St. Patrick’s Day and do different shades of green … these cookie bars are perfect for any holiday season — simply change the frosting color! 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Store the frosted cookie bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days. 

Unfrosted sugar cookie bars can store at room temperature in an airtight container for 4 days. You can also doubled wrap the unfrosted bars in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight, then frost and enjoy! 

Store leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight, then on the counter top until thawed completely. Beat up to return to a spreadable consistency. 

To freeze frosted sugar cookie bars, flash freeze until the frosting is set. Then wrap each of the sugar cookie squares in plastic wrap than in aluminum foil. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove wrapping in the morning. 

A metal spatula lifting up a square of Sugar Cookie Bar that's frosted with pink buttercream frosting.

Recipe FAQs

Why are my cookie bars dry?

A few things can cause dry cookie bars: did you over pack your flour? You don’t want to heavily pack the flour as you measure it or you’ll have too much flour to fat ratio. Did you over mix the dough? Once the dough comes together, stop mixing. You don’t want to over mix the dough or it will be tough. Did you over bake it? Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is at proper temperature. Ovens often run hotter or colder than the temperature it states. I always bake with an oven thermometer. 

Do cookie bars need to be refrigerated?

No. But if you want them to last longer, I would refrigerate them! 

Can you freeze sugar cookie bars?

Yes you can! My Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing section details how to freeze these frosted sugar cookie bars! 

Why do sugar cookie spread? Why do sugar cookies lose their shape?

So thankfully, these sugar cookie bars are baked in a 9×13-inch pan. So they won’t spread since they are baked in a dish. However, with traditional sugar cookies, you’ll see spreading and losing shape if you have the wrong fat to flour ratio. 

How do you know when the cookie bars are done?

Insert a toothpick into the center. If a few moist crumbs come out with it, they are done! You don’t want to over bake the bars or else they will be dry and crumbly. Better to slightly under bake if you are worried. You’ll need the bars to cool completely before frosting them, so they’ll set up as they cool in the pan. 

Can I make this recipe in a cookie sheet (half sheet pan)? 

I would double the recipe if you are going to make it in a cookie sheet. This recipe fits a 9-13-inch pan, but cookie sheets are much bigger! 

Sugar cookie bars cut into squares, topped with a swirl of pink frosting.

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A Sugar Cookie Bar recipe cut into squares topped with pink frosting.
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Sugar Cookie Bars

These sugar cookie bars are super easy to make and result in soft cookies that are seriously amazing! My absolute favorite frosting to use on these cookie bars is my "buttercream frosting for sugar cookies." The combo is divine!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 24 bars

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter - softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract - optional
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 batch buttercream frosting for sugar cookies

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13” baking dish with foil, parchment paper, or spray the pan directly with nonstick cooking spray that contains flour. If using foil, spray the foil with nonstick spray. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth. 
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and almond extract, if using, and mix until combined. 
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix. 
  • Scoop the cookie dough into the prepared baking dish and spread into a flat, even layer. I spray my hands lightly with nonstick cooking spray before pressing the dough in the pan.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are set and lightly golden brown and the center is no longer shiny. If you insert a toothpick in the center there should be no dough that comes out on it. Be careful not to overbake as this will result in a drier and more crumbly cookie bar.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Do not frost until the bars are completely cool otherwise the frosting will melt. 
  •  Make a batch of buttercream frosting for sugar cookies and spread overtop of the sugar cookie bars. Slice and serve!

Notes

Store frosted cookie bars at room temperature in an airtight container for p to 2 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days. 
To freeze, flash freeze to set the frosting (5-10 minutes). Then wrap each bar in plastic wrap then in aluminum foil. Store in an airtight container or freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months (up to 3 months if the cookie bars are unfrosted). Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. 
To make in a cookie sheet, I would double the recipe. Check at the 25 minute mark, but you’ll need to bake it for a little longer due to the double size. 

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 18g (6%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 5g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 28mg (9%)Sodium: 53mg (2%)Potassium: 37mg (1%)Fiber: 0.4g (2%)Sugar: 8g (9%)Vitamin A: 248IU (5%)Calcium: 13mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Leave a star rating and review on the blog post letting me know how you liked this recipe! Take a picture and tag @saltandbaker on Instagram and Facebook so I can see what you’re making!