How many calories are in a home baked sugar cookie?

Sugar cookies are a classic holiday treat that can be found gracing cookie trays and dessert tables during the winter season. With their sweet flavor and soft, chewy texture, it’s easy to overindulge in these tasty baked goods. But if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake, you may be wondering just how many calories are hiding in those homemade sugar cookies.

The Average Calorie Count for Sugar Cookies

When it comes to store-bought versions, sugar cookies can vary quite a bit in their calorie content. Pre-made slice-and-bake sugar cookie dough from the refrigerator section often provides around 100 calories per cookie. Prepackaged brands of frosted holiday sugar cookies may contain 150-200 calories per cookie.

For homemade sugar cookies, the calorie count will depend on the specific recipe and ingredients used. On average, most standard homemade sugar cookie recipes make cookies that contain around 100-150 calories per cookie.

Factors That Impact Sugar Cookie Calories

The exact calorie count of homemade sugar cookies will be determined by:

  • Cookie size – Larger cookies contain more calories than smaller, bite-sized versions.
  • Ingredients – The type of flour, sugar, fat, mix-ins, and decorations impact calorie content.
  • Portion size – Eating multiple cookies increases the total calorie intake versus eating just one.

Calories in Sugar Cookie Dough

The calorie concentration is higher in sugar cookie dough compared to the baked cookies. Approximately 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons of sugar cookie dough contains around 140-160 calories. So be mindful of how much raw cookie dough you sneak while baking!

Calorie Breakdown for Basic Sugar Cookies

To understand where the calories come from in a basic sugar cookie, let’s look at the calorie breakdown for a typical homemade recipe:


Most sugar cookie recipes call for all-purpose flour. There are around 400 calories in one cup of all-purpose flour. For a recipe that makes 24 cookies using 2 cups of flour, that’s about 167 calories from the flour total or 7 calories per cookie.


Butter is a key ingredient that gives sugar cookies their distinctive soft, rich taste and texture. Each tablespoon of butter contains around 100 calories. If a recipe calls for 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter for 24 cookies, that’s 800 calories total from the butter or 33 calories per cookie.

Granulated Sugar

Sugar naturally provides concentrated calories, with about 200 calories packed into a half cup. A typical recipe may use 1 cup of granulated white sugar for 24 cookies, working out to around 400 calories total or 17 calories per cookie.


Eggs help bind the sugar cookie dough together and provide moisture. One large egg contains about 70-80 calories. If a recipe uses just 1 egg for 24 cookies, that contributes about 3 calories per cookie.

Vanilla Extract

This flavoring adds barely any calories at all. The calories from a teaspoon of vanilla extract will be negligible, less than 1 calorie per cookie.

Baking Powder and Salt

These small amounts of leavening ingredients and salt provide no significant calories to the cookies.

Calorie Total for a Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

Adding up these estimated numbers gives a total calorie count of around 1,400 calories for a recipe that makes 24 basic sugar cookies. This works out to about 58 calories per cookie as a reasonable estimate.

The exact calorie total will vary between recipes based on ingredient quantities and cookie size, but this provides a rough calculation for basic sugar cookies made with common ingredients.

Ways to Modify Calories in Sugar Cookies

There are some easy ways to tweak a sugar cookie recipe to increase or decrease the calorie count:

Lower-Calorie Options

  • Use butter-flavored shortening instead of real butter
  • Replace all or half of the all-purpose flour with lower-calorie cake flour
  • Use a lower-calorie granulated sweetener like erythritol in place of regular sugar
  • Make smaller, thinner cookies
  • Reduce the amount of sugar

Higher-Calorie Options

  • Add extra butter for a richer flavor
  • Coat cookies with frosting or drizzle with glaze
  • Sandwich cookies together with buttercream filling
  • Dip cookies in chocolate or caramel sauce
  • Mix in chocolate chips, candies, or nuts for baked-in mix-ins

Calories in Frosted and Decorated Sugar Cookies

If you want to decorate your sugar cookies, additional calories will come from any icing, glaze, sprinkles, and other adornments. Here are some ballpark calorie estimates for popular cookie decorations:

Royal Icing

A teaspoon of royal icing has around 20 calories. A sugar cookie coated in a thin layer would have about 40 extra calories from the icing.

Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream is more calorie-dense than royal icing. A teaspoon may have around 30 calories, so a lightly iced cookie could contain about 60 additional calories.


A drizzle of glaze adds sweetness without too many calories. Around 10-20 extra calories for a lightly glazed cookie.


Colorful sprinkles and other decorations like sanding sugar add festive flair for minimal calories. Figure an extra 5-10 calories for a sprinkle-topped cookie.

Chocolate Chips

A couple mini chocolate chips adds nice flavor for around 10-15 extra calories per cookie.

Calories for Sugar Cookie Shapes

The calories remain the same no matter what festive shapes you cut your sugar cookies into before baking. However, shape affects how many cookies you can cut from a single batch of dough:

  • Round cookies yield the most cookies per batch.
  • Oval/finger shapes yield slightly fewer cookies.
  • Holiday shapes like trees, reindeer, etc. yield the fewest cookies per batch.

So even though the calorie count per cookie is the same, you may end up with fewer total cookies from shaped cookie cutters, affecting the total calories you can make from one recipe.

Calories in Different Types of Sugar Cookies

Beyond basic sugar cookies, there are a number of popular variations that have their own distinct calorie profiles:

Spritz Cookies

Buttery spritz cookies made by pressing dough through a cookie press tend to be smaller and lighter than rolled sugar cookies, with around 40-50 calories per cookie.

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprints topped with jelly or nut butter fillings add around 10-20 extra calories per cookie.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

These tender Mexican wedding cookies are rolled in powdered sugar, which adds minimal calories for around 60 calories per cookie.

Melting Snowman Cookies

These adorable melting snowman cookies assembled from cinnamon and sugar cookies typically calculate out to around 65-75 calories each.

Jam-Filled Cookies

Sandwich cookies with fruit jam fillings incur about 15-30 extra calories per cookie depending on amount of filling.

Iced Lemon Cookies

Lemon cookies with tangy royal icing will have around 60-70 calories per cookie.

Gingerbread Cookies

Spicy, molasses-flavored gingerbread cookies tend to be slightly higher in calories, around 70-80 per cookie.

Calories in Sugar Cookie Bars

In addition to shaping sugar cookie dough into individual cookies, you can press it into a baking pan to make festive holiday bars. Here’s how bar calories compare:

  • A 2-inch square pan sugar cookie bar has around 115 calories
  • A 2-inch by 1-inch rectangular bar has about 60 calories
  • A thin 1-inch wide finger-shaped bar has around 30 calories

As you can see, the calorie count for sugar cookie bars varies widely depending on the size and thickness when cutting.

Do Sugar Cookie Calories Change During Baking?

The total calorie content remains unchanged between sugar cookie dough and baked cookies. However, a small amount of the calories (around 5%) may be lost due to moisture evaporating during the baking process.

So the minor calorie differences between dough and baked cookies are negligible. The calorie estimates for sugar cookie dough also apply to the final baked cookies.

Storing Sugar Cookies to Maintain Freshness and Calorie Content

Storing sugar cookies properly helps them retain their quality, texture and fresh flavor. Here are some storage tips that also maintain their original calorie content:

  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5-7 days.
  • For longer storage, freeze un-iced cookies in a freezer bag for 2-3 months.
  • Cookies decorated with royal icing freeze well for up to 2 months.
  • Cookies with buttercream frosting are best kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.

As long as cookies are not subjected to moisture loss, the calorie content remains the same whether cookies are fresh, stored, or frozen and thawed.

How Sugar Cookie Calories Fit into a Healthy Diet

Sugar cookies can absolutely be part of a balanced diet when enjoyed in moderation. Here are some tips for savoring these sweet treats while maintaining overall nutrition:

  • Practice portion control. Limit yourself to 1 or 2 cookies as a snack or dessert.
  • Savor the flavor. Take small bites and eat slowly instead of scarfing down multiple cookies.
  • Balance with other foods. Enjoy cookies alongside fruits, vegetables, proteins and fiber-rich whole grains.
  • Account for calories. Be mindful of extra calories from sugar cookies and adjust other foods accordingly.
  • Control frequency. Reserve sugar cookies for occasional treats rather than daily indulgences.

Using these moderation practices allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth while still meeting your nutritional needs and health goals.


When preparing a batch of homemade sugar cookies, the calorie count lands around 100-150 calories per average-sized cookie based on the common ingredients and recipe proportions. Of course, the exact number may vary up or down a bit depending on your particular recipe, cookie size, and any additional decorations or fillings. But being aware of the approximate calorie content can help you balance your sugar cookie enjoyment with your overall diet. Remember that savoring these treats in moderation along with other nourishing foods is the key to being able to have your cookies and eat them too!

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