How many calories in a homemade sugar cookie with icing?

Homemade sugar cookies are a classic treat that can be enjoyed any time of year. With just a few simple ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, you can bake up a batch of delicious sugar cookies right in your own kitchen.

Once the cookies have cooled, the fun really starts! Adding a sweet icing or rich buttercream frosting takes these cookies over the top. But with all these tasty ingredients like butter, sugar and icing, you may be wondering just how many calories are actually in one of these homemade treats.

Calories in Sugar Cookie Dough

To estimate the calories for a frosted sugar cookie, you first need to know the calorie count in the cookie dough itself. The number of calories in sugar cookie dough will vary slightly based on the specific ingredients and quantities used in the recipe.

Most basic sugar cookie dough recipes contain:

  • Flour
  • Butter or shortening
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder
  • Salt

Let’s take a look at a typical recipe for one dozen homemade sugar cookies:

Sample Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 2 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To determine the calories per cookie:

  1. Calculate the calories for each ingredient
  2. Add up the calorie amounts
  3. Divide by number of cookies to get calories per cookie

So for this recipe, here is the calorie count for each ingredient:

Ingredient Amount Calories
All-purpose flour 2 1/4 cups (281g) 1,004
Granulated sugar 1 cup (200g) 800
Butter 1 cup (230g) 1640
Egg 1 large 72
Vanilla extract 2 tsp 12
Total: 3,528

For one dozen (12) cookies, the total calorie count is 3,528 calories. To get the calories per cookie:

Total calories ÷ Number of cookies = Calories per cookie

3,528 ÷ 12 = 294 calories per basic sugar cookie

Calories in Sugar Cookie Icing

Now that you know about 294 calories are in one plain sugar cookie, it’s time to factor in the icing.

There are two common types of icing used for decorating sugar cookies:

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream icing is made by whipping butter, powdered sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. It is a rich icing that can be piped onto cookies in decorative patterns.

Here is an example recipe and calorie estimate for one batch of buttercream icing:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

The calorie totals for each ingredient:

Ingredient Amount Calories
Butter 1 cup (230g) 1640
Powdered sugar 3 cups (360g) 1440
Heavy cream 2 tablespoons 102
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon 12
Total: 3194

For a batch of buttercream icing totalling around 3200 calories, if we estimate that each cookie uses around 2 tablespoons of icing, that would be about 200 calories of icing per cookie.

Royal Icing

Royal icing is made by beating egg whites with powdered sugar and lemon juice or cream of tartar. It dries hard and glossy, so it’s great for decorating cookies.

A sample recipe for royal icing:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or cream of tartar

The calories in a batch of royal icing are:

Ingredient Amount Calories
Egg whites 2 large 34
Powdered sugar 4 cups 1920
Lemon juice 2 tsp 6
Total: 1960

For a batch of royal icing with about 1960 calories total, estimate 200 calories of icing per frosted cookie.

Calories in a Frosted Sugar Cookie

Now let’s bring together the cookie and the icing to estimate the total calories in a homemade sugar cookie with buttercream or royal icing:

  • Calories in one plain sugar cookie: 294 calories
  • Calories in icing (buttercream or royal): About 200 calories
  • Total calories per frosted sugar cookie: Around 494 calories

So for a frosted homemade sugar cookie, you can estimate it to have approximately 494 calories.

This calorie total can vary based on the exact recipe and amount of icing used, but this gives you a reasonable estimate to use for counting calories or nutrition facts.

Tips for Reducing Calories in Sugar Cookies

If you are looking for ways to lighten up your favorite sugar cookie recipe, here are some tips to reduce the calories per cookie:

  • Use butter alternatives like unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas in place of some of the butter.
  • Substitute up to half of the oil or butter with plain non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Use whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour in place of some or all of the regular all-purpose flour.
  • Replace some of the granulated sugar with lower calorie sweeteners like erythritol or stevia.
  • Use one whole egg plus two egg whites rather than two whole eggs.
  • Swap in almond milk, skim milk or fat-free half & half in the icing instead of heavy cream.
  • Flavor icing with extracts like almond, peppermint or lemon rather than a full teaspoon of vanilla.
  • Decorate with sprinkles, coconut, crushed candy canes or nuts instead of icing.
  • Drizzle with melted dark chocolate instead of a full coat of icing.

Experiment with these simple substitutions to reduce the calorie count while keeping the delicious homemade cookie taste.

Calories in Sugar Cookies from Common Bakeries

For comparison, here are the nutrition facts for sugar cookies from some popular bakeries and brands:

Mrs. Fields Original Sugar Cookie

  • 120 calories
  • 5g fat
  • 18g carbs
  • 7g sugar

Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie

  • 140 calories
  • 7g fat
  • 18g carbs
  • 9g sugar

Pepperidge Farm Sugar Cookie

  • 120 calories
  • 4.5g fat
  • 18g carbs
  • 8g sugar

Insomnia Sugar Cookie

  • 140 calories
  • 7g fat
  • 15g carbs
  • 7g sugar

As you can see, the store-bought versions tend to be lower in calories than a homemade sugar cookie. But the homemade cookies contain wholesome, natural ingredients and you can control the amount of sugar and fat that goes into them.

The Bottom Line

Whipping up a batch of sugar cookies and decorating them is a fun project for kids and adults. While the calorie count is higher than store-bought, you can use tricks like swapping the fats, flours and sugars to lighten the recipe.

For a general estimate, one homemade sugar cookie with buttercream or royal icing has about 494 calories. But this will vary based on factors like:

  • Specific ingredients used
  • Portion or cookie size
  • Amount of icing

The most accurate way to know the calorie content is to calculate the recipe totals yourself and divide by number of cookies. Enjoy your occasional treats in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.

Leave a Comment