Adorably sweet and delicious Copycat Starbucks Snowman Cookie that’s fun to make with the kids! Made with a shortbread biscuit and decorated with royal icing, this cookie is buttery and melt in your mouth. Ideal for the holiday season to bring festive cheer into your house!
This post is dedicated to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, please see below for more details on how to donate this Christmas.
Although famous for its drinks, Starbucks has some delicious snacks and treats. Their seasonal treats are the best, from their pumpkin spice latte in autumn to the summery Strawberry Matcha Latte. Winter has its own delicious treats in the form of Starbucks snowman cookies.
This copycat Starbucks snowman cookie recipe is almost identical to the original and at a fraction of the cost. These shortbread cookies are incredibly buttery and practically melts in your mouth. Royal icing is used to decorate the adorable snowmen and to give the cookies a sweet taste.
These Christmas cookies are so much fun to make and can be a fun activity to do with the little ones!
Looking for more delicious Christmas desserts? Check out these fragrant Molasses Crinkle Cookies, quick and easy Gingerbread Cookies without molasses. There's also these soft and creamy Chewy Molasses Sandwich Cookies or this light and airy Japanese Christmas Cake.
Why this recipe is great
- Tastes just like the original: This Starbucks snowman cookie not only looks just like the original, but it also tastes just as good. It’s sweet, with a hint of vanilla, buttery and soft, with sweet icing on top.
- Simple ingredients: All ingredients needed for this recipe are very plain and can be found in most pantries. No specialist ingredients or equipment are needed.
- Step by step method: The recipe below is really detailed, including step by step photos of how to decorate the snowman. Chances are, your cookies will end up looking better than the Starbucks ones!
- Buttery soft: Made on a shortbread base, this snowman cookie is really buttery and so soft it melts in your mouth.
- Fun to make: These cookies are really easy and fun to make, ideal for a Christmas activity with the family and your little ones! Plus, they make great gifts or stocking fillers!
- Cheaper than Starbucks: One snowman cookie from Starbucks costs around $2.25, so if you need to buy more than one it can become very expensive. This copycat Starbucks snowman cookie recipe uses basic and inexpensive ingredients, so it ends up being way cheaper.
Tools & Equipment
No special equipment is needed for the preparation of this Christmas cookie recipe. All you need is a large mixing bowl, a spatula and some baking paper.
However, you will need a snowman cookie cutter. It can be as large or small as you like, but I recommend staying within 3-5 inches in size. The original Starbucks snowman cookie is around 4 inches in size.
I like using this 3 piece snowman cookie cutter set because it has three different sizes – 3, 4 and 5 inches. If you do not have a snowman cookie cutter, don’t worry! Just draw out the shape on a piece of card, then cut it out. Use a scalper or sharp knife to cut out the snowman shapes using the template.
You will also need piping bag or pastry bag to decorate the snowman. I recommend using either disposable piping bags or reusable silicone bags with piping nozzle.
I wasn’t joking when I said that this cookie only uses really plain ingredients. The shortbread cookie base only needs 4 or 5 ingredients:
- Flour – all-purpose flour is needed for this recipe. Plain flour cannot be swapped with self-rising flour, because this recipe does not use any baking powder.
- Butter – unsalted butter works best. Ensure it is softened to room temperature before starting the recipe.
- Sugar – granulated sugar is needed, but powdered sugar or brown sugar can also be used.
- Salt – fine salt is recommended.
- Optional: Vanilla extract – Although optional, I highly recommend using vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Vanilla adds a delicious flavor that makes the cookies pop. If you want to have a little zing, you can swap vanilla extract for lemon extract or lemon juice.
- Optional: spices – I like adding a dash of cinnamon and a little nutmeg for an even more Christmassy flavour.
For the royal icing you will need:
- Powdered sugar – is crucial for smooth icing. Make sure you also sift it to ensure there are no lumps.
- Water or milk – needed to turn the sugar into a paste. You can also use egg whites instead of water/milk or add extra meringue powder to make the royal icing even more stable. Please ensure the eqq whites are pasteurised before use.
- Corn syrup – helps give the icing a super smooth texture, and it also prevents cracks from happening whilst hardening.
- Food colouring – for this recipe we need black, orange, blue and red food colouring. Gel colouring is recommended for intense colours.
Making the cookie dough is incredibly easy and is fool proof. Here’s how:
1. Cream the softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer at high speed.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and at low speed mix to form a dough.
3. Roll the dough with a rolling pin between two sheets of parchment paper, then refrigerate to harden.
4. Use a cookie cutter to cut out snowman shapes, then transfer to a lined cookie sheet and bake until crispy.
Royal icing is very easy to make, as you just need to combine all the ingredients into a paste. The consistency should be a little thick, but still runny. It’s similar to wallpaper paste consistency. Divide the royal icing in half, keeping one half white. Divide the other half into 4 small bowls, the colour each one in red, blue, black and orange.
For 8 snowmen cookies you will need about:
- ¼ cup white royal icing for the snowman body
- 1 tablespoon red and blue royal icing for the scarves
- 1 teaspoon black icing for the eyes and buttons
- 1 teaspoon orange icing for the carrot nose
Here’s how to decorate your Starbucks snowman cookie:
5. Create an outline of the cookie with white icing.
6. Infill outline with icing, then let dry for 30 minutes.
7. Draw two black dots for eyes and three dots for buttons.
8. Draw a line for the mouth. Add a triangle for the orange nose.
9. With red or blue icing draw the ear muffs. Draw a line for a scarf around the neck.
10. Draw two more lines for the scarf ends. Let dry for 12-24 hours.
You can also use melted chocolate to decorate the snowmen and add extra flavour. If you're feeling extra festive, add some chocolate toppers for snowman hat! Simply melt some extra chocolate and glue them to the head of the snowmen.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Softened butter: Leave out the butter at room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes before starting this Starbucks snowman cookie recipe. The butter needs to be pliable enough that it can be mixed with sugar into a paste. I do not recommend microwaving the butter, as this can make the dough too wet.
- Roll the dough: For ease, I strongly recommend rolling the cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper. This will make it easier to cut out the snowman cookies later on.
- Chill the dough before cutting: shortbread cookie dough is very soft art room temperature, so it breaks easily. The rolled out dough needs to be well chilled before cutting out snowman shapes and transferring them to two large baking sheets. Ensure the rolled out dough is refrigerated for at least 1 hour.
- Royal icing consistency: when preparing royal icing, I recommend starting out with a slightly thicker consistency, then adding small drops of water or milk. This way there’s no risk of getting extra runny icing. Royal icing needs to have a little thickness to it, but still be pipeable. The consistency should be similar to wallpaper paste.
- Piping bags: It’s very difficult to draw out the adorable snowman without the use of piping bags. I recommend using either disposable piping bags or reusable silicone bags with piping nozzle.
- Let royal icing harden: Royal icing takes about 24 hours to fully harden. Once hardened, the Starbucks snowman cookie can be wrapped up for gifts without any risk of damaging the icing.
How to store
Room temperature: The best way to store Starbucks snowman cookie is at room temperature inside an airtight container. It can be stored for up to 1 week.
Fridge: I do not recommend freezing these snowman cookies. The moisture in the fridge can make the coloured icing bleed into the white and ruin the cute design.
Freezer: For longer term storage they can also be frozen, but there is the risk that the colours can bleed from thawing. To freeze, place on a tray in a single layer in the freezer for 1 hour. Once frozen, cover with plastic wrap or place in a Tupperware. Thaw in the fridge for a few hours.
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Starbucks Snowman Cookie Recipe
- 1 snowman cookie cutter
- Piping bags
Shortbread Cookie Base
- ⅓ cup butter, softened to room temperature (80 grams)
- ⅛ cup granulated sugar (35 grams)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (90 grams)
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cup powdered sugar (100 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons milk or water*
- gel food colouring
Shortbread Cookie Base
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer on high speed, combine until fluffy and pale.
- Add in the vanilla extract, salt and flour. Combine on low speed until just about combined. Do not overmix.
- Place the cookie dough in between two parchment papers. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about ⅛ of an inch.
- Place the dough on a tray and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to harden the dough.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Use a snowman cookie cutter to cut out 8 snowmen. Transfer them into two lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cookies cool down on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.
- In a medium bowl sift the sugar, add the vanilla extract, corn syrup and water (or milk).
- Mix well to combine. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of water to make thinner. Repeat the process if the icing is still too thick.
- Divide the royal icing into 2. Place one of the halves into a piping bag. The white icing is for the snowman's body.
- Divide the remaining half into 4 different small bowls. In each bowl add black, red, blue and orange food colouring. Mix to combine, then pour each colourful icing into separate piping bags.
Decorating the snowman cookies
- Use the white royal icing to pipe the outline of each snowman cookies. Infill the outline with more white icing. Let dry for 30 minutes.
- Using the black icing, pipe 2 dots for the eyes and 3 dots for the buttons.
- Draw a line for the snowman's mouth. With the orange icing draw the carrot nose like a small rectangle.
- Using either red or blue, pipe the scarf as a line and earmuffs as two dollops connected by an arch. Let dry for 10-15 minutes.
- Pipe the scarf ends as two lines of the same colour.
- Let icing set for at least 24 hours for it to fully harden. If consuming fresh, let the icing set for 1-2 hours.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale in grams for more accuracy. The cups used for the conversion are standard US customary cups (1 cup flour = 136g). There are many different types of cups across the globe, which is why I strongly recommend using grams instead.
- If royal icing is too thick, add 1-2 extra drops of water/milk and mix. Repeat if needed until desired consistency is reached.
- Nutritional information is indicative only and is calculated per cookies with royal icing.
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Cookies for Kids' Cancer
This recipe is part of The Sweetest Season, an annual virtual cookie swap co-hosted by Erin of The Speckled Palate and Susannah of Feast + West. Every year, food bloggers get together to share new holiday cookie recipes to make and give.
This year we are raising money for Cookies 4 Kids' Cancer, which is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for new, innovative and less-toxic treatments for childhood cancer.
Since 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has granted nearly $18 million to pediatric cancer research in the form of 100+ research grants to leading pediatric cancer centers across the country. From these grants have stemmed 35+ treatments available to kids battling cancer today.
Help us raise money for this important cause! Donate through our fundraising page.
Another exciting thing is that Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is in a matching window with their friends at OXO, meaning OXO will be matching every dollar raised through the end of 2022, up to $100,000. Whatever money we raise will automatically double on our fundraising page!
I'm so making these for stocking fillers. Soooo cute!!
Decorations didn't look as pretty as yours but man were the cookies delicious!
Not only are these snowman cookies precious, but they are DELICIOUS! What a fun, festive recipe to make this holiday season and all winter long! Thank you for all the amazing tips and tricks, too, as they are SO helpful!
Thank you so much for participating in this year's Sweetest Season! I am always blown away with the recipes shared and the generosity of its participants. Thank you for making this event such a success.