These pretty fall leaf cookies are fun and festive for the season! Christmas cookies get all the attention, but don’t skip baking cut-out cookies in the fall too. The weather is perfect for it, and a plate of homemade cookies is always welcomed.
These leaf cookies are fun and simple to make with different colors of cookie dough that blend into a beautiful marbled backdrop. Decorate with a little bit of royal icing, or leave them plain- it’s up to you!
To make these cookies, I’m adapting my foolproof sugar cookie recipe, which means that you’ll have perfect cookies every time. These cookies won’t spread too much, so they’ll hold whatever leaf shapes you cut them into, and they are perfectly soft and chewy with crisp edges.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- No Chilling Required: As soon as you’ve finished mixing the cookie dough, it is ready to be rolled out and cut into leaf shapes. You can get started right away and have your cookies ready sooner than if you’d used a recipe that requires chill time.
- A Fun Technique: I’ll show you exactly how to make cookies with three different colors, beautifully swirled together. It’s actually very easy, and you can use this same method to make other colored cookies for any occasion!
- Perfect Texture: These sugar cookies are soft and tender with slightly crisp edges, and they hold their shape very well.
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
- Butter: Unsalted butter is the base of the cookie dough and provides a rich and buttery flavor. Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature before starting to make the dough. This will make it easier to cream with the sugar and will ensure that it incorporates evenly into the dough.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar sweetens the cookie dough and adds structure to the cookies. You’ll want to be sure that you properly cream the butter and sugar together to get the perfect soft yet crisp texture.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is the perfect flavoring for sugar cookie dough. You can also experiment with different flavor extracts like almond, cinnamon, peppermint, or lemon for a different twist.
- Egg: An egg adds moisture to the cookie dough and binds all of the ingredients together. Allow your egg to come to room temperature before adding it to the dough. This trick will help you to make a smooth and well-mixed cookie dough.
- All-Purpose Flour: To provide structure and texture for the cookies.
- Baking Powder: This is the leavening agent that helps the cookies rise. Check the expiration date on your baking powder! If it’s not fresh, the cookies won’t have the right fluffy, light texture.
- Salt: To balance the sweetness and elevate the flavors of the other ingredients.
How To Make Fall Leaf Cookies
- Get Ready: Start by preheating the oven to 350°F/180°C, or 160°C fan oven. Prepare 2 large cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside.
- Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, light, and creamy. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix again, just until combined. Lastly, add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Continue mixing until the ingredients are combined into a smooth dough.
- Add Coloring: To make these marbled fall colored leaf cookies, separate the dough into three even balls. Add a few drops of food coloring to each to create yellow, red, and orange dough. Knead the coloring in by hand.
- Roll: Take about a fourth of each color dough, break it into pieces with your hands, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Gently press the pieces together, then roll the dough using a rolling pin to ½ – ¼ inch thickness. You should end up with a gently swirled, marbled slab of dough.
- Cut: Use a leaf cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes. To help with any sticking, dip the cutter into flour first, and use an offset spatula to pick up the cookies from the counter.
- Bake: Place the cut cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving space between them. Bake for 8-9 minutes, rotating the pan at 6 minutes for even browning. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing the cookies.
- Decorate. To add detail to your leaf cookies, pipe veins using white royal icing. Half of this royal icing recipe is plenty to decorate these cookies. My maple glaze would also be lovely, just leave out the orange extract.
- Don’t Overmix: You will want to mix the cookie dough until it’s thoroughly combined but don’t overdo it. Overmixed cookie dough will result in tough, hard cookies.
- Roll the Dough Evenly. It’s important that all of your cookies are the same thickness. This way they will bake at the same rate. An adjustable rolling pin is super useful for this.
- Try this Method for Other Occasions. Red, orange, and yellow are perfect for fall leaves, but you can make Christmas cut-outs with red, green, and white dough, or Valentine’s cookies with pink, red, and white.
- Have Fun! This is a great recipe to let your kids or family members help with. Remember that homemade cookies don’t have to be perfect, they just need to be made with love.
Sugar Cookie Storing Tips
- To Store: Undecorated cookies will stay fresh for about a week if you store them in an airtight container at room temperature. You can decorate them later, closer to when you plan to serve them. You can also store them with the royal icing frosting, just be sure that the frosting has fully hardened before stacking.
- To Freeze: Baked cut-out cookies (decorated or undecorated) can be frozen for up to 3 months. Be sure to freeze them in an airtight container, and keep layers of parchment between them.
- To Freeze Cookie Dough: Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap, then put it in a zip-top bag. Keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge, then at room temperature for 15 minutes before you roll, cut, and bake the leaf cookies.
Other Fall Cookie Recipes You Should Try
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
- Apple Pie Cookies
- Easy Pie Crust Cookies
- Cake Mix Snickerdoodles
- Turkey Macarons
Can I Make Sugar Cookies Without a Cookie Cutter?
Feel free to use a small knife to cut out leave shapes by hand! You can also just roll the dough into balls and flatten them before baking to create round cookies.
These red, yellow, and orange fall leaf cookies are so pretty, and perfect for any autumn occasion! Be sure to Pin the recipe so you can come back to it year after year.