Shamrock Sugar Cookies

I’m not big into sweets, but this idea popped into my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I made some. These are the perfect St. Patrick’s Day treat, each cookie contains a little shamrock! The base recipe is also my favorite sugar cookie recipe – light and sweet and buttery.

shamrock sugar cookies

This is a basic sugar cookie recipe, but half the dough is tinted with green food coloring. The dough needs to be kept refrigerated to prevent the dough from getting too soft, so I only worked with half the dough at a time. Therefore, when I say “divide the uncolored dough in half” I am referring to one of the uncolored dough balls pictured below. Work fast, and if the dough gets too soft, put it back in the fridge (or freezer!) for a few minutes.

sugar cookie dough

Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s start with the tutorial. A kitchen scale will help immensely, but is not required. Divide the green dough into 3 equal pieces and one piece half the size of the others. My green dough started out at 238 g, and I divided it into 3 pieces (65 g each – these are the leaves) and 1 piece (33 g). Take the 33 g piece and divide it in half (16 g each – these are the stem and filler).  Roll each of those pieces out until they are about a foot long.

sugar cookie dough 3

Place two of the leaf rolls next to each other. Take the filler roll and squish it into a triangular shape – it is going to fill the space between the three leaf rolls. Place the filler between the two leaf rolls.

sugar cookie dough 4

Place the third leaf roll on top of the filler.

sugar cookie dough 5

Now take the uncolored dough and divide it in half (119 g each).  Take one of those halves, and divide that into thirds (~40 g each). Take one of those 40 g sections and divide it in half (20 g each). These are going to be used to fill the space between the leaves and the stem. Roll each piece out so it is about a foot long.

sugar cookie dough 6

Take one of the 40 g pieces and squish it into a triangular shape. Gently tuck it in between two of the leaf rolls. Repeat with the other 40 g piece. Then take the two 20 g pieces and squish them into a triangular shape. Take the first one and gently tuck it in between the final leaf rolls, leaving space for the stem.

sugar cookie dough 7

Take the 16 g green roll and squish it into a stem shape (a tall, skinny triangle). Place it on top of the uncolored dough piece as shown below.

sugar cookie dough 8

Finally, take the 20 g uncolored dough piece and fill in the last gap between the stem and the leaf. At this point, the dough should be shaped like a log, and all the green pieces should be used.

sugar cookie dough 1

Now take the remaining uncolored dough and use a rolling pin to make it flat and thin. It’s okay if it’s not all one piece, it just needs to fully wrap around the dough log.

sugar cookie dough 10

Fully cover the dough log in uncolored dough, then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or freeze for 20 minutes.

sugar cookie dough 12

After the dough is chilled, it can be unwrapped and sliced into 1/4 inch slices with a very sharp knife. Repeat all steps with the remaining pieces of dough.

You can see there are a couple air pockets in the photo below. If you have those gaps, flatten the slice in the palm of your hand a little to help fill in those spaces.

shamrock sugar cookies 4

Place on a cookie sheet and bake!

shamrock sugar cookies 3

These sugar cookies are cakey and buttery and delicious, especially straight out of the oven.

shamrock sugar cookies

Garnish with a sprinkling of clovers from the yard!

shamrock sugar cookies

Shamrock Sugar Cookies

Shamrock Sugar Cookies

The perfect butter cookie gets upgraded for St. Patrick's Day, with a pretty shamrock pattern.


  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Green food coloring


  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, sugar and egg until fluffy. Gently stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
  2. When just combined, separate the dough into two equal parts (use a kitchen scale for extra precision). Add a few drops of food coloring to one of the parts, then gently fold the dough until the color is uniform. Separate the green dough and the uncolored dough each in half, wrap all four pieces in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  3. Using just one of the green pieces of dough, separate it into three equal pieces and one smaller piece. Divide the smaller piece in half. These will make the three leaves, plus the stem and one filler piece for in the middle of the leaves. Roll each piece out until it is about a foot long.
  4. Using just one of the uncolored pieces of dough, separate it in half, then separate one of those halves into three pieces. Take one of these pieces and separate that in half. Except for the large piece, roll each of these out until they are about a foot long.
  5. Put together the green leaf pieces, with the filler piece in the middle. Use uncolored filler pieces in between the leaves, and the littlest uncolored pieces as filler between the stem and the leaves. Use the large piece of uncolored dough to wrap the entire thing, then wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  6. Repeat with remaining pieces of green and uncolored dough.
  7. When log is chilled, unwrap it and slice it into quarter inch slices using a sharp knife.
  8. Bake cookies for 7 to 9 minutes.

If at any time the dough starts getting soft, put it in the freezer for a couple minutes until it holds its shape again.

adapted from Alton Brown

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