Tie-Dye Sugar Cookies

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tie dye heart shaped sugar cookies
Katherine Gillen

We’re suckers for a recipe that’s half snack, half craft…as long as it’s foolproof to execute. (What can we say? We have a tender ego.) Luckily, these tie-dye sugar cookies require no special skills—in fact, a kid could make them.

Getting the ultimate tie-dye effect is all about swirling the food coloring, and we’ve found it’s best to stick to two colors (three, max) to avoid a muddy result. More mixing will have a softer, more marbled effect; less mixing will yield bright streaks of color. If bubbles on the surface of the icing bother you, use a toothpick to lightly poke them away.

Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but these make an excellent lunchbox treat.


1 batch cut-out sugar cookies, cooled completely

2½ cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

½ teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract (optional)

Assorted gel food coloring (such as Wilton)


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup and extract (if using). Add more milk as necessary to make an icing that drizzles easily off a spoon but is still on the thick side (or about the viscosity of honey). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel if not using right away.

2. Use a toothpick, small skewer or chopstick to swirl a small amount of the food coloring through the icing, leaving streaks. (Don’t overmix the food coloring, or the cookies won’t have a “tie-dye” effect.) You can use as many colors as you want, but the more you mix, the muddier the colors will get.

3. Working one at a time, carefully dip a cookie face down into the glaze. Turn the cookie right side up and transfer it to a cooling rack, letting any excess glaze drip off. If the icing loses its streaks as you dip, you can add a little more food coloring and swirl it again. Let the icing set for at least 4 hours (and up to 12).

4. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Nutrition Facts
  • 217 calories

  • 8g fat

  • 35g carbs

  • 2g protein

  • 22g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...