fall leaf sugar cookies using frozen buttercream cut out method

Easy Fall Leaf Sugar Cookies Using Frozen Buttercream Cutouts

  • 104

Frozen buttercream cutouts have been around for quite a few years but have recently grown in popularity. I had yet to try the technique but thought they would make easy fall leaf sugar cookies. I was right!

These buttercream sugar cookies are so easy, require no fancy tools, and would be the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.

fall leaf sugar cookies with buttercream frosting

The frozen buttercream cutouts make for a generous amount of frosting on the cookies. Don’t try to skimp on the buttercream, as it is harder to create the cutouts with less frosting. You can always make thicker sugar cookies if you want less frosting per cookie ratio. However, all frosting lovers will love these cookies.

Follow along for the photo series tutorial and video tutorial. I’ve included some tips for success as well!

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.*

Part 1: Gathering the Supplies for the Fall Leaf Sugar Cookies

To make these fall leaf sugar cookies using the frozen buttercream cutouts, you will want to gather:

Part 2: Baking the Cookies and Preparing for the Frozen Buttercream Cutouts

  1. Roll, cut out, and bake your sugar cookies according to the recipe. You will be able to make about 18-24 leaf sugar cookies using the cutter and recipe I linked above.
  2. Make your buttercream icing and separate it into three bowls. Color one bowl red, one orange, and one yellow. Remember, the colors will deepen as it sits.
  3. Cut out two pieces of parchment paper that match the size of your baking sheet. Lay one piece down on the counter and scoop out the buttercream frosting onto the parchment paper. Make sure to place globs of various colors next to each other. Aim for the globs to be at least a tablespoon in height. prepare tablespoon sized or larger globs of buttercream frosting
  4. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the buttercream and smoosh it down into the frosting with your hands, just enough to keep the parchment paper stuck to the frosting. 
  5. Using your rolling pin, roll the buttercream frosting out to about a 1/4″ thick. I wouldn’t go any thinner than this, as it will be difficult to make the frozen buttercream cutouts with thinner buttercream sheets. I use my Joseph Joseph rolling pin since it has size guides for thickness built in.
  6. Optional: To create a crinkle leaf texture, take another piece of parchment paper and crinkle it up. Then, open the parchment paper back up but try not to smooth out the wrinkles too much. Remove the top parchment paper and replace it with the crinkled paper. Then, press the crinkled paper into the buttercream frosting. 
    • For a more prominent crinkle effect, use foil instead of parchment paper.
  7. Place the rolled out buttercream, still sandwiched between the parchment paper, onto the cookie sheet and into the freezer. Freeze for at least an hour. I like to freeze mine overnight.
    Rolled out buttercream sandwiched between two pieces of parchment paper and placed onto a clean cookie sheet.
    Smooth finish buttercream cutout method
    Rolled out buttercream sandwiched between two pieces of parchment paper and placed onto a clean cookie sheet. The top parchment paper is wrinkled.
    Crinkle finish buttercream cutout method – I prefer this look for the leaves!

Part 3: The Tutorial for How to Make Fall Leaf Sugar Cookies Using Frozen Buttercream Cutouts

fall leaf sugar cookies

Check out the video here to see how to make these colorful fall leaf sugar cookies. Then, check out the breakdown step-by-step photo series tutorial.

  1. Prepare the work surface by arranging the leaf cookies in a single layer in front of you. Make sure that the leaf cookie cutter you used for your cookies has been washed and dried before using it on the buttercream.
  2. Pull the frozen buttercream out of the freezer and remove the top layer of parchment.
  3. Use the leaf cookie cutter to cut out the buttercream, just as you would for cookies. using the leaf cookie cutter to make leaf shaped buttercream for frozen buttercream cut out method
    • When removing the frozen buttercream cutout, you may need to hold the surrounding buttercream down while lifting the cookie cutter out. The buttercream should stay with the cookie cutter as you remove it.
  4. Place the frozen buttercream cutout on top of your leaf sugar cookie. If the buttercream is stuck in the cookie cutter, use the palette knife to push the frosting away from the edges of the cookie cutter and onto the cookie.
    placing the buttercream on top of the leaf sugar cookie with the cookie cutter still attached to the buttercream frosting
    Place the buttercream on top of the leaf sugar cookie with the cookie cutter still attached to the buttercream frosting.
    use the palette knife to get the edges out of the cookie cutter if the frosting doesn't want to unstick
    Use the palette knife to get the edges out of the cookie cutter if the frosting doesn’t want to unstick. You don’t need to worry about leaving indents if you go with the crinkle effect. If you want a smooth top, just smooth it out with the palette knife.
    removing the cookie cutter from the frozen buttercream
    Gently remove the cookie cutter from the frosting. You can use the palette knife to clean up the edges on the cookie if needed.
  5. Repeat steps 3-5 for all of your cookies. You will want to place the buttercream back into the freezer if it starts getting too soft to cut out the leaves. I found that placing it back in for just 5 minutes was long enough. 
  6. Allow the cookies to sit out for thirty minutes. This will allow the buttercream to “melt” onto the cookie, securing it. fall leaf cookies using frozen buttercream cut outs

These cookies are so pretty and will amaze any Thanksgiving guests. For tips on how to transport buttercream sugar cookies, check out my post here on packaging, storing, and transporting cookies

For the leftover buttercream, scoop it up and place it into a bowl. You can serve the colorful buttercream with graham crackers as a fun snack. You can also make some mini fall cutout cookies and dip them into the buttercream.

If you want to save the frosting for another time, place it in a small Tupperware or Rubbermaid container. It can stay in the fridge for one week or in the freezer for up to a month. If you don’t want red, orange, and yellow buttercream in a month, simply mix it all together and use it as a base for a dark buttercream color.

Save the Tutorial for How to Make Leaf Sugar Cookies

Use the image below to pin this Thanksgiving leaf cookie decorating tutorial to your holiday party board on Pinterest. Alternatively, use any of the social share icons on the top of the page to share it to your favorite social media site.

fall leaf sugar cookies using frozen buttercream cutout method pin for Pinterest

Similar Posts


  1. I tried this method and when removing the frosting from the cookie cutter the frosting would crack or break What am I doing wrong?

    1. Leah Buehler says:

      Hi Fran! The frosting can crack/break if it is too dry of a frosting and/or rolled too thin. I try to roll the frosting at 1/4″ which is pretty thick so I use a 3/8″ cookie base. If it is difficult to remove the frosting from the cutter, you can also warm the cutter up in a bowl of warm water, cut out the shape, and then place it onto the cookie. It should slide right off. If it is too dry, the frosting will almost crumble. In that case, allow to come to room temp, add in a bit more liquid until peanut butter consistency, and reroll and freeze. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.