These fun and tasty gumdrop cookies will delight kids of all ages with each bite of colorful fruit-flavored candies packed in a tender sugar cookie! They're are also incredibly easy-to-make cookies with no chilling required before popping them in the oven to bake!
Easy gumdrop cookies that everyone loves getting in their Christmas cookie trays!
The holiday season is a popular time for baked goods, especially cookies! Between baking and decorating, many traditional holiday cookies can be time-consuming. Not these gumdrop cookies!
Gumdrop cookies essentially decorate themselves while they are baking – making them a perfect addition to your holiday dessert plate. Simply mix together a few basic baking ingredients, add a cup of gumdrops, and wait to see these perfect festive cookies bake!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Super Easy! The base of these cookies is a simple sugar cookie recipe, but these are even easier than sugar cookies because you don’t have to decorate them! The gumdrops melt slightly during baking and give you a beautiful cookie right out of the oven. They remind me of twinkle lights!
So Tasty! If you love a simple sugar cookie, you will love these cookies! In addition to the color, the gumdrops also add a little extra sweetness to the cookie – which is never a bad thing for a holiday treat. (If you don’t usually like sugar cookies, see how the almond extract in these may change your mind.)
It's Versatile! I feel like gumdrops don’t get enough attention for how many ways they can be used – they are such a fun and easy way to add color to baked goods! You can use any color of gumdrops you choose to make cookies for any occasion!
The primary ingredients in these cookies are basic baking ingredients that you may already have in your cupboards. Don’t worry if you need to buy anything additional, you can easily use these staples for additional baking during the holidays or any time of the year.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
- ¾ cup Butter – I typically bake with salted butter, but salted or unsalted butter will work. I also like to use a shortening/butter blend for these gumdrop cookies.
- 1 cup Sugar – Granulated white sugar is a staple in most cookie recipes to provide the overall sweetness. Sugar also caramelizes during the baking process which provides that nice golden color when the cookie is done.
- 1 large Egg – Large eggs are the most common size you purchase in the store. Bring your egg to room temperature before mixing the dough for best baking results.
- ½ teaspoon Almond Extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla) – Almond extract is a flavoring that comes from the natural oils in almonds and is mixed with alcohol to create the extract. Almond extract is a much stronger flavor than the more commonly used vanilla extract, so you will use less than if you use vanilla.
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda – Baking soda is a leavening agent that is used in baking.
- ¼ teaspoon Salt – Salt helps to enhance flavors, like the almond extract, in baked goods. It also helps balance the sweetness and prevent baked goods from going stale.
- 1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour – All-purpose flour is the most common type of flour you buy in the grocery store. Many stores have a generic brand that is a great option.
- 1 cup Gumdrops (chopped) – Gumdrops are colored jelly-like candies that are typically fruit flavored. Be sure you're getting the gumdrops and not spice drops (sugar-coated and definitely not fruity)! *I used the whole 6.4 ounce box of Dots gumdrops for this batch of cookies - and I always contemplate adding even more!
Replace Almond extract with vanilla extract. If you have never tried almond extract in your cookies, I highly recommend giving it a try! The almond extract has a stronger flavor than vanilla and provides a nice distinct “cookie” flavor that goes beyond just sugar and flour.
If you are not a fan of almond extract or want to use the vanilla extract you already have on hand, you will still get a delicious cookie! Just remember to use a full teaspoon of vanilla (in place of the ½ teaspoon of almond).
Shortening instead of Butter: The biggest difference between shortening and butter is the texture of the cookie. Shortening will provide a rounder and a fuller cookie that has a crumblier texture. Butter provides a softer cookie that will be a bit flatter since it spreads out more during baking.
I also prefer to use butter because it adds to the overall flavor of the cookie. A great way to get the best of both worlds is to do a mixture of shortening and butter. I think a 2-to-1 ratio of butter provides the best results: ½ cup of butter and ¼ cup of shortening.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
Kitchen shears are best for chopping gumdrops. Let the cut pieces drop into a small plate of sugar to coat the sticky side so that the cut pieces don't stick together. I like to do this before beginning any of the other steps so that they are ready to drop in the dough and mix.
Make the Cookie Dough
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Mix sugar and butter. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer cream together ¾ cup butter (or butter and shortening blend) with 1 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the room temperature large egg and ½ teaspoon almond extract until well combined, then mix in ½ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Add the flour. Gradually mix in 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour until the dough is smooth, then fold in 1 cup of the chopped gumdrops until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Bake the Gumdrop Cookies
- Portion out cookies. Drop the cookies onto your prepared baking sheet in tablespoon portions, leaving 2-inches of spacing between the cookies.
- Bake. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10-14 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are just beginning to turn a light golden brown.
- Cool. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
I love to use these cookies as gifts for the holidays! Just arrange on a festive paper plate and wrap tightly with plastic cling film or cellophane (Christmas colored if you can find it) and tie it off with a bow. Perfect for teachers, co-workers, neighbors, and friends, and family!
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
- Cream sugar and butter. Creaming sugar and butter simply means to combine them together until it gives you a smooth and creamy consistency. This is an important step in baking because when the sugar is combined with the butter it loses its grainy texture. This is what will give you a smooth cookie dough.
- I've baked these cookies as balls, drop cookies, and the way I like them best - a slightly flattened shape after forming the 1-inch round balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon portion each).
- Leave the cookies on the baking sheet. The gum drop cookies will continue to cook a bit while sitting on the baking sheet.
Make the Dough in Advance
- If you want to prepare the dough ahead of time or want your cookies to be rounder (think, less spreading when they bake), then chill the cookie dough before baking. Once it is all mixed together, take the dough out and form a ball.
- Then tightly wrap the ball up in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. The reason for wrapping it in a ball instead of just covering the bowl is to keep the surface of the dough as covered as possible to keep it from drying out.
- You can refrigerate it for a couple of hours or overnight. I suggest baking within 24 hours of making the dough for the freshest cookies.
Store baked gumdrop cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
These cookies also freeze well! Wrap up bundles of the gumdrop cookies in plastic cling film then store them in an airtight container or freezer storage bag to freeze for up to 3 months.
These are great cookies if you want to prepare some of your holiday baking early!
🎄 More Holiday Christmas Cookies
- German Nut Corners (Nussecken)
- Melting Moments
- M&M Christmas Cookies
- Classic Christmas Cookies
- Empire Biscuits
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- ¾ cup butter (or a blend of ½ cup butter and ¼ cup shortening is my preferred ratio)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg (at room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup gumdrops (chopped)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer cream together the butter (or butter and shortening blend) with granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg and almond extract until well combined, then mix in the baking soda and salt.¾ cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 large egg, ½ teaspoon almond extract, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Gradually mix in the flour until the dough is smooth, then fold in the chopped gumdrops until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup gumdrops
- Drop the cookies onto your prepared baking sheet in tablespoon portions, leaving 2-inches of spacing between the cookies.
- Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10-14 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are just beginning to turn a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Store gumdrop cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- Wrap bundles of the gumdrop cookies in plastic cling film then store in an airtight container or freezer storage bag to freeze for up to 3 months.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!