Skinny Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies

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An easy recipe for roll-out sugar cookies that are secretly healthy!
They taste just as buttery as classic ones but are much lower in fat and calories.


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


Last week, I quickly darted into the grocery store to grab the ingredients for my strawberry cheesecake rice krispie treats. After dropping a jumbo-sized box of cereal into my basket, I strode over to the baking aisle to pick up the pudding mix. While I hurriedly scanned the overcrowded shelves, an elderly woman accompanied by a store employee approached the adjacent display.  


As I reached for my flavor and turned to leave, I overheard the customer remark, “You should see the recipe!”


When I arrived at the produce section to cross “Brussels sprouts” off my list (we roast these every day!), I nearly slammed my palm against my forehead. I completely forgot to toss marshmallows into my basket while on the baking aisle! I doubled back, and after nestling the package between my other boxes, I noticed the tiny old lady a few yards away, still studying a pouch of cookie mix.


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


I slowly approached her, politely inquiring, “What are you baking?”


“Oh!” she responded. “I want to make sugar cookies with my shamrock cookie cutter for St. Patrick’s Day. But you should see the recipe I have… It’s so long! So I thought I’d take a shortcut and buy a mix.” She peered at me. “Do you know anything about baking?”


I suppressed a smile and replied, “Well, I love baking cookies! Let’s take a look at the package you have.”


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


We slowly read through the instructions at the bottom for roll-out cookies, skipping the drop-cookie variety at the top, before shuffling down the aisle to browse through the different food coloring options. Her eyes looked slightly overwhelmed, so I handed her my food blogger business card and offered, “Why don’t you email me if you have any questions? Do you have a computer?”


She accepted my card and responded, “Yes, I live with my daughter and she has one.” She glanced at the text, then back at me. “Amy, you’re an angel!” she exclaimed while wrapping me in a frail hug.


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


She then shared, “I’m 93 years old and have bad arthritis in my index finger, but I really want to bake these cookies. My husband’s birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day, so I’m throwing a party at the Senior Citizen’s Center and baking cookies for that.”


After pausing, she continued, “I go early—around 9 am—to set up decorations. And I never have my party on the actual holiday because they usually schedule a luncheon or something else that day. You should come!”


I walked home positively glowing, a smile permanently etched on my heart. When I turn 93 years old, I still want to be baking cookies too!


But as I started up the driveway, another thought crossed my mind. Those cookie mixes aren’t very good for you… I should develop my own recipe for healthy roll-out sugar cookies!


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


Dozens of cookies later, I finally perfected my recipe. These little beauties are as easy as a premade mix—no electric mixer needed!—and taste just as buttery as your grandma’s traditional treats. With their rich flavor and soft texture, no one will ever guess they’re actually skinny and really low fat!


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


These low-calorie cookies begin with the dry ingredients. Compared to regular drop sugar cookies, the roll-out variety generally require a bit more flour and a lot less baking powder. Too much baking powder creates a funny-looking bump in the center of your shapes, making them awkward to decorate. With a mere ¼ of a teaspoon, you’ll end up with perfectly smooth tops and just a hint of airiness inside.


I also added cornstarch. As my secret weapon in many of my recipes, it creates irresistibly soft cookies. I prefer my sugar cookies firm with a little chew—not crunchy!—so I mixed in just ¾ of a teaspoon, which resulted in the perfect delicate texture.


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


Classic sugar cookies typically contain 1 or 2 sticks of butter. That’s ½ to 1 full cup! I reduced the amount to a mere 2 tablespoons of butter, and I melted it to subtly increase the cookies’ chewiness (see here for details), as well as to eliminate the need for an electric mixer. The fewer dishes to wash, the better!


Note: Make sure your melted butter cools and your egg warms to room temperature before mixing them together. If you add a cold egg to hot butter, it rapidly chills the butter and creates tiny spheres of solidified fat.


My low fat recipe requires both vanilla extract and butter extract. The butter extract gives these treats the rich buttery flavor of traditional indulgent cookies without their excess fat and calories. I highly recommend buying a bottle! It’s shelf-stable and will keep for ages. With a fairly inexpensive price tag, you can find it at almost any grocery store, as well as Walmart and Target.


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


I bounced back and forth between what sugars to use. I originally mixed in half granulated and half brown because brown sugar provides a slight caramel undertone to cookies in addition to a little extra chew. When I ran out of granulated on my second batch and substituted raw cane sugar instead, the cookies turned out freckly! The brown and raw cane sugars failed to completely dissolve, so in the final recipe, I omitted both and stuck with granulated sugar.


Once you mix up the cookie dough, place it in the fridge for 1 hour. Chilling is mandatory! The cookie dough is too sticky to roll out after you first stir it together. However, don’t leave it for more than 1.5 hours; it’ll be too stiff and will crack under the rolling pin.


4 Helpful Tips for Fail-Proof Cutout Sugar Cookies. You'll make perfect cookies every time!


Now we’re ready to roll out the dough! Most of you are probably expert cookie makers already, but as a quick refresher, here are my 4 Helpful Tips for Fail-Proof Cutout Sugar Cookies:


 Use LOTS of flour. Cover your working surface with it, rub it into the rolling pin, and sprinkle it on both sides of the cookie dough. It’s easy to brush off any lingering flour from your cookie dough cutouts before placing them on the baking sheet, and you’ll avoid the frustration of peeling up cookie dough in stretched out, mangled shapes.

 Flour the cookie cutter. Dip it in flour, shake off the excess, and press down. Repeat. You don’t want dough sticking to the cookie cutter either!

 Make cuts as close to each other as possible. This minimizes the amount of leftover cookie dough you need to reroll. Rerolled cookie dough contains more flour, which reduces its soft texture and increases the chances of crunchy cookies.

 Peel leftover cookie dough away from the cutouts. NOT the other way around. Again, this reduces the likelihood of stretched out, mangled shapes.


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


In my oven, the first round of rolled out cookies required a little bit more time. I baked them for 11-13 minutes to achieve that gorgeous pale, perfectly done color. The rerolled cookies finished in barely 9-10 minutes, due to their extra flour. These bake times resulted in the firm, barely soft cookies that I absolutely adore. However, this may vary depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookies, so keep a watchful eye on your pans to prevent burned crunchy ones!


You only need 4 ingredients for this easy pastel pink icing: powdered (confectioners’) sugar, vanilla, milk, and a teensy tiny itty bitty drop of red food coloring. Basically the smallest amount you can possibly squeeze out of the bottle. Stir everything together, spoon it into a zip-topped bag, and cut off the corner before piping it onto the cookies. Draw whatever designs your heart desires; the sky’s the limit!


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


Guys, you are going to fall head over heels for these adorable Skinny Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies. Warm buttery flavors fill every bite, completely deceiving all of my taste testers into believing they were the traditional fat-laden treats. With their incredibly easy instructions and perfectly soft texture, you’ll never need another sugar cookie recipe again!


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


As soon as I finished their photo shoot, I offered one to my guy, mentioning that I left the unused icing on the counter along with 3 undecorated cookies. He nibbled on that first one while I walked out of the kitchen, and when I returned, I found an entirely empty bag of icing. And not a single cookie in sight.


Yes, he polished off 4 of these skinny sugar cookies… And he doesn’t even like cookies!


I absolutely positively promise you—they’re that good.


These skinny sugar cookies don't taste healthy at all! They're SO buttery & super easy to make. You'll never need another recipe again!


Skinny Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies

Yield: 22 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Skinny Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies

These cookies are so rich and buttery that no one will ever guess they’re low fat! They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day, or any occasion that you’d like to say, “I love you.” Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

for the cookies
1 ¼ c all-purpose flour (measured correctly), plus more for rolling
¾ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp butter extract
½ c + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

for the icing
5 tbsp powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp skim milk
1 tiny drop red food coloring

  1. To prepare the cookies, whisk together the 1 ¼ cups of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, vanilla extract, and butter extract. Stir in the sugar. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a 1”-thick rectangle. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a well-floured surface, roll out the chilled dough until 1/8” thick. Lightly flour a 3” tall heart-shaped cookie cutter and press into the dough, making sure each heart lays as close to its neighbors as possible to minimize unused dough. Peel the unused dough away from the hearts, and place the hearts onto the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the unused dough, and repeat.
  4. Bake the heart-shaped dough at 350°F for 10-13 minutes. (The rerolled dough generally requires a little less time.) Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To prepare the icing, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and food coloring in a small bowl. Spoon into a zip-topped bag, and snip off the corner. Pipe onto the cooled cookies.

Notes: I highly recommend using butter extract because it gives them the stereotypical buttery sugar cookie flavor without the excess fat and calories. An additional 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract may be substituted in its place.

The first round of cookies may bake slower (closer to 11-13 minutes), whereas the rerolled cookie dough seems to bake faster (9-10 minutes). Keep a close eye on your cookies because ovens do vary!

View Nutrition Information


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Chocolate-Dipped Valentine Marshmallows -- only 3 ingredients!

Chocolate-Dipped Valentine Marshmallows


Heart-Shaped Cranberry Muffins -- perfect for Valentine's Day & no special pans needed!

Heart-Shaped Cranberry Muffins



*Disclosure: Some of the links included in this post may be affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. I really appreciate your support!


  1. Emma says on February 7, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Love this Amy! Can not wait to try these out. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Amy says on February 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      My pleasure Emma! I can’t wait to hear what you think of the cookies. :)

  2. Megan - The Emotional Baker says on February 7, 2014 at 3:32 am

    That story is so sweet, Amy. Thank you for sharing – it made my heart glow :) I bet these cookies are great, too!

    • Amy says on February 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks Megan! I think my short conversation with that elderly lady will be the highlight of my entire month. A little compassion and love makes life so much better!

  3. Jett Whitfield says on February 7, 2014 at 5:03 am

    I love a good sugar cookie! I love to hover around the baking section of the grocery store to see what pre-packaged items people are buying (shhhh!) I had the same experience with a grandma and her grandkids. We talked about baking cakes & cookies and before you know it, she put the boxed cake mix back on the shelf and went to buy a bag of flour & some sugar. She agreed that it would be fun for everyone to have a baking adventure! Even tho’ I probably won’t see her again, maybe she’ll remember me :-)

    • Amy says on February 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      That’s such a cute story Jett! I can just imagine her grandkids spilling flour all over the countertops (and themselves)… Such a sweet image. And I’m sure all of them will fondly remember their from-scratch cake baking adventure for the rest of their lives — all thanks to you! :)

  4. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says on February 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Seriously, this is an amazing recipe. I’m totally making them sometime – I even think that Jordan’s BFF with a dairy allergy could have one without having a problem, since there is so little butter. THANK YOU!

    • Amy says on February 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you Dorothy; you’re so sweet!! That’d be awful to have a dairy allergy when your best friend’s mom bakes the most amazing treats in the whole wide world. ;) I’ve actually had good success substituting margarine in most of my cookie recipes, if she’s really allergic! My favorite brand is Earth Balance, but just about any should work.

  5. Melissa says on February 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    My dough came out too crumbly to even form a ball. WHat could I have done wrong?

    • Amy says on February 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      I’m sorry about that Melissa! How did you measure the flour? It’s really important to use the spoon-and-level method with this recipe, where you lightly spoon flour into the measuring cup and level with a knife. If I scoop the flour out of the package with the measuring cup, I end up with 1.5 times as much! Too much flour would definitely make the dough really crumbly.

      • Melissa says on February 12, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        I used a 1/4 measuring cup since that is what I ha clean and thought I leveled them well but will be more careful next time! I had to finish up and get to bed so I added in some milk to get the right consistency. Since milk is not in the recipe I am sure it will be a disaster tomorrow when we go to make them, but my 2 year old will never know the difference :)

        • Amy says on February 12, 2014 at 8:26 pm

          I’m sure the milk will taste just fine! I actually thought about adding it to the recipe originally, so I bet it will work perfectly. Good for you for improvising Melissa, and I really hope you and your 2-year-old both enjoy the cookies!

  6. Janet says on February 13, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I like your look on things….im a good baker & cook but I’m trying to get better at lowering sugar and calories for my diabetic husband and kids….looking forward to giving this a try.

    • Amy says on February 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks Janet! You’re so sweet to bake treats that your husband can still enjoy, and he must really appreciate it. I hope you and your family like the sugar cookies!

  7. Cynthia says on February 17, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I did not even know butter extract existed! And my dad grew up on a cattle farm, complete with milking cows. Thanks for the insight.

    • Amy says on February 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      You’re welcome! Maybe that’s because on the dairy farm, they never needed the extract — they always had more than enough of the real thing! ;)

  8. Reem says on March 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Hey Amy thank you so much for sharing, I tried it and it tastes great I also made cat shapes instead of hearts.

    • Amy says on March 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the cookies! Cat shapes sound really cute, and they must have been so fun to decorate too!

  9. Beth says on February 12, 2015 at 5:11 am

    You should go to the St. Patrick’s Day party, or at least drop off some goodies for them! How touching would that be?!

    • Amy says on February 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      I wish I could Beth! It’d be incredible to see her reaction! :)

  10. heather @french press says on February 12, 2015 at 8:00 am

    such a sweet story Amy! I hope I;m still baking at 93, and these cookies look amazing! I don’t make sugar cookies often, but I will be giving this recipe a try for sure

    • Amy says on February 12, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you so much Heather! I hope I’m baking at 93 too; it’d be so hard to give that up. I’d love to hear what you think if you try these sugar cookies!

  11. David @ CookingChat says on February 12, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    looks good! pinning to my “holiday food & wine” board!

    • Amy says on February 13, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks David!

  12. Brittney says on February 16, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Where did you buy the butter extract at? I can not find any, anywhere!

    • Amy says on February 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      I usually buy mine at Walmart Brittney, but I’ve seen it at Target and just about every grocery store on the baking aisle near the vanilla extract. I hope you’re able to find some soon!

  13. Emme Mangum says on March 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Has anyone tried this with splenda baking mix? Would that change the texture? Thanks!

    • Amy says on March 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      I haven’t tried making this recipe with Splenda baking mix before, but I think it should work. I hope you enjoy the cookies Emme! :)

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