Easy And Beautiful Nativity Cookies

I absolutely love baking cookies and especially at Christmas time! What better way to keep the season focuses on Jesus than to make nativity cookies?! These are so easy to make, easy to decorate, and the come out absolutely beautiful. This has to be the easiest way to decorate nativity cookies of all time as all you need is colored sugar. Let’s take a look at how to make these easy and beautiful nativity cookies. 

Super Easy Nativity Cookies

What Makes These Nativity Cookies So Easy

You do not need ANY cookie decorating skills to make these! They’re just topped with colored sugar, and I came up with different colors for each of the figures that represent them personally, making them even cuter in the end! You can also make your own colored sugar keeping this recipe super affordable AND the sugar gives the cookies that little bit of extra sweetness on top that makes the cookies extra delicious.

Sugar sprinkled sugar Nativity cookies

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You Need Nativity Cookie Cutters

There’s no way around this- you have to get a set of nativity cookie cutters to make these, but the good news is that you can use them year after year!

I have had the same set for over a decade now, and my set is not available anymore. Here is a similar nativity cookie cutter set.

Christmas nativity greeting cards

The above set doesn’t include a king or a camel, so you can add the 3 kings cookie cutters from here and a camel cookie cutter from here

What about the shepherd cookie cutter?

No shepherd cookie cutter? No problem! For my shepherd, I used a king cookie cutter. I just used my finger to round out his head and get rid of the crown. I also flipped him over before I baked him so that he would face the opposite direction of the kings. I flipped some of my sheep, too. 

How To Make Your Own Colored Sugar

In my opinion, the price they charge for the colored sugar they sell in little spice jars is bordering on highway robbery, so we make our own colored sugar. If you’re new to this idea, check out my directions for diy colored sugar.

DIY Colored Sugar

If you prefer to purchase colored sugar you can find a variety of colors on Amazon

Sugar Sprinkles

But before ordering, you need to figure out exactly which colors of sugar you will need. 

Choosing Colors For Each Nativity Character

I tried to choose colors symbolic of each nativity piece as best as I could with keeping variety within the cookies.

The nativity colors I ended up using were:

For Mary use blue, for Joseph use green, and for baby Jesus use yellow.

Sugar nativity cookies

For the angel, you can just sprinkle regular ‘ol white sugar, and use the same yellow from baby Jesus for the star.

Angel and Star Sugar Cookies

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The 3 kings are purple, which is traditionally a color that stands for royalty, and I made their camel red.

Three Wise Men Cookies

Three Wise Men Cookies

For the shepherd, I used brown sugar, and there’s no need to make this- I’m sure you already have some! The sheep I also sprinkled with regular white sugar. Look below for the directions on giving him a candy cane shepherd’s staff. 

Shepherd and sheep cookies with a candy cane

The donkey is also sprinkled with regular brown sugar.

Donkey cookie with sugar sprinkles

Ok, now that we have planned our colors let’s bake those cookies!

Make Sugar Cookie Dough

The first thing you need is a batch of your very favorite sugar cookie dough! You could also get premade sugar cookie dough and just roll it and cut it yourself, which makes the process a bit easier. 

Roll your dough as you would for any other cookie and cut it out with your nativity cookie cutters. Make sure you cut the right number for each character!

Sugar cookies with sugar sprinkles of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph


How To Decorate Your Nativity Cookies

This is the easiest part! Be sure to line your pans with foil, shiny side down, to prevent a big sugar mess on your cookie sheets. Then sprinkle each cookie with the correct color of sugar. So easy and the littlest hands can help!

Purple sugar sprinkles on sugar cookies

Bake your cookies according to the recipe after sprinkling the sugar on top, and make sure you have all the cookies turned the way you want them before baking. 


How To Give Your Shepherds A Candy Cane Staff

When the shepherds were almost done baking I carefully pressed a small candy cane “staff” onto the cookies and put them back in the oven for just a minute. Watch them carefully- you only want the candy cane to melt a little bit and it doesn’t take long!

Shepherd Candy Cane Staff

Shepherd Candy Cane Staff

The Finished Nativity Cookies

When you put them all together, the colors are all a beautiful compliment to each other! 
Nativity Cookie Scene

When I baked these for a cookie exchange, I set out one set each onto paper plates. Then wrapped them up in plastic wrap.

Nativity Cookie Displays
I thought the cookies turned out really cute, and my kids loved getting to help! It’s so great to be answering questions about the wise men while cutting Christmas cookies with my kids. I was going to be making cookies anyway, so this was a great opportunity to make another Christmas activity focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
I can’t wait to find some other uses for our nativity cookie cutters! Maybe next year I’ll stop being so lazy and actually crack out some icing for decorating them… or maybe not. 😉

More Nativity Resources For Families

You do not want to miss my nativity round-up for kids that include crafts, book suggestions, traditions, songs, printables, and more! Check it out now.

The Advent Christmas Planner- available from Catholic Icing


  1. one of my sons got this nativity cookie cutter set from St Nicholas, haven't tried it yet, but maybe we will this weekend as we will probably be snowed in 🙂 i didn't realize it didn't come with an angel or shepherd, thanks for your tips & ideas, i would have never thought to put a mini candy cane on the shepherd either

  2. beautiful. nice job, momma! love the candy cane for the shepherd's staff!

  3. wow! You baked a lot of cookies!! They look really cute and delicious! I am so jealous that you two blogging moms get to see each other in person! lol I am in the middle of Baptist, USA and there are hardly any young Catholic moms here. Great job!!!

  4. welcome to our wonderland says

    they turned out great!

    we color our own sugar lots of times.

    they are alittle healthier with out frosting and I think they taste better 🙂

  5. Your post convinced me that I really do need these cookie cutters for our salt dough ornaments. I've been contemplating whether or not to get them for a year now.

  6. Great idea with the sparkles for color..Oh boy, do I ever love quick and cute ways to do things! Lovely cookies:)

  7. Ann Nichols says

    I just love this!! I'm planing on making sugar cookies this year but was uninspired by the normal molds. I think I shall look around for a nativity set!! Really nice!
    Blessings for a wonderful week!
    PS Please visit me at my history blog about St. Nicholas – and be sure to enter my GIVEAWAY!

  8. Moira Chapman says

    Another way to decorate the biscuits (cookies) is to add food colouring to egg yolk and paint it on with a reasonably fine paint brush before baking. You won’t be able to get a great deal of detail but I think it is easier than fiddling around with piping nozzles. One egg yolk goes quite a long way so you divide it up into several egg cups before you add the colour.