Jack Skellington Cookies

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Soft and sweet homemade sugar cookies topped with royal icing in a Jack Skellington decoration makes the perfect Halloween treat.

A plate of Jack Skellington cookies with pumpkins behind it.

Have you ever watched the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas?  It came out when I was just a teenager and I loved it!  It’s a Tim Burton film that tells the story of the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, who comes from Halloween Town.

Jack opens a portal to Christmas Town and decides to try and join in the festivities which has both comical and disastrous results!  It’s a film that has withstood time as it’s still a popular film today.

Since Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King and is the true ruler of all of Halloween Town, I thought he would be the perfect figure to put on a cookie for my students Halloween party this year.   I hoped my students would recognize him and started baking.

A board with all the ingredients for making sugar cookies.


  • all purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • butter (I use salted but you can use unsalted)
  • granulated sugar
  • egg (or you can use two egg whites but I find the single egg works best)
  • vanilla extract (or almond extract if you prefer)
  • powdered sugar
  • light corn syrup (I find this makes for a better finish on the frosted cookie)
  • black food coloring (I like using AmeriColor Gel)

For the base of the cookie I used my standard sugar cookie recipe.   I’ve tried five or six sugar cookie recipes but this one is my favorite.   It’s sweet, soft, and holds it’s shape.

Can I make a chocolate sugar cookie?

Of course!  All you have to do is remove 1/4 cup of the flour and replace it with 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder.   This will give you a nice cocoa flavor and the cookies will still bake up and hold their shape.

Sugar cookies in a row.

You do have to chill this dough before making the cookies so make sure you make the dough ahead of time so you can refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.   To make the dough cream together the butter and sugar.   Stir in the egg and vanilla.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt and knead until the dough comes together.

do I have to chill the dough?

The dough has to be chilled or else it will not hold its shape when it is baked.  Chill the dough for at least an hour or overnight.  I tend to make the dough the day before I need it so that it can chill during the night and is ready whenever I want to bake it.

After the dough chills sprinkle flour on a smooth surface and roll out half of it.  I try to keep it to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thickness.  You don’t want it any thicker or thinner than that.

Then I used my biscuit cutter and cut out a bunch of circles.   If you don’t have a biscuit cutter or a cookie cutter you can use a glass to cut out the circles.  Place them in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they are just set.   You don’t want these cookies to brown or else they won’t be soft when you eat them.

Pin Image:   Text title, Jack Skellington Cookies and pumpkins.

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes!   After you bake them and before you decorate them with icing you can absolutely freeze them.   Simply wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer bag.   You can also layer them in an air tight container with layers of parchment paper in between the layers.  These cookies can be frozen for up to 4 months.

After the cookies have cooled it’s time to make the royal icing.   Royal icing can be tough because you have to find the right consistency.  In a bowl mix together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and the water.   Mix well until combined.

Remove a small amount of the frosting and tint it using the super black food coloring.   Tint the remaining icing with super white food coloring.

Do I have to use white food coloring?

I know a lot of people have an opinion on this.  If you don’t use white food coloring your icing will be a pale, almost see through white color.  When you use the white food coloring it is a bright, strong white color that you cannot see through.  If you look at cookies side by side the ones with white food coloring will look better every single time.

Place some of the white icing in a zip top baggie or piping bag and pipe a white circle around the outer edge of the cookie.  Thin the remaining white icing and flood the cookies with the white icing.

Five Jack Skellington Cookies on a table.

I usually let the icing sit for an hour or more before putting on the second color.   When you are ready to finish decorating pipe on a black mouth then put the slashes through it.  Put two small lines for the nose.  Then make two large ovals and fill them in for the eyes.

More Halloween recipes:

Allow the cookies to sit for at least 12 hours so that the icing can harden completely. These cookies are very simple to make and because Jack is a little lopsided in the movie, you don’t need to have a steady hand.

I thought the cookies were adorable and was really excited when both the students and many of the teachers recognized Jack Skellington.  These cookies were a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat with my students.  They are perfect for Halloween.

If you’ve tried my Jack Skellington Cookies or any other recipe on  Hezzi-D’s Recipe Box please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:





A plate of Jack Skellington cookies with pumpkins behind it.

Jack Skellington Cookies

Traditional sugar cookies take a spooky turn when decorated like Jack Skellington.
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Author: Hezzi-D


For the Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Royal Icing:

  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4-6 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
  • Black and Super White food coloring


  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add in the sugar and continue mixing on medium until fluffy.
  • Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until mixed well.
  • Place the mixer on low and add in the flour mixture, mixing until just blended.
  • Knead the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc shape. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 30 circles. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they no longer look wet on top.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely.
  • To make the royal icing put the powdered sugar and corn syrup in a bowl. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition, until desired consistency is reached. Add in vanilla if desired and mix well.
  • Put 3/4 of the frosting in one bowl and tint it super white. Tint the remaining 1/4 of the frosting black.
  • Pipe a white outline around the outside of the cookies. Thin the remaining icing and flood the inside of the cookies with white icing. Allow to harden 30 minutes.
  • Place the black icing in a piping bag or a zip top baggie. Pipe on two oval shaped black filled eyes on each cookie. Put two little lines for the nose. Draw a small black smile on each and then put black lines through the smile. Allow the icing to harden for at least 12 hours.


Cookie Recipe Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles
A plate with 5 Jack Skellington face cookies on it.

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