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How to Make NaNa’s Sand Tarts Cookie {Recipe}

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If there was a recipe that was tried and true to put a smile on your face, it is my Nana's sand tarts Cookie recipe. Every family has that one recipe that gets handed down from family member to family member and this is one of them for our family.

Sand Tart Cookies on Plate

Sand Tarts Cookies Are Thin And Crisp

I grew up enjoying this recipe for sand tarts cookies. My Nana loved sweets like peanut butter fudge, but these were her favorite cookie to bake. 

I started making these as a young baker. The recipe is simple, using only 5 ingredients, and to be honest, a little time-consuming.

Time-consuming in the fact that this recipe makes A LOT of cookies!

Sand Tarts are crisp, not too sweet and are divine to dunk in tea or coffee.

Related recipes: Brown Sugar Shortbread, Classic Sugar Cookies, 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies, Monster Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cast Iron Skillet Cookie, Homemade Thin Mints, Watermelon Slice Cookies

Other PA Dutch Recipes: Ham, Green Beans & Potatoes, Pork & Sauerkraut, Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

Sand Tart Cookies on Plate

What Tools Will You Need to Make Sand Tart Cookies

My favorite kitchen tools to have on hand make it so much easier to make these delicious Amish style sugar cookies. 

Unlike other sugar cookies that can have a glaze or flooded icing, these only require sugar.

You can use a mixture of cinnamon sugar (my favorite) or colored sanding sugar.

I would steer clear of the Jimmies or sprinkles normally found on ice cream because they may melt, but, if they are your favorite cookie decoration, by all means, give it a try! 

Sand Tart Cookies on plate

Even though my Nana made these cookies every holiday, it doesn't mean they have to be just Christmas cookies!

I really like making them all year long! I've made these for July 4th, Halloween, Birthday parties, etc. In fact, if there is a cookie-cutter shape you love, this is the recipe to use to put joy on a plate.

I have the dough ball chilling and will be ready to roll after this post!

Sand Tart Cookies on plate

How to Make PA Dutch Sand Tarts


  • Flour
  • Confectioner Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Butter

My Nana always used  10x sugar or more commonly known as confectioners sugar! 

Be sure to have eggs on hand, not only for the dough itself but also for creating wash to brush over the tops of the cookies.

Sand Tart Cookies on Plate

This is what helps the sugar sprinkles stick before baking and also create the crispiness. 

My favorite baking flour is King Arthur, but you can most certainly use your favorite. Just be sure you are using All-Purpose flour.

Land O' Lakes butter is also what Nana used, but again, brand preference is up to you- and it has to be BUTTER- not margarine! 


  • Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl.
  • Add your eggs & flour and mix to incorporate completely.
  • Wrap dough in saran wrap and chill for 1 hour (makes it easier to roll).

The secret to these Sand Tart cookies is to roll them very thin

sand tart dough

Cut with favorite cookie cutter shape.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Brush lightly with egg wash and decorate with colored sugar sprinkles.

cookie cutter on rolled dough

**I also make a cinnamon sugar topping

3 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp. cinnamon

Bake in your preheated oven & Store in an airtight container.

**Note** Ah, here is where this recipe is challenging. You have to watch the cookies because if left in too long they will “burn” or come out dark brown. They are so thin that they cook very fast!

At least my Dad likes the burnt ones, so no cookie goes to waste!

Are you looking for a Cute holiday craft recipe you can do with the kids? Try making our fun Snowman Marshmallow Craft Pops or our Reindeer Marshmallow Stirrers for hot cocoa! They make great gifts too! 

If you love THE best Nana's Sand Tarts Cookie recipe as much as my family does, please help me share the love by sharing on Facebook and Pinterest! 

And be sure to tag us @eatpicks- #eatpicks if you share on Instagram!

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Sand Tart Sugar Cookies on plate


Yield: 4 dozen

NaNa's Sand Tarts Cookie {Recipe}

sand tarts recipe

Nana's Sand Tarts cookies are a family favorite. They are made with only 5 simple ingredients and are crisp and delicious!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 16 minutes


  • 1 Box 10x sugar, or 3 3/4 C. confectioner sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 Cups flour
  • 1/2 lb. butter, 2 sticks, softened
  • 1 egg for egg wash


  1. Mix sugar and butter.
  2. Add eggs & flour.
  3. Wrap dough in saran wrap and chill for 1 hour (makes it easier to roll).
  4. On a floured surface, roll out a softball-size piece of dough with a rolling pin until very thin (thickness of CD or less).
  5. Cut with favorite cookie cutter shape.
  6. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Brush lightly with egg wash and decorate with colored sugar sprinkles.
  8. **I also make a cinnamon sugar topping 3 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon**
  9. Bake in 350 oven until light golden color (about 6-8 minutes).*


Ah, here is were this recipe is challenging. You have to watch the cookies, because if left in too long they will "burn" or come out dark brown. They are so thin that they cook very fast! At least Dad likes the burnt ones, so no cookie goes to waste!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 63mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g

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Nana's Sand tarts make a great holiday cookie for any dessert tray. Crisp Sugar cookies ready for dunking! #dessert #cookies #christmascookies

Original Post 12/2009

Updated Post 12/2019

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Sunday 7th of February 2021

[…] love making my Nana's Sand Tarts cookies during the holidays and this recipe is perfect for making fun treats for birthdays or special […]

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Thursday 24th of December 2020

[…] Nana's Sand Tarts […]


Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

At the risk of insulting Nana, this recipe didn’t do it for me. The cookies lacked flavor and buttery richness that I found in the cookies from the Pennsylvania Dutch market. They didn’t crisp up without cooking extra long. I have since read that any recipe that requires creaming confectioner’s sugar and butter will result in a softer cookie. I may try it again with regular sugar.

Kelly Pugliano

Thursday 24th of December 2020

No insult at all. Each family has their own favorite recipes and this is one of ours. In order for this cookie to get crisp, you need to roll the dough as thin as possible before cutting our shapes. They will bake fast and crispy. I would not recommend using regular sugar with this recipe as it will not produce the same results. Good luck with your baking!


Monday 21st of December 2020

Hi, I'm wondering about how many cookies this batch makes?

Kelly Pugliano

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Hi Holly, It is really hard to say exactly. It depends on a couple of things- the size and shape of your cookie cutter and how thin you are able to roll the cookie dough. I use multiple shapes and sizes including star, tree, reindeer, etc. and I would estimate at a minimum 120 cookies.

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Thursday 17th of December 2020

[…] made these for years along with my Nana’s Sand Tarts and favorite Sugar Cookies and the shortbread are always the first to disappear from the tray. Not […]