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Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies

Buttery, classic cut out sugar cookies get a brown sugar twist with my Brown Sugar Cut Outs! Enjoy them plain or decorate them for the holidays!

Why You’ll Love These Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies

Cut out cookies are classic Christmas cookies, and adding brown sugar to a sugar cookie recipe is a quick and easy twist on the typical cookie. I started with my perfect easy sugar cookie recipe, so if you love that recipe as much as I do, you’ll love these too! The addition of brown sugar will impart a softer texture and a light brown sugar flavor, while still holding the shape of even your most intricate cookie cutter with NO CHILLING NEEDED!! You can also use dark brown sugar if you prefer an even deeper brown sugar taste. Love this easy cookie recipe!

Does Brown Sugar Make Cookies Chewy?

Yes and no…that’s probably not the answer you were looking for! Maybe the correct answer here is “a little”. My favorite cut out cookies are soft but with crisper edges, and brown sugar does lend a softer cookie, as brown sugar has more moisture than granulated, but you will still achieve those crisp edges. 

pink iced sugar cookie with sprinkles

Brown Sugar Cut Out Ingredients:

Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe and ingredients list.

  • Cold butter. I use cold butter in my recipe to prevent spreading without having to chill the dough. You can still chill the dough if you want, but I don’t find it’s necessary. 
  • Light brown sugar. You can use dark brown sugar as well, or a combination of the two. I prefer light brown sugar in these, as you still get the caramel flavor without adding additional moisture to the cookie.
  • Egg. Use large sized eggs in all my baking recipes unless otherwise noted.
  • Vanilla extract. You can also use vanilla bean paste if that’s what you have. The little specks of vanilla beans look super pretty in cut out sugar cookies!
  • Dry Ingredients: Baking powder, kosher salt, and all purpose flour

Sugar Cookie Icing Ingredients:

Icing isn’t necessary on these sugar cookies, but if you like decorating cookies this is a quick and simple icing to make if you don’t want to go to all the trouble of making royal icing!

  • Powdered sugar
  • Water or milk
  • Light corn syrup
cut out sugar cookie made with brown sugar

Unsalted vs Salted Butter

You can use with either salted or unsalted butter in this recipe. It’s a personal preference of mine to use salted, as I just prefer the taste. If you choose to use unsalted you don’t need to increase the amount of additional salt in this recipe.

How To Prevent Cookies From Spreading:

Here are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way to keep your cookies from spreading:

  • Use cold butter to start. Cube cold butter and mix it into the sugar without allowing it to come up to room temperature. This keeps the dough cooler.
  • Chill the dough. This recipe requires NO CHILL TIME, but it certainly can’t hurt if you’re worried or your dough is a little warm due to over-handling or temperature in your kitchen. Even if you start with cold butter you can still chill the dough to be on the safe side if spreading is a concern, or if you’re using intricate cookie cutters. 
  • Use large eggs in the cookie dough. If you buy extra large eggs on accident (I’ve done it) this will add extra moisture into your cookie, changing the consistency of the dough and causing the dough to spread more. 
  • Granulated sugar has a lower moisture content than brown sugar, and will generally spread less and give you crisper edges. This is a brown sugar cut out cookie recipe, so you probably don’t want to sub out the sugar, but you certainly can. 
  • Use shortening instead of butter. To prevent even more spreading, you can use shortening in place of butter, as butter has a higher moisture content. I prefer baking with butter for flavor, but shortening is an option!
brown sugar cut out cookie dough with cookie cutter

How Thick Do You Roll Out Cutout Cookies? 

I prefer a thicker cutout cookie, but you can do whatever you like! I find that using a rolling pin, the thickness right between 1/4″ – 1/3″ is the sweet spot. I generally err on the side of a thicker cookie. But I know so many people like a more thin and crisp cookie, which is great too as you can get more cookies from your dough!

stacked brown sugar cookies


I these cookies don’t need altering, BUT you can get creative with the extract flavors you use. Here are few to try:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract

Love Brown Sugar Cookies? Try These Recipes

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Brown sugar cut out sugar cookies stacked on a wire rack

Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies

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  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 20 large cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Dessert


Brown Sugar Cut Out cookies are a delicious alternative to classic sugar cookies! They bake up with a crisp edge, perfect for all cookie cutters, and require no chill time!




  • 1 cup butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup light (or dark) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup


  1. Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg, vanilla, baking powder, and salt and continue mixing until combined and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula.
  4. Turn the mixer speed to low and add in the flour, mixing until the dough comes together.
  5. Divide dough into 2 sections and on a floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/3 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes of the dough with your desired cutter(s) and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet 1 1/2- inches apart. If you are baking in batches, keep the unused dough in the refrigerator until ready to use to prevent dough from getting too warm.
  6. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes until the edges are lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Icing: In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, water, and corn syrup until smooth.
  8. Spread or pipe onto cooled cookies. You can use a drop of food coloring to achieve different colors. Allow the icing to set up completely before storing.


Store airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Freeze airtight for up to 2 months, thaw at room temperature

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2 comments on “Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies”

  1. Sorry, please disregard my last comment as I had only partially read the post. I have my answer in the “how to prevent from spreading” section.

  2. Hi, I’m getting ready to try this recipe and by cold butter, do you mean butter straight from the fridge?

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