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The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

This easy sugar cookie recipe is the only one I use – especially for holidays like Christmas! The recipe is simple and the dough is perfect for cut-out cookie decorating. If you’re looking for a foolproof, buttery sugar cookie recipe this is it!

My Favorite Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

I am CRAZY excited about today! I showing you how to make sugar cookies from scratch!

One of the most common questions I get from readers on social media and my email is, “Do you have a perfect sugar cookie recipe?”

And the answer is YES! This cut-out sugar cookie recipe is the one I have been using for 14 years. I haven’t deviated from this recipe since I started making it so many years ago because its perfection.

Why You’ll Love This Sugar Cookies Recipe

  • Easy. You don’t need to be an expert cookie maker to bake up these cookies.
  • Tasty. The flavor is buttery and delicious! The edges are crisp and sweet, and the centers are soft and chewy.
  • No Chill. The dough doesn’t need to be chilled before rolling and cutting out shapes.
  • Perfect for Decorating. Once they are baked the cookies hold crisp edges when baked, so they’re great for all cookie cutters!

Have I convinced you yet? Once you try my recipe, you’ll agree that these are the best sugar cookies ever!

Stack of undecorated sugar cookies

What You’ll Need

You’ll only need a few ingredients to make these classic sugar cookies. Here’s a quick list to make sure you have everything. (See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific amounts.)

  • Butter. I use salted butter, but that’s a personal preference. If you prefer unsalted, or that’s all you have absolutely use that!
  • Vanilla. I always recommend using pure vanilla extract.
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Baking Powder
  • Kosher Salt. If you don’t have kosher you can use table salt, but I would recommend cutting back on the amount by half so you don’t over-salt your cookies. Table salt is a finer grain than kosher, so you will end up with more.
  • All Purpose Flour

How to Make Sugar Cookies

This sugar cookie recipe is super simple. Here’s how to make it:

  • Prep your tools. Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cream butter and sugar. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined and smooth, scraping the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Add the flour. Turn the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing until the dough comes together.
  • Divide the dough into 3 sections. On a floured working surface 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 1½ 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.
  • 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.
Rolled out sugar cookie dough with star shape cut outs.

Do You Need to Chill the Dough?

Ok, let’s talk. Chilling cookie dough is annoying. I get it. SO, this cookie recipe requires ZERO chilling. Are you excited? Let’s talk about what that means…

  • Use cold butter: To make the cookie dough slightly chilled right when it’s made. Just cube the cold butter when you mix it with your sugar and it will be fine! You mix the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes, so everything will be mixed. Just make sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary so everything is combined evenly.
  • Can I chill the dough if I want to? If you are prepping your holiday baking in advance and would prefer to chill the dough so you have things made ahead you ABSOLUTELY can. It isn’t going to hurt the dough to chill it, you just don’t have to!
  • What about complex cookie shapes? Does chilling help? What if you are using a VERY intricate cookie cutter and want to make sure you have precise edges? If I am using a very detailed cutter what I will do is make the dough, roll it out, cut out my cookie and pop it in the fridge to chill for 30 or so minutes. This isn’t necessary, but if you’re concerned, it’s a step that can’t hurt!

Tips for the Best Sugar Cookies

The beauty of this recipe is that there are very few ingredients, so following a few simple steps is all it takes!

  • Use quality ingredients! When you’re making sugar cookies, you want them to taste good, right? So make sure you’re  high quality butter and vanilla especially. These are the two flavors that really shine through, so use fresh butter and good vanilla!
  • Don’t substitute margarine or butter flavored shortening for this recipe! I even splurge on a fancy European butter when making these sugar cookies, because there is a higher fat content, and while it’s not great for your thighs, it does help produce a more delicious cookie!
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment is great for this recipe. You can use a hand mixer if you prefer, but making these cookies without a mixer is difficult because you want to cream your butter and sugar together for 2 minutes. AND there is a lot of flour in these, and the dough can get hard to mix by hand.

Baking Sheets Matter! (Or, How to Make Sure your Cookies Aren’t Too Dark)

Ok, this is one of the most common things that cause cookies to not “turn out like the picture”. I use THIS dark baking sheet almost exclusively. I almost never use light-colored or thick baking sheets.

Lighter-colored baking sheets tend to make your cookies spread a bit more and they don’t give a golden edge as easily, especially with cut-out cookies.

A darker-colored, thin baking sheet will give you a golden edge, and your cookies won’t spread nearly as much, giving you precise edges! I do always bake on parchment paper for easy clean up and an even bake. Parchment paper also helps the cookies from browning too fast and also aids in more even baking.

Close up of sugar cookie dough cut into stars.

How to Store Homemade Cookies

Store your cookies in an airtight container on the counter. They will keep for up to 5 days, though I think you will eat them all well before then! Note that if you have iced them make sure you give the icing time to fully set and harden before you stack the cookies in a container.

Can I Freeze Sugar Cookies?

YES!! You can absolutely freeze sugar cookies (or the dough)! Here’s how…

  • To freeze baked cookies with tupperware: If you want to bake your cookies and freeze them to decorate later first allow the cookies to cool completely. Next package them up in a flat tupperware-style container, separating the layers with pieces of parchment paper. Make sure they are sealed, air-tight, in the container to prevent any freezer tastes from absorbing into the cookies.
  • To freeze baked cookies with ziploc bags: Alternately you can use a zip-top bag to store the cookies. Just lay the bags flat in the freezer and make sure there is nothing placed on top. I tend to only use this method if I am freezing very sturdy shapes. If you have delicate shapes, you will certainly want to store them in a container to prevent breaking.
  • You can also freeze the dough! Once you’ve made the cookie dough, you can package it in a zip-top bag, then double bag it for extra protection. When you’re ready to bake the cookies, allow it to come up to almost room temperature and roll it out!
  • How long do frozen sugar cookies last? Either the frozen dough or frozen baked cookies will be good for 30 days in your freezer.
Decorated cut out sugar cookies with icing and sugar.

Decorating Your Sugar Cookies

I actually prefer to decorate my sugar cookies with my buttercream frosting. I used to have all the patience to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing, but I’ve decided that is not my calling in life. So bring on the buttercream and sprinkles.

BUT since I know everyone isn’t on the buttercream bandwagon like me I am also sharing an easy sugar cookie icing with the cookie recipe in the recipe card. It’s a simple icing that is great for beginner decorators who aren’t worried about precise decorating. Plus, in my opinion, it tastes way better than royal icing!

Icing Ingredients

You only need 3 ingredients to make a simple icing perfect for decorating cookies. See the recipe card at the end of this post for specific amounts.

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Water
  • Light Corn Syrup

To Make the Icing

You really just need to mix everything together in a bowl to make the icing. See, easy right?

  • Mix. In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, water, and corn syrup until smooth.
  • Decorate. 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.

I hope this will be your go-to Sugar Cookie Recipe from now on!

Print
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Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies Recipe that requires no chill time!

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 24 large cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Sugar Cookie Recipe is the only cut out cookie recipe I use. I have been baking these cookies for years and have found it be the most delicious and foolproof cut out cookie recipe ever!


Ingredients

Scale

Cookies:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) cold butter, cubed
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups all purpose flour

Sugar Cookie Icing:

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

Instructions

Cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper 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 eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt and continue mixing until combined and smooth, scraping the sides of bowl as necessary.
  4. Turn the mixer speed to low and add in the flour, mixing until the dough comes together.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 sections and on a floured working surface 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 1½ 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.

Icing:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, water, and corn syrup until smooth.
  2. 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.

Notes

  • You can chill the dough if desired, before or after cutting the cookies out. See tips in the post for all the details.
  • Store airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie without icing
  • Calories: 323
  • Sugar: 16.8 g
  • Sodium: 58.4 mg
  • Fat: 16.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.2 g
  • Protein: 3.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 56.2 mg

Keywords: easy sugar cookie recipe, homemade sugar cookies, best sugar cookie recipe

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177 comments on “The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe”

  1. I halved the recipe but otherwise mostly followed it. Based on the comments here, I reduced the flour by 1/2 cup (I only had a hand mixer – maybe with a stand mixer, I could have added more). I went with 2 tsp vanilla instead of 1.5 tsp for the half recipe. I rolled them out with powdered sugar. With the reduced flour, they were the perfect consistency – just held together for cutting but at the edge of crumbly. They were wonderful!

  2. Ashley Lobeda

    So bland. And the dough was easy to work with, not too crumbly. But once baker, these are the most fragile cookies ever. They fall apart so easily.

  3. These cookies turned out so well and they taste great with buttercream because they aren’t overly sweet! I love that we didn’t need to wait to chill the dough!! This will be our new go-to recipe for sugar cookies!!

  4. Easy for my grandchildren to roll out and use cookie cutters. They had so much fun and the cookies are so delicious!! They were a big hit!!!

  5. Good shapes, the dough was easy to work with, but the taste was basically too bland and boring. This is my third recipe I’ve tested this year for sugar cookies; I consider myself a good baker. But all of the cookies I’ve made this year (with fresh flour and extracts) just taste bland. I’d hope this would be the winner but it wasn’t.

  6. Hi! I was wondering how long it takes the base layer of icing to dry before I can put on another layer of designs?

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