The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

This easy sugar cookie recipe is the only one I use – especially for holidays like Christmas! I’ve been baking these cookies for years – 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!

Looking for soft sugar cookies? Try this chewy frosted sugar cookie recipe.

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 it’s perfection.

What Makes this Recipe the Best?

  • The flavor is buttery and delicious
  • The dough doesn’t need to be chilled before rolling and cutting out shapes, and they hold crisp edges when baked, so they’re great for all cookie cutters! The edges are crisp and sweet, and the centers are soft and chewy.

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

Tips for Success

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.

Rolled out sugar cookie dough with star shape cut outs.

Recipe Ingredients

Like I said above, with a recipe so simple with minimal ingredients, focusing on quality really makes a difference. But here’s a quick list to make sure you have everything. (See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific amounts.)

  1. Butter. I use salted butter, but that’s a personal preference. If you prefer unsalted, or that’s all you have absolutely use that!
  2. Vanilla. I always recommend using pure vanilla extract. And in a recipe with such simple ingredients I like to believe that quality matters!
  3. Granulated Sugar
  4. Eggs
  5. Baking Powder
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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!
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 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?

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

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.

Want more frosting and icing options?

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

Print

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

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


Scale

Ingredients:

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

To Make the 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.

Sugar Cookie 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 Information:

1 cookie without icing
323
16.8 g
58.4 mg
16.1 g
41.2 g
3.9 g
56.2 mg

Keywords: easy cut out sugar cookies, christmas sugar cookies, best sugar cookies, icing recipe for sugar cookies

Want To Save This Recipe?

Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Linda
Mar 24, 2022 5:46 pm

Fantastic recipe!! If I wanted to make this a
Chocolate sugar cookie, how much cocoa powder would I add? And is this possible to do with this recipe?
Thanks for the delicious recipe

Chris
Jan 8, 2022 2:18 pm

Love that you don’t have to chill the dough before cutting! I had to add an egg and cut back on the flour to get the right consistency. Also, my attempt made way more than 24 cookies, which for me was not a problem 🙂

Love the simple frosting recipe, too!

Sim
Mar 8, 2022 5:47 pm
Reply to  Chris

Hi Chris, did you chill the dough or use it immediately with your substitutions/additions?

Katie
Dec 31, 2021 2:22 pm

This totally ended up being scones instead of cookies. I think about half the flour would’ve been appropriate. With this much flour, the dough was super crumbly, had to add milk to get it to stick together.

Delicious, but definitely not sugar cookies.

Nikki Simpson
Dec 28, 2021 12:17 pm

This recipe is easy to follow and the cookies turned out delicious. This is the first sugar cookie recipe that I’ve been successful with. Thank you for sharing!

Hope
Dec 26, 2021 2:26 pm

Sadly, this recipe did not turn out for me at all. The taste was great, but the dough was impossible to work with until chilled, and the cookies fell apart after being decorated.

rylee
Dec 23, 2021 2:04 am

how many does this recipe make ?

Anne
Dec 24, 2021 12:33 am
Reply to  rylee

Instructions say 24 large cookies. I’m guessing a good amount using 6 cups of floor.

Jane
Dec 22, 2021 8:11 am

Fantastic

Joy
Dec 21, 2021 10:43 am

Do I use unsalted butter?

Debra
Dec 20, 2021 12:20 am

This recipe it was very easy to understand and the cookies came out great. I did not freeze or put in the refrigerator at all I followed the instructions bake the cookies and they came out perfectly. Going to frost them in a bit. I will be making these a lot more often.Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe this recipe is amazing.

Natalie
Dec 15, 2021 5:06 pm

Can this recipe be halved?

Casey Annett
Dec 9, 2021 9:03 pm

I made these fabulous cookies they’re great.

ANNA
Nov 17, 2021 4:03 pm

Wanted to make this no-chill dough cut out cookie recipe for my granddaughter to decorate. By far the easiest cut out recipe I have ever made. It took no time to make. By far this was easiest recipe I have ever followed. Wish this one was around back about 30 years ago when my kids were little!

mary
Oct 9, 2021 5:47 pm

sorry baking powder

mary
Oct 9, 2021 5:47 pm

can you use self rising flour and omit the salt and baking soda

DRAGANA DRACA
Aug 6, 2021 3:25 pm

I made these cookies several times for a few different occasions and even brought some to the office. Everyone raves about them! I bake them for only 6-8 minutes as I like them super soft and moist. I also add almond or maple flavor to the icing :). This recipe is a keeper FOREVER. Thank You!

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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