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Easy Sugar Cookies Recipe

This sugar cookies 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 with no chill time needed! If you’re looking for a foolproof, buttery sugar cookie recipe this is it.

One of the most common questions I get from readers 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. I am CRAZY excited about today! I showing you how to make sugar cookies from scratch!

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 with a tender texture.
  • No Chill. The dough doesn’t need to be chilled before rolling and cutting out shapes.
  • Perfect for Decorating. These cookies hold crisp edges when baked. They’re perfect for all shapes of cookie cutters and decorating.
A stack of star shaped sugar cookies

Ingredient Notes

You’ll only need a few ingredients to make these classic sugar cookies. Here’s a quick list with my notes 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
  • Dry Ingredients: Baking Powder, All Purpose Flour, and 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.
  • Powdered Sugar. The base of the icing.
  • Water
  • Light Corn Syrup. Sweetens the icing and adds the glossy texture.

Variation Ideas

  • Try a different flavor profile. You can use almond extract…or coconut, or rum, or even a citrus like lemon or orange extract. All these would taste great! Start by using 1/2 teaspoon and increase the amount to taste. Almond extract is a stronger flavor than vanilla and I find you can use a little less. 
  • Add some mini chocolate chips. Minis will still work with cookie cutters and will bake up beautifully in this recipe. 
  • Mix in some nuts. Add chopped nuts like pecans, walnuts, or even pistachios. Make sure they are finely chopped so that they don’t interfere with your cookie cutters.
  • Use brown sugar in place of granulated. This might cause the cookies to spread slightly more than granulated due to the moisture content, but not in a vast way. You might only notice this is you are using an intricate cutter.
Sugar Cookie dough with star shapes cut out

Tips for the Best Sugar Cookies

  • Don’t substitute margarine or butter flavored shortening. I sometimes 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, rich cookie!
  • 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!
  • Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 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.
  • Work with sections of dough at a time. Divide the dough into sections when rolling it out to handle the dough less. The more you handle it, the warmer it gets, and the less the cookies will hold their shape. You can refrigerate the other sections of dough while you work with one.
  • Bake roughly the same sized cookies. While it’s fun to get out all your different holiday cookie cutters, try your best to use uniformly sized shapes that way each batch will bake evenly. Since you’re diving the dough into 3 sections this is a great way to use 3 cutters for each batch. That way you have variety, but also will ensure even baking!
  • Don’t worry about spreading. Of course you don’t want to overcrowd the cookie sheet because you need air circulation, but you don’t have to leave a lot of space in between the cookies, as they don’t spread much!
cutting out sugar cookie dough with a star shaped cookie cutter

Do You Need to Chill Sugar Cookie Dough?

Ok, let’s talk. Chilling cookie dough is annoying. I get it. SO, this cut out sugar 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.
  • 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.

Why Are My Cut Out Sugar Cookies Too Dark?

This is a very common concern I get from readers, whether it be this sugar cookie recipe recipe or any other cookie recipe. Cookie will either get too dark, or not dark enough. Of course bake time matters – overbaking and underbaking can result in too dark or not dark enough cookies.

But the most common culprit? Using the wrong cookie sheet! Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the best cookie sheet for your cut out sugar cookies:

  • My favorite cookie sheet: THIS COOKIE SHEET has been my tried and true for years and years. I own 2 and they are my favorite. They are considered a “nonstick cookie sheet” but I use parchment paper to line the pan. My cookies bake evenly with the perfect amount of golden brown. 
  • Lighter-colored baking sheets: These tend to make your cookies spread a bit more and they don’t give a golden edge as easily, especially with cut-out cookies.
  • Darker-colored baking sheets: Darker, thin baking sheet will give you a golden edge, and your cookies won’t spread nearly as much, giving you precise edges. 
  • Parchment paper or silicone mats: These help with even baking and prevent the cookies from browning too fast.
Cut Out Sugar Cookies cut into star shapes iced and dusted with yellow decorating sugar.

Can I Make These Cookies Ahead?

If you want to make all the dough and cut out all the shapes before baking you can place the cup out dough onto your prepped baking sheets and pop those in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. This is a great option when you have a busy cookie baking day around the holidays. Of course having extra cookie sheets helps!

How to Store Sugar Cookies

Store your cookies in an airtight container on the counter at room temperature. 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…

  • Baked sugar cookies. Allow the sugar cookies to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or ziploc bag, with parchment paper separating the layers. Note that you should freeze your Christmas sugar cookies before decorating.
  • Sugar cookie dough. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for later. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap then place in a ziploc bag.
  • How long do frozen sugar cookies last? Either the frozen dough or frozen baked cookies will be good for 30 days in your freezer.

More Christmas Cookie Recipes

Print
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Star Shaped Sugar Cookies iced and decorated with sparkling sugar

Easy Sugar Cookies 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: sugar cookies, sugar cookies recipe, cut out sugar cookie recipe, Christmas sugar cookies, easy sugar cookies recipe

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