Sugar Cookies

CATEGORIES: Cookies, Sara
A confession: My name is Sara, and I am a sugar cookie snob. I’m not afraid to admit it anymore! I used to try to pretend I didn’t care and stuff down dry, cakey, flavorless cookies with a smile. I even got a little offended when some of my friends alluded to said snobbery. But I’ve changed my ways and decided that I’m going to wear it like a badge of honor. My plan is to change the world one sugar cookie at a time. Help me, will you?! Now you’d think that a good sugar cookie wouldn’t be hard to make. They all take pretty much the same ingredients, but I think it’s because some people just don’t have the right recipe. And this one doesn’t have any super-magical ingredients. I’m also not going to claim that it’s “THE BEST” because I don’t know how you like yours. For me, this is indisputably “the” best sugar cookie recipe out there. But who knows, you might make these and feel disappointed because you like yours better. That’s fine! There are lots of good recipes out there so I know this isn’t the only good one. I can only speak for myself, and for me, this is my favorite. I’ve tried a million recipes and I settled on this one several years ago after I needed to make some little cookies for a wedding I was catering. It was an autumn-themed dessert spread, so I did a cool dough-coloring effect and then used an intricate maple leaf cutter. They weren’t frosted, so it was imperative that the cookie actually taste good on it’s own, and hold it’s shape for that cute cutter. These did both, and so many people asked me if they could have the recipe- which is a sure sign of a keeper.
  Since we’re talking cookies here, let me show you one of my most favorite kitchen accessories of all time- the Roul’Pat. It’s an over-sized Silpat and it’s made for working with doughs. It’s also great for candy and sooo much more. It stays firmly in place on the counter and nothing sticks to it. They’re pricy, but so so worth it. I honestly use mine for something or other just about every day. Rolling sugar cookie dough on a cutting board is annoying, and the thought of doing it right on the counter gives me the heebie-jeebies. Just imagine what’s on your counter top and it’s all getting stuck in your dough! Anyway, the Roul’Pat is perfect for rolling cookie dough so just ask Santa for one. Wait, do you have a Silpat?? Because you need one of those too! Everyone needs a Silpat, it will change your life. 


As I mentioned before, one of the great things about these cookies is that they hold their shape pretty well.  So they work especially well with detailed cutters.
  
 The other great thing is that you can make them thick and chewy, or thin and buttery crisp.  Either way they are amazing.  Since you all know how to make a sugar cookie, let me show you some fun things we do with this recipe around here.  

The flavor it good enough to just sprinkle with coarse sugar if you like.

Or try Glace Icing- here’s a great tutorial!


Make these easy yet fancy Chocolate Toffee Sugar Cookies 


Turn them into sugar cookie pops.  Halloween is shown below, and here’s a fun Valentine’s version
Try these sweet Cream Cheese and Jam Cookies.  They taste as good as they look! 


Or enjoy them the classic way, with a big smear of  creamy frosting and sprinkles!


 They’re perfectly buttery in the middle


 
Sugar Cookies
Call me biased, but this the best sugar cookie recipe out there. Soft, thick, and chewy - perfect for decorating, too!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup real butter (no substitutions!) at room temperature
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 egg (make sure to use a large or extra large egg)
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or other flavor of your choice, like vanilla)
  5. 3 C flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled (don’t scoop it!)
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in egg and extract and mix to incorporate.
  2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. A very important note: It’s important to correctly measure your flour or you will end up with a dry, crumbly dough. Never, ever use your measuring cup to scoop up the flour. Use a regular sized spoon and spoon the flour into the cup and then level it off with a knife.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
  4. Refrigerate for at least one hour or (and this is our preferred method), lay a sheet of parchment paper on the counter, roll the dough to the desired thickness, and top with another layer of parchment. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.)
  5. When you’re ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin.
  6. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. The baking time really depends on how you like them. If you like them really and slightly chewy, about 8-9 minutes does it. If you like them slightly crisp and buttery, then go for 10-12.
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299 comments

  1. Hi, im gonna try this recipe for my daughter for christmas but would like to ask all those who successfully made the recipe and are planning to bake this again sometime soon to give the weight of the flour via spooning and roughly the weight of the large to very large egg that they use. i think this will help alot of bakers who come across this recipe and are having problems obtaining a successful result. Most bakers do go by weight now as its more accurate and less margin for error due to varying techniques and measuring cups.
    Thanks Sara for the recipe and thanks in advance to whoever took the time to weigh the ingredients πŸ™‚

  2. Do you, as a rule, use unsalted butter? I’m thinking you do. Forgive me if that question is already answered here…I got tired of scrolling!

  3. These are fantastic! The dough was easy to make, the held their shape for cut outs as you said, looked and tasted great! And really, I’m not a great baker at all so I’m thankful for this recipe:) Will make again!

  4. I made these and was finally able to make a decorated sugar cookie! I have tried to make sugar cookies before and they never turned out and were tasteless, difficult to roll out and the cookie cutter never worked out with the dough sticking to it etc. This recipe worked well for me and what I really found helpful were the little extra details Sara posted. I also made the icing and bought the cookbook that the icing recipe was in by Alice Currah Savory Sweet Life. I’m so proud of my cookies! They turned out great! I made the icing and tinted it green with a little food coloring. My cookie cutter is a Christmas tree so I iced them with the green icing and then sprinkled green sanding sugar on and they look really cute. I’ve always wanted to make frosted sugar cookies so I’m glad I found this blog and the recipe. Thank you Sara! One thing I learned from my mom as a little girl way back in the day. She would put a sheet of wax paper over the dough and then roll it out. It keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and works great. You might have to keep moving it around but it does work well. I also broke down and bought a Silpat from Amazon. Hope I like it! I will have to make more cookies to know for sure, lol. Merry Christmas!

  5. P.S. an update to the above. My Silpat came and ok how did I live without this thing before? It’s fantastic. Great pass along tip for better results and less frustration when rolling out the dough and you can use it to bake on, too. I got mine from Amazon and they are on sale right now but still spendy at about $24-25 for a baking sheet size. I think it is worth it if you make cookies often or even if you just make tons of them at Christmas time it’s well worth the money. This year I invested in better baking sheets, a cooling rack and the Silpat. All of these things have helped make the baking more enjoyable. Next on my list -a freestanding mixer, maybe Santa will bring me one : ))) Merry Christmas. ~Donna

  6. This is hands down the easiest, most delicious sugar cookies recipe EVER. I tried with just almond extract and just high quality vanilla extract; a mix is now my preference. Either way, the recipe makes awesome cut-outs that hold their shape to perfection! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  7. If you are the “sugar cookie snob” then I want to be your sister! You really should call yourself the “sugar cookie guru.” These cookies are amazing!!!!! You don’t even need to put frosting on them!! Thank you for making my Christmas even merrier!!!!

  8. Finally a recipe that includes almond extract! Can’t wait to try this recipe. I have been hunting for one like this!

  9. These are the most delicious sugar cookies recipe I have ever made. I made two batches and they are now all gone and I have to make more for Santa tonight!

  10. Would I ruin these if I were to make the dough, roll it into balls, and freeze the dough? I’m looking for something like the pre-made cookie dough you can buy at the store without all the extra stuff in it. Thank you!

  11. Yay! I am so happy I found your site. My daughter’s first birthday is coming up, and we have an owl theme. I am going to *attempt* to make your sugar cookie recipe with the glacΓ© icing using the tulip cookie cutter you recommended. I’m going to make the cookies today, and will begin testing out the frosting part of it after work this week. I’m not a huge baker, and I’ve never decorated cookies before, but I’m going to give it a shot! Thank you for this post!!

  12. These are good until the next day-they get dry. Frankly, the reason the dough is so crumbly is due to too much flour. I think these are great fresh from the oven, but just wait another day and they are not so hot. Reduce the flour, add more butter, reduce baking powder. Basically, try a different recipe!

  13. The BEST sugar cookies I have ever had! Easy too! Everybody who has ate these loved them! Thank you for such an AWESOME recipe!

    1. One batch rolled out perfectly into a cookie sheet before I refrigerated. I re-refrigerated the re-rolled scraps for more cookie cutting which came to about another half a sheet. How many cookies depends on the size of your cutters.

    1. I lived in CO for yrs and only adjusted recipes for cakes. My cookies never seemed to be affected, even at nearly 8,000 feet. Just keep an eye on your baking time.

  14. Sara,

    I have tried many sugar cookie recipes, and wasted MANY ingredients on mediocre tasting cookies. This recipe is the one that I’ve been looking for, it turned out PERFECTLY, the dough was great to work with, and the cookie taste wonderful.

  15. Used your sugar cookie recipe yesterday, and best ever!! So moist, tasty, and worked great with cookie cutters. I’m tackling the owls today with the glace icing. Wish me luck!!!

      1. I store them in an uncovered container on the counter so they don’t get too soft. Two days later they are still perfect!

  16. These cookies taste really good, but after following the directions exactly, I had to add a little more egg (I used a large, to start) in order to get the dough to adhere to itself. Even then, the dough was too dry and the cookies I baked for Christmas broke when they came out of the oven. Very frustrated.

  17. Made these last Christmas with the Glaze and they were amazeballs! Everyone loved them and the kids gobble them right up. Ill be making these again.

  18. I have made this recipe multiple times and they are wonderful! I just make them with a standard powdered sugar frosting and they always turn out great. I prefer the softer version and only bake them 8 minutes! TO DIE FOR!

  19. I just wanted to post my measurements for the creamy pink frosting shown. 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 stick butter, 2 to 4 Tbsp milk, 1tsp vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and add food coloring if you’d like it colored. Hope this helps! Can’t wait to try this recipe. Going to make it for Santa with the kids this year! Thanks !

  20. Could you please email me your sugar cookie recipe and the pink icing recipe please thank you very much

  21. Pingback: Heart Cookies
  22. Do you re-roll out the cookie dough and keep cutting until it’s all used up? I’m a cookie baker but have steered clear of sugar cookies because every time I’ve tried, I’ve been disappointed. They come out fluffy and don’t hold their shape. Really want to try these . . πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, you re-roll until the dough is used up. (And these cookies are not fluffy.)

  23. Delicious!!! Super easy! They cut with cutters beautifully. Made two batches for my kids to decorate for Easter. I saw several posters had problems. Always use soft butter. I set mine out on the counter the day before. I always sift my flour into one bowl, then spoon it into my measuring cup to dump in a second bowl before adding the rest of the dry ingredients. As a test, I scooped out six cups of flour, sifted, then measured into a second bowl. I still had about two cups of flour in the first bowl. That’s a huge difference in measurement, especially with cookies. Love the advice to roll out between parchment before refrigerating! I rolled mine straight onto cookie sheets. After I cut my cookies, I balled up the scraps, rolled it out again and refrigerated. The key to keeping your cookies holding their cut shape is COLD dough, no matter how many times it has to go back in the fridge. My kitchen was warming up from double ovens so re-refrigeration was a necessity. I used your glaze recipe, too, and it rocks! I did an initial glaze on most of the cookies (set them back on cooling racks over cookie sheets for drips) and after the glaze set up, I mixed up several recycled snack applesauce cups with gel paste colored glaze (not re-thickened though), gave my two young kids (3-1/2 & 6-1/2) some paint brushes and sprinkles and let them have at it. I also put a few colors in small-tipped squeeze tubes for them. They had a blast! This is definitely a keeper recipe and I shared on Facebook. Thank you!

  24. Jess asked about butter…always use unsalted in baking unless the recipe specifies otherwise. I’ve had cookies nearly ruined b/c all I had was salted. Made them flat and I could taste the extra salt. You never know how much salt a particular brand will have in it.

  25. I searched for a sugar cookie recipe without shortening, and I came across a Sugar Cookie recipe by [email protected] Best Bites. And I just have to say it is the BEST sugar cookie recipe ever. I was so happy with how my Halloween cutouts came out. The taste is great, even my husband enjoyed them and he don’t care for cookies. Thanks for the great recipe, Christmas cookies are next and this is going in my collection and is now my only sugar cookie recipe for me.

  26. Wish I had known about the unsalted butter before I added the salt. They were s little salty. But the rolling out to chill and cut was the BEST hi t ever. Do easy!

  27. So, tonight I was looking for the recipe for the glace icing, and I started poking around on the site. I have already made my cookies, and was just looking to see what icing recipes you had. We have been using this recipe for years – like my mom used to make these when I was a kid. I’ve wondered where it came from, and my mom has no idea, she said her mom used to use it πŸ™‚ I love this recipe, and the cookies are amazing. I’m glad you got it out there, so more people can stop making bland cookies!

  28. Hi, This is a very simple sounding recipe. Haven’t tried it yet but have searched high and low for a good SOFT sugar cookie and tried many of them all with disappointing results. I can make great crisp cookies tho’. I have a recipe that my grandmother gave me years ago that was so good the cookies just seemed to melt in your mouth. She said the secret was don’t handle the dough much, use only sour cream from Jersey cows (they had them…I don’t) and lard was best for the shortening. Maybe so. I have made this recipe dozens of times and cannot duplicate her results. The taste is there but they lack the the cakelike softness. I will try your recipe next time and hope for the best.

  29. I made these for my daughter’s birthday party and they were a total hit. I managed not to burn them in the oven which says a lot about the easiness of the recipe, and everyone loved them. We decorated them with different colors of frosting and different sprinkles, and used black frosting to draw ‘button holes’ on the cookies (it was a sewing party). All in all a great recipe that I’ll come back to for future fun times!

  30. Best best best sugar cookie recipe! It’s my standard now. I like them thick, they bake up just like Lofthouse cookies. They freeze awesome, with or without frosting first. They stay soft and delicious on the counter for a good week, almost getting better. My husband’s fav!

  31. This is the best recipe however, I think it changed! Didn’t it used to tell you to put the dough in the refrigerator for a while to chill before rolling? I thought there was a whole short cut to doing that also. Where did it go? The dough is a bit too soft to work with right out of the bowl, right?

    1. You’re right–I think it got lost in the shuffle when we added a recipe card! I’ve fixed it. My favorite trick, though, is to roll it onto a sheet of parchment while it’s still soft (as thick as you want the cookies, then top with another layer of parchment and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. It’s way easier than trying to roll out rock-hard dough! πŸ™‚

  32. Just made these delicious cookies. Thank you so much for a recipe I’ll use again and again! My son loves them and I actually like them–and I don’t even really like cookies!

  33. Hello Sara
    We are from different sides of the track. Over there is you a self admitted sugar cookie snob. On this side of the tracks is my home. While i handle my problem well the rest of the year i fall off the wagon every Christmas season. You see i am a sugar cookie junkie. East does meet west today, thank you for the recipe. Have a joy filled Christmas season.
    Jay

  34. This post changed me from a mom who wouldn’t do sugar cookies with her kids to one who hosts a sugar cookie making party with a dozen kids every year. I love that this recipe turns out really well every time (I even tripled the batch this time) and the parchment paper method is a game changer. Thanks!

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