The Best Sugar Cookies

This Sugar Cookie Recipe has been a crowd favorite for YEARS because it produces a consistent cookie with the perfect buttery flavor. These cookies hold their shape beautifully when cut with cookie cutters and one of the best things is that you can choose to bake these sugar cookies soft and thick, or thin and crisp and both ways are phenomenal! You can cut them out with cookie cutter shapes, or simply roll balls in sugar and flatten with the bottom of a glass.  We love them topped with our Classic Fluffy Buttercream or for something more fun and fancy, our Glace Icing.

Ingredient and Equipment Notes

  • Butter – unless you have a dairy allergy or preference that prohibits butter, I recommend real butter for these cookies. I have not tested with plant-based alternatives so I cannot speak to that. Your butter should be a room temperature. If it’s not at room temp already, I like to cut my butter into small pieces and leave on the counter for 20-30 minutes. This generally works better than softening in the microwave, which often leads to uneven melting.
  • Sugar – These cookies use white granulated sugar for sweetness and texture.
  • Egg– It’s important to use a large or extra large egg in this recipe. If you use a small egg, there might not be enough liquid to bring the dough together.
  • Extract – You may use vanilla or almond extract in these cookies, or a combination of both! My personal favorite is almond extract.
  • All Purpose Flour– Use all purpose here, and make sure to measure carefully. Too much flour and the dough will be dry and crumbly. I recommend using a scale to measure by weight, but if that is not available, fluff your flour first with a spoon before measuring, then measuring by lightly spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling off with a knife.
  • Stand Mixer – You can absolutely make these cookies with a hand mixer, but if you have a stand mixer, I recommend you use it.  After your dry ingredients are added, the dough will sometimes look a little dry and crumbly but it will come together quickly into a soft, cohesive dough.  It takes a little more time with a hand mixer, but a stand mixer will whip it up in a hurry!


  1. Start by beating your real butter and sugar and continue creaming for a full 2 minutes or so.  Your mixture will turn light and creamy in texture.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  2. Add egg and extract and mix to incorporate.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Your dough will first look crumbly, but keep mixing with a stand mixer and it will quickly turn into a soft cohesive dough.
  5. You’ll need to chill your dough for about 1 hour. You can do so with dough gathered into one large mass, or use my preferred method which not only cuts down on chill time, but saves effort by rolling dough while it’s soft!

One of the problems with dusting your surface with flour before rolling cookies, is that you add a bunch of extra flour to your dough.  Try to handle it as little as possible.  Here is the best method to do that. 

  1. Start by taking half (or all) of your dough and forming it into a rough ball and then flattening a little onto a silicone baking mat.  If you don’t have a silicone baking mat, you can use parchment or plastic wrap but they tend to slide around the counter so it just takes a little more effort.
  2. Then place a piece of parchment paper (or plastic wrap) over your dough and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough between the baking mat and the parchment. This makes it so you can easily roll the dough with no flour needed, and nothing sticks to anything.
  3. What I do next is pick up my silicone baking mat and flip the whole “package” over, so the parchment is on the counter, the dough in the middle, and the baking mat on top.  Peel off the baking mat and place your parchment and dough on a baking sheet that can now go in the fridge or freezer to chill. I put it on a baking sheet or directly onto a flat surface in the fridge or freezer.

How to Cut the Best Sugar Cookies

This dough retains its shape incredibly well, just make sure it’s chilled.  I like to place mine in the freezer for 15 minutes or so, but you can also place it in the fridge. If you’ve used my method of rolling the dough out first, it needs far less time to chill.  Then cut out shapes and repeat the rolling process with the remaining dough. If you want super crisp edges on your finished baked cookies, you can even pull out your cutter again and re-cut when they are hot right out of the oven.

sugar cookie dough

How long do I bake Sugar Cookies?

The great thing about this recipe is that you can roll these cookies thick and under-bake them and they will be crazy soft and delicious.  OR you can roll them thinner (1/4 inch or less) and bake until you see the edges start turning golden brown and they are perfectly buttery-crisp on the edges.  Many recipes will simply be dry when baked till golden brown, but these are incredibly good- similar to a shortbread cookie that melts in your mouth.  I love them both ways!  Here’s a photo example of what you’d be looking for:

frosted sugar cookies

Frosting the Best Sugar Cookies: 3 Ideas!

For straight up flavor, we love our Classic Buttercream Frosting on sugar cookies. It’s the most traditional combination!

If you’d like something a little more fun and artistic, try our popular Glace Icing and glaze.

And if you’d like to top them with royal icing, you can try my hand painted decorating technique!

How do I store Sugar Cookies?

If I’m making a large amount of sugar cookies I will almost always make them ahead of time because sugar cookies freeze beautifully!  Simply cool completely after baking and then layer between parchment in the freezer.  When you are ready to frost, just pull them out of the freezer- you can even frost them while still frozen and let them come to room temperature on the counter.  Alternately, you can simply place baked cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature.

frosted sugar cookies

Sugar Cookies

5 from 7 votes
Perfect buttery sugar cookies that can be baked either thick and soft or thin and crisp.  They hold their shape well and are perfect for decorating!  Pair with our Best Buttercream Frosting for the perfect cookie!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 cup real butter at room temperature1 cup 200g granulated sugar1 large or extra large egg1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract3 cups flour (390g) lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled (don't scoop!)1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon table salt


  • Note:  I recommend a stand mixer for this recipe, if you have one. If not, a hand mixer will work just fine.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add in egg and extract and mix to incorporate.
  • In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Tip: Don't use your measuring cup to scoop up the flour. Either weight it, or use a regular sized spoon and lightly spoon the flour into the cup and then level it off with a knife.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Your dough may at first look crumbly, but keep mixing and it will quickly turn into a soft cohesive dough.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour, OR use my method of pre-rolling as explained below.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll chilled dough and cut into shapes. 
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies.  Baking time is a personal preference.  Watch for the edges and tops to be set. If you like your cookies crisp on the edges, roll them thinner and bake until just golden brown on the edges.  If you want thick, soft cookies, remove from oven when cookies are puffed and set, but no browning is visible.

Suggested Pre-Rolling Method:

  • Gather half (or all) of your dough and form into a large ball.  Place on a silicone baking mat (or a large piece of plastic wrap) and press down gently.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of your dough and then roll on top of the parchment into an even layer about 1/4 inch thick, or thicker if you desire thick cookies.  Pick up your silicone mat and flip the entire thing over.  Peel off silicone baking mat so you are left with your sheet of parchment with your rolled dough on top.  Place this parchment-lined dough on a baking sheet and place in the fridge or freezer.  Repeat with remaining dough.  (See recipe tutorial for photos of this process.)  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes or pop in the freezer for about 10. Continue with recipe as written.
Keyword: baking, Cookies, sugar cookies
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Melissa- Real butter is always going to best in baking (with the exception of Kate’s chocolate chip cookies that somehow need a bit of margarine to work their magic!) But as a general rule of thumb, always use real butter. Margarine has additives, moisture,’s all different depending on the brand. The #1 difference is taste. You’ll get the best flavor from butter, especially in something like sugar cookies where butter is a main ingredient.

    As for the Silpat, you can find them all over now. Click on our store link on the right hand of the page and you’ll see a link to one from Amazon. You can also find them in any kitchen store, or places like Linens n’ Things. Target and Walmart might have them as well. They come in all sizes, so make sure to check which size you’re buying before you do.

  2. Hi, thanks for the sugar cookie and icing recipes! I love your blog!
    I was just wondering what would happen if margarine was used instead of butter?
    Also, where would I find a silpat?

  3. Yum! I’m new to your blog (via Sherelle C.’s) and don’t know how I missed it before now. I’ve enjoyed reading your sugar cookie tutorial and pictures. They look beautiful and I can’t wait to try making (and eating) them. I enjoy baking, especially this time of year. Thank you so much for sharing all your cookie tips! Oh, and I think the Silpat and Roul’pat need to be on my wish list!

  4. Thanks for answering all my questions. I’m inspired to use my silpat and make these cookies. Thank you!

  5. I left the comment above but was accidentally logged in as my husband, Tucker. I’m Jamie 🙂

  6. I’m brand new to your site, and I am completely intrigued! Especially because I have a special love for baking (not cooking) and am a big believer in making sure both taste AND looks (like REAL butter, always!) measure up. I have a deep love for the RIGHT kind of sugar cookie (with frosting) otherwise they aren’t worth the calories. And I LOVE mine. But you have intrigued me enough to try yours along with the Glace frosting. Looks really fun, and sounds still yummy. Thanks, and I really like the write ups. Great job.

  7. I made these today with the kids, and we love them!! So great. We also made the glaze, which makes the cookies super yummy. Although, if I wasn’t in the mood to make any frosting, I would totally eat them all plain, lol.

  8. Thanks Sara! I am always on the lookout for the perfect sugar recipe and was actually just thinking about making some with the kids. They probaby won’t be as pretty as yours, but I bet they’ll taste good!

  9. Sara you crack me up! I LOVE your personality. I have to admit I am a cookie snob. I also have to admit I own a Silpat and have never baked with it. I guess it is time to pull it out and use it. Thanks for the great tips!

  10. Shara-

    Ya, Kate’s suggestion is great, sparkling sugar would work well. You’ll also be able to find some coarse grade sugars by the normal sugar. Have you ever seen “Sugar in the Raw”? It’s a turbinado sugar. The one I have is a little finer than that, but I bought it in that section. There should be a few options there. Go check out the sugar section next time you’re at the grocery section and I bet you’ll find some!

  11. Shara, I can’t totally tell from the picture, but I believe that the sugar is sparkling sugar. You should just be able to find it with the sprinkles and birthday candles at the grocery store.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  12. Sara, where do you get coarse sugar? Do they sell it in the baking section at the grocery store? I’ve never noticed it before.

  13. We made them tonight…DELICIOUS! We had a fun time decorating them with the kids. Thanks!

  14. Ahhh Lindsay- nice catch! You are most certainly right. And looks like I doubled both the salt and the baking powder when I wrote that out. See?? That’s why I have to write things down!! I’m really sorry if anyone made these today and they were weird. I promise they are good, lol. I fixed it in the post. Thanks!

  15. Okay, so I noticed that your “prescription” recipe and your recipe in the post are different–I specifically noticed the baking powder. Also, my sister gave me this recipe before you posted it (she’s cool and has a “in”) and it’s still the doubled recipe and it calls for 3 tsp baking powder. Soooo, should your recipe in the post call for 1 1/2 t, like you wrote on your prescription? I’m thinking yes, since 3 tsp sounds like a lot? I’m excited to try them!!

  16. Anne, the circles in this post (the blue, yellow, and green ones) are 3″ diameter, and the ones from the icing post (the bright blue, green, pink) were about 1.75″ I *think*. I did those ones when I was in Seattle so I don’t have the cutter in front of me.

  17. Sara, All day yesterday I was thinking about these cookies and wondering how I could convince you to post the recipe sooner than next week. My prayers are answered! Kate- I’m sorry your husband hid your camera. I’ll bet he’s sorry too! But, it’s good news for the rest of us because we get the sugar cookie recipe today!

  18. Mmmmmmm these cookies are so delicious. Soft and buttery with a hint of almond. You have to be careful not to OD on this prescription!

  19. Okay, I’ll try to answer everyone’s questions here!

    Anne- yes, I always use my Silpat to bake cookies. Actually I use my Silpat to bake pretty much everything. Cookies, breadsticks, anything that goes on a cookie sheet! I can’t even remember the last time I put something on a cookie sheet without one. Get yours out and start baking!

    Kate- your post reminded me that you can put orange or lemon zest in this recipe too. I remember your cookies have orange zest in them so I tried that one time. Yummy!

    Jennifer- I just like to use a pastry bag, for me that’s the easiest, but if you’re not used to it, it can be a little tricky. There are also canister types. Wilton makes one like this:
    I’ve never used it, but I know some people really like them.

    mb batch- I knew as soon as I wrote that I’d need to write down a recipe! I will do that and edit it to the post, but I have to make it again to see because I usually just throw it together. All I do is start with equal parts cream cheese and butter (about 1/4 cup each? 1/2 C each for a large batch) After that is light and fluffy I add in powdered sugar to taste (a couple cups, I keep it low so it’s not overly sweet), almond extract, and then milk or cream until it’s a good consistency. Then I turn my beaters to high and let it beat for like 5 minutes. Beating the heck out of it is the secret. It will then be silky smooth and light as a cloud (well, not calorie-wise, haha). Next time I make it I will write down specifics and post it!

    TabKate- these cookies are naturally soft, so just don’t overbake and you’re set! I just watch the edges. The moment I see just a hint of golden brown-ness at the edges, they come out. Maybe even a minute sooner.

    Jen- That cookie cutter came in a set from Williams-Sonoma. I LOVE them. It came with a few others too. I tried to find them to link them, but I don’t think they made them this season. You may be able to find them in the store though!

  20. My names Crystal and I am a sugar cookie snob. I have a very hard time eating sugar cookies other people make. I have a recipe I love. I want to give yours a try, they look so scrumptious.

  21. Sweet!! Can’t wait to try these. I love my roul pat to pieces. It’s currently in pieces. My dear hubby sliced bread on top of it last week :(. It’s seriously one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, and I too use it nearly every day. Guess I know what I’m getting for Christmas.

  22. I’m loving that snowflake cutter you have! Where can I find one?? I can’t wait to try this recipe with the glace icing

  23. So, if I want a nice soft cookie, roll thicker bake less time??

    Soft chewy sugar cookies are my fav! I hate the hard ones!

  24. Don’t mind the messy piping? Haha! That’s about the quality I aspire to. I’m lucky if that’s what I get in the end.

  25. Do you have a recommendation for an easy to use tool for piping? I know there are the bags w/the tips, but those can be a little hard to control…


  26. Yum!! I love my sugar cookie recipe, but they’re big and soft and don’t hold their shape super well. And they don’t really make a whole lot.

    And yeah, wanna hear the camera story, everyone? My husband, who is much more anal than I am, did not approve of where I left the camera last time I was done with it, so he hid it from me. And he was in a meeting at work while I was trying to take pictures. As you can imagine, I was super happy.

  27. Those look great, I am really going to have to try them with the glace icing.
    A question for you, do you use the silpat when baking these? I have one, but never know when to use it. Thank you!!

    1. yes, the silpat is designed specifically for baking…I wish I had one because it is so easy to clean after baking 😀