The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

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This is the best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe! I always come back to this recipe for easy cookies that hold their shape, and have a perfectly soft and chewy texture plus amazingly buttery flavor. They’re the perfect Christmas cookies for Santa, and so many other occasions!

Quick & Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies

When it comes time for holiday baking, everyone has their go-to, easy cookie recipe that never falls short of perfection. And let me tell you: this one for delicious cut-out sugar cookies is a keeper! These sugar cookies are so easy to make, hold their shape, and are perfect for all sorts of festive decorating ideas, from Christmas cookies and beyond.

Fair warning: this recipe makes a large batch of cookies! More to keep and more to give away, I always say. My best ever sugar cookies are great for getting little ones involved in baking, and make wonderful gifts for special occasions.

Why I Love This Recipe

There are so many reasons why this festive cookie recipe is simply the best you’ll ever make! Here are my personal highlights, to name a few:

  • The dough needs simple ingredients and comes together quickly.
  • This cookie dough recipe calls for very little chilling time (or none at all!)
  • These cut-out cookies hold their shape when baking.
  • You can easily double the recipe for parties or cookie platters.
  • These cookies and their dough freeze super well, perfect for making ahead!

All in all, I just love how forgiving (not to mention delicious) this sugar cookie dough is. Perfect cookies, every time, is definitely something I can get behind!

Rolled out sugar cookie dough with a tree shape cut out.

What You’ll Need

You only need a few pantry ingredients to make these homemade sugar cookies. Here they are:

  • Flour – All-purpose flour is best when it comes to consistent baking!
  • Baking Powder – For leavening. 
  • Butter – Chilled, unsalted butter.
  • Almond Extract & Vanilla Extract – I love to use a combination of the two in my sugar cookie recipe for the perfect amount of flavor.
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Salt

How to Make Cut Out Sugar Cookies

We make loads of these cookies for all our special occasions. The kids love getting involved, as they’re so easy to bake and decorate. Here’s how to make perfect cut-out sugar cookies:

  1. Make the cookie dough. Cream together the butter and sugar along with the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder before slowly combining the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 
  2. Chill the dough (optional). This part is optional, but chilling for a few minutes is a good way to guarantee these cookies hold their shape. Roll the dough into a ball and place it in the fridge while the oven preheats!
  3. Roll out the cookie dough. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. This thickness will bake into the perfect soft and chewy sugar cookies!
  4. Cut into shapes. Get as creative as you please when it comes to cookie shapes. This recipe works great with my favorite cookie cutters: Christmas cookie cutters, Valentine cutters, Halloween cutters, and Easter cutters! Transfer the cut out cookies to a baking sheet.
  5. Freeze. Place the cut out cookies into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. This step helps them set in order to bake into perfect shapes with clean lines.
  6. Bake. Bake your cookies in a preheated oven until the edges are just golden.
  7. Decorate. Once your cookies have completely cooled, use your favorite icing and cookie decorations and let creativity reign! See below for more decorating ideas.

Can I Make the Dough Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can make the dough up to three days in advance. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Let the dough come to room temperature or slightly chilled before rolling and cutting into shapes.

Decorated Christmas sugar cookies that look like santa, snowmen, trees, bells and presents.

Tips for Success

  • Measure the flour correctly. The secret to perfect sugar cookies that hold their shape? Measuring the flour! Too much flour and you’ll have hard cookies. Too little flour and they’ll spread too much. The best way to make sure the measurement is accurate is to spoon the flour into measuring cups and level it off with a knife (compared to scooping the flour directly from the bag with your measuring cup).
  • What if my dough is too sticky or crumbly? The dough should come together into a texture similar to Play-Doh. You might need to wet your hands a bit if the dough is too crumbly, or you can add more flour when kneading dough that is too sticky. The cookie dough for this recipe is easy to work with!
  • Make the most of your cookie dough. Make sure to keep your cut-outs close together so you’re able to cut out as many cookies from the dough as possible. Re-roll out any dough scraps with a bit of flour each time to really maximize the number of cookies!
  • Make sure the cut out cookies are similar in size. Use cut-out molds that are roughly the same size to avoid smaller cookies that are over-baked and larger cookies that don’t bake enough.
  • Adjust the flavors. Cut the vanilla extract to 3/4 teaspoon, and add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond, lemon or another extract you prefer. You can also throw in a pinch of spice, like cinnamon, for extra flavor!

Decorating Ideas

These are the ultimate sugar cookies for making holiday magic come alive! 

  • Go wild with your choice of cookie cutter shapes: Trees, Snowmen, Candy Canes, Stars, or freestyle it with a paring knife.
  • Use a piping kit to decorate your cookies with Royal icing (or DIY your own piping bag by snipping the corner of a ziplock bag filled with icing!)
  • Make frosted sugar cookies with your favorite frosting flavors, from Peanut Butter Frosting to homemade Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • Invest in food coloring gel for the brightest, most festive colored icing or frosting.
  • Give these cookies a dusting with sanding sugar or edible glitter.
  • Decorate your cookies with sprinkles or nonpareils (if you’re decorating unfrosted cookies, use a wash made of egg whites and water to get your sprinkles to stick to baked cookies!)
  • Cut out the centers and use this sugar cookie dough to make beautiful Stained Glass Cookies.
Rolled out sugar cookie dough with shapes cut out.

Storage Instructions

Store sugar cookies airtight and at room temperature somewhere away from direct sunlight, like a cupboard or pantry. If you’re storing them in layers, separate them with a sheet of parchment paper. 

These cookies are also great for storing in smaller airtight jars and tins for easy and delicious gifting!

Do These Freeze Well?

This sugar cookie recipe is perfect for freezing! You can make and bake your cookies, and then freeze them to serve or decorate later.  Both the raw cookie dough and baked cookies will keep for up to 30 days in the freezer.

To freeze baked sugar cookies: Allow the cookies to cool completely, and then store them in a freezer safe container. Place them in single layers with parchment paper in between to prevent the cookies from freezing to one another.

To freeze unbaked cookie dough: Store the dough tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Allow it to thaw before rolling, cutting, and baking.

More Homemade Cookies You Have to Try

Rolled out sugar cookie dough with shapes cut out.
5 from 59 votes

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

This is the best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe for holiday baking! These easy cookies have amazingly buttery flavor and hold their shape for decorating. They’re the perfect Christmas cookies for Santa, and any other occasion!
Servings: 24 cookies
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add in egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  •  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mixing until well combined.
  • Roll dough in a ball and set aside. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes (optional). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll dough out on a well-floured surface until the dough is 1/4" thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you desire.
  • Transfer to cookie sheet.  Freeze 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer and bake for 7-8 minutes or until cookies start to turn lightly golden around the edges.
  • Let completely cool and decorate using your favorite frosting or icing recipe

Nutrition

Serving: 24g | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

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Sugar cookie dough rolled out with tree shape cut outs.

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23 comments on “The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe”

  1. Instead of rolling out your sugar cookies with flour try powdered sugar. You’ll be amazed at how well they roll out and taste amazing

  2. 5 stars
    Made these during Christmas and they are delicious! Everyone loved them! Thank you for sharing this! 

  3. Véronique D.

    5 stars
    It was my first time making sugar cookies, and those are delicious.  I tried with and without freezing time and I didn’t notice any difference!  Next time I’m going to skip this step!  Thank you for this recipe.  We used royal icing on them and it was perfect.  

  4. You use unsalted butter and no addition of salt in the recipe. Is this accurate? Your cookies are adorable!

  5. 5 stars
    Made these today with my three Grandsons, it’s my new “go to” Sugar Cookie Recipe.  It was easy and the dough was beautiful to work with.  Cookies kept their shape.  They were delicious!  

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