You’ll love this easy sugar cookie recipe! They are literally the best sugar cookies ever — especially if you are baking with kids. You can re-roll the dough as much as you need to without them getting tough, and they are full of a buttery-sugary-deliciousness that makes them perfect for cutting out and decorating. These cookies stay soft, don’t crumble, and don’t spread in the oven. Perfect cookies every single time! This recipe has been updated from the original December 2007 version in order to provide a better experience for our readers. Last updated November 2018.
For this recipe you’ll need: butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder OR baking soda, salt, all purpose flour
Rolled Sugar Cookies Recipe Backstory
I’ve been making this easy sugar cookie recipe for probably 30 years. I got the original from someone at a church we used to attend who had gotten it from her mother-in-law. We used to use it for the various bake sales that we held because the kids could smash this dough, roll it, re-roll it, and cut it out over and over but it always came out perfectly tender and buttery good. It was definitely a selling point to say that the kids done all of the work!
I’m telling you, this is the best sugar cookie recipe ever. You won’t even need a mixer! The butter is melted and everything else is just stirred right in.
I don’t think it would be a holiday for my kids without a few of these – especially my older kids who have fond memories of the bake sales. The dough keeps for several days in the refrigerator or you can freeze it for longer storage. Personally, I like to cut the dough out in shapes then freeze the it unbaked. That way I only have to put them on the cookie sheet and bake – no mess and hardly any time at all!
Tips for Making These Easy Sugar Cookies!
These sugar cookie cut outs are super easy to make but there are a few things to remember…
- The dough is very soft – let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or, if you are in a hurry, pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Use enough flour to keep them from sticking.
- Bake these easy sugar cookies just until the bottoms and edges are light golden brown.
- Use baking soda for soft cookies or baking powder for crunchy cookies.
- Keep your cookie cutters as close together as possible when cutting. Each time you reroll the dough the cookies get a little less tender.
- Always bake similar sized cookies together so that they bake evenly.
- Rolling the dough about 1/8-inch thick will give you a crispy sugar cookie while rolling the dough 1/4-inch will keep them softer.
- I like to beat 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of milk and brush it on the cut out cookies. It helps the sugar stick AND it gives them a pretty color when they’re baked.
- Let cool completely before decorating with icing.
Variations on This Sugar Cookie Dough
Classic sugar cookies are flavored with vanilla but these cookies are so versatile that you can easily change the flavors. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Split a vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds into the melted butter before you add the flour
- When melting the butter let it get a golden brown color for a nutty, rich taste
- Use part vanilla and part almond extract instead of just vanilla
- Use lemon extract
- Color the dough with gel or paste food color
- Replace 1 cup of the sugar with brown sugar
- Add a little freshly grated nutmeg
- Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Add a pinch of cardamom
- Add a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest
Q&A – Common Questions about Sugar Cookies
- How do you get sugar cookies to keep their shape? This dough almost always keeps its shape perfectly but if you want to make absolutely sure the sugar cookies will keep their shape then put the cookie sheet with the cut cookies on it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
- How thick are sugar cookies supposed to be? Good question! That kinda depends on you. 1/8th to 1/4- inch thick is about right. Thicker cookies, especially when made with baking soda, stay softer. Thinner cookies, especially when made with baking powder, stay crispy.
- How long do you let the sugar cookies cool before icing? Let them cool completely so that they are not warm to the touch or the icing will melt off. The actual time can vary, depending on how cold your kitchen is. Shoot for 30 minutes to an hour to be safe.
- Do you decorate sugar cookies before or after they’re baked? If you are using colored sugar and/or sprinkles then they go on the cookie before baking. If you are using icing then you need to wait until the cookies are baked and cooled. If you’re having trouble getting the sugar/sprinkles to stick on the unbaked cookie simply brush the surface lightly with a little egg beaten with milk.
- Why did my sugar cookies spread out? You’re oven was too hot and the butter melted too fast. Be sure your oven is at the correct temperature. Freezing the cookies before baking will help, too.
YOU MAY NEED…
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Good cookie sheets make all the difference in the texture of your cookies and whether or not the bottoms burn. I like these heavy duty cookie sheets from Calphalon for this easy sugar cookies recipe. They’re high quality and will last for years.
More Favorite Cookie Recipes from Restless Chipotle
We love cookies of all kinds around here! Here are some of my favorite recipes –
- Hershey’s Kiss Cookies (Red Velvet Peppermint)
- Earl Grey Thumbprint Cookies
- Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
- Peanut Butter Rolo Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Chocolate Cherry Bon Bons
And here are a few more easy cookie recipes…
Quadruple Chip Cookies, Molasses Peanut Butter Cookies, Red Velvet Rolled Cookies
Have you ever made chocolate cutout cookies like these Chocolate Cutout Halloween Cookies from House of Nash Eats?
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies Recipe EVER
This recipe makes easy rolled sugar cookies for your Christmas cookie tray but they are beautiful for any occasion from Valentine’s Day to Halloween. Cut them in around and put two together with some chocolate ganache in between for sandwich cookies – so good! They travel well so they’re great for back to school, too. I can’t imagine Christmas without these cookies and my family fruitcake recipe!
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The BEST Sugar Cookies Recipe Ever
- 1 1/2 cup melted, , unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 beaten eggs
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder or 1 tsp baking soda for a softer cookie
- Pinch of salt
- 5 cups of flour
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Whisk the sugar into the melted butter and let it stand until the mixture is lukewarm.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
- Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or the refrigerator overnight.
- Roll 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut as desired.
- Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
- Cookies should be golden on edges but don’t let them brown.
- Let cool and decorate as desired.
- Amount varies with size of cookie cutters.
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