Cut-out Sugar Cookies are THE cookie of winter! This Sugar Cookie Recipe is not only award-winning, but it is also the EASIEST you will ever use. Who doesn’t love baking and decorating these fabulous cookies with friends and family? No doubt, this is my favorite Christmas sugar cookie recipe of all time. It’s just plain delicious. If you love sugar cookies, I also have sugar cookie fudge you will love! (Want more Christmas Cookies? I’ve got you covered!)

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When you pick a sugar cookie recipe for your decorating, it’s important to find a recipe that not only holds up well when baked but that tastes great. My spritz cookies and butter cookies are also wonderful options when it comes to decorating cookies.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Christmas Wreath Recipe

  • Does not need to be refrigerated.
  • Can re-roll dough with no issues.
  • Creates sharp cut-outs that hold their shape.

It is practically a magic sugar cookie!

Making Cookie Dough for Christmas Wreath Cookies!

And not to be ignored, the best glaze icing recipe you will ever find paired with a sugar cookie. This recipe works the same as royal icing but tastes better (IMO) and pipes so beautifully, even for intricate design. When I started my baking blog back in 2009, this was the only recipe I used.

Why I love Glaze Icing for Sugar Cookies

  • It pipes beautifully.
  • It tastes amazing.
  • It hardens, but not as hard as royal icing. It gets just firm enough to stack the cookies but you won’t break a tooth!


The ORIGINAL Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookie!

Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookies (the ORIGINAL!)

Buttercream for Frosting Sugar Cookies

This is my favorite buttercream recipe for sugar cookie decorating. It pipes beautifully, accepts food color wonderfully, and crusts ever so slightly after a couple of hours. Love that it holds its’ shape so well! (You can make it as stiff or as creamy as you want depending on how much liquid you add.)

Here are a few tricks that I hope will help ensure you have PERFECT Sugar Cookies, every time!

  • Use a strong, balanced recipe.  I happen to know that the recipe below is perfect every time!
  • Chill your dough. (If needed. The below recipe doesn’t.) If you run into your cookies spreading you can try this method: Roll out the dough, cut out shapes, then place them on a cookie sheet.  Then place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  If you are doing lots of cookies it’s easy to just have them in a rotation.
  • Calibrate your oven.  I bought an oven thermometer at Target for under $5 and it has been fantastic.  Sometimes cookies can spread if your oven temperature is too low.
  • Bake on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Some people swear by silpat but I have found parchment works very well and is fairly inexpensive.  Not having to grease your cookie sheet also means less potential spreading. Make sure your pans are LIGHT in color, not dark. The dark the pan the more heat is absorbed and the faster your cookies will brown on the bottom and sides.
  • Use FRESH and a good quality baking powder and baking soda.  Both are inexpensive even when you buy the best quality.  If your baking soda is expired it can affect how your cookies rise or spread. I prefer double-acting baking powder, which is what is sold in most grocery stores. 
Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe

Tips for Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Just a few reminders for best practices when making sugar cookies. 🙂

Sift Dry Ingredients – Sift dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and even cocoa powder to combine and aerate them helps make for fluffier cookies. To sift, simply combine your dry ingredients and pour them into a fine-mesh strainer. Tap or shake the strainer until everything’s in your bowl. (Feel free to throw away big or hard pieces.) You can also use a whisk in the dry ingredients for 30 seconds to fully combine.

Cream Butter and Sugar – Unlike stirring or mixing, creaming isn’t about combining ingredients, it’s about aerating them. Creaming creates air pockets that expand in the oven, making the dough tender. When you add sugar, that process is more effective. Sugar crystals are formed and the air is efficiently added to the butter and sugar mixture. Butter beats up fluffiest at room temperature, or when slightly softened.

Eggs – Eggs should be added at room temperature. They add moisture to the air pockets and flavor to the dough. To quickly warm eggs, place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. After the eggs have been added you should also add the vanilla extract or sometimes milk (also room temperature) if the recipe calls for it.

sugar cookies

How to Store Sugar Cookies

When stored in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag, sugar cookies can last over a week. (Some readers have suggested 2 weeks!) If I am making a big batch, I will often store the decorated cookies in multiple smaller containers and the cookie layers separated by wax or parchment paper. Because air is what dries out cookies, you can ensure cookies will stay fresher longer if you aren’t opening up the same container multiple times. Check out my Guide to Freezing, Baking, and Storing Cookies for more helpful tips.

How to Freeze Sugar Cookies

You can freeze the decorated cookies if you are decorating with the glaze icing. (They can be stacked.) You want cookie icing to be completely dry (about 24 hours) before stacking.

To freeze, place cookies into an airtight container or freezer-safe sealable plastic storage bag in a single layer. Using a piece of wax or parchment paper between each layer, stack as many layers as your container will allow. Label and date. They will stay fresh for about 6 months in the freezer.

4.94 from 64 votes

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Easy and delicious! These cookies do not require any chilling!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar. Cream on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth.
  • With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add in the baking powder. Then, add the flour, ½ cup at a time, until fully incorporated.
  • Remove bowl from mixer and drop dough onto a floured countertop. Roll out into a flat disc, about ⅛-¼ inch thick.
  • Cut the cookies out in the desired shape and place onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. (Keep an eye on them! You don't want burnt edges and every oven is different.)
  • Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.



Helpful Hint: Place your cookie sheet in the freezer between uses.  

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. By far the easiest cut out sugar cookie recipe I’ve used! I hate having to refrigerate first and most recipes get hard after rolling out the dough twice. My young son and I rolled them out and he had no problems whatsoever – and rerolled his dough multiple times! They held up during decorating too. I didn’t know how tasty they were until after Christmas lol I made them and never tasted them. I was surprised at how soft they were when you bit into them and how tasty they were! Definitely a new family favorite!

  2. I have long struggled with sugar cookies, but these were easy to mix, roll, cut, and bake. The tip about chilling the cookie sheets in the freezer between uses was very helpful. Next time, simply out of personal preference, I will omit the almond extract or substitute more vanilla extract. I doubled the recipe which I regretted because I ended up with too many cookies to decorate in the time I had available, so next time, I will work with the default batch of 24 cookies. (Which, obviously, will vary depending on the size of your cutters and how thickly they are rolled.) I will definitely use this recipe the next time I want sugar cookies, along with the Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe from this site.

    1. I’m looking to try this cookie recipe when my grandkids come over to make our yearly tradition of Christmas cookies. Can I make ahead this recipe & refrigerate overnight?

  3. I’m so confused LOL When I incorporated my dough all together at first it seemed perfect and I didn’t add all the flour mixture. But then when rolled out seemed to soft so I put all together again with all the 3 cups of flour but now seems to dry … Should I add another egg ? Mixture is crumbled & kinda dry What should I do . I just don’t want to save it and another goes into the freezer LOL I Only found one perfect recipe but can’t remember which one it is 😥

    1. Oh no! So sorry. If your dough looked ready before adding flour there may have been an error made. You can try adding another egg like you suggested but without knowing more about how the dough all came together I’m afraid it may not work.

  4. My sister recommended this recipe and they come out great — for her. I made a batch today and the dough was very dry and was a beast to work with. My only guess is that my butter was too soft?
    Eventually the dough more or less came together and the cookies are tasty. But it was a slog getting to the finish line.

    1. In all my years of having this recipe published (6) I have not come across the dough being “dry and a beast to work with”. And having made this dough no less than 500 times, I can testify that the opposite is true of it. Is it possible your egg was very small? Maybe only used a stick of butter? Added too much flour? Didn’t add extracts? I’m sorry it was hard to work with, but am honestly stumped at what went wrong and how you achieved the results you did.

    2. It could be how you measured your flour. A packed cup of flour is a lot more than a spooned and leveled cup of flour. That’s something I’ve learned in my adventures of baking.

  5. My son has an allergy to the almond extract. Do they taste good without it or what do you recommend replacing it with?

  6. Amanda, I am in need of a gluten free sugar cookie recipe. I am thinking that I could just replace regular flour with almond flour? Would I still add almond extract? Or what would you do to make gluten free?
    Many thanks!♥️Love your recipes AND videos!

    1. Hey Anne,

      I make these gluten free all the time. You’ll just need to find a gluten free flour that’s 1:1 ratio.

      Just subbing for almond flour will not work. 🙂
      There are tons of recipes for your own Gluten Free ‘AP flour if you don’t have one on hand 🙂

    2. I’ve made these gluten-free for years and they turn out very well but I find that I need less flour when I sub the King Arthur 1:1 gluten-free flour, so I start with 2.5 cups and add from there if I need more instead of starting with 3 cups. When I tried it with 3 cups, it was too dry and crumbly. You can always add more flour if it’s too sticky, but can’t take it away!

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