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!

SUGAR COOKIE GLAZE RECIPE HERE.

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.

cut-out-cookies
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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Helpful Hint: Place your cookie sheet in the freezer between uses.  
GLAZE ICING RECIPE (clickable)

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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. My sugar cookie recipe uses crisco not butter, baking soda not powder, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Does this sound like anything u have used?

    1. Hi! I’m a French baker and your recipe is almost similar to this one. Cream of tartar + baking soda= baking powder.
      Shortening might slightly decrease the flavor compared to butter and make the cookies a bit more crumbly, it increase the “shelf life” of them and make them less likely to taste stale after a few days.

      So overall, your recipe is absolutely great!

  2. This cookie recipe is one of the best I have ever used ! Only ones I make now for a rolled sugar cookie . Delicious and so easy to decorate ! Freezes well too

  3. Can I decorate the cookies with decorative colored sugars before baking? My family doesn’t like frosting on cookies.

  4. Just made these cookies and they are absolutely easy to make and delicious! Can’t wait to ice with your glazed recipe!

  5. These are so delicious. My mom has a recipe she made my children every year , but… it was the chilled dough recipe which was an overnight recipe. They melted in the mouth. That being said I didn’t think anything could come close or even being as delicious…until now! I made these cookies with the posted frosting …these are so d** good I’m now am being asked to make a larger amount, 5 dozen. I like feeling it’s my secret recipe lol. Thank you so much . My mother has passed , and I will be a new grandmother in March 24. I’m going to make these when I’m needing to do it in a day .

    1. Congratulations on becoming a grandmother! I’m making and sending cookies to soldiers. Its my first time using this recipe, and I enjoyed the sample I had!

  6. Sorry for missing the party! My invitation was MIA until recently. 😉
    I want to add a note that I’ve been using this recipe for the past 40+ years. And it is absolutely the easiest and quickest no fail Sugar Cookie Recipe out there! On top of that, it’s a fantastic recipe for all ages! Plus, it’s customizable for all the finicky cookie lovers in your life!
    Enjoy ♡

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