Sugar Cookie Recipe {Cutout Cookies}

filed under: Sugar Cookies on November 27, 2018

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. (Want more Christmas Cookies? I’ve got you covered!)

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Christmas Wreath Recipe

Sugar Cookie Recipe

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.

How to Make Christmas Wreath Cookies!


This Sugar Cookie 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!

Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Icing

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!)

Frosting for 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.)

Sugar Cookie Recipe Troubleshooting

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 on a cookie sheet.  Then place the cutout cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  If you are doing lots of cookies its 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.

Rainbow Sugar Cookies

Colorful Sugar Cookie Dough

This sugar cookie dough can be whatever color you want! If you want to make one of those beautiful spiral Christmas cookies, just divide your cookie dough into 3 equal sections and tint one red, one green, and leave one. Roll out each layer flat and then stack on top of one another. Roll the layers into a log (like you would a cinnamon roll) and then slice and bake. So easy! (You may want to double the recipe below to make that cookie.)

4.92 from 47 votes
Sugar Cookie Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
18 mins

Easy and delicious! These cookies do not require any chilling!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sugar cookie recipe, sugar cookies
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 127 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Add butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and cream on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, or until butter is smooth and lighter in color.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add the sugar and the egg.
  4. Scrape the bowl with the mixer off.
  5. Turn mixer back on low and add in extracts.
  6. Allow all ingredients to combine fully.
  7. Add in the baking powder and then the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated.
  8. Remove bowl from mixer and drop dough onto a floured countertop. Roll out into a flat disc, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.

  9. Cut out cookies in the desired shape and bake at 350°F for 6-8 minutes. (Keep an eye on them! You don't want burnt edges and every oven is different.)

  10. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

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



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  • Dolores Perez says:

    You are awesome!!!

  • Abigail Wenderson says:

    This recipe looks amazing, adding this to my favorites.

  • Barbara says:

    When you say all purpose flour what does that mean. UK we have plain and self raising bread flour etc.?

  • georgianna thomas says:

    Hi do you have a vanilla cake recipe not pound cake thank you

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, georgianna! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. I would recommend this White Cake Recipe. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Tecy James says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe,i’ve been wanting to make this with my kids on halloween and christmas..Thank you so much

  • Carrie says:

    I am going to make these for Halloween treat bags for my daughters friends who have “Littles”. If using the glaze, can I stack them without it transferring to the bottom of the other cookies?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Carrie! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. The glaze will harden after a few hours (24 hours to completely harden), but I would suggest placing a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers of cookies. I hope everyone loves the treat! Have a great day!

  • Mary says:

    For my personal taste, the recipe needs salt, maybe 1/4 tsp. Maybe i can add a pinch of salt in the glaze instead. Otherwise my cut-out cookies baked up beautifully so I would use this recipe again. Thanks!

  • Dalaine Bloom says:

    This looks and sounds delicious. I am going to make some of these this afternoon. YUM!!! Thank You for sharing this with Us.

  • Dianne Leone says:

    Can you make and freeze the cookies?

  • Karen Jackson says:

    Does it have to be unsalted butter? Why can’t I use regular butter?

  • Nancy says:

    Your recipes sound delicious. Can’t wait to try them.

  • Beth says:

    Do you need the almond extract?

  • Jane says:

    These are amazing!! Super simple recipe and taste delicious! I used her suggested buttercream frosting to decorate them. Only problem is that I have the artistic skill of a toddler so they didn’t look pretty but boy did they taste good! 🙂

    P.S. I’ll be filing a YCIT report with Shirley because mine didn’t look as pretty as yours.

  • Deb Nordman says:

    can you double the sugar cooki cutout recipe?

    • Amanda Rettke says:


  • Melanie Hutchison says:

    Literally the best sugar cookie & glaze icing recipe EVER!!! I get multiple requests for these every year! Everyone I know adores them!!! ❤️ Yummy and super easy! Can be done with a hand held mixer!!! 🙌🏼

  • Abigail Wenderson says:

    Wow, such an amazing recipe. I look forward to making this cookies soon.

  • Beverly Linnes says:

    Where is a the frosting recipe?

  • Keli Johnston says:

    So great & easy

  • Karen says:

    My son and I made your sugar cookie recipe today. They are the BEST cut out sugar cookies I have ever had. I can’t wait to make more of your recipes.

  • Jasmine says:

    I came across your recipe and thought it was cool that it won in the LA Times competition! I looked it up and the recipe published in the Times is different than the one posted here, though. What’s the reason for the changes from the Times one? Below is the other recipe ingredients, halved to one egg:

    3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter
    1 cups sugar
    1 eggs
    1 egg yolk
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    2 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    (Taken from

  • Terri Parbs says:

    No Almond extract. Can I just use vanilla extract?

  • Sharon says:

    Hi I’m always worried about using almond extract. Due to people with tree nut allergies. Do you use pure almond extract. Thank you

  • Intan says:

    Can you please add a specific link to the perfect frosting recipe for this cookie?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Intan! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Here is a link to the recipe for the Sugar Cookie Glaze Icing. Have a wonderful day!

  • Claudia Wilkie says:

    Can’t find frosting recipe

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Claudia! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Here is a glaze recipe you might like. And, here is the buttercream frosting recipe that would also work. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Candace Hoolihan says:

    Looks great, thank you