This is the Cut Out Sugar Cookie recipe you have been looking for! This recipe produces perfect Cut Out Cookies that hold their shape, yet bake up soft and are full of flavor.
These Cut Out Sugar Cookies are delicious plain or iced with Sugar Cookie Icing. They can be made ahead, and even freeze well. This truly is the BEST Sugar Cookie recipe!
This simple Cut-Out Sugar Cookie recipe will beat ANY sugar cookie recipe you have ever used in the past.
- The best flavor. Sugar cookies tend to be bland. However, this recipe produces cookies that are rich and buttery and have notes of vanilla and almond. Even served uniced, these cookies are delicious.
- The best texture. These sugar cookies are buttery and soft--just like you get at a bakery.
- The Cut-Out Cookies hold their shape perfectly when baked. You don't have to worry that these cookies will turn into unrecognizable shapes after baking. If your cookie is supposed to be a Christmas tree it will look like an actual Christmas tree.
- The dough is forgivable. Even after rolling and re-rolling, and re-rolling some more, these Cut Out Cookies turn out tender and perfectly baked.
- Store Well. They can be made months in advance and frozen for future use.
Notes on Ingredients
- Butter: Use unsalted butter so that you can control the level of salt in the cookie. And pure dairy butter is BEST. Do not substitute margarine or vegan butter.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is best for sugar cookies. You can use unbleached or bleached with the same results.
- Extracts: I use both almond and vanilla extract in this Cut Out Sugar Cookie recipe. I typically shy away from almond extract, but the tiny bit added to this cookie dough makes a world of difference!
- Powdered Sugar: While granulated sugar is used in the cookie dough, I use powdered sugar to roll out the sugar cookies. I know most recipes call for using flour to roll out cut-out cookies, but powdered sugar works just like flour in the way it helps keep the dough from sticking to surfaces and it gives the cookies a nice taste, instead of leaving notes of raw flour on your sugar cookies--yuck!
Important Tip: Before you begin preparing these cookies, be sure to use room-temperature butter and eggs. Room temperature butter and eggs will cream together easier allowing air to incorporate into your batter, which creates a smooth batter and lighter cookie. You will know your butter is at room temperature when you push on it and it easily squishes.
How to Make Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- Cream butter with sugar. Cream together the butter and sugar until they are light in color and fluffy. This is when the air will be incorporated into the batter and will help give the cookie its structure and texture.
- Once the butter mixture is light and fluffy, add in the eggs and extracts and mix until well combined.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Mix or sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding them to the egg and butter mixture. This will ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed in the batter.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on low until just combined. Be careful to not over-mix the dough, which can produce a tough cookie. But hear me out--this dough is forgivable. I let my kids mix in the dry ingredients and they don't do it perfectly or gently and the sugar cookies still turn out delicious.
- Roll the dough before refrigerating. It can be a workout to roll out the chilled dough. And by the time you manage to roll the dough out, the cookie dough is warm--which means the butter is not cold, which means the cookies may spread in the oven. Avoid this pitfall by rolling the dough out into ¼-inch thick disks before chilling. Do this by placing about 1 cup of the dough onto parchment paper or wax paper that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and cover with an additional sheet of parchment paper. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness and place in a sealed storage bag or large covered container. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Refrigerate sugar cookie dough for at least 12 hours. Thoroughly chilled dough will hold its shape better when baked--which is crucial when it comes to cut-out cookies.
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies. Lightly dust cookie cutters with powdered sugar and cut dough as desired and then place on cookie sheet.
- If desired, add sprinkles to your unbaked cut-out cookies.
- Bake Sugar Cookies. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 400 degrees F. Bake until the tops of the cookies are just set. Don't let the bottoms brown too much, or these cookies will lose the softness they are known for. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking tray for 1 to 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
How to Decorate Cut-Out Cookies
You can opt to add sprinkles to your cut-out cookies or ice your baked sugar cookies once they have fully cooled.
If you would like to simply decorate your sugar cookies with sprinkles versus icing them, add sprinkles to your cookies before baking. The sprinkles will bake into the cookie, adhering to the dough. If you tried to add the sprinkles after baking, they would fall right off the surface of the cookie.
To ice your cut-out sugar cookies, allow your cookies to cool fully before icing. I recommend using my favorite Sugar Cookie Icing for the best-iced sugar cookie. Keep in mind you if you do not let the cookies cool fully, the icing will melt off the cookie, and not set properly. So be sure your cookies are at room temperature or chilled before frosting.
The Best Way to Store Sugar Cookies
Once the cut-out cookies have cooled completely, place them into an airtight container. If iced, store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. If uniced, store at room temperature for up to 5 days. It is important to note, that it is best to store cut-out cookies in an air-tight container, NOT a storage bag, as you want to protect the cookies from breaking.
Freezing Sugar Cookies
You can also freeze sugar cookies if desired. While possible to freeze both iced and uniced sugar cookies in the freezer, keep in mind that iced cookies will not retain their flavor as long when stored in the freezer as plain sugar cookies do.
- To freeze uniced cut-out cookies, bake as directed and allow the cookies to cool fully. Place the cookies into a freezer-safe container, separated by layers of parchment or wax paper, and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer and allow the cookies to come to room temperature before icing or eating.
- To freeze iced cut-out cookies, place the decorated cookies onto a cookie sheet and place them into the freezer. Freeze until solid and freeze until solid, about 1 hour. This will keep the icing from sticking to other cookies or parchment paper. Once the icing is hard to the touch, transfer cookies to a freezer-safe container, being sure to place a layer of parchment paper or wax paper in between layers of cookies. Iced cut-out cookies will last in the freezer for 4-6 weeks.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
Whether you would like to get a head start on baking cookies for the holidays or just keep cookie dough on hand for when the craving strikes, you can refrigerate the prepared cookie dough for 3 days or freeze the sugar cookie dough for up to 3 months.
- To freeze, prepare the cookie dough as directed.
- Divide the sugar cookie dough into 3-4 sections and place each section on parchment paper. Cover each section of dough with another piece of parchment paper and lightly flatten the dough into an even disk--this helps the dough thaw out quickly and evenly.
- Place the sugar cookie dough into a freezer-safe bag, tightly seal, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To use frozen dough, place the dough in the refrigerator the night before to thaw. And then bake as directed.
Tips For the Best Cut-Out Cookies
- Prevent Spreading. Be sure your dough is well-chilled and re-chill your scraps after they get warm before cutting into more shapes. You also do not want to grease your cookie sheet. Use parchment paper or a nonstick pan instead.
- Use Powdered Sugar. I strongly suggest you use powdered sugar instead of flour for rolling out the sugar cookie dough. The powdered sugar works to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface just like flour, but the powdered sugar dissolves into the cookie when baked. Meaning, no raw flour taste or cookie coated in white dust.
- Roll the dough out evenly. To roll out sugar cookie dough, I think it is best to roll out your cookie dough before refrigerating, as it is MUCH EASIER to manage. To ensure the dough is even when rolled out, my tip is to use wooden spoons on either side of the cookie dough. These wooden handles work as a guide so that your dough will be rolled out to the same depth as the handle, about ¼ inch-evenly across the parchment paper or working surface.
- Do not be tempted to over-bake sugar cookies. They should be very blond in color and just set to the touch. Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes to continue cooking a bit after removing them from the oven and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Sugar cookies will go from perfectly cooked, to very crispy and browned in a matter of a minute or two and will lose the soft texture they are known for.
- Don't reroll scraps more than 3 times. After you cut out as many cookies as you can, place the scraps together to form a ball of dough and roll out the sugar cookie dough again and cut out additional cookies. After that process has been repeated, place the 2nd batch of scraps together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and roll out the sugar cookie dough one final time. That is a total of 3 times for rolling out sugar cookie dough. Any additional rolling after that will result in an overworked cookie that will be tough and burn easily.
More Cookie Recipes
- Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Neiman Marcus Cookies
- Snowball Cookie Recipe
- Shortbread Cookies
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Snickerdoodle Cookies
If you enjoyed these Cut Out Sugar Cookies I would love for you to leave a comment below and share your experience.
Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
- In a large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer), beat together the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time with the mixer running on low. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat until well combined for about 2-3 minutes. Add extracts as the mixer is still going.
- Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture, beating on low speed until just combined.
- Place about 1 cup of the dough mixture onto parchment paper or wax paper that has been dusted with powdered sugar and cover with an additional sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out to ¼ inch thickness and place in sealed storage bag or large covered container. Repeat until all dough has been rolled out.
- Place the rolled dough into the refrigerator, sealed well, for 12 hours or overnight. (If you are not planning on using all the dough right away, freeze it in well-sealed storage bags in the freezer.)
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the dough sheets from the refrigerator. Lightly dust cookie cutters with powdered sugar and cut the dough as desired. Place the cut-out cookies onto a cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. If adding sprinkles, do so now.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes. You want the cookies to look JUST set, not at all browned.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack, and allow the cookies to sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes to finish setting up. After 2-3 minutes, gently remove the cookies from the tray and allow them to cool fully before icing.
- Re-roll scraps up to 3 times to cut out more cookies to bake. If needed, refrigerate the dough in between baking if the dough becomes warm and squishy. This will help the cookies hold their shape.
This recipe was first published in November 2017 but was updated in November 2020 with more tips. The recipe remains the same.