This is the Sugar Cookie recipe you have been looking for! This recipe produces the most perfect Cut Out Cookie EVERY single time. They bake up soft, are full of flavor, and the dough holds it shape while baking. These Cut Out Sugar Cookies are delicious plain, hold up perfectly to decorating, can be made ahead, and even freeze well. This truly is the BEST Sugar Cookie recipe!
The Best Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies win the vote for my family’s favorite Christmas Cookie.
Give my husband a glass of milk and he can put away a dozen of these cookies in less than 10 minutes–no joke! And my kids LOVE to bake cut out sugar cookies. Flour everywhere, beating dough with a rolling pin, candies spilling onto the floor and sometimes into their mouths as they decorate–it is like a food fight that is encouraged–so of course the kids love this tradition!
I have found a fail-proof Sugar Cookie Recipe that delivers a perfect cut out cookie every time–even with kids beating the dough!
In fact, after I made this recipe for my son’s Kindergarten class, and I was asked to bring the cookies EVERY SINGLE YEAR he was in Elementary School. His 2nd grade teacher even begged me for the recipe.
Why They Are The Best
This simple cut out sugar cookie recipe will beat ANY sugar cookie recipe you have ever used in the past.
- The cookies are buttery and soft.
- They hold their shape perfectly when baked–meaning you actually know if your cookie is supposed to be a Christmas tree or whatever shape you used!
- These sugar cookies are NOT bland in flavor. You can eat them plain or iced and will thoroughly enjoy them.
- Even after rolling and re-rolling, and re-rolling some more, these Cut Out Cookies turn out tender and perfectly baked.
- They can be made months in advance and frozen for future use.
How to Make Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Allow butter and eggs to come to room temperature. The first step to making these sugar cookies is to make sure that your butter and eggs are at room temperature. 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.
- Beat eggs and sugar. You want to cream together your eggs and sugar until they are light in color and fluffy. This is when air will be incorporated into the batter and will help give the cookie it’s structure and texture.
- Add Eggs. It is best to add the eggs one at a time and let them fully incorporate into the batter.
- Add in extracts. I use almond and vanilla extract in these Sugar Cookies. I typically shy away from almond extract, but the tiny bit added to this cookie dough makes a world of difference!
- Combine the dry ingredients. Mix or sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding 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 butter mixture, beating on low until just combined. Be careful to not over-mix the dough. Over mixing flour, activates gluten, which can produce a tough cookie. But hear my 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 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 1/4 inch thick disks before chilling. Do this by placing about 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 1/4 inch thickness and place in sealed storage bag or large covered container. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Refrigerate sugar cookie dough for at least 12 hours. Thoroughly chilled dough will hold it’s 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.
- Bake Sugar Cookies. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 400 degrees. Bake until the tops of the cookies are just set. Don’t let the bottoms brown too much, or these cookies will lose their softness they are known for. Remove from oven and let cool on baking tray for 1 minute before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Ice Cookies: If you would like frosted sugar cookies, be sure to use my favorite Sugar Cookie Frosting. Just be sure your cookies are completely cooled before icing!
FAQs and Tips on Cut Out Cookies
Over the years, I have had a lot of questions about baking cut out cookies and I thought these tips would be helpful to share with you.
Does the dough really need chilled?
Yes. This step is crucial in achieving a cut out cookie that holds it shape. If you want your candy canes to look like candy canes, and your stars to look like stars–not blobs, chilling the dough is essential.
Do I have to use flour to roll out my sugar cookies?
No. In fact, I strongly suggest you use powdered sugar instead of flour! 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 a white dust.
How do you roll out sugar cookie dough evenly?
To roll out sugar cookie dough, I think it is best to roll out your cookie dough before refrigerating. 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 guide, so that you dough will be rolled out to the same depth as the handle, about 1/4 inch-evenly across the parchment paper or working surface.
What if sugar cookies look under-baked?
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 from the oven and then transfer 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 loose their soft texture they are known for.
How many times can I re-roll dough scraps?
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 of 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 over worked cookie that will be tough and burn easily.
Do I need to cool cut-out cookies before decorating?
Yes. If you do not let the cookies cool fully, the icing will melt off the cookie, and not set properly.
When do I put sprinkles on cookies?
If using sprinkles or sanding sugar sprinkle onto the cut out cookies before baking.
Can I make sugar cookie dough in advance?
You can prepare the dough in advance and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or you can freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months.
How to Store Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Whether storing baked cookies, freezing cookies, or freezing cookie dough, I have you covered with my pro tips.
The first tip to storing cookies is to choose the right container. I don’t recommend placing baked cookies into a storage bag, as the cookies will be more prone to break as they are moved around or shuffled. Instead, select a sturdy plastic or glass container that has an air tight lid. An air tight container is crucial for storing to keep the flavor of these cut out cookies intact.
Storing Baked Cookies
It is best to let cookies cool completely. Then place into an air tight container. If iced, store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. If not iced, store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Freezing Baked Cookies
I personally love to prepare a large batch of cut out cookies and store in the freezer during the Christmas season. Then I can pull a couple dozen cookies out for when guest arrive, for hot cocoa and cookies, or for Santa’s cookie tray.
You can freeze ice and un-iced cookies in the freezer, keeping in mind that iced cookies will not retain their flavor as long when stored in the freezer as plain sugar cookies do.
To freeze cookies, bake as directed and allow to cool fully. If the cut out cookies are not iced, place in a freezer safe container, separated by layers of parchment or wax paper and freeze for up to 2 months.
If your sugar cookies are iced, place cookies on cookie sheet 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 tough, 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.
To Freeze Sugar Cookie Dough
Keep frozen sugar cookie dough on hand so that you can bake up some cut out cookies on a rainy day or when a craving for cookies hits.
To freeze cut out sugar cookie dough, place dough on parchment paper in flattened rounds. Place the sugar cookie dough into a freezer safe bag and tightly seal. Freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, place dough in refrigerator night before to thaw. Roll out and bake as directed.
More Cookie Recipes
- Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chewy Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
- The $250 Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
- The Best Oatmeal Cookie Recipe
- Homemade Tagalong Cookies
The BEST Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups butter softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 5 cups unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar for rolling
- In a large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer), beat together butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Add eggs, one at time with mixer running on low. Turn mixer up to medium and beat until well combined for about 2-3 minutes. Add extracts as mixer is going.
- Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture, beating on low until just combined.
- 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 in well sealed storage bags in freezer.)
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400.
- Lightly dust cookie cutters with powdered sugar and cut dough as desired.
- Re-roll scraps to cut more shapes.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit on cookie sheet on a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes and then gently remove cookies from tray and allow to fully cool before icing.
- For best results, be sure to use room temperature eggs and butter.
- Re-roll sugar cookie dough scraps up to 3 times (refrigerating dough in-between if the dough becomes warm and squishy)
- If using sprinkles, it is best to put on the cut out cookies before baking.
- If icing these cut out cookies, let the cookies cool completely before icing.
- Sugar Cookies will keep in an air tight container for 5 days. Be sure to store in the refrigerator if cookies are iced and let them come to room temperature before enjoying for best taste.
- To Freeze Baked Cut-Out Cookies, allow cookies to cool fully and then place into sturdy freezer safe container and freeze for 2 months.
- To Freeze Sugar Cookie Dough, Place dough on parchment paper in flattened rounds. Place the dough into a freezer safe bag and tightly seal. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough out in the fridge the night before baking. And then roll out and bake as directed.