The Best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe: This is the cookie recipe you have been looking for–a simple sugar cookie that holds it shape, bakes up soft and fluffy and is full of flavor. These cut out cookies are delicious eaten plain, but hold up perfectly to decorating and can be made ahead and frozen as well.
Sugar Cookies is the vote for my family’s favorite Christmas Cookie (I am the only odd one out with Triple Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies being my Holiday favorite.)
Give my husband a glass of milk and he can put away a dozen of these cookies in less than 10 minutes and my children LOVE to make these–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, of course kids love this tradition!
I have found a fail-proof recipe that delivers a perfect cut out cookie every time–even with kids beating the dough!
In fact, 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.
The Best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
This simple sugar cookie recipe, will beat ANY sugar cookie recipe you have ever used in the past.
- The dough is buttery and tender.
- The cut out sugar cookie dough holds it’s shape perfectly.
- These sugar cookies are NOT bland in flavor. You can eat them plain or iced and will thoroughly enjoy them.
- These cut out cookies can be made months in advance and frozen for future use.
Do my butter and eggs need to be at room temperature?
Yes. Room temperature butter will cream easier allowing air to incorporate into your batter therefore creating a lighter cookie.
Room temperature eggs also help to trap air into dough, creating a light and fluffy cookie.
Can I overmix cookie dough?
Yes. It is important to fully whip air into butter and sugar, but once dry ingredients are added to the batter, it is possible to overbeat your dough. Overmixing flour, activates gluten, which produces a tough cookie. But hear my out–this dough is forgiveable. 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.
Do I really need to chill my sugar cookie dough?
Yes. Any cut out sugar cookie that says it does not need refrigerated, could potentially spread when baking or be very difficult to roll out because the dough will be sticky.
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 and and dissolves into the cookie when baking for a sweet taste instead of a bland flour taste.
I also like to place my dough on a sheet of parchment paper that has been lightly dusted with powdered sugar, cover with another piece of parchement paper and roll out. Therefore the parchment paper prevents the dough from sticking and you don’t need much powdered sugar (or flour) if any at all.
How do you make the dough even when rolling out dough for baking?
To roll out cookie, I place in several flat mounds on parchment paper before placing into refrigerator–it is much easier to roll out smaller portions of dough at a time.
When it is time to roll the cookies out, unwrap the dough and place 2 wooden spoons or spatulas on either side of the parchment paper. 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 parchement paper or working surface.
*If you find it hard to roll out super cold dough, allow dough to sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before rolling.
Can I make these cookies in advance?
Yes, the dough will last 5 days in the refrigerator. But you can also freeze the dough for up to 3 months.
To freeze sugar cookie dough to bake at later date:
- 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.
- Place dough in refrigerator night before to thaw.
- Roll out and bake as directed.
Can I freeze baked sugar cookies?
To freeze baked sugar cookies:
- Once cookies are baked, allow to cool fully.
- Place into a freezer safe container.
- Freeze for up to 2 months.
I don’t recommend placing baked cookies in a freezer safe bag, as they are very fragile. A freezer safe container will protect your cut out cookies better from tossing and shuffling that is bound to happen when getting things out of your freezer.
Can I freeze iced sugar cookies?
Yes. I think it is best to freeze un-iced cookies for the best taste, but you can freeze iced cookies for up to 6 weeks.
To Freeze Iced Cut Out Cookies:
- Place cookies on cookie sheet and freeze until solid, about 1 hour.
- Transfer cookies to a freezer safe container.
- Be sure to place a layer of parchment paper or wax paper inbetween layers of cookies.
- Freeze up to 6 weeks.
What if you cookies look under-baked?
Do not be tempted to over-bake sugar cookies. Cut out sugar cookies will be very blond in color and just set to the touch. Leave 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.
How many times can I re-roll scraps from sugar cookie dough?
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 additonal 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 not the icing will melt off the cookie and not set properly.
When do I put sprinkles on Sugar Cookie Dough?
If using, place sprinkles or sanding sugar on sugar cookie dough before baking cut out cookies.
What is the best baking supplies to use when making cookies?
I have you covered with my list of Cookie Baking Essentials.
But my favorite Cookie Essentials are:
Looking for a way to make your Cut-Out Cookies a bit more festive? Check out my Reindeer Cut Out Cookies made with a Gingerbreadman Cookie Cutter.
The BEST Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
How to make the BEST Sugar Cookie--soft, tender, butter, and perfect for decorating or eating alone.
- 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.
Place about 1 cup dough mixture onto parchment paper or wax paper that has been dusted with powdered sugar and cover with an additional sheet of parchment paper. Roll out to 1/2' 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 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.
The recipe time does not include the chilling of the dough. You need to chill at least 12 hours, if not 24 hours for best results.