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 its shape while baking.
These Cut Out Sugar Cookies are delicious plain, perfect for icing with Sugar Cookie Icing, can be made ahead, and even freeze well. This truly is the BEST Sugar Cookie recipe!
Why this Recipe is 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.
Notes on Ingredients
- 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.
- 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!
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 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 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.
- 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 the softness they are known for. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking tray for 1 to 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
How to Freeze Sugar Cookies
You can freeze both ice and un-iced sugar 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.
For Uniced Sugar 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.
For Iced Sugar Cookies
- Place decorated cookies onto a 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.
Freezing Sugar Cookie Dough
- Prepare 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.
- Place the sugar cookie dough into a freezer-safe bag and tightly seal.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- To bake, place dough in the refrigerator the night before to thaw. Roll out and bake as directed.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
Once the 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.
Yes. This step is crucial in achieving a Cut Out Sugar Cookie that holds its 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.
First, 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.
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.
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 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 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 lose the soft texture they are known for.
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.
Yes. If you do not let the cookies cool fully, the icing will melt off the cookie, and not set properly.
If using sprinkles or sanding sugar, place them onto the cut-out cookies right before baking.
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!
You can prepare the dough in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or you can freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months.
More Cookie Recipes
- Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Neiman Marcus Cookies
- Reindeer Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
If you enjoyed these Sugar Cookies I would love for you to leave a comment below and share your experience.
The BEST Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
- 1 ½ cups butter softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ 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 spped 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. 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 in well sealed storage bags in the freezer.)
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly dust cookie cutters with powdered sugar and cut dough as desired and place on cookie sheet.
- Re-roll scraps to cut more shapes.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes, when cookies look JUST set, not at all browned.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit on cookie sheet on a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes and then gently remove cookies from the 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 airtight 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 a 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.
This recipe was first published in November 2017 but was updated in November 2020 with more tips. The recipe remains the same.