These sugar cookies are perfectly soft, thick, and tender. This recipe is so easy to make and produces a ridiculously delicious buttery cookie that you will want to make year-round, not just for the holidays!
Everyone needs an easy Sugar Cookie recipe. Whether you are planning a cookie-making party for the holidays or are whipping up a batch for a birthday or special occasion, you need a sugar cookie recipe that you can count on. And these cookies are that recipe!
These sugar cookies are melt-in-your-mouth tender and are my go-to cookie when I need a buttery soft-cut-out cookie. Not only do they taste AMAZING, but they also keep their shape, and are perfect for eating plain or decorated! And they stay soft for days, so they are the perfect make ahead, especially during the hectic time of the holidays!
sugar cookie ingredients
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- unsalted butter
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
Unsalted butter: I like to use unsalted butter in this recipe, however; if you only have salted on hand omit the extra salt.
Vanilla extract: This recipe calls for vanilla but feel free to swap out with almond extract if you’d prefer!
how to make sugar cookies
STEP ONE: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
STEP TWO: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined. Do not over mix. Divide dough into 2 equal parts, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
STEP THREE: Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
STEP FOUR: Remove dough from plastic wrap and roll out. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue until all dough is used. Follow same method with 2nd piece of dough.
STEP FIVE: Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy plain or decorate with my icing! Enjoy.
for sugar cookies:
how to store
Store any leftover cookies, plain or decorated, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you wish to store longer, cover and refrigerate up to 10 days.
how to freeze these sugar cookies
Baked plain cookies: Plain sugar cookies freeze well to up 3 months.
Baked iced cookies: Prior to packaging, allow icing to completely set. Place a sheet of parchment paper between each layer in a freezer-friendly container.
When ready to enjoy, allow cookies to thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature prior to consuming.
Unbaked cookie dough: Cookie dough freezes well up to 3 months. When ready to bake off, thaw sugar cookie dough discs in the refrigerator overnight. Then bring dough to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out dough and then place back into the refrigerator for 45 minutes prior to cutting and baking.
how do i get thick sugar cookies?
These sugar cookies remain soft because they’re rolled out fairly thick. I recommend rolling out the dough to about ¼ thick or just slightly under. This width will give you an extra thick, tender, soft cookie: perfect for icing!
do i really need to chill this sugar cookie dough?
Yes, you do. Chilling the dough allows the butter to solidify which keeps the cookie from spreading while baking.
should sugar cookies be soft out of the oven?
The cookies should be removed from the oven just when they are starting to get brown around the edges. They will be tender yet firm. Leave them on the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes which allows them to continue to cook and firm up. After 5 minutes transfer to the cooling rack. Once on the rack, the cookies will stop cooking and will begin to cool which will produce a tender cookie with slightly crisp edges.
can i tint the frosting?
Sure can! Add 10 drops of green or red food coloring for a festive Christmas touch or any color you choose depending on the holiday or occasion!
bbq bakes tips and tricks
- Be sure to let the sugar cookies cool completely before frosting them or it will melt.
- Measure the flour by fluffing it with a fork or spoon, spoon the flour into a measuring cup (don’t pack down), level with knife and then add to recipe.
- Change the colors and sprinkles on the frosting to match any occasion!
- You can mix in a stand mixer or use a hand mixer.
- Be sure to soften your butter at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before creaming. You want the butter soft and cool, not melted and warm.
- Be sure to use a room temperature egg so it quickly and evenly mixes into the cookie dough.
- Instead of the vanilla extract, try using 1 teaspoon of almond extract, maple extract, coconut extract, lemon extract, or peppermint extract.
These sweet and tender Sugar Cookies will quickly become everyone’s favorite cookie! Easy to make and decorated with colorful frosting and sprinkles!
other easy cookies to try
- 2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup for rolling and work surface
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter 1½ sticks, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- see notes for icing instructions
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the ¾ cup butter and ¾ cup granulated sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the 1 large egg and 2 tsp vanilla. Beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Whisk the 2 cups flour, ½ tsp baking powder, and ¼ tsp salt together in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be relatively soft. If the dough seems too soft and sticky for rolling, add 1 tbsp of flour.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Cover with plastic wrap or environmentally friendly alternative pat into discs, then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Carefully remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator. If it’s sticking to the bottom, run your hand under it to help remove it– see me do this in the video above. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough. (Note: It doesn’t seem like a lot of dough, but you get a lot of cookies from the dough scraps you re-roll.)
- Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges (it doesn't take long so keep an eye on them). If your oven has hot spots, rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough, then chill rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
- Room Temperature: Room temperature butter is important. If the dough is too sticky, your butter may have been too soft. Room temperature butter makes a slight imprint but does not break. Room temperature egg is preferred so it’s quickly and evenly mixed into the cookie dough.
- See this post for icing details and recipe.