Easy Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe (for Cut-Out Cookies)

Soft, thick sugar cookies that are easy to roll out, hold their shape and taste like a dream! Use your favorite cookie cutters for any holiday (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Hanukkah, Easter). I've included my favorite Vanilla Glaze Recipe below for easy reference! This dough is perfect for make-ahead and can be easily stored in fridge or freezer (long term). See Notes below recipe!
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So many things to swoon about these Easy Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe for Cut-Out Cookies! These soft sugar cookies have a texture that is melt-in-your-mouth soft and perfect. The flavor is buttery, sugary vanilla goodness.

This is a streamlined version of the sugar cookie recipe in The Cookie Book and has been my go-to recipe for years!!

So let’s get right to these easy sugar cookies…

A bunch of sugar cookies on a white surface, some with pink frosting and others with white frosting.

Why You Should Bake The Best Sugar Cookies STAT!

  • This easy sugar cookie recipe uses just eight baking staple ingredients
  • She’s a one-bowl dream (I LOVE a no-fuss recipe!)
  • The cookie dough needs just a short 15 minute chill before rolling and then another short chill before baking to ensure nice, crisp lines
  • This recipe is PERFECT for any holiday cut-out cookies, including Christmas cookies, Valentine’s Day cookies, Easter cookies or anytime (look at these cute photos!)
  • The consistency of this dough feels like play dough, it’s so fun to work with
  • Cookie dough freezes like a dream if you need to make it ahead of time (see Notes below recipe in recipe card)
Sugar cookies with vanilla icing and without.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Make 
Perfect Homemade Sugar Cookies

  • Really Cream Your Butter and Sugar. This adds some air to the cookie dough and ensures your cookies will have the perfect texture.
  • Chill the Dough. Chilling the dough both before rolling out the dough and before baking makes rolling the cookies a breeze and that the cookies hold their shape while baking.
  • Use Your Freezer. If at any point your dough starts to feel sticky, just pop it back in the fridge or freezer for 3 to 5 minutes. I like to think of my fridge as extra equipment when baking, it can do so many things to help us!
  • Make Sure Ingredients are Room Temperature. The butter and egg all need to be room temperature for best results. Cold ingredients won’t yield the perfect cookie texture.
  • Follow My Tips for Rolling Cookie Dough. I have you roll the dough between two pieces of parchment with, ideally, a Silpat beneath to keep your dough steady while you roll. Chill the dough if it starts to become too sticky. And if once rolled you have a hard time peeling off the parchment, just pop it in the fridge or freezer for 5 minutes and it should easily peel off.
  • Dip Cookie Cutters in Flour. This will ensure that the dough doesn’t stick to your cutters and you get nice clean, sharp edges.
Sugar cookie ingredients in glass bowls on a white surface.
STEP ONE: Gather your ingredients: butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, salt, baking powder and flour.
Butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
STEP TWO: Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until soft, light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Recipe can be made with or without a mixer.
Creamed butter and sugar in a glass bowl with an egg that isn't mixed in.
STEP THREE: Mix in the egg until well blended.
Baking powder and salt on top of cookie dough.
STEP FOUR: Mix in the salt and baking powder until thoroughly combined.
Flour about to be mixed into cookie dough.
STEP FIVE: Mix in the flour until *just* combined.
The perfect sugar cookie dough consistency.
STEP FIVE: It should look like this!
Cookie dough on top of plastic wrap.
STEP SIX: Dump onto plastic wrap, wrap tightly and stash in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Cookie dough wrapped in plastic on a white surface.
STEP SIX: This is what it will look like. I will massage out any bubbles or cracks in the dough before placing in the fridge. It should feel soft, but not loose. At this point your could store the wrapped dough in an airtight container and freeze for several months until ready to use.

This is how I roll my sugar cookie dough and I find it works really well. If you like to just use a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin and not fuss with parchment or Silpats (or other silicon mat), have at it!

If you happen to have parchment and a Silpat, I’d love for you to give my cookie rolling process a try! It makes rolling and handling the dough such a breeze.

A piece of parchment on top of a Silpat.
STEP ONE: Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper; if you have a Silpat, place it underneath.
Cookie dough on top of parchment paper.
STEP TWO: Set your dough on top and…
A piece of parchment and a pink rolling pin.
STEP TWO: Cover with another layer of parchment that’s been lightly dusted in flour.
Cookie dough that's been rolled out between two layers of parchment paper.
STEP THREE: Roll out your dough between the two layers of parchment. After each roll, give the dough a quarter two and check frequently to make sure the dough isn’t sticking. Add flour, sparingly, if it is. Additionally, if it gets too soft or sticky, pop it back in the fridge or freezer to firm it up a bit.
The perfect thickness for thick soft sugar cookies is shown.
STEP THREE: This is the thickness I go for…I like my sugar cookies thick (they’re softer this way).
Lots of round cut outs of sugar cookie dough.
STEP FOUR: I used a round cookie cutter, but you can use any cookie cutter you’d like. Dip your cookie cutters in flour before pressing into the dough.
Unbaked sugar cookie dough on parchment paper.
STEP FIVE: Place the cut-out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and transfer the unbaked cookies to the freezer (or fridge) to chill for 15 minutes.
Baked sugar cookies on a white surface.
STEP SIX: Here are your sugar cookies! When done they’ll be soft, appear a wee bit underbaked (they’ll finish baking on the baking sheet) and barely bronze along the bottom.
Sugar cookies, sprinkles and vanilla icing on a white surface.
STEP SEVEN: Decorate your sugar cookies! I made two batches of my Vanilla Glaze (using the Sugar Cookie Variation that’s noted on this post, as well as the Glaze post); one batch is pink icing, the other is white. I linked my round cookie cutters, offset spatula and sprinkles below!
White crinkled parchment paper with a bunch of sugar cookies with sprinkles on top.I

I made a slight adaption to my favorite Vanilla Glaze Recipe for these cookies. Here’s the recipe:

I use artificial vanilla extract because it will impart a touch of flavor without changing the color of the icing sugar. Use sparingly, as the flavor is quite strong (I think).

For the soft pink sugar cookie icing sugar I used 2 tiny drops of AmeriColor Soft Gel Deep Pink (214).

I added no coloring to keep it bright white. The confectioners’ sugar (also called powdered sugar, 10x and icing sugar) can have a huge impact on what the icing looks like.

I always use C&H Confectioners’ Sugar. My least favorite is Trader Joe’s as it leaves a yellow-ish hue.

The Baker’s Guide to Measuring Flour

One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes in baking is how we measure flour. If you find yourself without a scale, see my top tips on how to properly measure flour for the perfect amount every time!

Best Baking Tools for The Ultimate Sugar Cookies

Electric Stand Mixer, I prefer the Artisan to the Professional. And while a mixer isn’t necessary for these cookies, I love it to cream the butter and sugar together!

Or Breville Handheld Mixer, this one has a bunch of speeds, dough hooks, whisks. I was never a fan of handhelds until I got this one!

whisk for the glaze and a silicon spatula for creaming the butter and sugar (if you aren’t using a mixer).

My trusty scale for precision.

These heat-safe nesting glass bowls for mixing the cookie dough and vanilla icing.

For more fun shopping, check out my Shop (aka my favorite things!).

These Williams-Sonoma Dessert Sprinkles are my go-to sprinkles for cakes, cookies and basically anything I can throw sprinkles on

Williams-Sonoma Offset Spatula (LOVE THIS!)

I love these Birthday Cake Confetti Sprinkles

AmeriColor Soft Gel Deep Pink (214) for the softest pink frosting

This round Cookie Cutter Set is great for cookies or biscuits

A Silpat underneath the parchment paper while you roll cookie dough is one of my favorite techniques. Not only does it make rolling the dough a breeze, but it makes it so that if the dough gets too soft, it’s easy to transfer to a baking sheet and pop in the fridge to firm up a bit. LOVE.

If I’ve left anything out that you see in the photos or video, please leave a note in the Comment Section below!

I love cookies is the great American understatement!

I consider sugar cookies recipe a classic cookie recipe that everyone should have, and I think the same of these favorite cookies: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate French Macarons, One-Bowl Classic Snickerdoodles and Crispy Chocolate Orange Meringues.

You can find more of my cookie recipes in my best-selling cookbook, The Cookie Book!

Enjoy the best sugar cookie recipe!

Rebecca Firth

Easy Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe (for Cut-Out Cookies)

Soft, thick sugar cookies that are easy to roll out, hold their shape and taste like a dream! Use your favorite cookie cutters for any holiday (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Hanukkah, Easter). I've included my favorite Vanilla Glaze Recipe below for easy reference! This dough is perfect for make-ahead and can be easily stored in fridge or freezer (long term). See Notes below recipe!
5 from 4 reviews
Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Chill Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Keyword: Sugar Cookies, Cut Out Cookies, Holiday Cookies, Soft, Baking, Dessert
Servings: 24 Cookies

Ingredients

For the Cookie Dough

  • 12 tablespoons (169 g) unsalted butter (room temperature and cut into 12 pieces)
  • 2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 ¼ cup (304 g) all purpose flour (plus more for rolling out the cookies (how to measure flour))

For the Vanilla Icing

Instructions

To Make the Cookie Dough

  • To make the cookies, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and mix on medium until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add in the egg, mixing for 3 minutes more.
  • Add in the salt and baking powder and mix for 1 minute more, again scrape the sides of the bowl. Add in the flour and mix on low speed until to the dough just comes together.
  • Set the dough on top of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap tightly and stash in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and cover several baking sheets with parchment paper.

To Roll the Cookie Dough

  • Take the dough out of the fridge and let the cookie dough sit for 10 minutes or longer to soften. Place the dough between two lightly floured layers of parchment. If you have a silicone baking mat, place it underneath the parchment to keep it from sliding on the counter. You’ll know the dough is soft enough to roll when it doesn’t crack and resist being rolled out. As you're rolling out the dough, check periodically to make sure the dough isn't sticking, add more flour (lightly) accordingly.
  • Roll the dough to ¼- to ½-inch (0.5- to 1.3-cm) thickness. If I’m using a round cutter, I go for thicker cookies. If I’m using detailed cookie cutters, I will roll the dough on the thinner side. When rolling the dough, it is important to roll the dough and then give it a quarter turn and roll again. Repeat until you get the desired thickness, adding more flour as you go to keep the dough from sticking.
    The thicker the dough, the softer the cookie. Conversely, the thinner the cookie dough is rolled, the crisper the cookie will be.
  • Sprinkle a small bit of flour over the top of the dough and dip your cookie cutter (I use a 2-inch [5-cm] round cutter) in flour. Press as many shapes as possible on the dough. Place the cookies on the parchment covered baking sheet, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) between cookies—they won’t spread much. Repeat with the other disc of dough, re-rolling dough and cutting cookies until the dough is gone. Ideally only re-roll the dough once; any more than that could yield a tough cookie.
  • Place the cookies in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes and then take them directly from the freezer to the middle rack of the oven and bake one sheet at a time for 8 to 9 minutes. It’s crucial not to overbake these. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer them to a rack to finish wire cooling.
    Cool completely before adding any icing, glaze or frosting.

For the Cookie Icing

  • Make 1 batch Easy Vanilla Glaze using 3 tablespoons (60 g) heavy whipping cream (do not use milk). Use artificial vanilla extract if you'd like a bright glaze with no color imparted on the cookie; see full notes on the Vanilla Glaze Recipe post.
    Smear the frosting over the cut-out sugar cookies. The frosting will set after several hours. The icing will remain soft but set.

Notes

Notes

Mixer vs Your Arms

I mention an electric stand mixer in the instruction.
 
However, this perfect sugar cookie recipe is definitely a recipe that can easily be made with a large mixing bowl and spatula. Make sure you really cream your butter and sugar so that you get that awesome light cookie texture.
 
Additionally, you can use a hand mixer if you have one handy!

Texture

We’re going to take these cut-out sugar cookies out of the oven when they are *just* done. You have to leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes for them to set to the perfect texture. Trust me!

Cookie Variations

Add vanilla beans (or vanilla bean paste) to the dough for a mega vanilla experience (which you know I love. This is PERFECT with the vanilla glaze (use real vanilla bean). I think I might make this cookie have it’s own blog post it’s so good!
Add lemon zest (or any citrus zest) to the dough.
You could also replace the vanilla extract with almond extract 1:1.
These are also delicious with a wee bit of spice added to them (think small bits of cinnamon and nutmeg with a brown butter glaze. Swoon). There is a Brown Butter Rum Glaze in The Cake Book that would be so good with these!

Cookie Quantity

How many cookies this recipe yields depends on the size of your cookie cutters and how thin (or thick) you roll your dough. 

Cookie Storage

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. If you added the Vanilla Icing recipe listed above, store in a single layer until the frosting/icing is set.
 
For long-term storage wrap the entire lump of cookie dough tightly (in plastic wrap, ideally) and then stash in an air-tight container.
 
Defrost the dough in the fridge overnight and then set on the counter to come closer to room temperature before rolling out your dough.
 
These are my favorite sugar cookies, I hope you love them!
 
 
Thanks for baking with me! Please rate + comment this recipe and tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

Comments

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

I love your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot, I look forward to chatting with you!

Rebecca xox

Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  • Lani Faulkner March 27, 2024 at 12:32 PM

    Hello! Thank you for the recipe! Would I be able to bag the frosted cookies in a cellophane bag without the frosting smearing? I read that it “sets” but not sure if that means if it’s possible to place in a bag?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth March 27, 2024 at 1:24 PM

      Hi Lani! If it’s not mega thick and allowed to set, you could stack. I would still be super gentle with them. The outer surface of the frosting will set, but it will still be soft inside.

      After the cookies in the photos sat out for several hours, I stacked them on a cake pedestal and covered them. They looked pretty and tasted delicious for several days.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!
      R xo

      Reply
  • Kyle March 14, 2024 at 5:15 PM

    Do I have to use a stand mixer? Or can I just whisk it?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth March 14, 2024 at 7:51 PM

      You can absolutely use a bowl and a spatula; you do not need to use a mixer.

      Just make sure you really cream the butter and sugar for the perfect cookie texture. Let me know if you have any other questions! xo

      Reply
  • Morgan March 4, 2024 at 8:18 AM

    5 stars
    These are soooo cute!!! I love the photos i can’t wait to make them.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth March 4, 2024 at 9:07 AM

      Thank you Morgan!! You will love them!! xoxo

      Reply
  • jessie sheehan March 3, 2024 at 9:04 AM

    5 stars
    Love the photos!!!!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth March 3, 2024 at 9:10 AM

      Thanks Jessie!!! I had so much fun photographing them!!!! xox

      Reply