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These thick, bakery-style soft cut out sugar cookies are a fun and festive addition to your Christmas cookie tray! Every mom (or grandma) should have an easy sugar cookie recipe that she can whip up in minutes with just a handful of simple ingredients. This is truly the best sugar cookie recipe ever! Cut out a batch and have fun decorating these sweet treats with your loved ones!

Cookie tin full of the best sugar cookie recipe
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Sugar Cookies | 2-Minute Video
  2. Why This is the Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
  3. How to Keep Sugar Cookies from Spreading in the Oven
  4. Ingredients You’ll Need for this Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
  5. How to Make Cut Out Sugar Cookies from Scratch
  6. How to Decorate Sugar Cookies
  7. Sugar Cookies Icing
  8. Preparation and Storage Tips
  9. Serving Suggestion
  10. Tips for the Best Frosted Sugar Cookies
  11. Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Recipe

Looking for even more Christmas cookies? Try these 3-ingredient Scottish shortbread cookies, a batch of soft gingerbread man cookies, and the classic peanut butter blossoms, too!

How to Make Sugar Cookies | 2-Minute Video

For years, I searched for an easy sugar cookie recipe that would yield perfectly thick, soft cut-out cookies that don’t spread in the oven. Ultimately, I adapted a recipe that I found in Country Woman magazine to create these bakery-style treats that are absolutely the best!

They’re easy to make ahead, they’re perfect for sharing with friends and neighbors, and they’re a kid-friendly treat that always delivers loads of holiday cheer. My boys love decorating these fun holiday shapes, largely because they’re a vehicle to pile-on as much icing, sprinkles and candy as possible. The classic sugar cookie recipe is a holiday tradition that you’ll want to save and enjoy for years to come!

Overhead shot of a tray full of frosted sugar cookies

Are sugar cookies supposed to be soft?

While some folks might prefer thin, crispy sugar cookies, we think that a perfect sugar cookie recipe should be firm enough to hold its shape without spreading in the oven, but also soft and supple with a tender crumb. When you sink your teeth into these cookies, you get a bit of chewy resistance and a flavorful explosion of butter, vanilla and a hint of almond extract.

Sugar cookie dough in a stand mixer

What thickness should sugar cookies be?

Thick, soft sugar cookies are the ultimate bakery-style treat! To ensure a thick, puffy, and soft baked cookie, you’ll roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. This is thicker than many cut-out cookie recipes, but it’s the best way to achieve that ideal texture.

Rolling out homemade sugar cookie dough

How to Keep Sugar Cookies from Spreading in the Oven

Here are a few of my best tips to prevent the cookies from spreading:

  • Roll First, Then Chill. I learned this process from America’s Test Kitchen, and it’s genius! Roll out the cookie dough before chilling, while it’s still soft. After the discs of dough have hardened and chilled, you can cut out the cookie shapes and bake them immediately. Rolling the soft dough is much easier than rolling a hard ball of chilled dough, and the cookies go into the oven while they’re still very cold and firm (thus preventing spreading).
  • Chill the dough. It’s very important that you chill the rolled dough for at least 1-2 hours before cutting. If you re-roll the scraps and cut out additional cookies, chill again just before baking to make sure that the dough is nice and cool.
  • Room Temperature Butter. If your butter is too warm, the dough will be sticky and difficult to roll. Leave your butter out overnight to make sure that it’s right at room temperature before making your dough.
  • Enough flour. The total amount of flour required for this dough can vary (often by the humidity in the house, the season, and the way that you scoop and measure the flour). If you don’t have enough flour in your dough, the cookies are more likely to spread. While rolling, add small amounts of additional flour, as necessary, to make sure that your dough doesn’t stick to your hands, parchment paper, or rolling pin.
  • Don’t Overmix. Whipping the wet ingredients too much or overmixing can add excessive air to the dough, causing the cookies to collapse and spread in the oven.
  • Line the Baking Sheets. Spraying the baking sheets with cooking spray or greasing with butter or lard creates a slippery surface that causes cookies to spread. Instead, line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats for “grip.”
  • Cool Baking Sheets. Never place cookie dough on warm baking sheets.
Process shot showing how to chill homemade easy sugar cookie recipe

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of soft cut out sugar cookies. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • All-purpose flour: the base of the dough.
  • Baking powder: the leavening agent that gives the cookies a little lift and puff.
  • Salt: to balance the sweetness and enhance the other ingredients.
  • Butter: I always use salted butter since that’s what I keep on hand, but you can use unsalted butter if you prefer. If using unsalted butter, you’ll need to add some extra salt to the dough.
  • Granulated sugar: for just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Eggs: give the dough structure.
  • Vanilla extract: for warm flavor.
  • Almond extract: optional, but highly recommended for that bakery-style flavor.
Process shot showing how to make sugar cookies

How to Make Cut Out Sugar Cookies from Scratch

This easy and delicious cookie dough comes together in just minutes! You’ll need to be patient while it chills in the fridge, but the end result is well worth the wait. Find the detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s a quick overview:

  • Mix Dough. Cream together the butter and sugar with a stand mixer or hand mixer; add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract; and finally mix in the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. The texture of the sugar cookie dough is very similar to Play-doh!
  • Roll Out. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Place each portion on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or on a silicone mat. Roll to ¼-inch thickness.
  • Chill. Stack the discs of dough on a baking sheet (separated by parchment), cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour (or until firm).
  • Cut Out Cookie Shapes. Once the discs of rolled out dough are nice and cold, use your favorite cookie cutters to create the desired shapes. Transfer the shapes onto lined baking sheets.
  • Bake. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are just starting to brown, but they’re still fairly soft in the center. They will firm up as they cool, so be careful not to overbake them or the cookies will become hard. Cool completely on a cooling rack before decorating.​​​​​​​
Baked cut out sugar cookies on a baking sheet

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

Frosted sugar cookies are the sweetest holiday treat! Set out an array of decorations and let your kids get busy. There’s no right or wrong way to do this!

I’ve included a simple recipe for a great cookie icing below, but you can also use frosting, store-bought tubes of icing, or a simple dusting of colored sugar or sprinkles. Outline the cookies with white icing or fill in the entire cookie for maximum sweetness — whatever you prefer.

Overhead image of soft sugar cookies decorated with frosting and served on a white plate

Sugar Cookies Icing

This basic cookie icing is just a classic combination of confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla extract and corn syrup (for shine). It typically firms up in about 30 minutes, but may take up to a few hours to set if you lay it on thick. Leave the icing white, or divide it between smaller bowls and tint it with food coloring. For detailed designs, place the icing in piping bags or Ziploc plastic bags (and snip off one corner).

More Fun Decorations

  • Red, white and green sprinkles are always an easy, festive touch and will stick nicely to your icing before it sets.
  • Red hot cinnamon candies make great buttons, ornaments, holly berries, or reindeer noses.
  • Mini chocolate chips create perfect little eyeballs on reindeer, Santa shapes, or gingerbread men.
  • Candy eyeballs are also a cute way to create a face.
  • Cut them into hearts, add red, pink, and white sprinkles, and offer them for valentine’s day.

When to Add Sprinkles

There are two ways to get sprinkles or colored decorating sugar to adhere to the cookies. If you’re icing the cookies, add the sprinkles or sugar while the icing is still wet. The icing will set and the sprinkles will be stuck to the cookie. If you’re not planning to frost the cookies, add the sugar or sprinkles to the cut-out cookie dough before baking (pressing gently to help the sprinkles adhere). The sugar will bake into the tops of the cookies and will stick when cooled.

Overhead image of cut out sugar cookies on a wire cooling rack

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Storage: Store the cut out sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the dough up to 1 day ahead, roll out the discs, and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough discs for up to 1 month. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight and then proceed with cutting and baking.
  • To bake the cookies in advance, allow them to cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw on the counter at room temperature before decorating.
  • How to Freeze: You can freeze the cookies after icing and decorating, too. Be aware, though, that the quality of the icing or decorations may not be quite as good when thawed. It can run, thin, or get smooshed.
Plate of cut out sugar cookies with hot cocoa in the background

Serving Suggestion

Set out a tray of cut out sugar cookies and offer a warm mug of hot chocolate, mulled cider, eggnog, or tea on the side. It’s the ultimate cozy fireside treat!

Dipping a cut out sugar cookie in a Santa mug full of hot chocolate

Tips for the Best Frosted Sugar Cookies

  • Almond Extract. I have a friend who is a professional sugar cookie baker. She decorates the most intricate, beautiful, personalized cookies and sells them for weddings, holidays, birthday parties, and more. Kelly adds a good amount of almond extract to her cookie dough and it gives them such a delicious, unique flavor — so I borrowed that idea! I like ½ teaspoon in this recipe, but you can cut it back to ¼ teaspoon if you prefer a more subtle taste. You can also omit the almond extract altogether and substitute with additional vanilla extract.
  • Keep the dough cold to prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven. Chill for at least 1 hour before cutting and baking, and then if you re-roll the scraps, chill again in the freezer or fridge for about 10 more minutes before baking.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. Watch for the cookies’ edges to just start to turn a slightly darker color. The insides of the cookies should still be soft when they come out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool, resulting in that great soft texture that we’re looking for. Overbaking the cookies will yield dry, hard or crunchy cookies.
  • Easy Decorating. I’ve provided a simple powdered sugar icing recipe that you can use for decorating the cookies; however, you can substitute with any cookie frosting or icing that you like. For more intricate designs, try a royal icing. If you want a thicker, richer frosting (but not as much detail in your designs), try a vanilla buttercream frosting. And for a convenient shortcut that’s easy for the kids to use, I like the different colored tubes of Betty Crocker Cookie Icing that you can purchase in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
Cookie tin full of cut out sugar cookies in Christmas shapes

More Christmas Cookies to Try

Close up square featured image of soft cut out sugar cookies

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

4.74 from 57 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 36 cookies (in various sizes and shapes)
Calories 94 kcal
The only sugar cookie recipe you'll ever need! These easy bakery-style treats are soft, thick and perfect for decorating.

Ingredients
  

Icing (Optional)

Instructions

  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine. Add vanilla extract and almond extract; mix until incorporated.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture; mix on low until a soft dough forms.
    Sugar cookie dough in a stand mixer
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Place each portion on a piece of lightly-floured parchment paper or a lightly-floured silicone mat. With a lightly-floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about ¼ -inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems sticky.
    Rolling out homemade sugar cookie dough
  • Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours (or overnight).
    Process shot showing how to chill homemade easy sugar cookie recipe
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Carefully remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into desired shapes. Arrange the shapes about 2-3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. You can re-roll the dough scraps to cut out additional cookies, but you will need to chill the cut-out dough on the baking sheets in the fridge or freezer for at least 10 minutes before baking. This will give the dough a chance to firm up again so that the cookies don’t spread in the oven.
    Process shot showing how to make sugar cookies
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or just until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
    Baked cut out sugar cookies on a baking sheet

To Prepare Icing (Optional):

  • Combine confectioners sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl and stir until combined. If icing is too thick, add more milk, about a teaspoon at a time, until the icing is thick but spreadable. If it’s too thin, gradually add more powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. Use gel food coloring to tint the frosting, if desired. Pipe or spread onto the cooled cookies and then allow the icing to firm up and set before packaging (this may take a couple of hours).
    Cookie tin full of the best sugar cookie recipe

Video

Notes

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
To Make Ahead:
Prepare the dough up to 1 day ahead, roll out the discs, and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough discs for up to 1 month. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight and then proceed with cutting and baking.
To bake the cookies in advance, allow them to cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw on the counter at room temperature before decorating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie (not including optional icing or decorations)Calories: 94kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 70mgPotassium: 26mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 131IUCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: Best Sugar Cookie Recipe, Cut Out Sugar Cookies, Easy Sugar Cookies
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Jane Hammer says:

    How much powder sugar in the icing???. it didn’t say unless u meant 2 cups. I make great xmas cookies and always willing to try a new soft cut out. Thanks, jane

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Jane! There’s a full recipe at the bottom of the post, which includes all of the specific measurements for the icing. It’s 3 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted. Enjoy! 🙂

      1. Jessica says:

        Hello! I was just wondering if the cookies are the ones in the picture 🙂 This is my first time making sugar cookies and I want them to look exactly like that

        1. Blair says:

          Hi, Jessica! Absolutely! Your cookies should look just like mine in the photos. Merry Christmas! 🙂

          1. Jessica says:

            Thank you! I’ll be trying the recipe right now!

          2. Blair says:

            Awesome. Hope you love them!

        2. Marissa says:

          Help? I made these and they taste like a mouth full of gritty salt! I followed the recipe, froze them, and baked the cut outs. There was still a bit of spreading, luckily I just made circles. Something about the salted butter AND large amount of salt is… yuck? Like the lingering flavor in my mouth is salt despite the sweet sugar icing! Any recommendations… like nixing the salt…

          1. Blair says:

            Hi, Marissa! That’s strange — I’ve never heard anyone complain that they’re salty or gritty. I’m wondering if maybe you used too much salt by accident? You can certainly play around with the measurements and see if you prefer them with less salt or with the unsalted butter, but then I would think they would be lacking flavor. Totally up to you, though!

          2. Dani says:

            5 stars
            These are delicious! I came across this recipe last year and used it for Christmas cookies.I got a new stove and had to play with the temp and time. I also roll them out on powdered sugar vs flour. Thank you for sharing!

          3. Blair says:

            So glad that you enjoy them, Dani! Thanks for your note!

          4. Kathy M. says:

            Pros:
            Limited ingredient list
            Easy or directions
            Flavor
            Not dry or crumbly
            Cons:
            Did NOT rise at all
            I followed the recipe to the T. Not sure what I can do differently, add MORE baking powder?

          5. The Seasoned Mom says:

            Sorry to hear this, Kathy. Was your baking powder fresh?

        3. Beth says:

          3 stars
          I just made this recipe and followed the directions to a tea. I also found the dough very salty. I did use salted butter which the recipe called for and I know that I measured 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I always taste the dough and I could barely get it down because it was so salty.

          1. Rae Lynn says:

            5 stars
            Loved these! Thank you so much! I’ve heard some saying they are salty but mine were PERFECT. Perhaps it’s the brand of salted butter they used and not all butter is created equal? Perhaps they can try unsalted butter? I used salted butter and also added the salt as recommended and they were perfect. Best recipe ever!!!! Thanks!!! Our family loves them too!!!

          2. Blair Lonergan says:

            Wonderful! Thanks, Rae Lynn!

      2. Catlap says:

        5 stars
        I made heart cookies and frosted them for Valentine’s Day. Every single recipient raved about them. These are sooooo delicious and simple to make. I just rolled out the dough for grandsons to make some this afternoon!

        1. Blair says:

          Yay! I’m so happy to hear that! They’re really great for any occasion. 🙂

      3. Isabel says:

        5 stars
        My go to recipe! But just wondering how long will they last in the fridge? I have a party coming up can I make them 5-6 days ahead ? And just leave them in the fridge ? Also Would it be better to put them in the fridge with no icing ? Or can I decorate and than store in the fridge ?

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hi, Isabel! I would freeze them undecorated, and then thaw them and ice them a day or two before you plan to serve them. That way you’ll know that they’re at their best!

      4. Rocio says:

        Can you add other flavorings to the dough? I was thinking of adding cider powder. Would that work?

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hi, Rocio! I think that would work fine. I’ve never heard of cider powder…I’m intrigued! 🙂

      5. Jennie says:

        2 stars
        Followed directions exactly. Very sticky, refrigerated over night. Tasted more like flour than a sugar cookie.

    2. Wendy-Lee says:

      It says 3 cups

    3. Rosa says:

      This is my new favorite sugar cookie goto recipe!! They are delicious.

    4. Tyler says:

      These are soooo powdery and the texture is way too dry for me. Followed the recipe exactly and am super disappointed.

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        I’m sorry they didn’t work for you, Tyler. It sounds like something went wrong along the way, because they definitely shouldn’t come out dry or powdery.

  2. Hope says:

    Looking forward to trying this! Have you had any luck doubling this recipe without any problems?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Hope! I haven’t doubled the recipe myself, but I think that should work fine. Enjoy!

  3. Shawna says:

    Do you use bleached or unbleached flour?

    1. Rosa says:

      5 stars
      This is my new favorite sugar cookie goto recipe!! They are delicious.

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        That’s so good to hear, Rosa. Thank you!

  4. Jessica says:

    5 stars
    These were the best sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted! The almond extract really adds flavor and the cookies stayed in shape perfectly while also being soft! I’ll use this recipe from now on.

    1. Blair says:

      Yay! So glad that you loved them, Jessica! Thanks for leaving a note to let me know. 🙂

      1. Stef says:

        Curious what size cookie cutter you use to get 36 cookies? I used a fairly small one(football that is 3.5” x 2”) and only got 20 cookies. They were rolled to 1/4”. The shape held great and they taste delicious; just made about half of what I was expecting :(.

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hi, Stef! I always use a variety of sizes — some larger and some very small (like the holly leaves).

  5. b scofield says:

    5 stars
    I’ve looked for years and tried many recipes.These are the best and easiest I’ve ever made. They really do stay soft inside.

    1. Blair says:

      That’s wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to come back here and let me know. 🙂

  6. Chelsea says:

    5 stars
    I have such a hard time with sugar cut out cookies and these were wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m beyond happy and their tasty too!!

    1. Blair says:

      So glad to hear that, Chelsea! Thank you for letting me know how much you enjoyed them. 🙂

  7. Alix says:

    Wanting to bake some valentines cookies with this recipe. Does the icing harden up well enough that you can stack the cookies? Also, does the icing recipe work with liquid food coloring?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Alix! Yes, as long as you don’t lay it on super-thick, the icing hardens nicely (it might take up to a few hours to set, but it will). The liquid food coloring will work, but it’s not as concentrated as gel coloring so you need more. If you’re adding more liquid to the icing, you may need to balance that out with additional powdered sugar to get it to the right consistency. Enjoy!

  8. Trisha L Monroe says:

    Good morning. I’m planning on. Making this recipe this morning. I was wondering about playing around with emulsions along with the vanilla? Have you ever tried adding this instead of the almond extract?
    Ty

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Trisha! No, I haven’t. Let me know if you give it a shot. Hope you enjoy the cookies!

  9. shawnica phillips says:

    5 stars
    Thank you My cookies came out wonderfully. I actually like this recipe better than the one I learned in school. Lol. I will upload the other pictures by 07/24/2021.

    1. Blair says:

      That’s so good to hear, Shawnica! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!

  10. marg says:

    oct 12m 2021 can i use shortening instead as i can not have butter

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Marg! Yes, I think the shortening will work. It will give the cookies a different flavor, but it should still be a 1:1 swap. Let me know if you give it a try, since I’ve never tested the recipe with anything other than butter. 🙂

  11. Ann Berumen says:

    I live at high altitude (5,000+ft) what changes would I need to make for these cookies?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Ann! I’m not that familiar with high altitude baking; however, I found this really helpful chart from King Arthur Flour, which outlines their recommendations: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/resources/high-altitude-baking

      I would start with those tips, such as increasing the temperature by 15-25°F, cooking for a shorter amount of time, etc. I hope that they work out for you, and maybe other readers at high altitude can offer suggestions as well!

  12. Stevie says:

    Hello! I’m excited to make these this year, but wondering if I use regular table salt or can I use the kosher salt I already have?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Stevie! I’ve always used table salt, but you can use kosher salt as well. I would use a bit more kosher salt, though, since table salt tends to be “saltier.” Hope that helps, and enjoy!

      1. Stevie says:

        Thank you so much! Happy Holidays!

  13. Leah says:

    Hi! Can’t wait to make these! Salted or unsalted butter?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Leah! Salted butter. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  14. Janine says:

    Hi! I’m trying this recipe tomorrow and was wondering about how many cookies does one batch make? I have average sized cookie cutters. I’m also in Mexico with loads of humidity so hopefully this does not cause any trouble. Thanks for your help!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Janine! I’m not sure how the humidity may or may not impact the cookies. If it’s like biscuit-making, you might need to add a little bit of extra flour to account for more moisture in the air. I would stick with the recipe as written, and then adjust if the dough feels too wet or sticky.

      I typically get about 3 dozen cookies in various sizes and shapes out of one batch. That includes some much smaller cookies, though. If you’re using a mid-size cutter for all of the cookies, you’ll like get fewer. Hope that helps, and enjoy the treats!

  15. Roger Ferguson says:

    What would happen if I added more sugar to make them sweeter? lol

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Roger! You can definitely give that a try! Granulated sugar will ultimately make the cookies more crisp, while brown sugar keeps them moist and soft. You might add a small amount of one or the other, see how you like it, and gradually work up from there.

  16. Charlotte says:

    I have a family member that is allergic to nuts. What would be a good substitute for the almond extract?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Charlotte! You can omit the almond extract and sub with additional vanilla extract. 🙂

      1. Brandy says:

        5 stars
        The perfect sugar cookie!

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Thank you, Brandy!

  17. Debbie says:

    5 stars
    Kuddos to you! My mom made the best ever sugar and date/nut filled cookies every Christmas without fail. She chilled the dough, and the next day cookies appeared. Her biggest challenge was keeping my brother and I out of the dough. I have been trying for 45 years to make a good sugar cookie. Always, always they spread and were so thin. I’ve said so many times this is the last time. Her recipie takes 6 -7 cups of flour, yours was a smaller recipie so I decided to try it. The chilling tips made a lot of sense. Success! I dug out my mom’s recipie and again success. I am beyond thrilled to have found your tips which no doubt has made a huge difference. Why my mom didn’t have difficulties I do not know. My cookie sheets stay in the fridge in between cutting to oven, rotating trays. Thank you so much for sharing your cookie skills.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      That’s amazing, Debbie! It makes me so happy to know that these ideas helped you successfully recreate your mom’s recipe. Have a merry Christmas!

  18. Kay says:

    Excited to see how these turn out, but is there any insight into why I had to almost double the amount of flour to get it to the right consistency? I didn’t stray from the recipe for any of the other measurements but after mixing in all the dry ingredients I was left with a very runny dough until I added almost another 2 cups of flour. Then it looked exactly like the picture! Still pushing forward anyway.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Kay! I’m not sure why you’d need quite that much extra flour. Sometimes you need to add extra if your environment is particularly humid, but other than that I don’t know. Hope they turned out well!

  19. Jessica says:

    5 stars
    These turned out great! I was out of almond extract so I subbed orange extract and it added a perfect subtle hint of orange.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Oooh…good idea, Jessica! I bet that was delicious. Lemon sugar cookies are also tasty! 🙂

    2. Babs says:

      5 stars
      Best cut out cookies ever! Tu sooo much

      1. The Seasoned Mom says:

        Thank you so much!

  20. Ashley L says:

    5 stars
    I made these for Christmas this year and this is now my favorite sugar cookie recipe. Recipe was easy to follow and came out perfectly and they really did stay perfectly moist and delicious. This has been added to my recipe box! Thanks!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      That’s great to hear, Ashley! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. Happy holidays! 🙂

  21. Amber says:

    5 stars
    These are absolutely delicious. I made these for our neighborhood Valentine’s Day party. They were a hit. I obviously had to double the recipe and had no issues. I also halfed the recipe and used a 1-to-1 gluten free baking mix and they were equally perfect. I also made them dairy free. If you’re making them dairy free I found they need to chill a bit longer than the minimum. But seriously, if you follow this recipe, you’ll have the best soft cookie. Thank you.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Amber! Great tips about the gluten-free and dairy-free options. So glad that they were a hit! 🙂

  22. Kira says:

    5 stars
    Used this recipe for Christmas cookies 2021, Valentine’s Day 2022, and again this weekend for Easter! For anyone who prefers unsalted butter like me, adding an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt levels it out 🙂

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Kira! I’m so glad that you like them!

  23. Beth says:

    5 stars
    This recipe produced the kind of sugar cookies that I’ve been seeking to make for YEARS! I’ve tried so many recipes! Thank you for sharing this one! I made 4th of July cookies today with buttercream frosting and they are a delight, if I do say so myself.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Oh, good! What a fun treat for the 4th of July. So glad that you like them, Beth! 🙂

      1. Lisa ball says:

        5 stars
        So excited to try these!

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hope you love them, Lisa!

  24. Cynthia Valdez says:

    1 star
    I was not able to retrieve the recipe from your website.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Cynthia! You can find the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post by scrolling to the end. You can also click on the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the post for quick access. Hope that helps!

  25. Agg says:

    How many cookies do this 1x ingredient list yield? Very confused on servings bc it says “3” on top of recipe and then below on the nutritional info, it says 1 serving is one cookie. But why would you give a recipe that yields only 3 cookies? Or 6 cookies for the 2x? Doesn’t make sense

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Sorry about that, Agg. It should say “3 dozen.” We updated the recipe cards site-wide last month, and the new cards cut off some of the info on the older recipes. You should get about 36 cookies out of this recipe, but that will vary depending on the size of the cookie cutters that you use. Hope you enjoy!

    2. Cindy says:

      5 stars
      Love the recipe worked out great never thought of putting the cookies back into the refrigerator but it works wonderfully thank you so much

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        So glad to hear it, Cindy. Thank you!

  26. Susan Trager says:

    4 stars
    I made these cookies. They tasted good and not too sweet. Mine were not really soft but they were not hard either I don’t know if they are supposed to be real soft I also was wondering how to get a perfect one fourth inch height so I looked up on a video. If you put the dough between two pieces of waxed paper and roll the dough you don’t need flour. To get the correct perfect height you use two dowel rods one on each side of the dough that are one fourth thickness and roll.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Great tip, Susan!

      1. Angela A Miller says:

        Hi Blair. I don’t know what I did wrong but I couldn’t roll out my dough. It was like mush. I ended up throwing it all a way. I followed the recipe like you said I just don’t know what happened. Hints please.

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hi, Angela! I wonder if maybe you accidentally mis-measured the flour and didn’t add enough? Or was your butter way too soft? I can’t think of any other reasons that the dough would have that texture. It’s not an issue I’ve ever run into.

  27. Susan Trager says:

    4 stars
    I made these cookies. They tasted good and not too sweet. Mine were not really soft but they were not hard either. I also was wondering how to get a perfect one fourth inch height so I looked up on a video. If you put the dough between two pieces of waxed paper and roll the dough you don’t need flour. To get the correct perfect height you use two dowel rods one on each side of the dough that are one fourth thickness and roll.

  28. Ali foley says:

    Love almond taste… do u add almond extract along with vanilla I assume or replace the vanilla with almond? And do u put the almond in both the cookie and icing? Tk u!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Ali! If you want a stronger almond flavor, I would add a little bit more almond extract in addition to the vanilla extract called for in the recipe.

      I don’t usually put the almond extract in the icing, but you absolutely can do that if you want. Just use small amounts, because a little goes a long way!

      1. Lindsay says:

        Can I use unsalted butter with this recipe?

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hi, Lindsay! Yes, you can. You’ll just need to add some extra salt to the dough. I’d try about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of additional salt.

  29. Regina says:

    5 stars
    I love this sugar cookie recipe. Very easy to make

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Regina!

  30. Jessica Mast says:

    5 stars
    Worked out perfect for Christmas cookies

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Wonderful! Happy holidays, Jessica!

  31. Andrea says:

    5 stars
    I usually kinda dread making cutout cookies but this is a great recipe and my go-to from now on! Love how easy the icing is too and how it dries so pretty. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Andrea! I totally agree! I just made another batch of these today, since they are one of the few cut-out cookies that I deem worth the effort. Thank you for your note, and merry Christmas!

  32. Jessica Popp says:

    5 stars
    These were amazing!!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Jessica!

      1. Nycole says:

        Can I leave out the almond extract? My daughter is allergic to almonds and dont want to risk it. I am looking for a sugar cookie recipe but all of them have almond extract

        1. Nycole says:

          Never mind just found it in you part about almond extract. LOL

          1. Blair Lonergan says:

            No problem, Nycole. Definitely omit the almond extract. They’ll still be great!

  33. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    First time making them! Came out amazing, my oven is different so I had to do 325 for only 4-5 mins & they were super soft. My son & I decorated them with icing, very time consuming but so worth it 🙂 … Thank you, will definitely be making this recipe again!!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Amanda! Happy holidays to you!

  34. Sydney says:

    5 stars
    Made these cookies and followed directions exactly. They came out so perfect! Super easy to cut out too!! Personal preference: is there a way I can make the cookies sweeter? I love sweet sweet cookies!!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Sydney! Add lots of icing! That’s what my kids would say. 🙂 You can play around with using more sugar, but I would test the recipe with a small amount added first, and then gradually increase with subsequent batches until they’re just how you like them. If you add too much sugar, you risk a brittle cookie (rather than soft), so just go slowly.

  35. LA says:

    5 stars
    So tasty and truly the softest sugar cookie recipe I’ve found! Thank you!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Yay! Thanks, LA!

  36. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    Best sugar cookies I have ever made! I added nutmeg to the dough. Delicious!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Amazing! Thanks, Michelle!

  37. Suzi George says:

    What if I don’t have ALMOND favoring ….what can I substitute?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      You can just omit that ingredient, or add a little bit more vanilla extract. Up to you!

  38. Katie says:

    Are there any changes for high altitude?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Katie! I’m definitely no expert at high altitude baking, so I haven’t been able to test this recipe that way. I would refer to this article for general tips on baking cookies at high altitudes: https://www.dougheyed.com/baking-cookies-at-high-altitude/

  39. Chelsea says:

    5 stars
    These were delicious. I’ve bookmarked this page.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Chelsea!

  40. Angela A Miller says:

    I followed the recipe exactly. My dough wouldn’t get firm. I ended up throwing the whole thing in the trash. Ugh this was my 1st time making them. I’m so disappointed.

    1. Samantha Darrough says:

      Hi Angela and happy holidays! Dont give up. Try again. I’m sure you will get them right!

  41. Deborah Hand says:

    5 stars
    These are the best cutout sugar cookies I have ever eaten I will be doing this every Christmas Valentine’s Day and whatever holiday that you can make sugar cookies

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Deborah! Merry Christmas!

  42. Samantha Darrough says:

    Hi Blair and Happy Holidays!! Sugar cookies are my most fa favorite cookie especially when their soft and chewy. I am trying your recipe for the first time and so far my dough has turned out good. I have it chilling now. Be back with an update of how they turned out!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hope they were a success, Samantha. Merry Christmas!

  43. Megan says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Soft, flavorful cookie. Keeps its shape and puffs up slightly. Fabulous with icing and sprinkles!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Megan!

  44. Aurora Fox says:

    5 stars
    Perfect recipe. Soft. Good flavor. Holds icing well. Absolutely delicious!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Aurora! Merry Christmas!

  45. Dee Tomeck says:

    5 stars
    We Love these cookies.. !

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Dee!

  46. Kelly says:

    5 stars
    So yummy! Turned out perfectly!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Kelly! We’re glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  47. Bethany says:

    5 stars
    Delicious. We had been using my great grandma’s cutout recipe for DECADES, and when I found this one, we replaced the old recipe with this one! It’s delicious and so easy. Thank you! Now I make cookies for every holiday, just for an excuse to eat them! lol

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Bethany!

  48. Tulsa Adams says:

    5 stars
    These came out perfect!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Amazing! We’re so happy to hear it, Tulsa!

  49. Amber m says:

    5 stars
    She’s not exaggerating when she says this is the perfect soft sugar cookie recipe. If you follow the directions exactly they’ll come out perfect. What I loved is that the cookie itself isn’t too sweet so that when you put the frosting on it’s not overpoweringly sweet. I omitted the almond extract and they still came out wonderful. I really appreciate the tips about freezing the cookies before and after baking because I was easily able to divide this project into 3 parts to do whenever it was easy for you. You totally don’t have to do this start to finish in one day. When you roll it out the first time you may not think it’ll make enough cookies but trust me they will! As you roll it out again and again you’ll have a healthy amount of cookies you’ll be able to share with friends. I’ll have to save this to make it every year. I won’t do any other recipe.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Wow! Thank you so much, Amber!

  50. Kathleen says:

    Hello! I have a question about how you flooded your candy cane cookie. How much time did you need between flooding the red and white? I imagine one was done before the other to create the definition and distinction between colors but if you did them wet on wet, that’s helpful to know!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Kathleen! I did them both separately, but I didn’t wait too long in between each application (just long enough to switch colors). I find that “framing” each section with an outline of the color before “flooding” the inside keeps everything in its proper place. I did not put one color on top of the other, though — I just applied them side-by-side. I hope that makes sense! 🙂

  51. mikaela says:

    5 stars
    i’ve finally found my sugar cookie recipe!!! i love soft cookies, and i timed it for 10minutes like the recipe called for. the edges were brown when i took it out to rest, but the middle wasn’t as soft as i expected. i will have to watch the cookies bake next time and take it out even if the edges aren’t brown to rest. i will have to rely on my instincts on this one, but such a delicious cookie. it’s such an easy recipe to boot! thanks.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Yay! So glad to hear that, Mikaela!❤️

  52. Lucia says:

    I haven’t tried these yet because I planned on storing them. The thing is that I was wondering if the icing will harden and if it’s ok to stack them on top of each other but I didn’t know because I don’t know how the icing is yet and didn’t want to be disappointed that the icing/ decoration comes off.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Lucia! Yes, the icing will harden once it has time to set. That said, there’s always the chance that they get a little bit damaged when frozen. If you want them to look perfect, I would suggest freezing them without icing and then waiting to decorate them until they’re thawed. If you choose to decorate them before freezing, just package them really carefully with parchment or wax paper in between each layer. Hope you enjoy!

  53. Anne says:

    Can I just chill the cut out pieces rather than the discs to use most of the dough? Anyone tried that?

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      That should work, Anne! Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try.

  54. Mary Annand says:

    Absolutely delicious, the grandchildren were beyond thrilled.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so happy to hear this, Mary! Thank you for trying it out.

  55. L.Pearson says:

    5 stars
    So, I just made a double batch of these cookies and they are a dream to work with. Not only is the cookie delicious enough to hold up on its own without any decorations at all but the dough rolls and bakes like a dream. I am glad to see you encouraged people to chill the dough both before and after rolling. That is what makes the difference in keeping the shapes crisp and stops the spreading in the oven. One other piece I’d like to mention is when using cookie cutters, never twist the cutters when pressing. This can cause them to rise awkwardly as they bake and make your cutouts misshapen. Don’t know where I learned it but it definitely works for me.
    I also love that you can double or triple the recipe and it does all the conversions for you. Thank you so much for this recipe. I will be making these a part of my Christmas cookie gift baskets from now on. Happy Baking!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for such thorough feedback! We’re so happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipe. That’s very kind of you to give gift baskets!

  56. Patricia Faulkner says:

    Can I use self rising flour for the sugar cookie recipe?

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Hi Patricia! We haven’t tested this recipe with self-rising flour but think it would turn out okay. Just remember that self-rising flour already includes the salt and leavener.

  57. Ashley Gonzalez says:

    My dough came out wayyy too soft and sticky. Dough stuck completely to the cookie cutters. I feel like the measurements are off. Maybe she used measuring cups vs weighing out the flour. Measuring the flour give you a bit more than when you weigh it accurately.

  58. Marsha White says:

    5 stars
    The best tasting sugar cookie I’ve made in a long time! Perfect for decorating but so good without icing. I didn’t have almond extract so I just used extra vanilla.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Marsha! We’re so glad you enjoyed it.

  59. Dora says:

    5 stars
    Love em so much they are the best

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Dora!

  60. Patricia Burke says:

    I made this recipe tonight and was very disappointed. The cookies came out hard not soft and chewy. I used high grade ingredients and doubled the batch. Needless to say it turned out to be a waste

  61. Jeanette Conner says:

    5 stars
    These are easy to make. They taste wonderful. The shapes remained consistent throughout the baking process. Wilton sells a premade icing. I used that because I’m baking with my 2 yr old grandson. Short attention span!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Sounds like a lovely day! We’re so glad you’re enjoying the recipe.

  62. Rita says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made these twice and they are so good! They bake up perfectly and don’t spread. The flavor is wonderful, delicious, sweet but not too sweet. I didn’t have almond flavoring and I’m not a fan of it so just omitted it. Perhaps next time I’ll add the 1/4 tsp. just to try it. I’m so thankful I found this recipe. I’ve tried many recipes for sugar cookies and I believe this will be my “go to” recipe. Thank you for sharing. Just finished baking a batch today, rolled them fairly thick and I still got 45 cookies out of one batch of dough and they weren’t small cookies.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for such kind feedback, Rita! We’re so happy to hear you are enjoying the recipe!

  63. Laura Mallalieu Parody says:

    1 star
    The dough was super soft, but the cookies are somehow not

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re sorry they didn’t turn out for you! The most common reason for them to turn out hard is overbaking. We’re happy to help troubleshoot if you ever want to try them out again!

  64. Barbara H says:

    5 stars
    I have finally found my go to sugar cookie recipe! This was perfect and everyone loved them for the cookie decorating party I had a couple weeks ago! Icing was delicious as well. For the cookies, I did not add any salt. That was before reading some of the comments, I just do not like adding salt to my cookies as I can always taste it in the dough. Thank you for the best recipe!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Barbara! We’re so glad you enjoyed them!

  65. William Levergood says:

    Great ery easy

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, William!

  66. Hailey says:

    5 stars
    One of the best sugar cookie recipes I have tried!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Hailey!

  67. Megan says:

    5 stars
    I always like to make sugar cookies since it’s tradition for my family, but don’t usually love eating them. This is the best recipe I’ve tried so far and I’ll be doing them again next year! We didn’t have salted butter so I used unsalted instead and just did a smidge more salt than the recipe called for. They were easy to roll and I refrigerated the dough overnight – they were perfect to cut out the next morning.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Megan! Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback.

  68. Morgan says:

    5 stars
    Turned out great! Made with gluten free flour! Thanks! Loved the icing recipe too!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Morgan!

  69. Mara says:

    5 stars
    I have made these twice and I cannot stop eating them they are so good!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Mara! We have to agree they are pretty addicting.

  70. L Brinkman says:

    I want to frost with my grandkids who live an hour away. How long ahead can I make this frosting and does it need to be refrigerated. Thank you!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      You should be able to store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days! You’ll just need to warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave as it tends to harden. You could also just use a store-bought icing! We hope you enjoy.

  71. Elizabeth Henry says:

    5 stars
    I made some heart shaped sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day coming up and the kids loved them!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      That sounds perfect, Elizabeth. Glad that the kiddos approved!

  72. Kathleen says:

    5 stars
    This is my go to recipe for iced sugar cookies!!! It is a dream dough. I have to omit the almond for the first time since someone I’m gifting to is allergic. Will 1.5 tsp of vanilla bean paste be overpowering or is it okay to have the extra paste in lieu of the almond?

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so happy to hear this, Kathleen! We recommend swapping the almond extract 1:1 with vanilla extract or omitting it completely. Hope this helps!

  73. Rita says:

    5 stars
    I’ve had a family recipe for most of my life but was never very thrilled with it. I found this one in searching in 2023 and I love it! I’m not an almond fan so I do leave that out (I will try it with, next time, just to compare.). I do use homemade vanilla and these are awesome! Soft, chewy and delicious. My husband likes a crisper cookie so I just roll some dough thinner for him. He really likes these too! Big hit and this recipe has become the new “family” recipe. Baking cookies with my mom is one of my fondest memories and makes me feel close to her. Try this recipe and you won’t be disappointed.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for such a kind review, Rita! We’re so glad you found the recipe and are able to make it work for your preferences. We can’t wait to hear what you think of it with almonds!