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Whenever you make these cookies for someone, be sure to bring along several copies of the recipe! You will be asked for it, I promise! NOTE: I make icing with confectioners' sugar and milk. I make it fairly thin, as I 'paint' the icing on the cookies with a pastry brush. Thin enough to spread easily but not so thin that it just makes your cookies wet and runs off.

Recipe Summary

20 mins
6 mins
1 hr
1 hr 26 mins
60 cookies

Cookies are the perfect treat to make for any occasion. Celebrating a holiday? Bake cookies. Having a get-together? Bake cookies. Need snacks? Bake cookies. Holding a bake sale? Bake cookies. You get the picture. And of all the thousands of cookie recipes on Allrecipes, this is one of our best sugar cookie recipes, as rated and reviewed by our community of home cooks.

Using this recipe for The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies, you can roll out the sugar cookie dough, cut it into all sorts of shapes and sizes, and decorate the cookies to suit the occasion. So, let's dive in and see how to make sugar cookies from scratch following this recipe, with lots of tips and tricks along the way to ensure cookie-baking success.

Sugar Cookie Ingredients

Use unsalted butter that's just soft enough to be pliable, but not warm enough to be greasy. If you press your fingertip into the butter it should leave a slight indentation, but should not be soft and mushy.

Simply spoon white granulated sugar into your measuring cup and level it off with the flat edge of a knife, spatula, or bench scraper.

Use cool or room temperature large eggs.

Vanilla extract
For the best flavor, use real vanilla extract instead of imitation vanilla.

Use all-purpose flour. To measure flour, fluff it up with a spoon in the bag or container, then use the spoon to scoop it into the measuring cup and level it off. Don't pack the flour into the measuring cup or the ingredient ratio will be off and your cookies may turn out too dry and crumbly.

Baking powder
Baking powder is a leavening agent and helps the cookie dough rise while baking.

Use regular table salt for this recipe.

Tips and Techniques

Cream the butter and sugar
The first thing you'll do is beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (hand-held or stand mixer) until the mixture is light and fluffy. Depending on the mixer you use, this could take four to five minutes. Why do you cream butter and sugar in the first place? It's all about incorporating air into the mixture. The micro pockets of air you create by creaming cause the dough to rise as it bakes so your cookies will be light in texture instead of flat and dense. Cool (not cold) butter works best; butter that's too warm won't let you create the structure you need.

Add eggs and vanilla
After the butter and sugar are creamed, add the eggs and vanilla. Many home cooks like to add the eggs one at a time. You'll want the eggs and vanilla to be thoroughly mixed into the butter and sugar before adding the dry ingredients.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt
Measure these dry ingredients into a separate bowl, whisk them together thoroughly, then turn your mixer to a lower speed and stir the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Be sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl a couple of times so there are no streaks of flour in the dough.

Cover and chill the dough
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. This firms up the butter in the dough and helps prevent the cookies from spreading as they bake.

How to Make Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you turn on the oven, prep your baking sheets, and gather your cookie cutters. By the time you're ready to roll, the dough will be easier to handle. Dust your countertop and rolling pin with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough into an even thickness, about ¼ to ½ inch. Dip the sharp edge of your cookie cutter into flour and cut out shapes. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving an inch or more of space between the cutouts. This space allows the dough to spread slightly and the hot oven air to circulate around each cookie for even baking.

How to Bake Sugar Cookies

Good baking requires more than just popping something into the oven. For one thing, there's the temperature. Every oven heats differently. That's why we always recommend you use an oven thermometer to measure the real temperature before you start baking. And then there are the oven hot spots. To make sure your cookies (or any baked goods) bake evenly, its a good idea to rotate your pan halfway through the baking time.

These sugar cookies take only six to eight minutes to bake. You want them to be slightly browned around the edges but still light in color overall. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely; they'll firm up as they cool.

Note: Lining your baking sheet with parchment paper allows you to slide the cookies, paper and all, onto the rack so you don't have to touch the warm cookies and risk bending or breaking them if you tried to pry them off the sheet with a spatula. This is especially important if you're baking sugar cookie cutouts with intricate shapes. After the cookies cool for about 10 minutes, you can slide them off the parchment paper itself and reuse the paper for another batch of cookies. Be sure your baking sheet is completely cooled before loading it up again. You don't want to melt the cookies before they bake.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

The main thing to remember is to let the cookies cool completely before applying cookie icing or frosting so the heat from the cookies doesn't melt it off.

How to Store Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about three days before they start losing their freshness. If you've decorated your cookies with royal icing, which dries hard to the touch, you can stack the cookies. Cookies decorated with soft frosting should be stored in single layers, or with parchment paper or waxed paper between the layers if you have to stack them. You can freeze sugar cookies in airtight freezer bags for up to three months.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"These ARE the best! I didn't change the recipe at all. I didn't have any problems at all with the dough being sticky. It was the smoothest, most cooperative cookie dough I've ever worked with. I only chilled mine for 1 hour and worked with a quarter of the dough at a time. I keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it. The cookies turned out soft and moist...WONDERFUL," says Allrecipes home cook CRYSTALJJP.

"THESE SUGAR COOKIES ARE GREAT," says mom2PJnAM. "I highly recommend this recipe. I added 1 teaspoon of pure hazelnut extract (you can add any other flavor, such as lemon). I have a suggestion for those of you who have little counter space (since this recipe yields ALOT of dough). I would immediately roll out the dough in batches between sheets of waxed paper rather than chilling balls of dough overnight."

"This recipe cut nicely and retained its shape as long as the dough was chilled. I floured and rolled it between wax paper so as not to reflour and over flour," says home cook RUBINI.

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Editorial contributions by Vanessa Greaves


Original recipe yields 60 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll out dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until cookies are lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating.

Nutrition Facts

110 calories; protein 1.5g; carbohydrates 14.7g; fat 5g; cholesterol 24.6mg; sodium 92.6mg. Full Nutrition