Cut-out Sugar Cookies are THE cookie of winter! This Sugar Cookie Recipe is not only award-winning, but it is also the EASIEST you will ever use. Who doesn’t love baking and decorating these fabulous cookies with friends and family? No doubt, this is my favorite Christmas sugar cookie recipe of all time. It’s just plain delicious.
Sugar Cookie Recipe
When you pick a sugar cookie recipe for your decorating, it’s important to find a recipe that not only holds up well when baked but that tastes great.
This Sugar Cookie Recipe:
- Does not need to be refrigerated.
- Can re-roll dough with no issues.
- Creates sharp cut-outs that hold their shape.
It is practically a magic sugar cookie!
Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Icing
And not to be ignored, the best glaze icing recipe you will ever find paired with a sugar cookie. This recipe works the same as royal icing but tastes better (IMO) and pipes so beautifully, even for intricate design. When I started my baking blog back in 2009, this was the only recipe I used.
Why I love Glaze Icing for Sugar Cookies
- It pipes beautifully.
- It tastes amazing.
- It hardens, but not as hard as royal icing. It gets just firm enough to stack the cookies but you won’t break a tooth!
Sugar Cookie Recipe Troubleshooting
Here are a few tricks that I hope will help ensure you have PERFECT Sugar Cookies, every time!
- Use a strong, balanced recipe. I happen to know that the recipe below is perfect every time!
- Chill your dough. (If needed. The below recipe doesn’t.) If you run into your cookies spreading you can try this method: Roll out the dough, cut out shapes, then place on a cookie sheet. Then place the cutout cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. If you are doing lots of cookies its easy to just have them in a rotation.
- Calibrate your oven. I bought an oven thermometer at Target for under $5 and it has been fantastic. Sometimes cookies can spread if your oven temperature is too low.
- Bake on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Some people swear by silpat but I have found parchment works very well and is fairly inexpensive. Not having to grease your cookie sheet also means less potential spreading. Make sure your pans are LIGHT in color, not dark. The dark the pan the more heat is absorbed and the faster your cookies will brown on the bottom and sides.
- Use FRESH and a good quality baking powder and baking soda. Both are inexpensive even when you buy the best quality. If your baking soda is expired it can affect how your cookies rise or spread. I prefer double-acting baking powder, which is what is sold in most grocery stores.
Tips for Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Just a few reminders for best practices when making sugar cookies. 🙂
Sift Dry Ingredients – Sift dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and even cocoa powder to combine and aerate them helps make for fluffier cookies. To sift, simply combine your dry ingredients and pour them into a fine-mesh strainer. Tap or shake the strainer until everything’s in your bowl. (Feel free to throw away big or hard pieces.) You can also use a whisk in the dry ingredients for 30 seconds to fully combine.
Cream Butter and Sugar – Unlike stirring or mixing, creaming isn’t about combining ingredients, it’s about aerating them. Creaming creates air pockets that expand in the oven, making the dough tender. When you add sugar, that process is more effective. Sugar crystals are formed and the air is efficiently added to the butter and sugar mixture. Butter beats up fluffiest at room temperature, or when slightly softened.
Eggs – Eggs should be added at room temperature. They add moisture to the air pockets and flavor to the dough. To quickly warm eggs, place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. After the eggs have been added you should also add the vanilla extract or sometimes milk (also room temperature) if the recipe calls for it.
Colorful Sugar Cookie Dough
This sugar cookie dough can be whatever color you want! If you want to make one of those beautiful spiral Christmas cookies, just divide your cookie dough into 3 equal sections and tint one red, one green, and leave one. Roll out each layer flat and then stack on top of one another. Roll the layers into a log (like you would a cinnamon roll) and then slice and bake. So easy! (You may want to double the recipe below to make that cookie.)
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Add butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and cream on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, or until butter is smooth and lighter in color.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the sugar and the egg.
- Scrape the bowl with the mixer off.
- Turn mixer back on low and add in extracts.
- Allow all ingredients to combine fully.
- Add in the baking powder and then the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Remove bowl from mixer and drop dough onto a floured countertop. Roll out into a flat disc, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
- Cut out cookies in the desired shape and bake at 350°F for 6-8 minutes. (Keep an eye on them! You don’t want burnt edges and every oven is different.)
- Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.