There’s something classically comforting about old-fashioned roll-out sugar cookies.
The only problem? So many recipes are bland, doughy, or just not worth the effort. This recipe uses a higher baking temp and a bit more salt than most to solve those problems while still using basic ingredients.
Crisp on the edges and soft in the center, they’re the perfect canvas for decoration or a simple sprinking of colored sugar. A classic cookie recipe every baker should master ❤️.
- Rolling Pin
- Cookie cutters
For the Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs large
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup whole milk or half and half
Crisp-Setting Buttercream Icing
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ cup shortening such as Crisco
- 1-2 tablespoons cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring, such as almond or lemon, based on your preference
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- food coloring optional
- Wet ingredients and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next.Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add milk and dry ingredients to butter mixture. Begin by adding about a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until incorporated.Pour in half of the milk or half and half and mix until blended.Continue with another third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the milk, and finish with the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until a soft dough forms, being careful not to overmix.
- Chill the dough. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results. This will make the dough easier to handle and roll out.
- Roll out. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to about ¼-inch thickness. Be sure to flour the surface, the top of your dough, and your rolling pin.
- Cut. Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut out shapes and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie.
- Bake. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don't over-bake. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Frost. Combine all frosting ingredients with a hand mixer, adding more milk or powdered sugar as needed. Decorate cooled cookies, adding sprinkles before icing sets.
A few notes about tools and ingredients
- Unsalted Butter: The star of the show! It provides the cookies with their rich, creamy flavor. Always use softened butter for that perfect texture. You can use salted butter. However, if you do, consider reduce the additional salt in the recipe to balance the flavors.
- Whole Milk or Half and Half: This enriches the dough, ensuring your cookies are soft and luscious.
- Shortening For The Icing: This particular icing will give your cookies a polished look without the excessive hardness of royal icing. If you don’t mind a softer icing, you can use all butter.
- Rolling Pin: To achieve an even thickness when rolling out your cookie dough.
- Quality Cookie Cutters: They make clean cuts and come in various shapes for festive occasions.
- Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mats: They ensure the cookies don’t stick and provide an even baking surface.
- Hand Mixer: Essential for creaming and mixing ingredients smoothly.
- Wire Rack: Helps cookies cool down evenly without getting soggy at the bottom
This post contains affiliate links, meaning if that if you make a purchase after. clicking on a link I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualified purchases.
Muso Wood Wooden French Rolling Pin for Baking, Beech Wood Tapered Rolling Pin for Fondant Pie Crust Cookie Pastry(French 15.75-Inch)Sprinkles | Frozen in Sugar Sprinkle Mix | Blue Sprinkles | Confetti Sprinkles | Metallic Sprinkles | Snowflake Sprinkles | Cake Sprinkles (Pink)Heart Shaped Double Cut-Outs Cookie Cutter Set of 6 pcs, Stainless Steel Crinkly and Straight Edge Double Sides Fondant Cutters
sugar cookie tips
- Creaming is Crucial: When combining butter and sugar, cream until the mix is light and fluffy. This will ensure your cookies have a tender crumb.
- Chill the Dough: Don’t skip this step! Chilling helps firm up the dough, making it easier to roll and cut. Plus, it ensures the cookies retain their shape while baking.
- Flour Generously: When rolling out the dough, ensure your surface and rolling pin are well-floured to avoid sticking. But be careful not to incorporate too much extra flour into the dough.
- Watch the Clock: Overbaking can turn your delightful cookies into hard disks. But underbaked cookies are gross. The edges must be golden!
- Decorate Thoughtfully: Let the cookies cool completely before decorating.
Storage and make-ahead instructions
Making dough ahead of time. Any leftover dough can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you want to keep it longer, consider freezing the dough.
Baking ahead of time. Baked sugar cookies freeze well. Ensure they are completely cooled, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen, transfer them to a zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to a month.