Sugar Cookie Recipe {Cutout Cookies} (2024)

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’sjust plain delicious. If you love sugar cookies, I also have sugar cookie fudge you will love! (Want more Christmas Cookies? I’ve got you covered!)

Sugar Cookie Recipe {Cutout Cookies} (1)

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. My spritz cookies and butter cookies are also wonderful options when it comes to decorating cookies.

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Sugar Cookie Christmas Wreath Recipe

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!

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Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Icing

And not to be ignored, the best glaze icing recipe you will ever findpairedwith 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!


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Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookies (the ORIGINAL!)

Buttercream for Frosting Sugar Cookies

This is my favorite buttercream recipe for sugar cookie decorating. It pipes beautifully, accepts food color wonderfully, and crusts ever so slightly after a couple of hours. Love that it holds its’ shape so well! (You can make it as stiff or as creamy as you want depending on how much liquid you add.)

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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 them on a cookie sheet. Then place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. If you are doing lots of cookies it’s easy to just have them in a rotation.
  • Calibrate your oven. I bought anoven thermometerat 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 foundparchmentworks 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.
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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.

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How to Store Sugar Cookies

When stored in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag, sugar cookies can last over a week. (Some readers have suggested 2 weeks!) If I am making a big batch, I will often store the decorated cookies in multiple smaller containers and the cookie layers separated by wax or parchment paper. Because air is what dries out cookies, you can ensure cookies will stay fresher longer if you aren’t opening up the same container multiple times. Check out my Guide to Freezing, Baking, and Storing Cookies for more helpful tips.

How to Freeze Sugar Cookies

You can freeze the decorated cookies if you are decorating with the glaze icing. (They can be stacked.) You want cookie icing to be completely dry (about 24 hours) before stacking.

To freeze, place cookies into an airtight container or freezer-safe sealable plastic storage bag in a single layer. Using a piece of wax or parchment paper between each layer, stack as many layers as your container will allow. Label and date. They will stay fresh for about 6 months in the freezer.

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4.94 from 63 votes

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 8 minutes mins

Total Time 18 minutes mins

Easy and delicious! These cookies do not require any chilling!

SavePrint Rate Comment


  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar. Cream on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth.

  • With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

  • Add in the baking powder. Then, add the flour, ½ 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 ⅛-¼ inch thick.

  • Cut the cookies out in the desired shape and place onto the lined baking sheet. Bake 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.



Helpful Hint: Place your cookie sheet in the freezer between uses.



Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 127kcal

Course: Dessert

Keyword: sugar cookie recipe, sugar cookies

Servings: 24 cookies

Calories: 127

Author: Amanda Rettke–

Did you make this recipe?

Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.

Categorized in: Cookies, Decorating

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Sugar Cookie Recipe {Cutout Cookies} (2024)


What is the secret to cut out cookies? ›

Pull off the top sheet of parchment, then slide the sheet of dough onto a baking sheet, then pop it in the freezer. (You can stack as many sheets of dough onto one baking sheet as you'd like.) Sandwich your dough between two sheets of parchment, roll, then freeze; it makes cut-out cookies a breeze!

How do you keep sugar cookie cutouts from spreading? ›

  1. The Rules for Making Sure Your Sugar Cookies Don't Spread.
  2. Rule No. 1: Bake at the Right Temperature.
  3. Rule No. 2: Don't Over or Under Cream Your Butter.
  4. Rule No. 3: Don't Over-Soften Your Butter.
  5. Rule No. 4: Don't Overcrowd the Baking Sheet.
  6. Rule No. 5: Make Sure Your Ingredients Have Not Expired.
  7. Rule No.
Jul 23, 2022

Why won't my cut out cookies hold their shape? ›

Different fats will affect the shape of your cookies, as will the temperature of the dough when it goes into the oven. Softer fat like shortening and margarine will spread more than butter, and cookies with butter in them, if refrigerated before baking, will hold their shape, even when quite thick.

Should you refrigerate cut out cookies before baking? ›

Refrigerating the dough allows the flour to fully hydrate and helps to make the cookie dough firmer. Firm dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much, which is why chilling the dough is a crucial step for cut-out and rolled cookies.

What does baking powder do in cutout cookies? ›

In simple terms, the alkali and acid work together to provide air and lift within baked goods but contain it to the structure. Cookies with baking powder will be lighter, whereas a cookie without baking powder will be denser. The more baking powder a cookie has, the more cake-like texture it will have.

Why do my cut out sugar cookies spread? ›

Your sugar cookies might be spreading because you are under-creaming or over-creaming the butter and sugar. Creaming the butter and sugar together creates structure in the cookie dough and adds pockets of air to give it a light texture. It's sometimes referred to as mechanical leavening.

Why are my cut out sugar cookies hard? ›

Once the edges develop a golden hue, you've gone too far. While overcooked sugar cookies are certainly still palatable, they'll be hard and crunchy, instead of soft and chewy. → Follow this tip: Pull the cookie sheet from the oven as soon as they've set and gained some color, but not too much.

Why are my cutout cookies puffy? ›

Q: Why are my cookies so puffy and cakey? Whipping too much air into the dough. That fluffy texture you want in a cake results from beating a lot of air into the room temperature butter and sugar, and it does the same for cookies. So don't overdo it when you're creaming together the butter and sugar.

How do you use store bought sugar cookie dough for cutouts? ›

Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness on work surface. Cut out desired shapes using floured 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.

What makes cookies fluffy and not flat? ›

Room temperature butter is just the right consistency to incorporate air when it's creamed with sugar. These trapped air pockets result in risen, fluffy cookies. If the butter is any warmer, it won't incorporate enough air and your cookies will have less rise.

Does baking powder make sugar cookies spread? ›

Baking powder simply adds carbon dioxide to the equation, providing a more forceful pressure that encourages a dough to spread up and out. Without the well-developed elasticity of a bread dough, the strands of gluten in cookies would sooner snap than stretch, cracking along the surface.

Why do my sugar cookies turn into blobs? ›

If the oven's hot enough, the fat melts before the cookies set. And since their flour/liquid matrix hasn't yet had a chance to harden, the cookies spread – becoming those dreaded cookie blobs.

How do you fix cookies that don't spread? ›

Dough being too stiff to spread is a common problem. If you find yourself in this situation, chances are good that you've added too much flour to your dough. In order to fix this, try adding in some more liquid (milk, water, or softened butter) one tablespoon at a time until your dough is slightly looser.

What keeps cut-out cookies from spreading? ›

Chilling cookie dough helps prevent spreading. The colder the dough, the less the cookies will over-spread into greasy puddles. You'll have thicker, sturdier, and more solid cookies. Whenever I make cookies, I plan ahead and chill the cookie dough overnight.

Why are my cut-out cookies spreading? ›

Mixing Butter & Sugar

If your butter is under mixed, it won't have the air pockets to hold it's shape. If it's over-mixed, the air pockets decrease in size and are unable to hold their shape in the oven—causing your cookies to spread. It's best to cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes.


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