Closeup on three stacks of Sugar Cookies sitting on a white table in front of a red towel, a cookie cutter and a rolling pin.

When Nancy and I were little, our favorite time of the year was Christmas (okay, it still is). Our mom would begin baking two weeks before Christmas to make sure she got everything done. One of the first things she would make was sugar cookies. We would sit around the table, listen to Christmas Carols, and frost cookies. Nancy and I have continued that tradition. We have gone through many different recipes.  Some didn’t taste good, but held their shape. Some were delicious, but spread so much you couldn’t tell what the cookie shape was supposed to be.  We finally found the best sugar cookie recipe.  The cookies turn out delicious and keep the shape of whatever cookie cutter you use.  Sugar cookies used to be Christmas only for us, and now we make them all year long.

Collage image showing how to make the dough for The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe.

Step 1: Add the 4 sticks (2 cups) of butter and 2 cups of white sugar to your mixer.  A word about the butter, we use Sweet Cream Salted Butter when we are baking and I think it tastes great with these sugar cookies too.  The butter needs to be softened but still cold.  A prime culprit for dry sugar cookie dough is butter than is too warm and soft.  I let the butter sit out on the counter for just under an hour before I start making the cookies – this seems to be the perfect amount of time for me.  The butter is still cold to the touch but you can press into the stick with your fingers. In the past, when in a rush, I have softened the butter in the microwave but inevitably the dough that I get is on the “crumbly” side.
Step 2: Cream the butter and sugar until it is completely mixed (3 minutes on medium-high should do the trick.)
Step 3: Add 2 tablespoons of vanilla and 2 eggs. I know that sounds like a lot of vanilla but this recipe needs a little extra moisture and the cookies will taste great.
Step 4: Mix the cookie dough until light and fluffy (about 3 more minutes.)

Collage image showing the steps for adding the dry ingredients to the Sugar Cookie dough.

Step 5: Add 4 teaspoons of Baking Powder and mix.
Step 6: Mix in the 6 cups of flour two cups at a time. Don’t overmix the dough when you are adding the dry ingredients. Mix it only until the flour is incorporated into the dough.
Step 7: This is what the dough should look like after you have added the 6 cups of Flour.  The flour should be completely incorporated and the dough should be firm but not dry or crumbly.  If the dough seems drier than this, add a tiny bit of vanilla or milk (start with a teaspoon) and mix again.  You do not need to chill this dough before cutting out the cookies.  In fact, the cookies come out best if the dough hasn’t been chilled.

Baking Instructions

Collage image showing the steps for baking The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe.

Step 8: Roll a handful of the dough out on a prepared surface until it’s about 3/8″ thick.
Step 9: Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
Step 10: Bake in an oven pre-heatd to 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie cutter you used.
Step 11: Do not over-bake!  We like thicker sugar cookies so they will hold a good amount of frosting.  If you make your cookies on the thick side as we have done in the pictures here, you should cook them 9-10 minutes. They might not look done to you but they are.  Take them out of the oven.  You don’t want them to start browning around the edges the way a Chocolate Chip Cookie would, for example.  The cookies should be set and just bet starting to slightly brown around the edges. Over-baking is the prime culprit if you feel your sugar cookies seem dry.  If you roll out thinner cookies, or use smaller cookie cutters than the ones we have used here, you should only bake the cookies 6 or 7 minutes.

Closeup on a dozen perfectly baked rolled Sugar Cookies laying on a white table in front of a red towel, cookie cutters and a rolling pin.

Step 12: These cookies taste amazing and they really hold their shape. And most importantly, they don’t poof up too much or flatten out into a cookie blob.

The Best Frosting for Sugar Cookies

Collage image showing a bowl of Buttercream Frosting and sugar cookies decorated with buttercream frosting for Christmas.

Let your cookies cool and then they are ready for frosting.  We use our Best Buttercream Frosting recipe with these Best Sugar Cookies.  The frosting is easy to color and tastes so delicious and yummy on these Sugar Cookies. You will have all the tips and tricks to make this yummy homemade sugar cookie frosting right here.

Expert Tips and FAQ’s

How many cookies will this recipe make?

This recipe will make a lot of cookies but the actual number depends on the size of the cookie cutters you are using. Using large-ish cookie cutters, we made 36 cookies.  If you only need a couple of dozen cookies, you can cut this recipe in half.

Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Both the eggs and the butter should be at room temperature which will help your cookies turn out lighter and fluffier.  For the eggs, room temperature simply means not cold out of the refrigerator. If you forget to take the eggs out before you start making cookie dough you can put the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes to warm them up.  The butter also needs to be softened to room temperature which means if you touch it you should leave an indentation on the stick of butter. Do not use butter that has been over-softened or melted.  If that happens you should use a different stick of butter or put it back into the refrigerator to let it set up.  We have a whole post about How to Soften Butter, click here if you need more information on how to do that.

Do you need a mixer?

Yes. In our opinion, you need some kind of a mixer to make a good cookie dough. A stand mixer, while expensive, is a great investment if you believe you have a lot of homemade baked goods in your future. An electric hand-mixer also works well and you can probably find one for around $20. You can hand mix cookie dough in a pinch (which is how we did it growing up), but you will really have to use a lot of muscle to cream the butter and sugar and eggs properly.

Cookie Dough Mixing Tips

Creaming the butter, sugar and then mixing the eggs in is the most important part of the cookie dough mixing process. Creaming is when you fully incorporate the butter and sugar together and add some much needed air to the dough. We recommend creaming the butter and sugar for 3 minutes on medium-high speed and then mixing the butter/sugar/eggs for another 3 minutes at the same speed. Once you add the flour, you want to mix the dough as little as possible. Mix it too much and you will get tough cookies. Mix in the flour on low speed and continue mixing ONLY until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the dough. Make sure you scrape down the sides and the bottom to make sure all the flour has gotten mixed in.

Prepping the Cookie Sheet

We always line our cookie sheets with a piece of parchment paper, it keeps the cookie from sticking to the sheet and from over-browning. You can find parchment paper either in rolls or in pre-cut sheets in most grocery stores, and we highly recommend it. Ideally, you should use at least 2 cookie sheets when baking cookies. You don’t want to add the raw cookie dough to a cookie sheet that is hot out of the oven. The dough will start baking even before you get it in the oven.

Oven Tips

Everyone’s oven is different. We recommend starting with a test bake with a single cookie to help you hone in on the exact baking time for your oven. You should set your timer for 2 minutes less than whatever the recipe recommends. Once the timer goes off, open up the oven and see how your cookie is baking. Make corrections accordingly. Our oven has a hot spot in the back so we always rotate the cookie sheet half-way through the baking time to get a more even bake. Although this may seem like an unnecessary step, it is better to do this then burn a whole tray of cookies.

Storage/Freezing Questions

Cookies should always be stored in an airtight container.  They should be completely cooled before storing them. We usually add a layer of parchment paper between each row of frosted cookies in our plastic container.  Cookies stored at room temperature should stay fresh for 3-4 days. You can also keep them in the refrigerator and that extends their freshness for up to a week. If you need them to last longer, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. You can pull them out of the freezer and leave them on the counter for 1 hour and they will be ready to eat.

Closeup on two stacks of perfect flower sugar cookies made from our The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe sitting in front of a red towel and a wooden rolling pin.

Did you Make This Recipe? Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @twosisterscrafting on Instagram so we can see it!

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Sugar Cookies How-To Video

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

Yield 3 dozen large cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes

We have The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe ever and we can't wait to share it so that everyone can have super yummy homemade sugar cookies that always keep their shape.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Sweet Cream Salted Butter (softened)
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 6 cups All-Purpose Flour

Instructions

  1. Add the 4 sticks (2 cups) of butter and 2 cups of white sugar to your mixer.  A word about the butter, we use Sweet Cream Salted Butter when we are baking and I think it tastes great with these sugar cookies too.  The butter needs to be softened but still cold.  A prime culprit for dry sugar cookie dough is butter that is too warm and soft.  I let the butter sit out on the counter for just under an hour before I start making the cookies - this seems to be the perfect amount of time for me.  The butter is still cold to the touch but you can press into the stick with your fingers. In the past, when in a rush, I have softened the butter in the microwave but inevitably the dough that I get is on the "crumbly" side.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until it is completely mixed (3 minutes on medium-high should do the trick.)
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of vanilla and 2 eggs. I know that sounds like a lot of vanilla but this recipe needs a little extra moisture and the cookies will taste great.
  4. Mix the cookie dough until light and fluffy (about 3 more minutes.)
  5. Add 4 teaspoons of Baking Powder and mix.
  6. Mix in the 6 cups of flour two cups at a time.  Don't over-mix the dough when you are adding the dry ingredients. Mix it only until the flour is incorporated into the dough.
  7. After you have added the 6 cups of Flour the dough should be firm but not dry or crumbly.  If the dough seems to dry, add a tiny bit of vanilla or milk (start with a teaspoon) and mix again.
  8. Roll a handful of the dough out on a prepared surface until it's about 3/8" thick.
  9. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
  10. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie cutter you used. Do not over-bake!  We like thicker sugar cookies so they will hold a good amount of frosting.  If you make your cookies on the thick side as we have done in the pictures here, you should cook them 9-10 minutes. They might not look done to you but they are.  Take them out of the oven.  You don't want them to start browning around the edges the way a Chocolate Chip Cookie would, for example.  The cookies should be set and just bet starting to slightly brown around the edges. Over-baking is the prime culprit if you feel your sugar cookies seem dry.  If you roll out thinner cookies, or use smaller cookie cutters than the ones we have used here, you  should only bake the cookies 6 or 7 minutes.
  11. Let your cookies cool and then they are ready for frosting.  We use our Best Buttercream Frosting recipe with these Best Sugar Cookies.  The frosting is easy to color and tastes so delicious and yummy on these Sugar Cookies. You will have all the tips and tricks to make this yummy homemade sugar cookie frosting right here.

Did you Make this Recipe? Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @twosisterscrafting on Instagram so we can see it!