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Best Sugar Cookies: Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever

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Sugar cookies are fun to decorate and taste great with their crispy edges and thick, melt-in-your-mouth centers. Ideal for just about every occasion and quick and simple to make, having a go-to sugar cookie recipe is a must. So, come with us as we look at an easy sugar cookie recipe and a few handy tips on how to bake these cookies perfectly.

sugar cookie recipe

What are the Most Popular Easy Sugar Cookie Recipes?

Anyone searching through recipe books or browsing the internet for recipes will find thousands of sugar cookie recipes, including ones with long lists of ingredients. But, baking sugar cookies can be quick and shouldn’t need more than a few ingredients. So, look below for what we can confidently call the best sugar cookie recipe; it’s fun to follow and produces delicious, golden cookies.

Cookie Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (you’ll also need a little extra over and above this for rolling out the dough on the work surface to prevent it from sticking.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter (you’ll need to let this soften to room temperature)
  • One large egg (this too must be at room temperature)
  • Two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

Extra Optional Additions:

  • 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (this gives the cookies a unique taste and fragrance but is entirely optional.)

For Decorating:

The amount of cookies you end up with depends on the size of the cookie cutters you use. For instance, this recipe yields 24 cookies using a 4-inch cutter.  When the cookies have cooled after baking, you can decorate them with frosting. So, let’s look at a simple glaze recipe too:

Icing Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (if you want pure white frosting, replace the vanilla with water instead.)
  • Two teaspoons of light corn syrup (corn syrup isn’t necessary but we recommend adding it in as it leaves the finished, dried icing with a delicate sheen.)
  • 4.5–5 Tablespoons (67-75ml) room temperature water pinch salt (again, not an essential addition; however, it balances the sweetness.)

Making this sugar cookie icing recipe is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is mix the ingredients in a bowl using a whisk. Once the icing falls from the whisk back into the bowl and holds its shape for a few seconds before settling back into the rest of the mixture, it is ready. Then, you can add a few drops of gel food coloring to change to achieve a different shade before piping it onto the cookies or spreading it on using a small spatula. Remember, this icing takes around 24 hours to harden and dry.

sugar cookies

How to Make Sugar Cookies with Icing

Now that we have our sugar cookie recipe let’s look at how to make these tasty treats.

  • Make cookie dough

Since our easy sugar cookie recipe only has seven ingredients, it is essential to follow the recipe closely. First, the creamed butter (it’s much easier to whip at room temperature) and sugar create the base of the mixture, and the egg gives structure to the cookie. Then, the flour provides substance while the baking powder causes them to rise. Finally, the vanilla extract gives flavor, and the salt balances the sweetness. Each small ingredient plays an essential role in creating the perfect sugar cookies.

  • Divide into two pieces

We recommend dividing your cookie dough into two smaller sections as these are easier to roll out and manage.

  • Roll out cookie dough

Using rolling pins (traditional or adjustable is fine, or if you don’t have a rolling pin, smooth glass or bottle will work fine), roll out your cookie dough into sheets 1/4 inch thick, or less than 1/4 inch if you want a slightly crispier cookie or to stretch your yield further. Remember to dust the countertop and rolling pin with flour before rolling out your dough, as this prevents sticking.

  • Chill rolled-out cookie dough

Next, chill the two sheets of cookie dough in the fridge for at least one to two hours (and no more than two days).

  • Cut into shapes

After chilling your dough, you can cut your cookies into shapes using baking and cookie stencils or cookie cutters. These come in various forms, from hearts and circles to bones, Christmas trees, and stars.

  • Bake & cool

Once your cookies are cut, place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper or silicone baking sheets. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F (177°C), and pop in your trays when ready. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

  • Decorate

Once your cookies have cooled and are no longer warm to the touch, you can begin icing them. Once you have iced them, you can add sprinkles or other edible decorations like edible glitter.

What Tools Do You Need for Sugar Cookies?

Before baking your cookies, gathering all the tools you’ll need is important. So let’s take a look at some of the essential items that you need to bake the best sugar cookie recipe:

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Rolling Pins
  • Cookie Cutters/Stencils
  • Silicone/Parchment Baking Sheets
  • Baking Trays
  • Piping Bags
  • Piping Tips
  • Squeeze Bottle (if you don’t have a piping set, putting your frosting into a squeeze bottle works well.)

easy sugar cookie recipe

How Can I Make My Sugar Cookies Taste Better?

There are several ways to make your sugar cookies taste great. While the subtle vanilla taste of the cookies in this recipe is great, you may prefer altering the flavor slightly. For example, some prefer adding a few drops of almond essence, heightening the vanilla and giving the cookies a slightly nutty taste. Alternatively, you could change the flavor by adding a teaspoon of lemon extract, peppermint essence, coconut or maple extract, or cinnamon powder.

Should Sugar Cookies Be Soft or Crispy?

Traditionally, the best sugar cookie recipe produces cookies with crispy golden edges and soft, melt-in-you-mouth centers that are slightly thicker. Because the recipe calls for sugar, which locks in moisture and keeps the cookies soft and fluffy (this is what sugar does in baking other than adding sweetness), you’ll find this is how your cookies turn out. However, if you want slightly crispier cookies, lessen the amount of sugar you use in the recipe.

Do You Need to Chill Sugar Cookie Dough?

While chilling your sugar cookie dough is not essential, we recommend it. Chilling your dough before you bake ensures your cookies retain their shape, which is crucial if you are baking cookies with a specific form like a star, reindeer, or heart. You want your cookies to rise, not spread, so chilling them is always a good option.

However, if you’re pressed for time and don’t have a specific shape for your cookies, you can omit this step. Baking this sugar cookie recipe is fun and takes less than half an hour to make (if you don’t count the chilling time), making them ideal for those occasions when you need to whip up something tasty in a flash.

Follow Jordan River:
Jordan River is an experienced baker with a background in event management. She went into marketing and customer care and started working with JB Cookie Cutters to educate and share her experiences. She’s had her fair share of kitchen and cooking tools and knows exactly what works best and why. Before she started writing, Jordan got a degree in marketing and communications. She is a mom of two, so when she is not writing, she loves cooking and testing new recipes, improvising in the kitchen, and creating unique things that turn into family events.