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Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

4.93 from 27 votes

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This Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe is easy to cut out, holds its shape after baking, and yields soft and chewy sugar cookies. Perfect for Christmas, Easter, Halloween, or any party, especially when paired with this simple buttercream frosting. It really is the best sugar cookie recipe!

star shaped sugar cookie leaning on a glass of milk with other shaped sugar cookies in the background

This Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe is amazing!!! I got the original recipe from Bridget over at Bake at 350 and I’ve adapted slightly over the years, but beyond that, this has always been my go-to recipe for sugar cookies because it’s reliable and always turns out perfectly. Whether it’s for the holidays, birthdays or just getting a craving for really good sugar cookies, this should be your go-to recipe. You don’t need to plan ahead to soften butter, you don’t need to refrigerate the dough overnight and they always bake up soft and chewy every time.

Main Ingredients Needed

The best sugar cookie recipe starts out with the right ingredients. Here is everything you’ll need to make delicious and soft cut out sugar cookies.

  • Salted Butter – cold and cubed! The salt in this helps balance all the other flavors.
  • Granulated Sugar – to sweeten, this IS a sugar cookie recipe after all. You can also use vanilla sugar here.
  • Egg – this is used for texture and structure.
  • Vanilla Extract – look for pure vanilla extract here, not the imitation kind.
  • Vanilla Bean – this is optional but is super delicious.
  • Almond Extract – once again, pure extract. If you can’t stand almond extract, leave this ingredient out and consider doubling up on the vanilla extract.
  • All-Purpose Flour – unbleached, this is used to fill out the rest of the cookie and help bring all the ingredients together.
  • Baking Powder – this is used for leavening.
sugar cookie ingredients

How to Make Cut Out Sugar Cookies

For all the nitty-gritty details on how to make Cut Out Sugar Cookies, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Step 1: Preheat + Prep

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

Step 2: Make Dough

Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, extracts, and vanilla bean. In a small bowl stir flour and baking powder together. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients until a dough forms.

Step 3: Roll Out + Cut

Form the dough into a smooth ball then roll it out onto the floured surface to be just over 1/4″ thick. Cut cookies out using cookie cutters and place them onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Step 4: Freeze, Bake + Cool

Freeze 5-7 minutes, then bake 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms have lightly browned but edges are still light in color. Cool 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to cooling racks.

Step 5: Decorate!

Decorate as desired. More info on that below!

cutting out sugar cookies with cookie cutters

Decorating cut out sugar cookies is such a fun activity to do with your kids, so here are a couple of things to consider before delving into frosting mode.

Type of Frosting? I have a ton of frosting recipes here on the blog, but the ones that I found that are the best to decorate sugar cookies are my Buttercream Frosting Recipe and Easiest Royal Icing Recipe.

Coloring. With either of these recipes, you can add different food coloring to make your cookies pop.

Flavoring. Another thing to consider is flavoring your icing. Make it chocolate, or mint. Maybe even lemon!

Best Way to Frost? For my buttercream frosting, grab yourself some spoons and butter knives. It’s a thicker frosting so piping might not be the best option. On the other hand, my royal icing recipe is perfect for piping. If you have younger kids, I’d stay away from the royal icing and opt for spreadable buttercream.

Sprinkles. Sprinkles are another great way to make your sugar cookies stand out. Plus kids tend to go bananas over them.

Storing Cut Out Sugar Cookies

This cut out sugar cookie recipe will stay soft and tasty for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature, covered. To lengthen their shelf life, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Freezing Instructions

OR consider freezing these cookies to make them ahead of time (baked or unbaked)! Here’s how to do both:

Freezing the Dough

Make the cut out sugar cookie recipe as written below. Form prepared dough into one or two thick discs and place into a large food storage bag or wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil. As long as the dough is wrapped well, it should be good in the freezer up to two months. To defrost, place at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until soft. Cut out and bake as desired.

Freezing Baked Sugar Cookies

Once your cookies have been baked, cool completely and transfer to plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Containers will help prevent baked sugar cookies from breaking. Freeze for up to three months. To defrost, set at room temperature for about an hour. Decorate as desired.

3/4 view of cut out sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles

The printable recipe card is down below, enjoy 🙂

4.93 from 27 votes

Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

This Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe is easy to cut out, holds its shape after baking and yields soft and chewy sugar cookies.
servings 24 cookies
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks) cold & cut into chunks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (or vanilla sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, extracts, and vanilla bean. In a small bowl stir flour and baking powder together. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients. 
  • Roll dough out onto the floured surface to be just over 1/4" thick. Cut cookies out using cookie cutters and place onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 
  • Freeze 5-7 minutes, then bake 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms have lightly browned but edges are still light in color. Cool 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to cooling racks. Decorate as desired.

Notes

Nutritional information is for plain, unfrosted sugar cookies.

Nutrition

Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cut out sugar cookie recipe, cut out sugar cookies

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Recipe Rating




86 Responses
  1. Helen

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren! I’ve made this in the past and it came out fantastic! Though curious if you can let me know what 1cup of flour is in grams? Would it be 125g?

  2. Neng Lena Vang-Mrabet

    I can’t wait to try this sugar cookie recipe out next month! It’s usually when I start making doughs and freezing it ahead of time. It looks perfect! Your recipes are easy to follow and delicious.

  3. Sarah McKimmie

    5 stars
    So I’ve never commented on your site before but I use “your” (because I haven’t told my kids that mummy cheated yet) sugar cookie recipe every time me and my 3 daughters bake cookies together. It’s simple, yummy in our tummies and basically perfect! Thank you for making me look good haha! xo

  4. Lori Cadmus

    Made these last Christmas and they were amazing. So easy to roll and cut and taste delicious. They are permanently on my Christmas Cookie list!

  5. Rae

    5 stars
    Our family just used this Sugar Cookie dough to make Witches Fingers for Halloween! Make the dough and just stick on an almond as the finger nail – recipie was so tasty and easy to work with! Ill be coming back to Lauren’s sugar cookie recipie for Christmas Cut outs!

  6. Kathleen Hamilton

    These look delicious!! I’m always afraid to try baking and decorating cookies! Going to try this recipe though! Thanks!

  7. Kassie

    5 stars
    This is our family go-to recipe since 2012 for every holiday! I use the flood fill method to decorate, so even my youngest children are able to participate in the cookie decorating fun! Such a yummy cookie! Definitely try it, and you’re sure to love them just as much!!

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  12. Beth

    I have NEVER had a batch of cutouts made with butter turn out. They always spread sooo much that you cant even tell what they were supposed to be. The flavor is always great but not really presentable…anyone have any ideas??
    Thanks

  13. Geraldine Ely

    Hi, Lauren–
    I met you on Easter at Hood River.
    Question on the cookies–how do you get the icing to stay in the same shape as the cookie with just a small border of cookie showing (hearts, stars, circles, etc.)?
    Thanks–
    Gerry Ely

    1. Lauren

      Just thick icing that I piped on to create the border and then created a ‘flood’ icing for the center. You can sort of achieve the same thing with a thick icing and a spoon.

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