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Cut Out Sugar Cookies Recipe

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are popular all year round. Favorite with children and adults alike, you can’t go wrong with a classic vanilla cookie.

Cut out Sugar Cookies.


“I agree with another commenter – my cut out cookie phobia has finally gone 🙊 amazing recipe, thank you! I love the level of detail you explain everything in, it’s so helpful! “ Ayla

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Update: My Ultimate Guide to Cut-Out Cookies has moved to a new location.


Sugar Cookies require only few ingredients and are super simple to make from scratch. This recipe is a cross between shortbread and sugar cookies. They are little crunchy on the outside and soft inside.


This basic recipe uses simple ingredients. When making the cookie dough it is important that ingredients are at room temperature.

  • Unsalted Butter
  • White Granulated Sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla Extract, and other extracts and flavorings can be used. See the notes in the recipe card.
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder (optional)
  • Salt
  • Tip : Don’t use sugar with unusually large sugar crystals. Wegmans brand has large crystals.


Cream room temperature butter with sugar, scrapping the bowl few times in between. Beat for 3-5 minutes till well blended, creamy.

Cream room temperature butter with sugar, scrapping the bowl few times in between. Beat for 3-5 minutes till well blended, creamy.

Whisk 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract with one room temperature egg. Then beat egg mixture into the creamed butter until well combined, about 30 seconds to a minute. Until fluffy.

Sift flour, salt and baking powder (if using – read the notes in the recipe).

On low speed, in 3 additions beat flour mix into the creamed butter mixture. Beat till all of the flour is absorbed and well blended in. Cookie dough will be in chunks at this stage.

Gather the dough, and knead it gently for 10-20 seconds until it comes together into a ball. Flatten it into a disk.

  • Are you planning on making the cookies within 24 hours you made the dough? If you answered yes, you can roll out fresh cookie dough between two parchment sheets or two silicone mats. Slide rolled out dough onto a large cutting board or a flat tray and chill it for at least an hour in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer before cutting the cookies. Don’t leave rolled out dough in the fridge for longer than 24 hours. It tends to dry out around the edges.
  • If you don’t have time to make the cookies within the 24 hours, wrap the dough in food wrap and refrigerate till you are ready to make the cookies. You can keep dough in the fridge up to 3-4 days. Cookie dough disk tends to get rock hard and here are my tips on how to process once you are ready to roll it out.
Sugar cookie dough rolled out between two sheets of parchment.


Cookie dough is placed between 2 rolling guides, and a rolling pin is rolled on top of the rolling guides. The rolling pin pushes the dough down only as far as the rolling guides let it. It ensures even thickness of the rolled cookie dough.

I roll my cookies ¼ inch (0.64cm/little over 6mm) thick and a little thicker when making cookie pops to make the room for a lollipop stick.

Cookie dough rolled out between parchment paper


Cut out as many shapes as possible. Re-roll the scraps.

Rolled out cookie dough with star cutouts.

Carefully lift the cutout and transfer it onto a baking sheet.


If cutouts become soft chill the cookies for 10 minutes.

I bake my cookies at 375F and 380F (for larger cookies, over 4 inches) for 9-11 minutes. Cookies are soft when they come out of the oven. Don’t open the oven more than once to rotate the sheet midway. If your oven bakes evenly, you can skip the rotating step.

Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.


After cookie dough shaped into a disk is chilled it often becomes firm.

Cut the cookie dough disk into quarters. Microwave one ¼ of cookie dough on high for 5-7 seconds. It should be sufficient to soften the dough so you can roll it out. However, you don’t want it to be super soft. Cut up the remaining quarters into smaller bits.

Place softened/microwaved 1/4 of the cookie dough onto the work surface, between 2 rolling guides. Roll out the dough.

Rolling out cookie dough using rolling guides and large silicone mat.

Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack. Be sure to let the cookies cool before decorating them with icing.


  • Cookie are spreading – make sure to use a room temperature butter when making the dough. If butter is too soft your dough will be softer than normal. I often experienced spreading when I used very soft butter.
  • Properly chill the dough before cutting out shapes. And if the cutout become too soft, chill them again for 10 before baking.
  • Don’t place unbaked cookies on a warm baking sheet.
  • You can also try omitting baking powder or use lesser amount
  • Use light colored baking sheet to avoid excessive browning.
  • Bake cookies until the center of the cookie has risen and is not loner shiny, or until golden brown around the edges if you prefer your cookies this way. If the center is still wet, bake cookies for additional 2 minutes.
  • Bake larger cookies on one baking sheet and smaller ones on another. Don’t crowd the cookies on a baking sheet.
  • I bake my cookies at 375 – 380F (193C) for 9-11 minutes.
  • Bake cookies using a perforated mat. It helps eliminate or reduce the spreading of cut-out cookies and cookies bake with sharp edges.
  • Cookies are soft when they come out of the oven, they firm us as they cool.
  • Don’t open the oven more than once for rotating the sheet.
  • If your oven bakes evenly you don’t need to rotate the baking sheet
  • Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully transfer cookies onto a cooling rack.
  • Bubbles on the surface indicate too much air in the cookie dough. While cookies are hot, gently press the tops with a large flat cookie spatula to flatten the bubbles. Or us a fork and prick the middle of the cookie before baking.
Star and round cookie on a perforated mat.
Cookies baked on a perforated mat.


My ultimate cut-out cookies guide has a new location. This comprehensive manual includes cut-out cookies baking basics, tips, tricks, common problems, troubleshooting, how to store and package cut-out cookies and more.


If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to decorate cookies with icing, you can still make them stand out from the crowd using other decorating tools. You can use impression tools like engraved rolling pins, texture silicone mats, stamps, sprinkles.


When using impression tools be sure to omit baking powder in the recipe. It will yield better results without. You can


  • To get the best results, I roll out cookie dough slightly thicker.
  • Then I replace the thicker rolling guides with the thinner ones – the thickness of cookies I want.
  • And after I place a texture mat on top of the rolled out dough, and in one direction I run a rolling pin over it. It’s important to maintain the even pressure so the texture transfers evenly onto the cookie dough.
Here I used a Silicone SugarVeil Mat

Bake the cookies a usual. In this cakes you might want to remove cookies from the oven before they get too brown.


Use Letter Impression set to add personalized or seasonal messages on cookies.


Decorate cookies with festive sprinkles. Mist the cookies with a little bit of water using a small spray bottle. Then sprinkle cookies with decorating sprinkles and bake as usual. Water makes the sprinkles stick better to the cookie dough.


There are several cookie icing recipes you can use to decorate cookies. The most popular is royal icing; some decorators use glaze icing or buttercream. And if you are in a hurry, fondant is another decorating medium you can use; plus, cookies with fondant are really easy to make

Round cookies decorated with fondant, royal icing, glaze, and buttercream displayed on marbled slab.
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Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

Use this recipe to make cut-out cookies. This great-tasting cookie recipe is excellent, plain, or decorated with royal icing/glaze chocolate or fondant. It's a cross between sugar and shortbread cookies.
Makes 15 3-inch cookies, 1/4 inch thick.
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies, cut out cookies,, sugar cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 270kcal
Author Hani. B



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (430 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup room temperature unsalted butter (2 sticks, 226 grams)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder (optional – check the notes)
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Extract (optional)



    Dry Ingredients

    • Sift together flour (3cups/430grams), baking powder (1 teaspoon) add salt (1/2 teaspoon), set aside.
      TIP: If you are experiencing excessive spreading use 1/4tsp baking powder or omit baking powder.

    Cream Butter and Sugar

    • In a mixing bowl cream together room temperature butter (1cup/ 226 grams) and sugar (1cup/200 grams), about 5 minutes, scrape the bowl twice. Butter creamed with sugar should be light and creamy in color.
    • In a small dish whisk together room-temperature egg (1) and vanilla extract(1 tablespoon). If using, whisk in almond (1/2 teaspoon) and lemon extract(1/2 teaspoon), and set aside.
      TIP: Almond and Lemon Extracts are optional.
    • Gradually add the egg mixture to the butter mixture. Beat well till combined about a minute.
    • Lower the speed of your mixer to low. Gradually in 3 additions, add the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl well after the last addition and beat slowly until the flour is mixed in. At this stage, you'll see chunks of cookie dough.
    • Gather dough into a ball, flatten it and shape it into a disk.
      TIP: If the dough appears too wet add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
    • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2-4 hours. This is great when you don't have time to make the cookies on the same day.
      Or speed up the process by placing it in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.
      Or you can roll out freshly made cookie dough between two sheets of parchment or silicone mats and chill for an hour. I don't recommend leaving rolled cookie dough in the fridge for too long (overnight and longer) as it tends to dry out around the edges.
    • Preheat oven to 375F. 
    • If you find that the disk of dough is hard as a rock, don’t panic. Quarter the dough. Take one piece and microwave it on high for 5-8 seconds to soften it up a little. It shouldn't be super soft, just soft enough so you can roll it out, you’ll still need to apply a little bit of pressure.
      Cut up the remaining dough into smaller pieces, and set aside. Place microwaved piece between your rolling guides, either between 2 pieces of parchment or if you have a large silicone mat you can use it also ( for the rolling guides you can use two painter's sticks glued together on each side, or two pieces of 1/4 inch wood rods will work great, too).
    • Cut out as many cookies as you can. Gather scraps and to the scraps add a chilled piece of cut-up cookie dough you set aside. Re-roll and repeat until you are done with all the cookies. Place the cookies on a light-colored baking sheet lined with parchment paper or perforated. Chill the cutouts in the fridge for about 10 minutes, or in the freezer for 5.


    • Bake for 10-11 minutes, depending on the oven, turn the sheet once half way through the baking.
    • Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and transfer them to a cooling rack.
    • Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze undecorated cookies between pieces of wax paper in a large freeze safe container, for up to 3 months.
    • Decorate cookies as desired with royal icing or other medium that you use.


    How long can you keep the dough in the fridge? – You can keep the cookie dough in the fridge for up to 3 days. After that, you can either make the cookies or freeze the cookie dough for later—up to 3 months.
    How thick do you roll out cookies for decorating?– 1/4 inch thick, and a little thicker when making cookie pops
    I don’t have granulated sugar; can I use powdered sugar? Sure, you can use powdered sugar; use about 1 cup and 1/4 cups. A cookie made with powdered sugar has a tender crumb. 
    How to tell if cookies are baked? -cookies when baked have puffy centers. If you see a spot that appears wet and shiny, usually in the middle of the cookies, continue baking for another minute or 2. A baked, cooled cookie that has a darker spot in the center underbaked.
    How to make other flavors?
    Lemon / Orange Zest Cookies – use one tablespoon fresh lemon zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon extract
    Chocolate Chip Cut-Out Cookies – ¼ cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup brown sugar, micro chocolate chips (add these with flour), 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    Almond Sugar Cookies –  add one teaspoon vanilla and one teaspoon almond extract. I find the almond flavor to be very strong and 1 teaspoon does the trick for me but if you’d like to add even more extract you definitely can. Almond cookies pair really nicely with my Fresh lemon royal icing.
    Spices – you can also add spices to this recipe, try cinnamon, cardamom, or pumpkin spice to make them more seasonal.

    Did you make this recipe? Tag @hanielas on Instagram and hashtag it #hanielas


    This post containsThis post contains Amazon affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use and love. Learn more about my affiliate policy here.

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    This recipe was originally published in 2013. In 2019 I updated this recipe with step-by-step process pictures, written text and a comprehensive guide to cut-out cookies and a video.

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    1. Hi, are this soft cookies or crunchy cookies, I dont like soft cookies, is like having bread and just bought some sugar cookies that are crispy and I love it. Are this soft? or do you have a sugar crispy cookie recipe? Thank you

      1. Hello Chappell,
        thank you!
        It’s super easy to double the. It’s just all the ingredients x 2.
        Double Recipe:
        4 sticks butter (452grams)
        2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
        6 cups flour(860 grams)
        2 large eggs
        1 teaspoon salt
        2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract
        1 teaspoon Almond Extract if using
        1 teaspoon Lemon Extract if using

    2. YUM! These are absolutely PERFECTION! They are easy to make and more importantly extremely tasty!! my family and our friends love these sugar cookies. Thank you, Haniela for this recipe. These are the best cut-out + fantastic flavor – a double win!

    3. Hi Hani, well it’s hot and very humid here in Queensland Australia and I’m making your no spread sugar cookies for Christmas. After all these years it’s the most trusted for our climate. I leave out the baking powder and they are perfect. I also use your egg white royal icing as we don’t have meringue powder here. Would mixing icing powder with water save all the hassle of sifting the lumps out please? So thank you for your tutorials.🧡🎄

      1. Hi Ruby,
        Thank you so much for your comment.
        It’s very important that sugar has no lumps or you’ll run into issues when piping icing onto cookies, especially when using nozzles.
        Happy Holidays.xo Hani

    4. Love your videos and how you simplify everything. I am a bit confused with the Flour amounts. Google search gives me different conversions. Your recipe calls for 3 cups or 430 grams. But on google 1 cup of flour equals 120 to 125 grams which would mean 3 cups should equal 360 to 375 grams. I use the all purpose flour and decided to play it safe and go with 400 grams. Can you clarify the difference? Thank you.

      1. Hi Barb,
        Thank you for your comment and your question. I use dip-and-sweep method for my flour
        using 1cup (us measure, 236ml) and it always comes out as 143grams.
        I open the flour package and dump it all into my wide glass flour jar. I don’t stir or sift it before measuring, I might gently shake the jar to level the flour if it piles up.
        I hope this help.
        Happy Fall!

      2. Finally an answer. Although I love Haniella and her tips, this flour amount has driven me nuts for years. We know the ‘dip and scoop’ is not a good way of measuring flour but I know now to use the gram measurement. I believe many recipes have used the digging method and that is why many do not come out as expected. I was thinking that maybe the flour in different countries was milled differently.

        1. BC,
          Thank you for your comment. I can feel your frustration with measuring cups.:-) I have to say I’m not a massive fan of using cups, either. I grew up measuring ingredients with a kitchen scale. 🙂
          And I agree it’s not the most accurate way to measure ingredients, but many still use it so I provide that information in my recipes.
          Flour definitely varies from country to country, too.
          Have a great day and thanks for the feedback.

        2. Hi! I just realized that 3 cups do not equal 430 grams. So what do I go by the cups or the grams?

    5. I can’t imagine using another recipe! This one is literally perfect! Your instructions are very clear and you explain the “why” behind each step. Thank you so much!!

    6. Literally the only cookie recipe I use. My customers love them!! Easy to make and decorate!!

      1. Hi Tamar, it depends on the margarine. With some margarine brands, cookies tend to spread a little with others they don’t.

    7. This is my tried and true cookie recipe and I love it!

      I want to try to make an egg free version? What do you suggest I should use as the egg replacement?

      1. Hi Sarah,
        I haven’t tried using this recipe without an egg. I’ve make vegan cookies using aquafaba, and so I think I’d use aquafaba as a substitute for the egg.
        Happy Baking

    8. Hello Hani! I recently made these and they turned out great and I’m usually not a fan of sugar cookies. Although, is there any way I can add more sugar to the recipe to make them a little bit sweeter? If so, how much would you recommend adding?

    9. Absolutely love this recipe! It is easy to mix together and the overall taste after adding vanilla, almond and lemon is a real winner! I left out the baking powder and didn’t miss it at all. Thanks for a great cookie recipe!

    10. Instead of rolling the dough out to cut the cookie shape is it possible to roll the dough into a log and then cut them into rounds?

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