These classic sugar cookies have been my go-to recipe year after year! You’ll love how easy it is to make them, and the flavor and texture are simply irresistible!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
Does internet need yet another sugar cookie recipe? There’re SO many fabulous recipes are out there already. But I truly believe that I have something new to bring to the table!
- First, you’ll love how easy and straightforward it is to make these sugar cookies!
- You’ll need simple ingredients only!
- The entire process takes 2.5 hours from start to finish with some hands off in between! I think it’s fair for 3 dozen cookies!
- And here’s what to expect, texture- and flavor-wise: crisp and snappy, rich and buttery, and a hint of almond extract and good vanilla extract makes these cookies irresistible!
These cookies call for total of 9 ingredients, simple pantry staples! Use the highest quality you can get for the best flavor.
- Butter – I prefer unsalted butter. If using salted butter, omit salt called in the recipe.
- Flour – I’ve tested this recipe with all-purpose flour only.
- Sugar – I like to add a little bit of brown sugar, as it adds slightly richer flavor to the cookies. But you can skip brown sugar, if need to.
- Extracts – Without extracts, these sugar cookies will definitely lack in flavor! Don’t use imitation vanilla extract. Opt for pure vanilla extract. While vanilla extracts are a little spendy these day, DIY vanilla extract is quite cost-effective! And a little bit of almond extract goes a long way. While you won’t taste prominent almond flavor, it enhances the flavor so beautifully!
How to make this recipe:
Ok, let me walk you through the entire process!
1. Make the cookie dough
Instead of a traditional creaming method, we’re going to make the dough by mixing all the dry ingredients first, and then adding butter into it.
This dough is quite easy to handle, as it’s soft, but not sticky.
This mixing method ensures the flour and butter are well combined and prevents any butter pockets in the dough, which could lead to uneven puffed cookies. I learned this technique in “The New Best Recipes” cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.
2. Roll out the dough and chill
Now, divide the cookie dough into 2 equal parts and place each dough ball between two sheets of parchment paper. Then gently roll it out into 1/4-inch thick disc.
- This adjustable rolling pin is really nice for rolling out even dough.
- Place the dough with parchment paper on a silicone mat to roll it out, so it stays in place.
Place the rolled out dough with the parchment paper on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (You can also put it in a freezer for 15 minutes to expedite the process.) All we need to do is to firm up the dough, so it’s easy to cut out.
3. Shape and bake the cookies
Once the cookie dough is hardened, peel off one parchment paper, put it back on, flip it over and peel off the parchment paper on other side.
Then using your desired cookie cutters, cut out cookies as many as you can and as quickly as possible. And transfer the cookies on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Bake the cookies for 10-13 minutes at 350°F, or until the edges start to turn light golden color.
Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
The most common culprit for puffy sugar cookies are either using too much leavening agent and whipping too much air into butter mixture. We basically eliminate these issues by mixing butter into dry ingredients.
Yes, it’s totally normal for sugar cookies to be soft right out of the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack. They’ll harden as they cool.
While they’re quite similar in terms of ingredients, there’re some nuanced differences between sugar cookies, shortbread and butter cookies.
Sugar cookies have the least amount of butter and higher sugar and flour amount compared to other two cookies. They’re sturdy, crisp and perfect for cut-outs.
Butter cookies are similar to sugar cookies, but has a higher ratio of butter to flour, making it richer and sturdier cookies.
Shortbread cookies are usually made of butter, flour, sugar, and some flavoring. They’re rich, crumbly and delicate cookies!
Sugar cookies are perfect make-ahead cookies.
- The cookie dough freezes well. Divide the dough into 2 parts, flatten into 1/2-inch thick discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer frozen dough into the fridge and thaw overnight. Then bring it out to room temperature for 15-30 minutes and then roll out as directed in step XXX.
- Plain sugar cookies also freeze well. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, bring it to room temperature.
- Glazed cookies also store well. Once the glaze is set, place in an airtight container with parchment paper in between the layers and store at room temperature for up to a week.
Easy Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/3 cups (290g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15g) brown sugar light or dark, Note 1
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter at room temperature, Note 2
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract optional, but highly recommended Note 3
To prepare the dough:
- In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix flour, sugars, baking powder and salt.
- Add butter and mix until the mixture is evenly moistened, about a minute.
- Add egg, vanilla and almond extracts and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Place each dough ball between 2 parchment sheets and roll it out into 1/4-inch thick disc. (TIP: Place the dough with parchment paper on a silicone mat to roll it out, so it stays in place. And this adjustable rolling pin is really nice for rolling out even dough.)
- Refrigerate the rolled out dough for 15-30 minutes to firm up. (You can also put the dough in the freezer to expedite the process.)
To shape and bake cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment papers, or silicone mats.
- Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate the cookies for at least 5 minutes before baking.
- Gather the scraps of dough, roll out and then chill before cutting more cookies. repeat until all the dough is used.
- Bake the cookies for 10-13 minutes, or until the edges start to turn light golden color.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Tips & Notes:
– The cookie dough freezes well. Divide the dough into 2 parts, flatten into 1/2-inch thick discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer frozen dough into the fridge and thaw overnight. Then bring it out to room temperature for 15-30 minutes and roll it out as directed in step 4.
– Plain sugar cookies also freeze well. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, bring it to room temperature.
– Glazed cookies also store well. Once the glaze is set, place in an airtight container with parchment paper in between the layers and store at room temperature for up to a week.