The best sugar cookie recipe

The best sugar cookie recipe for cutouts Pinterest image

Tis the season for cookies! Christmas cookies are popular for gifts, Santa and families. And cutout sugar cookies are the most traditional of all. However, finding a sugar cookie recipe for cutouts that is soft but sturdy with a bit of crunch can be difficult.

I’ve tried different sugar cookie recipes for cutouts through the years and found this is the best sugar cookie recipe. I how easy it is to adjust the quantities. And depending on how thick or thin you roll your dough you can adjust how soft or how crunchy your cookies turn out.

Make your dough

For the absolute best results with making sugar cookie cutouts, you want to plan ahead and make your dough before you’re ready to start baking. Letting the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours is best.

It all starts with creaming together softened butter and white sugar.

The creamed butter and sugar for the sugar cookie recipe

Next, add in the egg and vanilla, which will make the mixture looser.

Sugar cookie dough with the egg and vanilla added in

In a separate bowl or a large measuring cup, measure out the flour and add the baking powder and salt. Stir it together. I like using a large measuring cup for this so I don’t have to get both a measuring cup and a separate bowl dirty, but that only works for smaller recipes. So do what works best for you!

The flour, baking powder and salt in a large measuring cup

Gradually incorporate the flour mixture into the wet mixture. I use my stand mixer for this, but that’s because I’m attached to her and use her for many things. But, you can definitely mix this by hand. The dough for this sugar cookie recipe for cutouts will be stiff.

The sugar cookie dough mixed all together

Cover the dough and put it in the refrigerator for at least one hour. If you make this ahead of time and want to freeze it, you can easily do so. Just make sure to pull it out of the freezer and give it time to thaw, but still be cold before baking.

Making the cookies

Once the sugar cookie dough is chilled, it’s time to get started on the cutouts. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (F). Put the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. I usually just roll my dough in a few segments at a time rather than trying to roll it all out at once.

The thicker the cookies, the softer they are. The thinner the cookies, the crispier they are. I usually make mine on the thinner side, which makes the dough go farther and the cookies have a nice crisp to them.

The sugar cookie dough rolled out and ready to be cut

Use your cookie cutters and cut out shapes.

Using a cookie cutter to make sugar cookie cutouts

Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Because these cookies don’t spread out like drop cookies do, you can place the pretty closely together and not have any problem. I usually fit about 15 per cookie sheet.

The cut out sugar cookies on a baking sheet, ready to go into the oven

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes until the edges are slightly browned. Transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely before decorating.

Fresh from the oven cutout sugar cookies

I highly recommend decorating them with either my delicious buttercream icing or whipping up royal icing for them. I had a group of middle school girls decorating this batch, and it was easier to put together royal icing for them. Of all the things I make, I don’t use a recipe for it. I just mix powdered sugar, a bit of milk and a bit of vanilla together until it’s the right consistency. And of course we color the icing as well!

Decorated sugar cookies

Sugar cookie recipe for cutouts

This sugar cookie recipe for cutouts has just the right amount of softness and crispness to make delicious cookies any time of year!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 30 cookies


  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • In a large bowl cream the softened butter and sugar together until it's smooth.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it is completely mixed.
  • Cover the dough and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400-degrees (F). Roll the cookie dough out on a floured surface until it's 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. (The thicker the cookies, the softer they are; the thinner the cookies, the crispier they are.)
  • Cut the cookie dough into shapes and place them about 1 inch apart on ungreased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
Keyword Christmas cookies, cookies, cookout, cutoutcookies, holiday baking, rolled cookies, sugar cookies

Don’t miss these other delicious cookie recipes as well!

The best Christmas cookie recipe: Toffee cookies
Easy peanut butter cookies recipe

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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Sugar cookie recipe for cutoutsSugar cookie recipe for cutoutsSugar cookie recipe for cutouts