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Sugar cookie recipe for cutouts

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

Christmas recipes round-up

31 Christmas recipes for sweets, appetizers, sides and breakfast

Christmas recipes round-up Pinterest image

Doing some holiday cooking is always fun for me. I’ve long been deemed the Christmas cookie maker in my family — and I don’t mind a bit. But you need more than just cookies for Christmas. So I’ll pulled together 31 Christmas recipes you’ll love to include in your rotation. I’ve got everything from sweet treats to savory sides to Christmas morning breakfast ideas. And some fit in more than one category!

Be sure to save this post so you can go back to it again and again throughout the holiday season.

Appetizer recipes

A good meal often starts with tasty appetizers. These appetizers all work well for serving before Christmas dinner or as a snack. Some of them, I even serve for dinner around my house, so use them for easy dinner recipes in the weeks leading up to Christmas!

You can’t go wrong with a cheeseball. And this Parmesan ranch cheeseball recipe is a great way to kick off dinner or snack. Even my picky eaters like this one!

Christmas recipes: Parmesan ranch cheeseball recipe

When it comes to Christmas recipes, versatile ones that can be made ahead of time are great. This easy pantry salsa pairs with store-bought chips and can be an appetizer, snack or side dish.

Easy pantry salsa recipe

For an even more robust and filling way to serve tortilla chips, consider adding this skillet queso recipe into the mix. This stuff tastes just like what you get at Chili’s and is so good. I actually included it in my Thanksgiving menu for the past two years!

Skillet queso recipe

With just two ingredients, these meatball pockets are an easy appetizer or snack to make this holiday season.

Christmas recipes: 2-Ingredient meatball pockets

The next three appetizer recipes all start with a buttery, yummy crescent roll crust. Serve them as an appetizer, snack or even main course!

Christmas recipes: BLT pizza
Christmas recipes: Pepperoni pizza pinwheels
An easy, delicious taco pizza recipe

The final appetizer could also count as a side. This bacon ranch cheese bread is my husband’s all-time favorite food that I make. It uses a frozen bread dough for a base as well as precooked bacon, so it’s as simple as it is tasty.

Christmas recipes: Bacon ranch cheese bread

Side recipes

Is there any other side that is better than yeast rolls? I’m a carb lover, and these yeast rolls are one of my favorite recipes. My professional baker friend, Kayla, gave me the recipe originally, and I’m so glad she did!

Christmas recipes: Yeast rolls

If yeast rolls aren’t your thing, give these biscuit muffins a try. They’re simple and easy, and don’t require any time to rise like the yeast rolls do.

Christmas recipes: biscuit muffins

I love potatoes in any form, but these party potatoes are my all-time favorite potato recipe. They are cheesy and creamy and so incredibly delicious. When it comes to Christmas recipes, you’ve got to try this one, because it’s also pretty dang easy. My 13-year-old daughter made these by herself at Thanksgiving this year, in fact.

Christmas recipes: Party potatoes

The red bell peppers in this fire-roasted corn and red pepper recipe give it a festive look. And trust me when I tell you it’s one of the easiest recipes you can make!

Fire-roasted corn and red peppers Pinterest image

Another great and easy vegetable side recipe is this oven-roasted vegetables recipe you can use for most vegetables. And they always turn out so yummy!

Christmas recipes: oven roasted vegetables

Easy Christmas Eve dinner recipe

I had to include the recipe for this super easy slow cooker potato soup made with hash browns. It literally takes 10 minutes or less to put together in your slow cooker and will easily serve six people. You can easily double it if your slow cooker is large enough to feed even more people. It’s warm and filling. So yummy!

Christmas recipes: slow cooker potato soup made with hash browns

Christmas morning breakfast recipes

Whipping up a Christmas morning breakfast seems like so much work, so I love things that are easy or I can even make ahead of time. All of these recipes fall into those categories. Let’s start with the very best pumpkin bread recipe. You can serve this up for breakfast by itself, alongside yogurt and fruit or use it for a sweet treat later in the day. My family gobbles it up quickly, so it’s a good thing the recipe makes two loaves.

Christmas recipes: pumpkin bread

Another great Christmas morning breakfast recipes are these peanut butter honey nut cereal clusters. Make them the day ahead using only three ingredients and your microwave. They are like the pumpkin bread and can be served any time of day.

Christmas recipes: Peanut butter honey nut cereal clusters

For a warm, easy option, try these air fryer doughnuts made easily with canned biscuits. They are best served warm and are definitely a nice treat for Christmas morning.

Easy Christmas breakfast: Air fryer doughnuts Pinterest image

This make-ahead oat and honey granola is a great breakfast option. It works really well with yogurt and is just sweet enough that you can use it as a sweet treat as well.

Christmas recipes: easy oat and honey granola

When it comes to sweet breakfast breads, you can’t go wrong with this protein-packed banana nut bread. The nuts, of course, are completely optional. Bake it ahead of time so you don’t have to do anything besides slice it up and serve it on Christmas morning.

Christmas recipes: protein-packed banana bread

If you’re going for a bigger breakfast on Christmas morning and making pancakes and/or waffles, you’ve got to also make this super easy caramel sauce. We love it most with bananas. It’s so incredibly decadent!

Christmas recipes: caramel sauce for pancakes or waffles

Christmas sweet treat recipes

You can’t leave sweet treats out of a list of Christmas recipes. And I’ve got plenty of them for you, starting with my most popular recipe ever: a 4-ingredient whipped pudding pie. This comes together in just a few minutes, can be made sugar free and has a large variety of flavor options. You’ve got to try it!

Christmas recipes: 4-ingredient whipped pudding pie

Like I said, I’m the Christmas cookie maker in my family. And these toffee cookies are my most popular cookie. They’re so yummy and something a bit different.

The best Christmas cookie recipe: Toffee cookies

After the toffee cookies, my peanut butter cookies are my most requested. In fact, my dad asks for them as his birthday gift each year because he likes them so much. And my husband and kiddos sneak into the kitchen whenever I bake them and get them off the cooling rack.

Christmas recipes: easy peanut butter cookies

And then there are these delicious white and milk chocolate chip cookies. At Easter time, I add in some Cadbury eggs as well, but they are just as tasty with white and milk chocolate chips. They give a different flavor than traditional chocolate chip cookies (which I also love!).

Christmas recipes: white and milk chocolate chip cookies

Of the Christmas recipes I’m listing, the next two are the oldest that have been around since I was a child. First up is sugar cream squares. If you’re not a fellow Hoosier, you might not be familiar with sugar cream pie squares. If you’re from St. Louis, you probably call this gooey cake. From elsewhere, just know it’s basically a mix between blondies and cheesecake. Whatever you call it, though, these sugar cream squares are delicious!

Christmas recipes: sugar cream squares

The next family recipe is easy and delicious. I know ice cream may not sound like a Christmas recipe, but this one is an exception. This Oreo ice cream cake is delectable. A bonus to this recipe is you can make it a week or two ahead of time and it’s good to go!

Christmas recipes: Oreo ice cream cake

While we’re in a chocolate theme, don’t miss this super easy hack to make boxed brownies so fudgy good. Hands down, above everything I make, my brownies are the most requested item. And they are one of the easiest recipes I make just by using this one simple hack!

Christmas recipes: an easy hack to make box mix brownies so fudgy good

Mint is a perfect flavor for Christmas. And this mint chocolate chip mousse is super easy to make. You don’t need your stove or much besides a mixer — handheld or stand.

Christmas recipes: mint chocolate chip mousse

The final three recipes are all incredibly easy microwave recipes, and all of them are great treats to give away to others as gifts. Let’s start with the best puppy chow. Some folks call this muddy buddies. But whatever you call it, I got obsessed with it during quarantine and figured out the best recipe for it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Easy Christmas treats: Puppy chow recipe

You can’t beat Christmas fudge, and this easy microwave fudge has been perfected by my daughter. There are five varieties you can easily make in your microwave: chocolate, brownie batter, cherry cordial, toffee candy bar and mint chocolate.

Christmas fudge in the microwave Pinterest image

And last by certainly not least, these no-bake butterscotch haystacks only need two ingredients. They are a super easy treat to make and can help fill out a Christmas platter nicely. They’re one of my husband’s favorites.

Christmas recipes: butterscotch haystacks

The BEST toffee cookies

These toffee cookies are the perfect mix of chewy and crunchy!

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A good 15 years ago, I first came across a recipe for toffee cookies. I tried making them. They were sticky and chewy, yet crunchy. While I felt like they were pretty good, a few of my family members fell in love. I’ve tweaked the original recipe a bit to make them even better.

The best toffee cookies recipe Pinterest image

Each Christmas these toffee cookies are on my baking list. They aren’t optional. In fact, I think if I showed up to my mother-in-law’s house on Christmas Day without them, I’d not be allowed in! (OK. I would totally be allowed in because my in-laws are really nice people, but they would definitely ask where the toffee cookies are!)

In all of my years of cookie making, these really are the most unique I’ve made. I don’t make another cookie at all like them. I have so many recipes that have different flavors, yet are similar or expected. These toffee cookies are unique, and they are a addictive. Listen, I don’t usually think desserts are worth eating if they don’t have chocolate in them, and even I can happily munch away on them. The good news is that they are not difficult to make!

Ingredients for the best toffee cookies recipe Pinterest image

It all starts with mixing the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl then setting it aside. In your main mixing bowl (or the bowl of  your stand mixer, if you’re going to use it), mix up the butter or margarine with the sugars and vanilla. I’m going to stop right here and tell you the state of the butter or margarine is crucial in this recipe. If it is softened, the cookies won’t be as chewy. But, if it is slightly melted, then they are the perfect consistency — chewy, yet crunchy. I heat my stick margarine for 1 minute at 30 percent power in my microwave to get it to this state:

Butter consistency for the best toffee cookies recipe

After you mix together the butter or margarine, sugars and vanilla, add in the eggs. When it’s beaten together, the mixture will be thin and runny.

Creamed mixture for the best toffee cookies recipe

Gradually stir in the mix of flour, baking soda and salt. If you’re using your stand mixer like I do, make sure you mix it in slowly or else you’ll end up with flour all over everything, which is just plain annoying! Once it’s all mixed up, it will be thickened.

Plain dough for the best toffee cookies recipe

The final step is to stir in the toffee chips. I use 12 ounces, which is a bag and a half of Heath Bits O’ Brickle toffee bits. I totally estimate the half bag, but you could definitely measure it out. Also, be sure to look for the plain toffee bits and not the milk chocolate covered ones. The milk chocolate ones are good, but this recipe does best with the plain toffee bits.

Toffee chips mixed into the dough for the best toffee cookies recipe

All that’s left to do is freeze it or bake it. I store it in zip-top bags for freezing and lay them flat. This dough freezes and thaws well. For baking these sticky treats, though, be sure to either spray your cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray or use parchment paper. I discovered the joy of parchment paper a few years ago, as I told you last week in my tips for Christmas crunch time, and I highly suggest it for these cookies, especially. 

Dough balls for the best toffee cookies recipe ready for the oven on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet

After baking at 350-degrees for 9 to 11 minutes, let the cookies cool for 1 to 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then remove them to wire racks to finish cooling. The wire rack helps add the extra crunch to the cookie. You can just see the shine of the gooey, sticky toffee on the cookies as they’re cooling.

A finished toffee cookie cooling on a cooling rack so it gets crunchy

Arrange them on a cookie platter or put them in a zip-top bag and enjoy! The best thing about these cookies is that they are hearty. Of all the cookies I make, these have the longest shelf life and really do taste good for at least a week as long as they are stored covered. 

Finished toffee cookies

The BEST Toffee Cookies


  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 1 stick cup butter or margarine, mostly melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz. Heath Bits O' Brickle toffee bits 1-1/2 bags


  • Heat oven to 350-degrees and lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  • Stir together flour, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter or margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until well blended.
  • Add eggs and beat well.
  • Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended.
  • Stir in toffee chips.
  • Drop by rounded teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake 9 - 11 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for 1 to 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
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