- Food: Sugar Cookies
- Writer: Nicolas Wilson
- Content-Type: Food Blog
This simple sugar cookie recipe is easy to make and delightful to eat! It makes buttery, gently sweet sugar cookies that are great for decorating!
My family’s sugar cookie recipe was always the first thing that drew us back into the kitchen after Thanksgiving when I was a youngster.
After the holidays, we’d spend the weekend making out the dough, cutting out festive shapes, and then decorating the cookies once they were baked.
Baking sugar cookies is still the first indicator that Christmas is approaching for me, and this simple sugar cookie recipe is the ideal way to start the holiday season!
It’s festive, entertaining, and easy to make, plus the cookies are excellent. They’re thick, delicate, and soft, with crunchy edges.
We usually used almond extract in our Christmas sugar cookies when I was a kid, so I had to include it in this recipe, along with lemon zest and vanilla, of course.
None of these flavors are overpowering, but they work together to create a rich, warm, and slightly sour cookie.
These sugar cookies are not only delicious and mildly sweet on their own, but they’re also a lot of fun to decorate!
For a natural splash of color, we used royal icing (recipe below) and matcha sugar, but this cashew frosting or this simple glaze would work just as well. Good luck with your baking!
Sugar Cookie-Making Instructions
Are you interested in learning how to bake sugar cookies? This is what you must do:
To begin, combine the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and almond extracts, and lemon zest, then add the flour mixture a third at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
The dough should then be chilled. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours after shaping it into two disks and wrapping it in plastic wrap.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface when it has chilled. It’s important not to roll the dough out too thinly at this point. Aim for a thickness of 1/4 inch for thick, soft sugar cookies. The cookies will become crunchy rather than soft if it becomes considerably thinner.
After you’ve rolled out the dough, cut out your desired shapes with cookie cutters. To get as many cut-outs as possible, re-roll the dough as needed.
It’s then time to bake. Transfer the cut-outs to the baking sheets after lining them with parchment paper. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just beginning to brown.
Allow them to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
Wait until the cookies are cool before applying royal icing (recipe below), frosting, or this easy glaze. With a little baking sugar blended with matcha and these Supernatural White Sequins, I topped my royal icing.
Tips for the Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
- Allow the dough to chill for at least 2 hours. We baked these sugar cookies after only one hour of chilling, and here’s what we learned: don’t skimp on the chilling period! When they chill for an hour longer, their warm, tangy flavor improves dramatically. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes at room temperature before rolling it out if it is too firm to work with when it comes out of the fridge.
- One sheet at a time should be baked. Because oven temperatures vary, bake one sheet at a time for the most consistent results. You don’t want the bottom rack of cookies to burn before the top rack begins to brown!
- Allow 2 minutes for the cookies to cool on the baking sheet after they have been removed from the oven. They will crumble if you move them too soon. Allow 2 minutes for the cookies to set before moving them to wire racks to cool completely.
- Before you decorate them, let them cool fully. It’s tempting to start decorating these cookies right away, but they must first be brought to room temperature. The icing will melt if you don’t! I like to make my cut-outs a few days ahead of time and then freeze them to frost later.
|Time to Prepare: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Time to cook: 10 minutes
2 hrs 40 mins Total time
This recipe for buttery, fluffy sugar cookies is one of our favorites! These cookies are lightly sweet on their own, which is balanced by the addition of sweet royal icing, a plain powdered sugar glaze, or frosting.
Sugar Cookies Ingredients
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Royal icing, pictured – recipe below
- A glaze from this recipe
- Cashew frosting from this recipe
- Coarse sugar mixed with a tiny bit of matcha powder
- Supernatural White Sequins
Sugar Cookies Instructions
- Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium mixing basin.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed as you add the sugar and beat until frothy. After beating the egg thoroughly, add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon zest and mix well again. Mix in one-third of the dry ingredients at a time until fully blended. Form the dough into two disks by dividing it into two balls. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and parchment paper two baking sheets.
- Roll out the dough to a 14-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer to baking pans and bake for 10 minutes, one sheet at a time. Allow cooling for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. Before icing, let the cake cool fully.
- 4 c. sugar (powdered)
- 3 teaspoons powdered meringue
- 5–6 tablespoons water (more water as needed)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift the powdered sugar. 5 tablespoons water and the meringue powder Mix until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
Half of the frosting should be transferred to a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip for piping tiny lines (such as the snowflakes) and outlining filled-in forms.
Add additional water, 12 teaspoons at a time, to thin the icing to a runny consistency for flooding/filling in cookie shapes.