Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

How to make the most amazing sugar cookies that truly hold their shape!  Soft and tender cookies that taste like a cross between a sugar cookie and shortbread, with perfectly defined and slightly crisp edges!

Perfect for any holiday cookie tray, and so easy to make!  With several different prep options, you’ll find one that fits your baking timeline, and your tastes.  We love holiday sweets like my Crockpot Candy and this is one of my Desserts you’ll definitely want in your dinner rotation!

holding decorated sugar cookie snowflake

SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE

Cut-out sugar cookies are the quintessential holiday cookie.  You’ll find them on all most all dessert trays and in every cookie exchange… not to mention, Santa enjoys them as well!

I don’t know about you, but in the past I’ve tried numerous sugar cookie recipes and none of them were perfect.  They never held their shape and the edges were soft and sloppy.  If you’re going to all the trouble of rolling out dough and cutting it into shapes, you want them to actually look like the cookie cutter shape right?

Stacked sugar cookies

That all changed a few years back when I found this recipe from Allie over at Baking a Moment.  She makes some fantastic desserts, and her sugar cookie recipe is phenomenal!

Over the years I’ve made a few minor tweaks based on my preferences, which is what I’m sharing with you today… but I wanted to give major props to Allie, as the base is her amazing recipe.

HOW TO MAKE

  • Mix up the dough – a stand mixer is very helpful here
  • Roll out the dough into a thin disc
  • Cut out desired shapes – can re-roll scraps to get more cookies if desired
  • Chill for a few minutes – not required, see recipe notes section at the end of this post
  • Bake and cool
  • Decorate as desired

How to make cut out sugar cookies

COOKING TIPS

  • Use cold butter – this severely cuts down the chilling time from several hours, down to about 15 minutes.  Alternately, you can omit the chilling all together, although it’s not my preferred method.
  • Cornstarch instead of baking powder – this is Allie’s secret, and it’s genius!  Baking soda is a leavening agent that helps food rise and spread, which is great for biscuits, but not so much for sugar cookies.  Omitting the baking soda can leave cookies tough and crumbly, but with the addition of the cornstarch, you don’t have to worry about that!  Cookies stay soft and buttery.
  • Cookies may not look “done” – cut out sugar cookies won’t be golden brown like other cookie varieties, they’ll just be set on the edges and are verrrrry lightly golden on the bottom.  Don’t worry, they’ll keep cooking as the rest on the cookie sheet.

Cut out sugar cookies on cooling rack

VARIATIONS

  • Almond – not a vanilla fan?  Almond flavoring tends to be pretty strong, so omit the vanilla and replace with 1 tsp almond extract or paste.
  • Almond/Vanilla – why not have both?  Try 1 tsp each of vanilla and almond.
  • Orange – Try adding a bit of orange zest to your cookie dough for a fun twist.

How to make perfect sugar cookies - stacked snowflake cookies

MAKING SUGAR COOKIES AHEAD OF TIME

The great thing about cut-out sugar cookies is that they’re great to make ahead of time and they store really well.

To save time, I like to bake my sugar cookies, cool them completely, then store on the counter in an airtight container.

That way I can decorate them another day.

STORAGE

Decorated and undecorated cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 weeks.

Undecorated baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Unbaked cookie dough shapes can be frozen for 1-2 months.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT USED IN THIS RECIPE

  • Stand Mixer – not required, but recommended for this recipe as the dough is very stiff.
  • Rolling Pin with Rings – this adjustable rolling pin takes all the guesswork out of how thick the dough is.
  • Baking Sheets – I love the large size and how sturdy these pans are.
  • Parchment Paper – no cutting required, these sheets fit perfectly in the baking sheets above.

Decorated holiday sugar cookies

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AND DON’T FORGET, IF YOU’VE MADE THIS RECIPE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND PLEASE GIVE IT A STAR RATING!

holding decorated sugar cookie snowflake

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

The most amazing sugar cookies that truly hold their shape!
5 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 24 cookies (depending on size and shape of cookie cutter)
Calories: 251
Recipe Author The Chunky Chef

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste vanilla extract can be substituted
  • 3 - 4 cups all-purpose flour (this will vary from kitchen to kitchen)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar and cream on MED speed until smooth and well combined. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add vanilla and mix.
  • To a mixing bowl, add dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch and salt), and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture, starting with 3 cups, and mix on MED LOW speed.
  • Let mix for 3-5 minutes, and you'll see the dough go from a crumbly mess to pulling itself into a ball that pulls away from the sides of the mixer bowl.
  • Turn out the dough onto work surface and roll dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Flouring the work surface and rolling pin is helpful, as is rolling dough out between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper.
  • Cut into shapes and place cut out dough pieces on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  • Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes, or until edges appear set. Cookies won't be golden on the top.
  • Remove from oven and let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Decorate if desired.

Notes

For a great Royal Icing recipe, check out this detailed post.
Flour amount varies due to humidity.  Start with 3 cups and add flour mixture 1/4 cup at a time, until you see the dough ball up and pull away from the sides of the mixer bowl.
For reference, I normally use 3 1/2 cups of the flour mixture.

NO CHILLING OPTION

I find I get the best results when combining the cold butter with the short 15 minute chill time, but if you prefer to not chill at all, you can do that.
  1. Make sure the butter you're using is extremely cold, and work quickly so it doesn't soften on you.
  2. If possible, chill your rolling pin, so it'll keep the dough cold as you're rolling it.
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These cut out sugar cookies are delicious, have slightly crispy edges and soft centers, keep their shape, and they have perfect edges every single time!  The only sugar cookie recipe you'll need! #sugarcookie #cutoutcookies #dessert #easyrecipe #makeahead #christmascookie #christmas #holiday #baking

 

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11 comments on “Cut-Out Sugar Cookies”

  1. Those look so good and you did such a pretty job icing these sugar cookies. I can’t wait to try making these with my kids!

  2. I’m going to make these with the kiddos this weekend!

  3. These look like they would disappear super quick at my house!

  4. Really great cookie dough recipe and perfect to make with the kids!

  5. These cookies are on my must-make list!

  6. I love how beautifully they keep their shape!

  7. Amanda, these look MAGICAL! I can’t wait to make them!

  8. Thanks for sharing this! Do you think it will work with glad eggs instead? My son is allergic to eggs and I’m trying to find a friendly recipe for him 🙂 thank yoy