Easy Sugar Cookies

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Sugar Cookies are the perfect year-round holiday cookie! Decorating these with family and friends at Christmas, Valentine’s Day or pretty much any holiday is a fun and easy activity! 

The best cookie recipes are simple, timeless and fun to make!  This easy sugar cookie recipe is short on ingredients but long on the dozens of ways they can be shaped, stamped, sliced, or decorated!

Sugar cookie dough cut into shapes

How to Make Sugar Cookies

Really, really good sugar cookies are ones that are uniformly mixed, shaped and baked. Be sure to have quality baking pans and a properly calibrated oven so the cookies bake evenly.

Sugar cookies are white and look best when they are not brown, burnt or discolored on the edges, so the use of quality bakeware, or using parchment paper is key. Chilling the sugar cookies allows for the butter to firm up a bit which will keep the cookies from spreading too much and looking flat.

Plan to chill the sugar cookie dough in order to produce the best result. You won’t be disappointed because a soft sugar cookie recipe is worth learning to perfect and you’ll use it all year long!

Sugar cookies on a baking sheet

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are one of the most popular cookie recipes for decorating. Feel free to have fun with cookie cutters, stamped rolling pins or simply free form them by hand – sugar cookies are the best way to spend a day in the kitchen!

To make Christmas sugar cookies, or any time of year cut out cookies, roll dough out evenly on a lightly floured surface and cut or stamp out desired shapes. Carefully transfer to a greased cookie sheet (or non-greased, but covered in parchment paper), and proceed to embellish with nonpareils, dragees, or colored sugar.

Once cookies are completely cooled, decorate with tinted icing or frosting and embellishments. This is why everyone loves to bake sugar cookies!

How to Make Icing for Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies are perfect on their own, but for decorating, the best sugar cookie icing always starts with powdered sugar! Made with milk, and or corn syrup make it easy to tint with food coloring and easy to smooth on!

Sugar cookie frosting is basically the same thing, just thicker and more of a spread than an icing. Either method can be tinted with food coloring.

Raw sugar cookies on a baking sheet

Easy Sugar Cookies for Cookie Exchange

Homemade sugar cookies are ideal for bake sales and cookie exchanges because they’re so easy. Some of my other favorite easy cookie recipes for bake sales are:

Sugar cookie dough shapes on a baking sheet
4 from 9 votes
Review Recipe

Easy Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 24 minutes
Servings 48 cookies
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Nothing says year-round holiday fun like baking easy sugar cookies and decorating them with family and friends.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 3 cups all purpose flour *see note
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

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  • Combine flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
  • Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with a mixer on medium until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  • Add flour mixture a little bit at a time with the mixer on low just until incorporated and the dough sticks together.
  • Divide dough in half, cover with plastic wrap and and chill 4 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. While the oven is preheating, remove the dough from the fridge.
  • Sprinkle the surface with a bit of icing sugar or flour so the dough doesn't stick. Roll dough to ¼" thickness (you don't want it to be too thin) and cut into desired shapes.
  • Place cookies 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or just until cookies begin to brown on the edges.
  • Cool 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely .

Recipe Notes

Measuring Flour: It is important that the flour is measured properly. To measure flour, lightly spoon it into the measuring cup and level it.  Do not use the measuring cup to scoop the flour or it will pack the flour into the cup and cause the dough to be dry.
Ingredients: Ensure all ingredients are room temperature and butter is softened to room temperature before beginning. (I do not recommend softening the butter in the microwave).
I prefer to use clear vanilla extract, you can often find it online or in craft stores. Any vanilla will work in this recipe.
Beating: Beat butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Once the egg is added continue beating until it is incorporated and the mixture looks smooth. Add flour and beat just until the flour is incorporated.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 80, Carbohydrates: 10g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 47mg, Potassium: 21mg, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 125IU, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Keyword rolled sugar cookies, sugar cookies
Easy Sugar Cookies on a baking sheet
Easy Sugar Cookies on a sheet pan with writing

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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