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Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

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4.07 from 172 votes

Easy Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are chewy, thick, and perfect for decorating.  These cookies hold their shape and can be customized for any holiday or occasion. The cookie dough is easy to work with and doesn’t require a ton of chilling time. This is the only soft cut-out sugar cookie recipe you’ll ever need!

If you enjoy sugar cookies, try my Soft Sugar CookiesSugar Cookie Bars, and Sugar Cookie Truffles!

PIN this Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe to try later!

heart shaped sugar cookiesPin

The Best Sugar Cookies

These Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are one of our top favorite cookies. I make these the most out of any other cookie recipe on my blog and bake them year-round, for any occasion. I decided to make Valentine’s Day cookies by using a heart-shaped cookie cutter but you can use any of your favorite cookie cutters.  This is also my go-to Christmas Sugar Cookies recipe. 

I used to sell these decorated cookies on Etsy and ship them all over the United States a few years ago and I still get requests to make them. So now, you can make your own! I promise, these are the best roll-out sugar cookies and you’ll understand why once you make them. 

I’m sharing my simple recipe with you because it’s too good and too easy. Plus, everyone needs a good sugar cookie recipe.

stack of sugar cookies with bite markPin

Why You’ll Love These Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Customizable: You can use any type of cookie cutter, sugar cookie frosting, and icing so these cookies are perfect year-round and any holiday or occasion. 

Classic Sugar Cookies: They are thick, soft, and chewy – everything you want in a sugar cookie. 

Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe: Kids can help make these cookies by cutting out the dough, icing them, or adding the sprinkles.

Holds a perfect shape: This sugar cookie dough won’t spread like most soft cut-out sugar cookies because of the chill time.

Freeze well: Unfrosted baked cookies freeze very well, for up to 3 months so you can always have cookies ready to be frosted. This is always super handy and a great idea (especially if you have kids). 

frosted heart shape sugar cookiePin

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter: I use salted butter- it adds just the right amount of salt that’s needed. If you use unsalted butter, be sure to add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the dry mixture. 
  • Sugar: the main ingredient.
  • Egg: one large, whole egg at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract and almond extract: gives the cookie dough the ultimate “sugar cookie” flavor.
  • Flour: all-purpose flour is preferred although you could make these with whole wheat flour however, it will change the flavor.
  • Baking powder: makes these cookies rise just a bit. 
how to make cut out sugar cookiesPin

HOW TO MAKE Soft CUT-OUT SUGAR COOKIES

CREAM BUTTER AND SUGAR: In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer or kitchen stand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in egg and extracts.

ADD DRY INGREDIENTS: Slowly mix in flour mixture (flour and baking powder), 1 cup at a time until cookie dough has formed.

ROLL OUT DOUGH ON FLAT SURFACE: Divide the dough into 2 balls. Roll out each dough ball into a 12-inch circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Cut out cookies, at least 1/8 inch thick, and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mats.

FREEZE CUT-OUT COOKIES: Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.

BAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake cookies in the center rack for 8-11 minutes, or just until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat until all of your cookies are baked.

Unfrosted cut-out sugar cookies on cooling rackPin

BEST SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE

You can make these into large or smaller cookie shapes, just note the baking time will vary a bit. 

I’ve perfected this recipe for years and made this recipe hundreds of times so it’s exactly what I want in a cut-out sugar cookie. Before this recipe, my dough would also spread and it was difficult to decorate. You don’t have to worry about that with these cookies! 

I’ve learned letting the cut-out cookie dough freeze creates the best results and it works every single time. The best part is you only need to freeze the cookies for about 30 minutes for perfectly shaped cookies.

stack of unfrosted sugar cookiesPin

HOW TO MAKE SUGAR COOKIE ICING

There are many different ways you can ice or frost these sugar cookies. You can either go with a classic icing that’s thinner and lighter. If you wanted a thicker frosting, a classic buttercream will work perfectly. If you are wanting to use a flooding method for extensive decorating, I highly recommend using royal icing that has meringue powder. 

For the classic icing: I used, simply whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and extracts until smooth. If the icing seems to be too thick, add more milk. If it seems to be too thin, add more powdered sugar. 

Colored icing: Add food coloring gel if you want your icing to be colored.

How to spread icing: You can add your icing to piping bags or a ziplock bag, snip off a corner, and squeeze onto the cookie. Alternatively, you can use a spoon or butter knife to spread the icing on the cookie as well. 

bowl of icing for sugar cookies Pin

RECIPE VARIATIONS

Funfetti Sugar Cookies: Add sprinkles to the cookie dough.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies: Add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to the cookie dough and top the cookies with melted chocolate or a chocolate frosting.

Chocolate chip sugar cookies: Add 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips to the cookies dough. Be careful not to add too any otherwise they will melt.

Lemon Sugar Cookies: Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest to the cookie dough and swap the almond extract for lemon extract. You could also use fresh lemon juice. Check out these drop Lemon Sugar Cookies

Flavored Icing or frosting: You can use any frosting or icing that you prefer. You can use different flavored frosting such as strawberry, chocolate, white chocolate, vanilla, funfetti, coffee,  etc. 

Royal icing: Used for flood technique decorating if you are wanted a more decorated look.

Unfrosted sugar cookies: This is my husband’s favorite way to eat these cookies. These cookies are just as delicious without the frosting, and you really get to enjoy the flavor of the sugar cookie without the extra sweetness from the icing or frosting. 

cut out sugar cookies with icingPin

HOW TO DECORATE SUGAR COOKIES

You can decorate these cookies any way you prefer. These are the perfect cookies for any holiday or occasion since you could use different cookie cutter shapes, icing, and sprinkles. 

I love using either a simple icing, buttercream frosting, or a use royal icing depending on how decorated I want the cookies.

I always outline my cookies with the icing so it will hold the rest of the icing I fill the cookie with and it helps maintain the shape. Top the cookie with sprinkles immediately and let them dry for at least 20 minutes to harden.

iced and sprinkled sugar cookiesPin

TIPS

  • Make sure to roll out the cookie dough 1/8-1/4 inch thick. You don’t want the dough to be thinner than that, otherwise, they can burn and end up crispy sugar cookies. 
  • Dip the cookie cutter in flour before each use. This will prevent the cookie cutter from sticking to the dough.
  • If you’re not sure what shape to make these cookies, you can just make them a round cookie and use a biscuit cutter or the back of a cup to cut them out.
  • Add the icing to a piping bag or ziplock bag and snip a corner off so you can easily ice your cookies to create a heart shape.
  • Freezing the cutout cookie dough is essential. You must do this otherwise your cookie may lose its shape and spread. 
heart shaped sugar cookies with pink sprinklesPin

LEFTOVERS + STORAGE

When I used to sell these cookies, we had a super tiny kitchen at the time so the only way that I would be able to make these with ease is to make batches a few days ahead and freeze the baked unfrosted cooked cookies. These cookies freeze very well when they are unfrosted. It also saves you time if you don’t want to go through the whole process of making the cookies

To store: Store any iced or frosted cookies in an airtight container on the counter of a cool area for up to 1 week. You can also cover plate with plastic wrap. 

HOW TO FREEZE SUGAR COOKIES

To freeze: Make sure the unfrosted cookies are completely cool. Place them in a large ziplock container, you can carefully stack them or place parchment paper in between each layer. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to frost and decorate the cookies, remove the cookies from the freezer and let them thaw for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

frosted sugar cookies with sprinkles Pin

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Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Easy Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are chewy, thick, and perfect for decorating.  These cookies hold their shape and can be customized for any holiday or occasion. The cookie dough is easy to work with and doesn't require a ton of chilling time. This is the only cut-out sugar cookie recipe you'll ever need!
4.07 from 172 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cut out cookies, frosted sugar cookies, soft cut-out sugar cookies, sugar cookies
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 26 3 inch cookies

Ingredients

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup salted butter; softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar Cookie Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

To make sugar cookies

  • In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer or kitchen stand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in egg and extracts.
  • Slowly mix in flour and baking powder, 1 cup at a time until cookie dough has formed.
  • Divide the dough into 2 balls. Roll out each dough ball into a 12-inch circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Cut out cookies, at least 1/8 inch thick and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  • Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake cookies in the center rack for 8-11 minutes, or just until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat until all of your cookies are baked.

To make icing

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the icing ingredients until the icing is smooth. If the icing is too thick, add more milk. if it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.

How to ice the cookies

  • Transfer the icing to a large ziplock bag and snip off a corner. Pipe the icing on the cookie evenly. You could also ice the cookies with a spoon or butter knife. Add sprinkles if desired and let the icing harden for at least 20 minutes. Enjoy!
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Notes

Recipe Note: 
Leftovers: Store any iced or frosted cookies in an airtight container on the counter of a cool area for up to 1 week. 
To freeze: Make sure the unfrosted cookies are completely cool. Place them in a large ziplock container, you can just carefully stack them or place parchment paper in between each layer. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to frost and decorate the cookies, remove the cookies from the freezer and let them thaw for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
Dip the cookie cutter in flour before each use. This will prevent the cookie cutter from sticking to the dough.
Make sure to roll out the cookie dough 1/8-1/4 inch thick. You don’t want the dough to be thinner than that, otherwise, they can burn and end up crunchy. 
If you’re not sure what shape to make these cookies, you can just make them a round cookie and use a biscuit cutter or the back of a cup to cut them out.
Add the icing to a piping bag or ziplock bag and snip a corner off so you can easily ice your cookies to create a heart shape.
Freezing the cutout cookie dough is essential. You must do this otherwise your cookie may lose its shape and spread. 

This recipe was last updated February 6, 2024 to include information. Originally posted February 7, 2022 By Kathryn Donangelo.

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Recipe Rating




49 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I need to make some of these for the grandkids. They will love to decorate them. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

  2. 5 stars
    These were absolutely perfect! I don’t eat egg so I used egg replacer instead but they were still so delicious! I can’t wait to have fun decorating them!

  3. 5 stars
    Love love love and good sugar cookie. Soft and buttery, could make them for everyday, Valentines, Easter.. anytime you can think of.

    1. 5 stars
      I used this recipe with a stencil rolling pin and it worked perfectly.

      Because the recipe uses baking powder instead of baking soda, the leavening effect is delayed by freezing. However, I must add one minute to the usual baking time for dough at room temperature.

      I highly recommend the lemon zest variation. Just a tiny 1/2 tsp

  4. 5 stars
    I made these cookies for Valentine’s. I’ll decorate them on Sunday morning before the Super Bowl, but I wanted to let you know they are simply delicious. I love that you added almond extract to the dough!

  5. 5 stars
    I can’t stop telling myself how pretty these look! I am super excited to make these today and I know my kids would love to help. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I cant wait to make them!

  6. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe, very easy to follow and appreciate all the photos. My daughter and I had fun decorating them!

  7. How long can the cutout dough be frozen? I’d like to make several dozen ahead of time for a shower, and then bake a few days before.

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Denise, you definitely can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it up to 3 months. Make sure to tightly wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap then I recommend placing the wrapped dough ball in a heavy duty freezer bag. Leave the cookie dough on the counter to defrost until softened (a few hours) or overnight in the refrigerator. You can also freeze unfrosted cookies that are already cut out and baked. Make sure they are completely cool then place them in a large ziplock bag or air tight container. You can stack them and place parchment paper in between each layer. When you are ready to frost and decorate the cookies, remove the cookies from the freezer and let them thaw for 30 minutes to 1 hour. I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions, I’m happy to help 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I used this recipe with a stencil rolling pin and it worked perfectly.

    Because the recipe uses baking powder instead of baking soda, the leavening effect is delayed by freezing. However, I must add one minute to the usual baking time for dough at room temperature.

    I highly recommend the lemon zest variation. Just a tiny 1/2 tsp

  9. 5 stars
    I’m trying to think how to freeze the cut out cookies, my freezer isn’t large enough for a cookie sheet. Any ideas??

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Deb, you can also put the cut out cookies onto several plates instead of one large cookie sheet. You can also put them in the refrigerator- just be sure to double the time. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love these cookies- they are my favorite!

  10. Hi, I have a question about the freezing part. You freeze the cookies prior to baking for 15-30 minutes and put them immediately in the oven? I am making them for Easter with my daughter. I have easter cutouts and I am super excited about making them 🙂

    1. Hi Megan! How fun that you are making these cookies with your daughter, I love the Easter cutouts. 🙂 Yes, freeze them until they have hardened, I like to freeze for 30 minutes or even overnight if you didn’t want to make them the same day. Bake the cookies frozen and then wait until they have completely cooled to frost. (Freezing the cutouts will help them keep their shape). Please let me know if you have any other questions and enjoy!

  11. 5 stars
    Easiest sugar cookie recipe I have ever used. I did find it necessary to use an extra egg so the dough wasn’t crumbly. As soon as I did the dough came together nicely. Rolled out without stickiness just worked perfectly. Definitely my go to dough for sugar cookies. No frosting is needed as they are sweet without. Thanks for sharing!

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks so much for your review, Kim! I’m so glad this is your go-to sugar cookie 🙂 I love the idea of adding an extra egg. I love eating them without frosting too, they are so good!

  12. 5 stars
    Cannot figure out why after the first pan goes in the cookies balloon up and lose shape! Have been frozen for longer than stated. Dont leave cookies out between batches. New batch Pan is not warm or hot all.

    Love the taste, and first sheet that holds shape!!

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Jess, I’m so glad you love these sugar cookies. The only other thing I could think of is that the butter you’re using is too soft. You want the butter to be soft enough so it can cream together when being mixed but still firm.

  13. These cookies have become a favorite. However, I found that I had to add more flour to make the dough easier to roll out. But nonetheless, it’s a keeper!