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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!
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.
Why You’ll Love These Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
- 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.
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.
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Soft Cut-Out 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
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!
This recipe was last updated February 6, 2024 to include information. Originally posted February 7, 2022 By Kathryn Donangelo.