Easy cut out sugar cookies won’t spread and the dough requires no chilling! Decorate them with royal icing.
This recipe was originally published December 2013. It was last updated December 2020.
It’s that time of year again to make Santa’s cookies. So you may wonder, “Which cookies are Santa’s favorite?” Christmas sugar cookies of course. Santa loves seeing all the creativity and love put into decorating his cookies, just ask Buddy the Elf!
Why this recipe works: You don’t need to chill the dough before rolling and cutting out cookies. The cookies don’t spread and the recipe doubles easily. These cookies are perfect for decorating and gifting purposes.
Overview: How to make cut out sugar cookies
- Make the dough: Whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix to combine. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- Roll the dough: Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll the cookie dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Use desired cookie cutters to cut dough
- Bake the cookies: Place cut out sugar cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 F for 8 minutes. Let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Make sure the dough thickness is even so the cookies bake at the same rate. Roll cookie dough out to 1/4 inch thick. This rolling pin guarantees even thickness. Use cookie cutters that are about the same size. Again, this way the cookies bake at the same rate. Dip the cookie cutters in flour before cutting the dough. This will prevent the dough from getting stuck to the cutter.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to store cut out sugar cookies: Place cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
How to freeze sugar cookie dough: Store dough in an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap. Keep dough in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before rolling and cutting the dough.
What icing to use for sugar cookies: Decorate sugar cookies with royal icing. If you want the icing to harden, use meringue powder however it can be hard to find. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store or specialty cook store, you can find meringue powder on Amazon.
How to decorate sugar cookies: Transfer icing to a frosting bag fitting with a small round tip. Trace the outline of the cookie and then fill in with icing.
Leftover sugar cookies? Make my sugar cookie truffles.They are the most popular holiday recipe on my site! If you want to have sugar cookies without rolling dough, sugar cookie bars are for you. They are thick, chewy bars topped with buttercream frosting. And if you’re just craving cookie dough, try my edible sugar cookie dough. It is egg-free and safe to eat “raw”!
Sugar cookies are a classic recipe for the holidays, but can be made year round. What occasion are you making sugar cookies for? Let me see them on social media by tagging @ifyougiveablondeakitchen.
Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups (312 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (226 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup (187 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or almond extract
- 2 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tablespoons meringue powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5-6 Tablespoons warm water
Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine softened butter and confectioners’ sugar using a hand mixer.¹ Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides as necessary.
- With mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to the bowl. The dough is ready when most of it sticks to the paddle. When touched, it has a little give, but does not stick to fingers.
- Flour the work surface and roll dough to about 1/4 inch thick, using flour for dusting as necessary. Use cookie cutters to cut cookies and place on prepared baking sheet. Gather scraps and reroll dough when necessary.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, water and vanilla. Start on low speed for about 15 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and whip for 7 to 10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Stop the mixer as soon as the icing becomes stiff (mixing times are approximate).¹
- Transfer icing to pastry bags with desired tip and ice cooled cookies. Keep a damp cloth over bowl of royal icing so it doesn't harden while you ice the cookies.
- Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- If using different cookie cutter shapes, place cookies of similar size on the same baking sheet as they will bake at the same rate.
- It is best to ice sugar cookies the day after you bake them. This keeps the oils (aka butter) in the cookies from seeping into the icing.
- Store baked sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- Sugar cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or plastic wrapped in the freezer for 1 month. Let dough come to room temperature before rolling and baking.
References: The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle and Baking a Moment