Dive into the world of homemade baking with this exquisite sugar cookie recipe. I know I’m bias and believe me, I don’t believe in bragging, but this really is an exceptional sugar cookie recipe. You simply have to try it! These cookies boast a perfect texture, crispy at the edges and tenderly chewy in the center, topped off with a heavenly cream cheese buttercream. They’re glorious! These are one of the most heavily and consistently requested desserts I’ve made. Okay, rant over, just go find out for yourself.

How do I ensure my cookies have the perfect texture?

The key is in the chilling process. Chilling the dough solidifies the fat, which helps in achieving that desirable combination of a crisp edge and a chewy center.

Chilling the dough is an essential step for more than one reason. It also helps the flavors blend together. This is a step that is too important to skip, even if it’s just for 1 hour. Patience pays off!

Can I make the sugar cookie dough ahead of time?

Yes! This dough is supposed to chill in the fridge for at least 1-3 hours. But, because this cookie dough is made with baking powder it can be left in the fridge for up to 3 days. Baking powder is unique in the fact that it has 2 chemical reactions, once when it’s mixed into the dough and a second time when placed in heat. That means, even after 3 days in the fridge, your cookies will still rise in the heat of the oven.

sugar cookie dough getting cut out

Can I make these sugar cookies vegan or gluten-free?

Yes, you can substitute the butter with a plant-based alternative and use gluten-free flour. However, keep in mind that this may slightly alter the texture and flavor.

Do you have to cream your butter & sugar when making sugar cookies?

Yes! Creaming your butter and sugar is an important step in all cookie making. The reason why this is so important is because it’s a part of the rising process. When you cream your sugar and butter properly it will trap tiny air bubbles into your dough, which make your cookies puff up when baked.

Creaming is the only time in the mixing process when you want to turn your mixer on high and beat for 2 minutes. After you have creamed the butter and sugar the rest of the ingredients should be slowly stirred in, just until the ingredients combine. You must be extra careful to not over-mix the batter when you add in your protein (eggs) and gluten (flour) or it will ruin the texture completely.

Here is a visual example of what creamed butter and sugar will look like:

creamed butter and sugar

How do I roll out sugar cookies without the dough sticking?

The best way to roll out sugar cookies is to place the dough on a parchment sheet and then cover with some plastic wrap. Then roll the dough out with your rolling pin. This way you don’t have to add extra flour or powdered sugar to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Too much additional flour and sugar can change the texture of the cookie.

I like to roll out my cookie dough right when I mix it, then place it in the fridge to rest. By doing it this way, you won’t need to fight cold sugar cookie dough with a rolling pin. Talk about sore muscles.

sugar cookie dough rolled out
sugar cookie dough rolled out & on a cookie sheet

How to decorate your sugar cookie:

Sugar cookies are a universal treat because you can frost and sprinkle them to go along with any party theme or holiday. Here are some fun examples of how you can decorate sugar cookies for different holidays and occasions:

sugar cookies decorated like flowers, wreaths and pie
sugar cookies decorated like halloween flowers

What is in a sugar cookie?

Unsalted butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough and it will result in an over salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough which helps with moistness, flavor & texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your cookies will melt down too fast and spread too much in the oven leaving you with a greasy, flat cookie. If butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your cookies too thick.

Granulated sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter & sugar. It helps add moisture to your cookie and helps is evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Almond extract

This extract adds a unique sweet and nutty flavor to your dough.

Vanilla extract

When using pure vanilla extract, it will add the deep rich flavor everybody wants in a treat.

Eggs

Adds both protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick cookies. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters together and help your dough from collapsing.

Egg yolks

Adding extra egg yolks to your batter will add extra richness and chewiness to your cookie.

Fine sea salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so that it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your cookie making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Baking powder

Puff up your batter instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this it only needs a liquid to react and it is double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with moisture and then again when it is heated up.

All-purpose flour

Flour builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It is exactly what its named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Sugar cookie with a bite taken out of it

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Sugar Cookie

5 from 9 votes
Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Servings: 30
Tried and true sugar cookies. I have tested and retested this recipe until I was SURE it was perfect! Paired with my *special* cream cheese butter cream, you will not be able to only eat one.

Ingredients 

Cookie

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Cookies

  • Place butter & sugar in a standing mixer. Mix until combined, then whip on high for 1-2 minutes until mixture is lighter in color
  • Add extracts, eggs & egg yolks. Mix until just combined
  • In a separate bowl mix salt, powder & flour
  • Turn standing mixer on low and slowly pour in dry ingredients. Stop mixing as soon as the dough comes together
  • Place dough on parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and roll out
  • Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 days
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees **Note: Convection setting is great for cookies**
  • Take out of fridge and cut with cookie cutter
  • Place on a light metal pan lined with parchment paper
  • Bake for 9 minutes
  • Take out of the oven and allow to sit on pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan to finish cooling

Frosting

  • In a standing mixer add butter & cream cheese, mix until combined
  • Pour in extracts and sugar, mix until combined
  • Once combined, turn mixer up to high and whip for 1-2 minutes until lighter in color

Assemble

  • Once cookies have cooled spread or pipe on the desired amount of frosting on top

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal Carbohydrates: 46g Protein: 3g Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 11g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 72mg Sodium: 72mg Potassium: 37mg Fiber: 0.4g Sugar: 34g Vitamin A: 607IU Calcium: 29mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.