There's nothing like the smell of sugar cookies in the oven to make you love being a human. A few simple ingrediants, a little time in the oven, and an easy sugar cookie recipe are all it takes to create one of the best treats on the planet.
Sugar cookies are one of the most versatile cookie recipes around. Even better, they're also one of the easiest to make. Roll them out, cut them, or decorate them — sugar cookies are perfect for any occasion.
Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe
We like starting with a great, basic sugar cookie recipe. You can change it up with all kinds of additions or change the color with a few drops of food coloring.
Save the butter wrapper to grease the bottom of the glass that you are using to flatten the cookies.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Colored sugar or sanding sugar (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl until they are well combined.
- Using your stand mixer or a hand mixer with a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until they are light and fluffy.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Add the vanilla and egg and mix until completely incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, about an inch and a half across.
- Roll the cookies in sugar. The easiest way to do this is by pouring some sugar onto a plate and rolling the dough balls in the sugar.
- Place the cookie dough balls two inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You may want to spray the paper with non-stick spray.
- Flatten the dough balls with the greased bottom of a water glass.
- The cookies should be about ¼ inch thick.
- Top with colored sugar or sanding sugar if desired.
- Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes.
Roll-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
This simple recipe makes a delish cookie dough you can cut into any shape. The resulting cookies are flat and durable enough to be decorated in tons of ways.
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until creamy.
- Stir in the baking powder and salt.
- Slowly add the flour, mixing as you add, until it is well incorporated and you have a heavy dough.
- Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured surface.
- Roll out to approximately ¼ to ½ inch thick.
- Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the cookies.
- Transfer the cut cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for six to eight minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
- Allow to cool completely before decorating.
Sugar cookies bake quickly because they're so thin. We like to start at the low end of the baking time and check them often to keep them soft.
Variations for Sugar Cookie Recipes
The basic recipes are great, but they're also the starting point for several other types of cookies. Get ready to get creative.
For a quick almond cookie, just make these little changes:
- Add a teaspoon of almond extract to the dough.
- Follow the rest of the directions for the basic cookies.
- Add some slivered, blanched almonds to the tops of the cookies before baking.
For a quick snickerdoodle-type cookie, here's your tweak:
- Mix up a small bowl of equal parts sugar, confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Roll the cookie balls from the basic recipe in the mixture before flattening and baking.
These beautiful cookies have a translucent center made of candy. To create them, you start with the roll-out sugar cookie recipe and then get creative with hard candies:
- Roll out and cut the cookies in their desired shapes.
- Cut a small area out of the center of the cookies.
- Grease a piece of aluminum foil and place the cookies on the foil.
- Crush a piece of hard candy, such as a Jolly Rancher, and place the pieces in the cutout in the cookie.
- Bake as usual; the candy will melt and fill in the cutout.
These cookie sandwiches have a jam center that shows through the middle of the top cookie. Grab your favorite jam and get started. You'll use the roll-out dough for these.
- Make and roll out twice the amount of cookie dough.
- Cut out the cookies in the desired shape.
- Cut an additional smaller shape out of the centers of half the cookies.
- Spread the other half of the cookies with jam and top with the cutout cookies.
- Bake as usual.
Sweeten Your Day
Sugar cookies are so simple that you can make them for any occasion (and we think you should). Bake and decorate these classic cookies in any number of ways and taste the sweeter things in life.