Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

Cut out sugar cookies are a timeless classic, perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s for holiday festivities, birthday celebrations, or a simple sweet treat, these cookies are always a hit. This article provides a detailed guide to making the perfect cut out sugar cookies, from ingredients to baking tips. Follow along to create cookies that are both delicious and beautifully shaped.

Ingredients for Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Before diving into the recipe, gather all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

These ingredients are simple and readily available, ensuring that you can whip up a batch of cookies without any hassle.

Step-by-Step Recipe

1. Preparing the Dough

Start by creaming the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter until it’s smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.


  • Ensure the butter is softened at room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Beat the mixture thoroughly to incorporate air, resulting in lighter cookies.

2. Adding the Wet Ingredients

Next, add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until well combined. The almond extract is optional but adds a delightful flavor to the cookies.


  • Use a fresh egg to ensure the best texture and taste.
  • Mix the extracts in thoroughly for consistent flavor throughout the dough.

3. Combining the Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, beating on low speed until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can make the dough tough.


  • Sift the flour before measuring to ensure accurate measurement and prevent lumps.
  • Add the dry ingredients slowly to avoid a flour cloud in your kitchen.

4. Chilling the Dough

Divide the dough into two equal parts, flatten them into discs, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Chilling the dough is crucial as it makes it easier to handle and helps the cookies maintain their shape during baking.


  • If you’re short on time, place the dough in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Ensure the dough is thoroughly chilled for clean, sharp cookie edges.

5. Rolling Out the Dough

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.


  • Flour your rolling pin and surface lightly to prevent sticking.
  • Use a spatula to transfer the cut-out shapes to the baking sheet to maintain their form.

6. Baking the Cookies

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden. Be careful not to overbake, as sugar cookies can quickly become too hard. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking for even browning.
  • Keep a close eye on the cookies towards the end of the baking time.

7. Decorating the Cookies

Once the cookies are completely cooled, it’s time for the fun part – decorating! You can use royal icing, buttercream, or simple sprinkles to adorn your cookies. If using royal icing, divide it into separate bowls and add food coloring as desired.


  • Use piping bags and different tips to create intricate designs.
  • Allow icing to set completely before stacking or storing the cookies.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the best recipes, things can sometimes go wrong. Here are some common issues and how to fix them:

1. Cookies Spread Too Much

If your cookies spread too much during baking, the dough might not have been chilled enough. Make sure to chill the dough thoroughly before rolling it out. Also, check that your baking powder is fresh, as expired baking powder can affect the rise and spread of cookies.

2. Dough is Too Sticky

If the dough is too sticky to handle, try chilling it for longer. You can also add a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is workable. Be cautious not to add too much flour, as this can make the cookies dry and crumbly.

3. Cookies are Too Hard

Overbaking is the most common cause of hard cookies. Be sure to take the cookies out of the oven as soon as the edges start to turn golden. They will continue to cook slightly on the baking sheet after being removed from the oven.

Storing and Freezing

1. Storing

Store the decorated sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. If stacking the cookies, place a piece of parchment paper between layers to prevent them from sticking together.

2. Freezing

To freeze the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag. Dough can be frozen for up to three months. To use, thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight before rolling and cutting.

Baked cookies can also be frozen. Place the cooled cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen cookies to a freezer bag or airtight container. They can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature before decorating.


Making cut out sugar cookies is a delightful activity that brings joy to both the baker and those who get to enjoy the delicious results. With this comprehensive guide, you can create cookies that are not only tasty but also beautifully shaped and decorated. Remember to have fun with the process and let your creativity shine in the decorations. Happy baking!


  1. Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter?
    Yes, you can use salted butter, but reduce the added salt in the recipe to avoid overly salty cookies.
  2. Can I make the dough ahead of time?
    Absolutely! The dough can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.
  3. What is the best way to decorate sugar cookies?
    Royal icing is popular for intricate designs, while buttercream is great for a more textured, colorful look. Sprinkles add a fun touch.
  4. Why do my cookies lose their shape during baking?
    This can happen if the dough isn’t chilled enough. Ensure the dough is well-chilled before cutting out shapes and baking.
  5. Can I add other flavors to the cookies?
    Yes, you can experiment with different extracts like lemon or peppermint. Just replace the vanilla or almond extract with your desired flavor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *