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Sugar cookies are golden brown with crispy edges and soft and thick on the inside. They are buttery and sweet, easy to make in one bowl, and freeze well. |

Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Sugar cookies are golden brown with crispy edges and soft and thick on the inside. They are buttery and sweet, easy to make in one bowl, and freeze well.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted buttersoftened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • royal icing (optional, for decorating)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together using a hand mixer (or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment) on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Turn the mixer to low speed and add baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour and mix until combined.
  2. Form the dough into a disc and wrap it tightly in plastic cling wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour, up to overnight).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a half sheet baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  4. Remove the dough from refrigerator. (If it has been refrigerated for over an hour, let it sit at room temperature until soft enough to handle, about 10-20 minutes). On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Use 3-inch cookie cutters to cut out the cookies.
  5. Transfer the cookies onto the lined baking sheet, placing them an inch apart. Re-roll any scraps and repeat to cut out more cookies.
  6. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown. Let the cookies cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Serve as is, or decorate with royal icing. To decorate, use a no. 5 round tip to outline the base colour on the sugar cookie, leaving about 1/8-inch from the edge, and fill in the inside. To get the icing completely to the edges, use the back of a spoon to spread the icing to the edge.
  8. Allow the base to dry enough so that when you add icing on top, it won't smudge or blend into it. It doesn't have to be fully set, but set enough, about 20-30 minutes. Then, use a thin no. 1 round tip to decorate the cookies with finer details such as outlines, dots, etc.
  9. Allow the icing to set completely before stacking up and storing to prevent smudging (a few hours up to one day).


How to store: Store sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to one week. If they are iced, allow the icing to set first before storing. Then, store in a single layer or stacked up in an airtight container.

How to freeze cookie dough: Once you have prepared the dough and shaped it into a disc, wrap it tightly with plastic cling wrap and store it in a freezer bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. To use, allow the cookie dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then, bring it to room temperature before rolling and cutting out.

How to freeze baked cookies: Sugar cookies also freeze really well before and after baking. Place them in an airtight container, layered in between pieces of parchment paper and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Chill Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: sugar cookies, how to make sugar cookies, cut out sugar cookies, cut out sugar cookies, homemade sugar cookies