The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe! Perfect cut out sugar cookies that keep their shape and you don’t even have to chill the dough. Use this recipe to bake Christmas sugar cookies with the children and have fun icing them!
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PERFECT SUGAR COOKIES
I have been looking for a foolproof sugar cookie recipe that doesn’t require chilling for ages!
These simple vanilla cookies use staple pantry ingredients, are easy to make, a pleasure to roll out and hold their shape when baked.
NO CHILL SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH
A lot of sugar cookie recipes ask you to chill the dough and the cut out cookies before baking. This is what usually puts me off making them – patience (and fridge space) are in short supply over here!
This recipe really is NO CHILL (this is not a drill!) and it turns out perfect every time if you follow my very simple steps.
These cookies are lovely to make with the family – children love cutting them out and decorating them making the ideal for iced Christmas biscuits.
TIPS FOR PERFECT CUT OUT COOKIES
Although this recipe is very simple you must follow certain steps for best results.
- Use room temperature ingredients. The butter needs to be soft enough for your finger to leave a clear imprint if pressed but not so soft that it is melting. If your egg is cold, bring it back to room temp before using.
- Make sure your baking powder is fresh, especially if you don’t bake very often.
- Use a rolling pin with thickness rings, it makes all the difference!!
- I always suggest using a digital scale for accurate measuring. If you are using cups make sure to first stir the flour. Spoon the flour into the cup then level by scraping a knife across the top.
- Oven temperatures can vary. If your cookies are colouring too quickly it could be that your oven is too hot or heats unevenly. If you see the cookies colouring on one side, rotate your baking sheets halfway through.
- Adjust your bake time according to the size of the cookies.
- If you want soft sugar cookies, bake for less time and handle them with care when taking out of the oven as they will be soft and crumbly.
- Bake until the edges of the cookies just start to colour for crisper results.
- I like using these reusable liners when making this recipe, that way I can roll out the dough and cut out the cookies directly on the liner.
PERFECT CUT OUT SUGAR COOKIES STEP BY STEP
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
STEP 2 Put the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Cream the butter and sugar for at least three minutes, stopping halfway to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
STEP 3 Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
STEP 4 Gradually add the flour, beating it in until the dough comes together. The dough might look a bit crumbly / stiff when all flour has been added, but you will finish off by kneading by hand.
STEP 5 Turn the dough out onto your worktop and use your hands to gently knead the dough until you have a pliable, non sticky, cookie dough the consistency of Play Doh.
STEP 6 Divide the dough into three chunks, keeping any dough you are not using covered with plastic wrap to keep from drying out. Lightly dust your liner or baking parchment with a little flour. Use your rolling pin thickness rings to roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick.
STEP 7 Cut out the cookies using your favourite cookie cutters. Transfer the liner (or paper) onto a heavy baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough, gathering and using any scraps and bake the cookies in batches.
STEP 8 Bake for 6-8 minutes for smaller cookies and 9-11 minutes for slightly larger ones. The cookies can be baked less time for softer texture and a little longer for a crisper texture. Leave the cookies on the baking tray for a minute after you take out of the oven and use a spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
SUGAR COOKIE ICING
You have a few options when it comes to decorating these cookies. If you are making Christmas sugar cookies then I would suggest a Royal Icing, made with egg whites and powdered sugar.
This icing is perfect for piping on the cookies and you can use food coloring to tint it or thin it out to flood (fill) the cookies.
Put the royal icing in a piping bag or use a small decorating silicone bottle to decorate your cookies. You can add sprinkles or sanding sugar while the icing is still wet (it will dry diamond hard!).
But a simple icing made with icing sugar and water or lemon juice is a much easier option, especially if you are making these with kids. I include both options in the recipe card below. You can also drizzle the cookies with melted chocolate if you like.
Keep your cookies in an airtight container (such as a cookie tin) as moisture will cause them to soften over time.
Best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
For the Cookies
- 225 g (1 cup) unsalted butter , softened
- 200 g (1 cup) sugar , granulated or caster
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 360 g (3 cups) flour all purpose /plain + more for dusting and rolling
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 egg whites 80g (⅓ cup)
- 500 g (4 cups) icing sugar confectioners /powdered
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
- lemon juice or water to thin the icing as needed
- 250 g (2 cups) icing sugar
- 2 tbsp water or as much as needed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
Make the cookie dough
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Put the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Beat together for at least three minutes, stopping halfway to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
- Gradually add the flour, a little at a time, mixing it in until the dough comes together. You can mix in the last of the flour using your hands if needed.
- Turn the dough out onto your worktop and use your hands to gently knead the dough until you have a pliable, non sticky, cookie dough the consistency of Play Doh. Divide the dough into three chunks, keeping any dough you are not using covered with plastic wrap to keep from drying out.
Roll out dough and cut out cookies
- Lightly dust your liner or baking parchment with a little flour. Use your rolling pin with ¼ inch rings to roll out the dough.
- Cut out the cookies and transfer the liner (or paper) onto a heavy baking sheet, spacing the cookies slightly apart. Repeat with the rest of the dough, gathering and using any scraps and bake the cookies in batches.
Bake the Cookies
- Bake for 6-8 minutes for smaller cookies and 9-11 minutes for slightly larger ones. The cookies can be baked less time for softer texture and a little longer for a crisper texture.
- Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
- Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Start whisking on low speed until frothy.
- Increase the speed and once the egg whites form soft peaks, start adding the icing sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to whisk until the icing drops slowly off a spoon. Always keep the royal icing covered otherwise it will quickly dry out.
- If the icing is too thin you can add more icing sugar. If too thick, thin it with a little water or lemon juice.
Decorate the cookies
- Put the royal icing in a piping bag and snip a very small hole at the tip (or use a silicone bottle as I have done).
- If you wish to fill (flood) the cookies, thin half of the icing with a little water and use it to fill an outlined cookie – pushing the icing to the edges using a toothpick. Leave to dry completely at room temperature.
- Put the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually add enough water until you have a thick glaze that drops slowly off a spoon. Stir in the vanilla if using. Use this glaze to decorate the cookies leaving it to dry completely before storing them.