How to Make Perfect Sugar Cookies
So this is the day I’ve been having… I didn’t bother icing this batch of our perfect sugar cookies because they taste amazing all on their own. But my 4 year old LOVES her sweets and she insisted on having icing on hers (they’re delicious with and without icing!).
We have a small kitchen, so I keep all the leftover icing tubes from other treats we’ve made in a box upstairs in my office. So every day after school this week while I’m trying to squeeze in just 10 more minutes of work, my middle daughter has been bringing me a cookie, choosing a tube of icing from the box and asking me to decorate it for her.
Yesterday she chose the bright red glitter gel icing that I used on the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hearts way back when. That stuff is RED (and sparkly…). I iced a beautiful little snowflake on the cookie she brought me. She was so excited watching me decorate that cookie, and (just saying…) I was actually pretty impressed with my quick, free-handed icing skills too! When I was done, I handed the cookie back to her, and I said, “Now sweetie, this icing is really messy, so whatever you do, do NOT drop the cookie!”
And before I could even finish the sentence, her little fingers fumbled and she dropped her pretty little snowflake cookie just covered in wet gel icing on the floor. No no… Not face down. That little cookie rolled about 2 feet along the carpet leaving a straight line of bright red icing and THEN it landed face down on the carpet.
My poor daughter stared at the cookie on the floor and just kept apologizing. She had the biggest look of disappointment on her face and her bottom lip was puffing out. She was so excited to eat her delicious snowflake cookie, and it was ruined. She looked like she was going to cry from the disappointment. And of course she was nervous to see how I’d react to the GIANT, bright red stain on the carpet… Normally I’d be angry, but how could I get mad when it was clearly an accident and she was already so sad!?
*sigh* So for the moment, I’m stuck with a big red patch of carpet on the floor right next to my office chair! If you know how to get red gel icing stains out of carpet, please feel free to leave me some tips in the comments below!!
How to Make Perfect Sugar Cookies
When it comes to baking, I am definitely NOT an expert. So when I tell you that this recipe makes the best, most perfect sugar cookies, you can truly believe me. Because if I can make perfect sugar cookies with this recipe, I promise, you can make perfect sugar cookies too!
You don’t need any special tools, and you definitely don’t need to chill the dough. I’m not going to claim to know why you need to chill the dough in some recipes (I’m sure there’s a reason for it in other recipes??), but I’m lazy. And when I’m baking with the kids, they just want to get those cookies in the oven! So I’d rather not take a giant pause in the middle of our kitchen fun.
I used my hand held mixer to combine all the ingredients. When it gets to this clumpy stage where all the ingredients are mixed together, you’ll have to start using your hands to knead the dough.
Knead the dough until it forms a consistent ball. It’s easier to roll the dough out in smaller batches, so at this point, you’ll want to split your big dough ball into 2 or 3 smaller balls.
I recommend covering the bowl with plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out while you’re rolling out each ball.
Take one of the balls and carefully roll it out onto a floured surface. I did mine right on the counter. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough as well to keep the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.
Roll the dough by starting in the center and rolling out to the edges, changing the angle each time you roll until it has an even thickness throughout (about 1/4 inch thick). There are lots of tools available to make the rolling process easier, but I would much rather stick with a simple rolling pin. If it was good enough for my grandma, it’s good enough for me!
I don’t know why, but this is always my favourite part! Choose your favourite cookie cutters and cut out your shapes!
Lift them onto a parchment lined cookie sheet using a thin metal spatula.
The baking time will depend on your desired level of doneness. I baked the ones I made last year for 8 minutes but they looked kind of bleached (you can check them out here). The less time they bake, the softer their texture will be along with a lighter colour.
For the super cute teddy bear cookies I made, I wanted them to be a little more golden, so I cooked them for 10 to 11 minutes. Cooking them longer gives them a firmer texture with golden edges.
These particular cookies in this batch here I cooked for just over 9 minutes. Ovens will vary of course, so you’ll have to keep an eye on them near the end and take them out when they’re ready.
These cookies have wonderful, even edges, they have a lovely smooth surface, and they taste delicious both with and without icing!
They have a delicious slightly soft texture, not that super crunchy texture you get from store bought cookies.
This is truly the only sugar cookie recipe you’ll ever need! They keep their shape, they have perfect edges every time and they taste AMAZING!
My kids know I don’t bake a whole lot, so when they came home from school and saw these and LOVED them – and said they’d be perfect to leave out for Santa – I felt like I had accomplished something. 🙂
And just in case you need a recipe for sugar cookie icing, check out our gorgeous Sugar Cookie Christmas Tree Cookies. I LOVE that fir tree texture!!
Hi Debbie. Thanks for posting this recipe. Your ingredients list notes baking POWDER but the step by step instructions note baking SODA. Could you please clarify? Thanks.
Oops! Sorry about that typo! It’s supposed to be baking POWDER. Thank you so much for pointing that out! I’ve corrected it in the recipe card now.
Hello. I was planning on making these today to serve at a party on Saturday. I just need to know if I can freeze them so they stay fresh? Thank you.
I’ve never frozen them myself, so I can’t say for sure. But I know that other people have used this recipe and they say they have frozen them no problem. Without icing of course. 🙂
Thank you very much.
Don’t freeze them. Find a nice cold place in your home and store them there. Put foil on the can bottom and inside the lid with foil .They will keep got weeks .But these cookies are so good they won’t be around past the holidays
I froze with dried royal icing and they held without any discoloration for 2 weeks.
Hello Debbie, May I know what type of sugar did you use?
Hi I would love to make these cookies,could you please tell me what sugar you used and measurements in grams please,from the uk
Thanks so much
Hi, could you please tell me these ingredients in grams, becuase i don’t have measuring cups….
1 cup sugar means how many grams???
1 cup butter means how many grams???
3 cup flour means how many grams????
Thank you very much
I made these today having googled a conversion and they came out perfectly. I used:
360g plain flour
I realise you posted ages ago, but hopefully this will help others (and that you managed to find the conversions)
Thanks. This is useful.. 😊
To remove gel icing from carpet
What you will need
Blunt kitchen knife
Liquid hand dishwashing Detergent
Chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach
Steps to Clean
Scrape off excess material.
Soak for 15 minutes in mixture of 1 quart lukewarm water, one-half teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon ammonia.
Rub gently from back to loosen stain.
Soak another 15 minutes in above mixture. Rinse.
Soak in 1 quart warm water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar for 30 minutes.
If color stain remains, launder, using chlorine bleach if safe for fabric, or with oxygen bleach
Can you use margarine instead of butter?
I am making them now using margarine as my daughter cannot have dairy! I’ll let you know how they turn out
Eucalyptus oil will get it out of the carpet. Well…it got the red plasticine out of our carpet after darlings spread it liberally….sigh.
I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!!
Can you store extra dough in the fridge without messing up the dough?
Did you try this? I am wondering this as well.
This is such a great recipe – thank you for sharing!
I used dairy free butter & egg replacer to make these vegan. Also only had self raising flour on hand, so used that & didn’t add any baking soda. The cookies turned out PERFECT! Can’t wait to watch the kids decorate them 🙂 xxx
Ok what if I want to make these lime. Do you know how much lime zest and juice I would need to add?? THANKYOU
I followed the directions as stated and everything was great UNTIL I tried to lift the cookies up to place them on the cookie sheet. They were rolled out on was paper, directly on my floured granite countertop, I tried different spatulas – nothing worked. So my trees look like bushes, stars look like splatters, bells look like half-circles, and snowmen look like gangstas. I hope they taste good!
It’s hard to say for sure, but it sounds like there wasn’t enough flour on the surface when you rolled it out? Did you try a metal spatula to lift them? Or even a pie server would work? I find that flat and thin metal utensils work the best to lift the cookies off the counter top. I hope that helps!
I’ve made these cookies twice, and while they’re delicious, the dough didn’t form a nice ball, and stayed quite crumbly – I could only roll out the dough once before it all fell apart. Any advice?
I’m so sorry the dough was crumbly for you! Next time make sure the butter is fully softened before you make the dough – otherwise it won’t be able to hold the ingredients together. And if that isn’t enough, try adding small amounts of water to the dough as you’re kneading it until it forms into a good ball. I hope that helps!!
Did you use salted or unsalted butter?
I used salted butter.
Hi, I noticed the question was asked about using margarine instead of butter but didn’t notice an answer. Can you say wether or not this is recommended? Thanks in advance.
This are the best cookies I made they were gone in a week but I made them wright but 29-25 was all I could make and I was disappointed with the way the turned out wrong with the numbers but yum
These are the best sugar cookies ever! Believe me as I have consumed many sugar cookies over the years!
These blew my mom’s cookies (who in my mind were the best) out of the water. She even wanted the recipe. So soft and delicious! I followed this recipe to a “T” with the exception of using salted butter.
Around how many cookies does this recipe make?
I’ve made these a few times now and each time they come out remarkably well. I wish I could share pictures with you because I absolutely love how they turn out.
Perfect dough with great taste and it has ruined Pillsbury for me- in a good way.
I WANT SIX THOUSAND FOOD IN KENYA FROM MOMBASA
THAT IS AFRICAN
tried this recipe today and loved it thank you for sharing it!