One of the most popular cookies around is the sugar cookie. I can see why! These easy sugar cookies are so simple to make and great for parties or the holidays or just because.
Biting into a sugar cookie brings me back to my childhood when I used to make these with my mom. They are the quintessential cookie for the holidays. It was always fun frosting them and cutting out the different shapes with the cookie cutters. And I may have snuck a few nibbles of unbaked cookie dough as well. Oh, and cleaning the beaters! I would lick those beaters like a popsicle, haha. This recipe produces an amazing sugar cookie that you are sure to love. They are easy to make, if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get baking!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients and tools
In order to make these easy sugar cookies you will need the following ingredients and tools:
- Butter – I generally use unsalted butter but you can use salted butter as well. The butter adds flavor as well as makes the cookies soft and tender.
- Sugar – The white granulated sugar is what makes them sugar cookies!
- Flour – Use all-purpose also known as plain flour in other countries.
- Vanilla Extract – The vanilla will add flavor to the cookies.
- Baking powder – Baking powder will get the cookies the right amount of rising that we are looking for, which isn’t much.
- Egg – The egg will act as a binding agent as well as give the cookies a little lift, but not much. These cookies won’t rise much in the oven. The egg also plays a part in the texture of the overall cookie
- Salt – The salt will add balance and enhance the sweetness of the cooking. It will also enhance the other ingredients.
- Powdered Sugar – the main sweet component to the icing.
- Vanilla Extract – This will add flavor to the icing.
- Milk – I generally use whole milk but other milk will work. The milk will thin out the icing to give you your desired consistency.
- Small funnel
- Squeeze Bottles
- Artisan Mat (Silicone Baking Mat)
- Electric Mixer
- Rolling Pin
- Cookie Cutters
- Food coloring
Step 2: How to make easy sugar cookies
Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Next in a large bowl add the butter and the sugar together and cream them with a mixer. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed with a spatula.
Step 3: Add in the egg and vanilla extract
Next, add the large egg and the vanilla extract and mix those ingredients in with the butter and sugar. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 4: Baking powder and flour
Now, in a separate bowl add in the baking powder and salt to the flour. Mix those three ingredients together. And then add the flour mixture in with the other ingredients about a third of it at a time until it is all incorporated and the dough has formed. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 5: Roll out that easy sugar cookies dough
Next, smash the dough together after cleaning the beaters. Form it into a disc. I generally will divide it into two discs and cover one with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. I generally will roll the dough out until it is between 1/8th and 1/4th of an inch thick. Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the shapes that you want. With the remaining scraps of sugar cookie dough, smoosh them all together and roll it out again.
Step 6: Baking time
Place the cutout sugar cookies on a baking sheet lined with an Artisan Mat or any silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake the cookies at 350 F/176 C for 6 to 8 minutes until they are slightly golden brown on the edges. This will give you a softer cookie. If you like your cookies crunchy bake them for 9 to 11 minutes. When they are done baking remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer them to a wire cookie rack to cool completely.
Step 7: Make the icing for the sugar cookies
You can decorate the sugar cookies with frosting or royal icing that you get from the store or make your own. This is a simple icing recipe and technique that works great with these cookies. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract to a bowl. Use enough milk to get a fairly thick icing, almost a syrup consistency. This will be used for the borders of the cookies. I like to pour the icing into a squeeze bottle. It gives me more control than a knife. You can also use a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off.
Step 7: Decorate the sugar cookies
First, I take the white icing and go around the borders of the cookie. This is just a fun design I like and it also acts as a wall to keep the other colors of icing contained.
Next, come back with a thinner icing with a different color and fill in the middle of the cookies. This technique is generally referred to as “flooding.” Just make up another batch of white icing and add a few drops of the desired color of food coloring. Mix in the color and there you go.
Once the easy sugar cookies are all decorated, allow them to sit undisturbed so the icing can set. They usually set pretty quickly. Now enjoy them!
How do you store sugar cookie dough?
You can store the sugar cookie dough wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for about a week. Or you can freeze it for a longer self-life.
How do you store decorated sugar cookies?
After your cookies are decorated, place them in an airtight container in a flat layer. Then add a piece of wax paper or parchment paper and then another layer of cookies, etc. Put the lid on and place them in a cool dark place like your pantry or a cupboard. They should remain fresh for about a week.
Easy Sugar Cookies
- Small funnel
- Squeeze Bottles
- Artisan Mat/Silicone Mat or parchment paper
- Electric mixer
- rolling pin
- Cookie Cutters
- Food coloring
- 1 cup of softened unsalted butter 226 g
- 1 cup of white granulated sugar 200g
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour 360g
- 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract 6ml
- 2 tsp. of baking powder 8g
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of powdered sugar 120g
- 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract 2ml
- 2 to 2 1/2 tbsp of milk desired thickness (30ml)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/176 C
- In a large bowl cream together the granulated sugar and softened butter, using a mixer.
- Add the vanilla extract and the egg and mix those into the sugar and butter. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed throughout this whole process.
- In a separate bowl combine the salt, flour, and baking powder. Then add it into the other bowl of ingredients. Don't dump it all in, mix it in about a third of it at a time. The dough will eventually form. Remove the beaters and bring the dough together with clean hands.
- Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Split the dough in half so it is easier to work with. You can cover any extra dough with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a few months.
- Shape the dough into a thick disc then roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 1/8th of an inch thick to 1/4 of an inch thick. Then use the cookie cutters and cut out the cookies. You can smash any remaining scraps of dough together and roll it out again.
- Place the cutout sugar cookies on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Each cookie should have a little bit of room around it. They won't spread much.
- Bake the cookies for 6 to 8 minutes for softer cookies or 9 to 11 minutes for more crunchy cookies. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Decorate the cookies however you like, with storebought frosting, homemade frosting, storebought royal icing, or homemade icing. For the homemade icing, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Don't add all the milk in at once, just add enough to make a thick icing. Place this in a squeeze bottle or piping bag and decorate the cookies.
- Make another color of icing by following the above steps and then adding a few drops of food coloring. Fill in the gaps of the cookie with this color. Once done allow the cookies to sit until the icing sets. Then serve! Enjoy!
Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.