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These Cut Out Sugar Cookies are soft, thick, sinfully buttery and taste amazing whether they are decorated or not! Make easy sugar cookie cut outs that keep their shape & edges. Great for decorating with royal icing or sprinkles. This is a no-chill recipe!
(this post has been updated on 11/6/20)
Making perfect cut out cookies was never an easy task for me. I always had trouble with them.
The worst thing about most cut out sugar cookie recipes is, going through all the work making a batch and pulling them from the oven to find that they spread!
I can assure you, that this recipe has always given me consistent results. Since they don't spread, they maintain crisp, well defined edges which makes them perfect for decorating with royal icing.
I get RAVE reviews on these cookies all the time. They have a pillowy, soft texture and are supremely buttery. They are proof that cut out sugar cookies do not need to be hard and crunchy to hold their shape.
This is a no chill cut out sugar cookie recipe
Having a recipe that is no-chill is very important to me. It's rare you'll find any 'have to chill' recipes on my blog...I'm extremely impatient. 🙂 Especially when it comes to cookies!
You do not need to chill these sugar cookies before sending them off into the oven.
I do however, have to caveat that if the weather is 98 degrees and 90% humidity you might want to consider cooling your dough off in the fridge for a while.
When it comes to high heat and high humidity, butter will react the only way butter knows how (melting into a mess and causing your dough to spread!) Some days, are just not good baking days. The recipe itself can only work so much magic!
Why do Sugar Cookies Cut Outs Spread?
The primary reasons cookies spread are because the oven is too hot and the butter to flour ratio is off.
This recipe bakes at a low & steady 325 degrees, therefore the dough is not blasted with high heat to cause a quick meltdown.
There is a lot of butter in this recipe but also enough flour to hold together the fat from the butter.
If your cookies are spreading, be sure that the oven temp is correct and the flour was properly measured (spooned and leveled in the measuring cup).
Tips for Perfect Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Tip #1: The butter needs to be at proper room temp
The foundation of perfect cut out cookies starts with the butter. If it's too cold, the butter will not mix well and if it's too warm or the butter melted, you'll end up with a dough that's way too soft. The butter needs to be perfectly soft for this recipe or else it's going to give you trouble.
I recommend letting the butter sit on the counter for as least 2 hours. Avoid microwaving butter for this recipe.
You should be able to press into it with your finger easily and it should hold the shape of the indentation. The butter should be look and feel soft but show no signs of melting.
Tip #2: Be sure to scrape down the bowl often when mixing
Make sure that you mix the dough properly and mix it well.
Scrape your bowl several times as your mixing the dough, after each ingredient addition. Small pockets of unmixed sugar and butter like to hide so you want to make sure the dough is thoroughly mixed!
Tip #3: Roll the cookie dough evenly
Rolling the dough evenly is very important. If some spots are thicker and some spots are thinner, this will affect bake time and then you end up with a tray of some underdone cookies and some burnt cookies. ACK!
The key to rolling dough is to have steady control of the rolling pin. I generally only roll using a forward motion and apply light pressure.
When I'm bringing the rolling pin back towards me, I still glide it on top of the dough but I don't use as much force. It's harder to control the pressure going in reverse.
You also want to be sure to always alternate the direction you roll in. If you only roll the dough in one direction, it's much more likely that it will come out uneven.
I find it's easiest to get perfectly rolled out dough by frequently switching up the sides I roll from. You can see more of this in my video at the bottom of this post.
This dough is really nice to work with. It's not sticky or tough by any means. It's soft yet easy enough to roll out. Adding just a bit of flour to your surface and rolling pin ensures a perfect roll.
Still having trouble getting cookie dough to roll evenly?
Even when I'm being careful, it's hard to get dough perfectly even!
I recommend checking out the best rolling pin (pictured below).
It's the perfect solution to making cut out cookies. The pin itself is longer than average and the edges are notched to the perfect ¼" depth that makes wonderfully, thick cookies.
There's zero guesswork with this awesome tool, and you'll never again worry if the dough is perfectly even or not.
How thick should I roll the dough and how do I measure the thickness
I've also always preferred a thick sugar cookie, so I roll the dough out to about ¼ inch in thickness.
You can roll it thinner if you'd like to, but I do recommend a thicker cookie if you plan on doing royal icing. It just makes it a lot easier.
Thin cookies + flood royal icing = drips & droops of icing over the sides.
Measuring the thickness of the dough is easy (skip if you're using the best rolling pin). I like to keep a clear ruler in my baking pantry to measure the thickness of the dough. I like this one because it has no edge meaning, you can measure right from the surface.
Most rulers have a little extra space before the actual measuring starts, but any ruler will do you just fine! Just be sure to account for the extra space in case your ruler has that.
Tip #4: Do not overbake
My last secret for perfect cookies is to not overbake them.
To ensure these cookies come out perfectly soft, bake until you just start to see a light golden brown color on the edge.
Decorating Perfect Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
I grew up with sprinkles on my sugar cookies, and it wasn't until the past year where I started experimenting with Royal Icing. I've been practicing a lot and really enjoy the art of cookie decorating!
My royal icing is quite famous among friends and family. It is easy to make, has amazing flavor and dries softer than other royal icings. I’m always getting compliments whenever I use this to decorate my sugar cookies!!
Sprinkles also work great for these cookies! Be sure to add them before baking off the cookies.
Can Sugar Cookies be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze these cut out sugar cookies and they freeze VERY well. You can freeze the dough, you can freeze un-decorated, baked cookies and you can even freeze decorated cookies with royal icing!
I love making these ahead of time! I like to make a bunch of different shapes so I always have cookies on hand to practice my royal icing skills.
- Baked cookies: Bare, baked cookies can be stacked and frozen in a zip lock freezer bag. Thaw on the counter for at least 1 hour before use.
- Raw Dough: Freeze the raw dough in a large ball, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Thaw in the fridge 24 hours before use, then leave on the counter until it comes up to room temperature and the dough is pliable again.
I also have an easy Gluten-Free version of this recipe! Click here to check it out!!
- 2 ½ sticks butter (or, 1c & 4tbsp butter, softened at room temp. Salted or unsalted can be used. If you're sensitive to salt and using salted butter, consider reducing the amount of added salt by ¼ tsp)
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 c all purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter & sugar and light and fluffy using a hand mixer.
- Add in the egg, egg yolk & vanilla. Beat until well combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder & salt.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and gently mix on low speed. Once the flour is about absorbed, add the remainder of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix and be sure to thoroughly scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl every so often while mixing.
- To roll out the dough, start with about ¼ of the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface (ensuring your rolling pin is also lightly floured).
- Roll to a ¼ inch thickness. Cut using your desired cookie cutters. Use an offset spatula to lift the cookies off the surface and place the cookies on the prepared tray. If you are decorating with sprinkles, this is when you would sprinkle your cookies.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes. Since all ovens vary, I suggest starting your timer with 10 minutes and see how they look. These cookies are done when they are barely golden brown on the edges.
- Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling. Decorate as desired.
Recipe by Owlbbaking.com
This recipe will yield about 35, 3-4" cookies.
One key to making cookies that hold their shape is to make sure your butter is properly at room temp before mixing. If it’s too cold it won’t mix well and if it’s too warm or melted, you’ll end up with a dough that’s way too soft. You should leave the butter to sit at room temp for at least 2 hours. You should be able to press into it with your finger easily and it should hold the shape of the indentation.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 Cookie
- Calories: 122
Keywords: Cut Out Sugar Cookies, Royal Icing, Decorated Cookies