Perfect Sugar Cookie cut outs 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. This is a no-chill recipe!
(this post has been updated on 2/16/20. The recipe is unchanged)
Making the perfect sugar cookie cut outs was never an easy task for me. I always had trouble with them. The worst is, making a batch and pulling them from the oven to find that the shape is nothing like you started with.
I can assure you, that this recipe has always given me consistent results:
- Crisp, well defined edges
- No spreading
- Soft and not hard
- Absolutely delicious perfect sugar cookie cut outs, every time
These cookies not only have the perfect shape, but they are absolutely addicting. I get RAVE reviews on these cookies all the time. They have a pillowy soft texture and are supremely buttery. Sugar cookies do not need to be hard and crunchy to hold their shape.
This is a no chill 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?
There are a few reasons why sugar cookies cut outs spread. I believe that the primary reasons are, the oven temp is too hot or the butter/sugar to flour ratio is not ideal to hold the shape. This recipe bakes at a 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 there is equally enough flour, so your cookies won’t spread everywhere.
The butter really does need to be perfectly soft for this recipe
The foundation of perfect cookies starts with the butter. 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. The butter should sit on the counter for as least 2 hours. 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. Be sure to watch my video below and I’ll show you exactly what I mean!
A lot of people microwave their butter to soften it and a lot of bakers will say what a horrible idea this is. I’m not going to lie, I’ve used the microwave in a pinch but you MUST be VERY careful with this method. Always use 50% less power and microwave in 5-7 second bursts. If the butter shows any signs of liquid, then it will affect the dough.
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. Speaking from experience, there have been times where I didn’t mix the dough enough and had pockets of butter and sugar. Safe to say that batch did not turn out great.
Can Sugar Cookies be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze these 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 2 hours 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.
How to roll 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, I still glide it on top of the dough but I don’t use as much force.
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 evenly. 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.
How do you roll?There are all sorts of rolling pins out there. Check out these different styles.
|1.||Rolling Pin with Measuring Guides|
|2.||Classic Marble Rolling Pin|
|3.||French Style Rolling Pin|
|4.||Natural Bamboo Rolling Pin|
|5.||Wood Rolling Pin with Handles|
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 1/4 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 icing = icing dripping over the sides.
Measuring the thickness of the dough is easy. 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.
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! Actually, now that I think of it, I know buttercream icing is also a thing, so that would work too!
Today, I left these cookies bare. As I mentioned, I like to make a bunch ahead of time for decorating practice, and this recipe is too good not to share!!
Check out my “How To” video for this recipe:
The Best Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
- 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
- 1 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 the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter & sugar and light and fluffy.
- 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. 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 while mixing.
- If you are ready to roll, start with about 1/4 of the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface (ensuring your rolling pin is also lightly floured).
- Roll to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut using your desired cookie cutters and place the cookies on the prepared tray. If you are decorating with sprinkles, this is when you would sprinkle your cookies.
- Bake time for me has been about 13 minutes, but 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.
Did you know? I have an easy Gluten-Free version of this recipe! Click here to check it out!!