The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe!

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You cannot beat a homemade sugar cookie with a crisp edge and a soft center. These are the BEST! Topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting and sprinkles, these sugar cookies are a tried and true favorite.

Cookies are just the best all-around because you can bake them up for any occasion! Try my favorite no-bake cookies, peanut butter cookies, and these snickerdoodles that you will die for!

Sugar Cookies on a cooling rack.

A Reader’s Review

I have tried so many sugar cookie recipes over the years! I found this and used it for my son’s grad party, as well as a friend’s. This is PERFECT. I’ve also shared this recipe with a few others who asked for it after tasting the cookies, and it is now the go to for all of us!
-Debs

I sure do love sugar cookies! Some people’s favorites are chocolate chip but not mine. Not only are they delicious, but my kids love to help make sugar cookies! We love spending some time in the kitchen making cookies together. I have had a lot of sugar cookies in my day. Some are way too crisp and not soft enough on the inside. You are going to quickly agree that they are the best! Trust me. I made sure by eating at least 3! 

I love this recipe because it is the best of both worlds. They are a bit crisp on the outside but not too crispy, and they have the softest center! The edges don’t expand while baking, and they come out looking in the perfect shape. This recipe is a classic, and the dough comes together in a matter of minutes. But I found that the secret to the best sugar cookie is added almond extract. The almond extract adds a rich and delicious almond flavor, making them absolutely perfect.

Ingredients in Sugar Cookies

These cookies are perfect for your Valentine’s Day festivities and are so good that you will want to make them throughout the year! Just change up your cookie cutter, and you are ready to go! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient measurements.

  • Butter: If your ingredients are at room temperature then they will mix together more smoothly. 
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar will make this recipe sweet.
  • Egg: The egg will help bind the dough together.
  • Vanilla Extract: This will enhance the flavors of the sweet ingredients.
  • Almond Extract: The secret ingredient to making these sugar cookies the best!
  • Flour: I used all purpose flour for this recipe.
  • Baking Powder: This helps the cookie be soft and not chewy.
  • Salt: This enhances the flavors.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream Cheese: Put this on your counter before you plan to bake so that it can soften up.
  • Butter: I used unsalted, sofened butter to make the frosting smooth,
  • Powdered Sugar: Using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar works better because this diddolves quickly and creats a smooth texture.
  • Vanilla Extract: This enhances the sweetness of the frosting.
  • Food Coloring: This is totally optional depending on if you want your frosting to be different colors for different occasions.
Sugare cookie dough rolled in a ball.

How To Make Sugar Cookies

These cookies come together so easily! This recipe will become your favorite go-to sugar cookie recipe that you will make again and again.

  1. Beat: In a large bowl beat the butter until smooth and creamy for about one minute. Add the sugar and continue to beat until creamy for about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and continue to beat until incorporated.
  2. Mix and chill: In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add to the creamed mixture and continue to beat until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a ball and chill in the fridge for one hour and can be chilled overnight.
  3. Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough out to desired thickness (mine were ¼ inch thick) and cut with cookie cutters. Transfer to baking sheet.
  4. Bake: Bake for 8-11 minutes or until just set. I like mine more soft so I cooked mine for 8 minutes. Let cookies cool completely before frosting.
  5. Frost: To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until it is smooth and creamy. Frost cooled cookies.
A picture showing how to cut out shapes in the dough.

YES! The dough does require an hour of chilling time. This step is essential to how the cookies hold up and helps ensure that the dough doesn’t spread.

Froster sugar cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Sugar Cookie Baking Tips

These cookies are SOO GOOD, and I want to help make sure that yours turn out perfectly! Here are a few tips and tricks to use while making these cookies.

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Before mixing up your dough, take the time to set your ingredients out so that they can soften up. Room temperature ingredients mix up SO much better and your batter and frosting will be so smooth with no lumps!
  • Don’t Open the Oven: So many people are tempted to open the oven to check out how their cookies are doing. Don’t do it! This causes the hot air to be released and can result in your cookies being baked unevenly. Use the oven light instead!
  • Frosting: If you want to change things up, you can use different types of frosting on these cookies to change the look and taste. Try this Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting or this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting instead!
Frosted sugar cookies with sprinkles on a cooling rack.

How to Store Leftovers

Sugar cookies make fantastic leftovers because they can last for about a week! So double up that recipe and make a few extra to enjoy!

  1. On the counter: Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container on your counter. They will last up to 7 days!
A zoomed in picture of a sugar cookie on a cooling rack.

The Best Sugar Cookies Ever!

4.89 from 17 votes
You cannot beat homemade sugar cookies with a crisp edge and a soft center. These are the BEST! Topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting and sprinkles, these sugar cookies are a tried and true favorite. 
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup Butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese (softened)
  • ½ cup Butter (softened)
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Food Coloring (Optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy for about one minute. Add the sugar and continue to beat until creamy for about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and continue to beat until incorporated.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add to the creamed mixture and continue to beat until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a ball and chill in the fridge for one hour and can be chilled overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough out to desired thickness (mine were ¼ inch thick) and cut with cookie cutters. Transfer to baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8-11 minutes or until just set. I like mine more soft so I cooked mine for 8 minutes. Let cookies cool completely before frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting

  • Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until it is smooth and creamy. Frost cooled cookies.

Notes

Updated Post on February 1. 2022
Originally Published February 5, 2019

Nutrition

Serves: 24

Calories266kcal (13%)Carbohydrates36g (12%)Protein2g (4%)Fat13g (20%)Saturated Fat8g (40%)Polyunsaturated Fat1gMonounsaturated Fat3gTrans Fat1gCholesterol44mg (15%)Sodium167mg (7%)Potassium41mg (1%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar26g (29%)Vitamin A434IU (9%)Calcium19mg (2%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword sugar cookies
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is definitely the best sugar cookie recipe I have tried. (And I have tried many)
    It is so easy to roll and the frosting is sensational!

    Thank you for sharing your talents with others:)

    Raquel

  2. I rolled the dough in a ball and refrigerated overnight. It was so hard and took forever to try to soften. Then it was crumbly and falling apart. It was horrible! Help. Also, I used shamrock cookie cutters. And piped your cream cheese frosting recipe. I don’t think I should have piped it. How don you recommend icing shamrocks?

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry! Dry or crumbly dough is usually a result of overmixing. You can bring it back to life by adding a tablespoon or two of milk or water to the dough. As far as frosting these goes, I would just use a knife!

      1. I want to stick to a cutout recipe like this one so that i can make them into fun shapes. Can i use this same recipe but just without the frosting? Do you think it’ll still be good or should i add more ingredients if they’ll be naked?

  3. After refrigeration overnight should it sit before rolling out / my dough is hard I just want to make sure I did this right

  4. 5 stars
    Im making this now. I doubled the recipe for Christmas cookie decorating party. I only put one egg in though
    Will they still come out ok? The dough seemed to come together ok.

  5. I’m going to make these for the police department today during this crazy time! Is it ok if I leave out the almond extract in case of allergies?

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious. Refrigerated dough for half an hour. Very easy to roll out. Halved the frosting recipe and still had some left over. Will definitely make again.

  7. 5 stars
    I have tried so many sugar cookie recipes over the years! I found this and used it for my son’s grad party, as well as a friend’s. This is PERFECT. I’ve also shared the recipe with a few others who asked for it after tasting the cookies, and it is now the go to for all of us.

  8. When i am making sugar or short bread cookies . I take about two cups of icing sugar and sift it and when counter and rolling pin get sticky i dust them both with icing sugar

  9. These are delicious, however there is about twice the icing you need. I would recommend making a double batch of the cookie dough for that amount of frosting as it really didn’t make that many cookies. My 4 year old granddaughter ate 3. Don’t tell mom!

  10. This is the first time I made sugar cookies, Acually any kund of cookies my mom and sisters always baked and I was clean up These cookies turned out very well However I never made frosting I bought the philladelphia cream cheese frosting and used glitter sprinkles A huge hit

  11. 5 stars
    This is no doubt the BEST sugar cookie recipe!

    I made them for family and friends and everyone loved it and can’t seem to get enough of them! I received tons of compliments of how amazing the cookies taste every time I make these, so I’m definitely keeping this recipe and will be making them on repeat. Thank you for this great recipe! xx

    (For my nut allergy friends- I took out the almond extract and added another 1/2 tsp extra of vanilla extract just to get that rich vanilla cookie taste)

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