These easy sugar cookies are the BEST! Whether you’re making simple round sprinkle cookies, or are rolling out the dough to cut out shapes, this is the classic sugar cookie recipe that you need!
This has been a go-to sugar cookie recipe at our house for years- they are so quick to make and I love them both frosted and unfrosted! They have just the right amount of sweetness and the flavor from the butter and vanilla is perfect.
As an added bonus, these sugar cookies don’t puff up and spread too much when baked, making them perfect for using cookie cutters!
How to Make Easy Sugar Cookies…
Put the flour in a separate bowl with baking powder and salt and whisk to blend
Cream the butter, add in the sugar and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Add the egg and blend. Next, add the flour mixture gradually and blend. The dough will be stiff. That’s it!
Now for the kneading…
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead with your hands 1 minute. Sometimes I do the kneading step with parchment folded around the dough as in the photo. Then I just open it, flop it onto itself, and knead it. Open it, flop it onto itself the other way, and knead some more (though the paper).
If making shaped cookies, you can roll the dough now or if you think it is too soft, put in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 10 min. You can work with 1/4 of the dough at the time if that makes it easier for you.
My favorite way to roll the cookie dough is between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut your cookies while still on the parchment paper — do not try to lift the cookies off yet. Place the parchment paper with cookies onto a baking sheet and refrigerate or put into the freezer for maybe 5 minutes.
This step will allow you to pull away the excess dough. The cookies will now hold their shape when you are transferring them to bake. If you’re sprinkling the cookies with sprinkle or sanding sugar, etc. you can do that step before baking. Otherwise, you can decorate with royal icing or your glaze of choice after!
Bake 8 – 10 minutes, checking at the 8 minute time. Take out when just beginning to brown around the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before moving to cooling rack.
We hope that you love this recipe as much as we do! I had all of my friends over for a cookie party this Christmas and we had the best time decorating (and eating and eating) – happy baking! :0)
For the Cookies
- 3 cups (1 lb) All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Parchment Paper
For the Royal Icing
- 1/4 cup meringue powder (30g) (lightly spoon the meringue powder into measuring cup and level)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) warm water
- 1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted (453g)
- 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Put 3 cups flour in a separate bowl with the 1tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt, and whisk by hand for 30 seconds to blend.
- Cream the butter in your electric mixing bowl then add the 1 c. sugar and 1 tsp vanilla, mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg and blend. Add the flour mixture gradually and blend — dough will be stiff.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and knead with your hands 1 minute. You can roll the dough now or if you think it is too soft, put in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 10 min. I like to work with about 1/4 of the dough at a time.
- Roll the cookie dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut your cookies while still on the parchment paper — do not try to lift the cookies off yet. Place the parchment paper with cookies onto a baking sheet and refrigerate or put into the freezer for maybe 5 minutes. This step will allow you to pull away the excess dough. The cookies will now hold their shape when you are transferring them to bake. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, checking at the 8 mark. Take out when just beginning to brown around the edges. Let cool a short while in the pan before moving to a cooling rack.
- The cookies can be frozen and the recipe can be doubled
- This recipe makes 2/1/2 dozen 3 inch cookies
For the Royal Icing
This royal icing is piping consistency… but you may still need to add a little more powdered sugar to thicken, or a few drops of water to make it thinner, depending on the consistency you are going for. This recipe can also be halved.
Add meringue powder to warm water in your mixing bowl. Whisk by hand until meringue powder is dissolved –about 1 minute.
With the paddle attachment on your mixer, add the confectioners’ sugar and clear vanilla and mix at low speed until the sugar is incorporated.
Increase speed to Medium-High and beat for 7 – 8 minutes until stiff peaks form. The stiff peak stage is ready for piping or you can make it a little stiffer by add more confectioners’ sugar a small amount at a time —this is partly just personal preference. Go with what works best for you.
Stiff Peak stage is when you lift your spoon out of the bowl the icing stands in a straight peak.
Soft Peak stage is when the spoon is lifted the peak is straight with a slight curve at the end;
For Flooding you will need to add water a little at a time until because the consistency changes very quickly. (Flooding is when you outline the cookie with your stiffer frosting and then "flood" the cookie with the soft consistency icing for a smooth finish. For the cookies in our photo, I didn't do a flooding consistency.)