You’ll love making this sugar cookie recipe for Christmas – easy to whip up, no dough chilling, perfect for cut outs and so soft and delicious!
This is one of my favorite Christmas cookies to make with my kids – the dough is so easy to put together and doesn’t require any chilling.
I actually use almost the same dough for my Pinwheel Cookies and for my Candy Cane Cookies – it’s just so simple and fun to make!
Here, we roll it out and make cut out sugar cookies, later we decorate them with a simple powdered sugar icing and all the sprinkles we can find.
Ingredients you’ll need
Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities!
- Butter: I recommend using real butter here. If you have to use margarine for any kind of reason, please use stick margarine and NOT a spread.
- Vanilla: Feel free to use almond extract in place of the vanilla. Or use both, if you like!
How to make Sugar Cookies
1. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together until light an fluffy.
2. Add the egg and the vanilla extract, then beat just until combined. You don’t want to overmix the egg, or your cookies may come out tough!
3. Now, turn out the dough to your work surface and push it together a few times to let it come together. You do not want to knead the dough or work it much, but you’ll want it to come together into a smooth dough you can roll out.
4. Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness. I recommend you work in batches here to make the rolling more manageable.
Cut out your cookies and transfer them to lined baking sheets.
5. Bake the cookies, one tray at a time, until lightly golden. Cool them on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating!
- Don’t overwork the dough: I already noted this in the instructions above, but it’s really crucial not to overwork cookie dough. You want it to be well combined and smooth to roll out, but don’t knead it like bread dough or mix it for too long. This will develop the gluten in the flour and turn out tough cookies.
- For rolling: Make sure you don’t roll the cookies too thin, or they won’t be soft. If you prefer, you can dust your work surface with powdered sugar instead of flour.
- !! If it takes a long time to cut out the cookies !! If it’s taking you a relatively long time to cut out the cookies (it does for me with the kids), place the cut out cookies on the baking sheet in the fridge (or outdoors if it’s cold where you are) for 5-10 minutes before baking.
- To decorate: I keep sugar cookie decorating simple – cutting them out is tiring enough. I just whip up a thick powdered sugar icing (2-3 cups powdered sugar with 2-4 tablespoons half and half or lemon juice do the trick; exact amounts you need depend on how much icing you like on each cookie). Then the kids cover them in sprinkles. So easy, and a lot of fun for all involved – even mom ?
To freeze raw cookie dough:
Tightly wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap, then label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months) before freezing.
When ready to bake, remove the cookie dough from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight (I recommend placing it on a plate to catch any water drips). Once thawed, roll out and bake as directed in the recipe.
To freeze baked cookies:
Freeze the cookies undecorated! Place them in a freezer-friendly container, separating layers with sheets of baking parchment. Label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months) before freezing.
To defrost, remove the cookies from the container and place them on a wire rack on the counter for a few hours, or until defrosted.
Sugar cookies keep well for about a week in an airtight container on the counter. Undecorated cookies stay fresh for a little longer than decorated ones in my experience.
We love these as a little after school treat during the holiday season with a mug of homemade hot chocolate or hot apple cider.
Nothing better than living the sparkly magic of Christmas every single day during December, if you ask me – and that’s why these have been dubbed the world’s best sugar cookies by my 5 year old.
More Christmas cookie recipes
PS If you try this recipe, please leave a review in the comment section and add a star rating in the recipe card – I appreciate your feedback! Follow along on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
Soft Sugar Cookies
- Baking Sheet
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two large baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- Cream ingredients for cookie dough: Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer until well combined. Then add the egg and vanilla and cream until the egg is fully combined – do not mix any longer than necessary, or your cookies may turn out tough. It will look scraggly, but that's fine
- Add dry ingredients to cookie dough: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, then gradually add to the butter mixture and mix on low until combined.
- Roll out cookie dough: Remove the cookie dough from the bowl and onto a clean work surface. Push it together with your hands a few times until it forms a smooth cookie dough – do not knead or overwork it, or your cookies will turn out tough. Divide the dough in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured work surface to ¼ inch thickness.
- Cut out cookies: Cut out cookies (2-3 inch cutters work best), re-rolling any scraps of dough. Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake in batches for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to turn a light brown. The tops should spring back if lightly prodded, but you do not want to overbake these!
- Cool the cookies: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
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