The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe for Cookie Cutters - Holds Shape - Amazing Flavor (2024)

Jill Mills

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This is the best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe for holiday baking! These easy cookies have amazingly buttery flavor, soft and chewy texture and hold their shape for decorating.

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe for Cookie Cutters - Holds Shape - Amazing Flavor (2)

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Made these during Christmas and they are delicious! Everyone loved them! Thank you for sharing this!

– Rachel

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Quick & Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies

When it comes time for holiday baking, everyone has their go-to, easy cookie recipe that never falls short of perfection. And let me tell you: this one for delicious cut-out sugar cookies is a keeper!

These sugar cookies are so easy to make, hold their shape, and are perfect for all sorts of festive decorating ideas, from Christmas cookies and beyond using our perfect Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe.

Fair warning: this recipe makes a large batch of cookies! More to keep and more to give away, I always say. My best ever sugar cookies are great for getting little ones involved in baking, and make wonderful gifts for special occasions.

For more classic cookies, try my Gingerbread Cookies and German Spice Cookies.

Watch How It’s Made

See how easy these sugar cookies are to make in this short video below.

Why This Is The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

There are so many reasons why this sugar cookie recipe is simply the best you’ll ever make! Here are my personal highlights, to name a few:

  • Quick and easy The dough needs simple ingredients and comes together quickly. Plus, the dough requires very little chill time (or none at all!).
  • Ideal for cut out cookies. This sugar cookie recipe is perfect for cut-out cookies as they hold their shape when baking.
  • Easy to make ahead. These cookies and their dough freeze super well, perfect for making ahead! You can easily double the recipe to freeze some for later.

All in all, I just love how forgiving (not to mention delicious) this sugar cookie dough is. Perfect cookies, every time, is definitely something I can get behind!

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What You’ll Need

You only need a few pantry ingredients to make this cut out sugar cookie recipe. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card below for measurements.

  • Flour – All-purpose flour is best when it comes to consistent baking!
  • Baking Powder – Helps the cookies rise in the oven.
  • Butter – Be sure the butter is chilled to help the cookies keep their shape in the oven.
  • Almond Extract & Vanilla Extract – I love to use a combination of the two in my sugar cookie recipe for the perfect amount of flavor.
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Salt – Helps to balance and enhance the other flavors.

How to Make Cut Out Sugar Cookies

We make loads of these cookies for all our special occasions. The kids love getting involved, as they’re so easy to bake and decorate. Scroll down to the recipe card for more detailed instructions.

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The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe for Cookie Cutters - Holds Shape - Amazing Flavor (5)
The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe for Cookie Cutters - Holds Shape - Amazing Flavor (6)
  • Make the cookie dough. Cream together the butter and sugar along with the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder before slowly combining the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Chill the dough (optional). This part is optional, but chilling for a few minutes is a good way to guarantee these cookies hold their shape. Roll the dough into a ball and place it in the fridge while the oven preheats!
  • Cut into shapes. Roll the dough out to 1/4 thick then cut into shapes as desired. This recipe works great with my favorite cookie cutters: Christmas cookie cutters, Valentine cutters, Halloween cutters, and Easter cutters! Transfer the cut out cookies to a baking sheet.
  • Freeze. Place the cut out cookies into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. This step helps them set in order to bake into perfect shapes with clean lines.
  • Bake. Bake your cookies in a preheated oven until the edges are just golden.
  • Decorate. Once your cookies have completely cooled, use your favorite icing and cookie decorations and let creativity reign! See below for more decorating ideas.

Can I Make the Dough Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can make the sugar cookie dough up to three days in advance. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Let the dough come to room temperature or slightly chilled before rolling and cutting into shapes.

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Tips for Success

This sugar cookie recipe couldn’t be easier – but there are still some things you’ll want to keep in mind as you make them.

  • Measure the flour correctly. The secret to perfect sugar cookies that hold their shape? Measuring the flour! Too much flour and you’ll have hard cookies. Too little flour and they’ll spread too much. The best way to make sure the measurement is accurate is to spoon the flour into measuring cups and level it off with a knife (compared to scooping the flour directly from the bag with your measuring cup).
  • What if my dough is too sticky or crumbly? The dough should come together into a texture similar to Play-Doh. You might need to wet your hands a bit if the dough is too crumbly, or you can add more flour when kneading dough that is too sticky. The cookie dough for this recipe is easy to work with!
  • Make the most of your cookie dough. Make sure to keep your cut-outs close together so you’re able to cut out as many cookies from the dough as possible. Re-roll out any dough scraps with a bit of flour each time to really maximize the number of cookies!
  • Make sure the cut out cookies are similar in size. Use cut-out molds that are roughly the same size to avoid smaller cookies that are over-baked and larger cookies that don’t bake enough.
  • Adjust the flavors. Cut the vanilla extract to 3/4 teaspoon, and add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond, lemon or another extract you prefer. You can also throw in a pinch of spice, like cinnamon, for extra flavor!
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The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe for Cookie Cutters - Holds Shape - Amazing Flavor (9)

Decorating Ideas

Here are a few tips, tricks, and ideas for decorating this cut out sugar cookie recipe.

  • Go wild with your choice of cookie cutter shapes. Use trees, snowman, candy canes, stars, or any other cookie cutters desired. You can also freestyle it with a paring knife.
  • Use royal icing. Use a piping kit to decorate your cookies with Royal icing (or DIY your own piping bag by snipping the corner of a ziplock bag filled with icing!)
  • Try other frosting flavors. Make frosted sugar cookies with your favorite frosting flavors, from Peanut Butter Frosting to homemade Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • Use gel food coloring. Invest in food coloring gel for the brightest, most festive colored icing or frosting.
  • Add sanding sugar. Give these cookies a dusting with sanding sugar or edible glitter.
  • Decorate your cookies with sprinkles or nonpareils. If you’re decorating unfrosted cookies, use a wash made of egg whites and water to get your sprinkles to stick to baked cookies!
  • Turn them into stained glass cookies. Cut out the centers and use this sugar cookie dough to make beautiful Stained Glass Cookies.
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Storage Instructions

Store sugar cookies airtight and at room temperature somewhere away from direct sunlight, like a cupboard or pantry. If you’re storing them in layers, separate them with a sheet of parchment paper.They will stay fresh for up to 5 days.

These cookies are also great for storing in smaller airtight jars and tins for easy and delicious gifting!

Do These Sugar Cookies Freeze Well?

This sugar cookie recipe is perfect for freezing! You can make and bake your cookies, and then freeze them to serve or decorate later. Both the raw cookie dough and baked cookies will keep for up to 30 days in the freezer.

  • To freeze baked sugar cookies: Allow the cookies to cool completely, and then store them in a freezer safe container. Place them in single layers with parchment paper in between to prevent the cookies from freezing to one another.
  • To freeze unbaked cookie dough: Store the dough tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Allow it to thaw before rolling, cutting, and baking.

More Homemade Cookies You Have to Try

  • Christmas Hot Cocoa Cookies
  • Red Velvet Kiss Cookies
  • Peppermint Patty Cookies
  • Stained Glass Cookies
  • Cherry Shortbread Cookies
  • The Best Snickerdoodle Recipe

5 from 85 votes

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

This is the best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe for holiday baking! These easy cookies have amazingly buttery flavor, soft and chewy texture and hold their shape for decorating.

Servings: 24 cookies

Prep: 20 minutes mins

Cook: 10 minutes mins

Total: 30 minutes mins

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  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract until well combined.

  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mixing until well combined.

  • Roll dough in a ball and set aside. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes (optional). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Roll dough out on a well-floured surface until the dough is 1/4" thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you desire.

  • Transfer to cookie sheet. Freeze 5-10 minutes.

  • Remove from freezer and bake for 7-8 minutes or until cookies start to turn lightly golden around the edges.

  • Let completely cool and decorate with our delicious icing recipe.

Last Step:

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Serving: 24g | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

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The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe for Cookie Cutters - Holds Shape - Amazing Flavor (2024)


How do you make cookie cutter cookies keep their shape? ›

Sandwich your dough between two sheets of parchment, roll, then freeze; it makes cut-out cookies a breeze! If you plan to store it for only a few hours or days, there's no need to overwrap the baking sheet; for longer storage, wrap the entire baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap before freezing.

What makes a cookie hold its shape? ›

Storing your dough in the fridge helps to harden the fat and prevent your cookies from spreading. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

What type of cookie dough is best for cookie cutters? ›

(In general, you're looking for a smooth dough that can be rolled thin, cuts cleanly and contains little or no baking powder.) If the dough gets too warm, refrigerate or freeze it until it becomes firm again. Your leaf shapes should do just fine.

How do you get the best cookie shape? ›

All you have to do is take the baked cookies from the oven, place a mug (or a glass) over the still warm dough, do a little swirl and voilà, perfectly round cookies.

Why don t my sugar cookies keep their shape? ›

Too much sugar and butter can make sugar cookies spread and lose their shape when baked. This one requires a little patience because once you roll out your dough, you are ready to bake. Be patient and bake your cookies when the dough is really cold.

Should you refrigerate cut-out cookies before baking? ›

Refrigerating the dough allows the flour to fully hydrate and helps to make the cookie dough firmer. Firm dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much, which is why chilling the dough is a crucial step for cut-out and rolled cookies.

Does baking powder make sugar cookies spread? ›

Baking powder simply adds carbon dioxide to the equation, providing a more forceful pressure that encourages a dough to spread up and out. Without the well-developed elasticity of a bread dough, the strands of gluten in cookies would sooner snap than stretch, cracking along the surface.

Do you use cookie cutters before or after baking? ›

Should I Use A Cookie Cutter Before Or After Baking? Forming cookies before putting them in the oven is the most common practice. Many shape their cookies before baking to ensure cookies come out properly shaped and to make the most of their dough.

Why is my cookie dough not holding shape? ›

First, try adding more liquid to the dough. This can be milk, water, or even just a little bit of extra oil. If that doesn't work, you can try kneading the dough for a few minutes to help it come together. Lastly, if all else fails, you can always add in a few tablespoons of flour to help bind the dough together.

Do you chill cookie dough for cookie cutters? ›

After preparing your cookie dough, refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. This will make the dough easier to cut with cookie cutters (especially intricate ones) and may help prevent your cookies from spreading in the oven. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out on a cool, lightly floured surface.

Do I have to chill sugar cookie batter? ›

Chilling the dough is a key step in making sugar cookies, especially when you're making cut-outs. Even if you're tight on time, make sure to get the dough in the fridge, or even the freezer, even if it's only for a little while. Skip this step, and the dough will be sticky, and much harder to work with.

What is the best thickness for sugar cookies? ›

Place each portion onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems too sticky. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.

How do you keep sugar cookies in shape? ›

To make sugar cookies keep their shape, follow these tips: Chill the dough: After mixing the cookie dough, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. Chilling the dough will help it firm up and make it easier to cut into shapes without losing their definition.

How to make perfect cookies every time? ›

The key is to always use top-quality ingredients as they'll result in a better cookie; it really is that simple.
  1. Always use butter.
  2. Choose the right sugar.
  3. Choose the right flour.
  4. Check your flour is in date.
  5. Choose the right kind of chocolate.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar.
  7. Beat in the eggs.
  8. Fold in the flour.

Should you press down cookie dough? ›

And there are no baking police: If your recipe tells you to flatten your cookies before baking, you just go ahead and do that however you want. So long as they end up evenly flat, that is; squashing cookies haphazardly under your palm means they may bake and brown unevenly.

Why do my cut-out cookies lose their shape? ›

One possible reason is the amount of baking powder in the dough. Make sure that this is measured carefully and use a level teaspoon. Also use a 5ml measuring teaspoon. Too much baking powder can cause the cookies to spread too much.

Why do my cookie cutter cookies spread? ›

Cookies spread because the fat in the cookie dough melts in the oven. If there isn't enough flour to hold that melted fat, the cookies will over-spread. Spoon and level that flour or, better yet, weigh your flour. If your cookies are still spreading, add an extra 2 Tablespoons of flour to the cookie dough.

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