The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (2024)

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Vanilla sugar cookies are a classic treat loved for their simplicity and delicious flavor. These cookies are made with basic ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract, resulting in a sweet and buttery cookie with a hint of vanilla. They’re perfect for any occasion and can be decorated with icing, sprinkles, or enjoyed plain.

The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (1)

Sugar cookies are a classic and versatile treat that should be a staple in every home baker’s repertoire.

Sugar cookies are made with basic ingredients that are likely already in your pantry – flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. This makes them easy and affordable to bake at home. The dough for sugar cookies comes together quickly and doesn’t require any special equipment. You can mix it by hand or use a stand mixer, and there’s no need for chilling or complex techniques.

These are incredibly versatile and can be shaped into any form you desire. Whether you use cookie cutters to make fun shapes or simply roll them into balls and flatten them with a fork, the possibilities are endless. Sugar cookies can be customized in various ways to suit different tastes and occasions. You can add sprinkles, icing, or other decorations to make them festive and fun. Sugar cookies are a hit with people of all ages. Kids love to help make and decorate them, making them a great family baking project.

Homemade sugar cookies make wonderful gifts for friends and loved ones. They can be packaged in cute boxes or bags and are always appreciated. Sugar cookies have been enjoyed for generations and have a timeless appeal that never goes out of style. They’re perfect for any time of year and can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a larger dessert spread.

Overall, sugar cookies are a must-have recipe for all home bakers because of their simplicity, versatility, and universal appeal. They’re the perfect treat for any occasion and are sure to bring joy to everyone who tries them.

Table of Contents

Why make this sugar cookie recipe

  • Simple Ingredients: The recipe uses basic pantry ingredients, making it easy to whip up without needing to make a special trip to the store.
  • Easy to Make: The instructions are straightforward and don’t require any advanced baking skills, making it accessible for beginners.
  • Versatile: You can customize these cookies with different shapes, sizes, and decorations to suit any occasion or theme.
  • Delicious Flavor: The combination of butter, sugar, and vanilla creates a classic and irresistible flavor that everyone loves.
  • Consistent Results: This recipe has been tested and perfected to ensure that you get consistent, delicious cookies every time you bake them.
  • Crowd Pleaser: These cookies are sure to be a hit with both kids and adults, making them perfect for parties, holidays, or just a sweet treat any time.
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (2)

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Unsalted butter – I like to use unsalted butter in all my baking so I can control the amount of salt. And yet, if you must use salted butter omit the salt in the recipe.
  • All-purpose flour – I always use all-purpose flour with great success. So, you do not need any other flour.
  • White granulated sugar – As a rule of thumb, whenever you need to cream sugar and butter – always use fine-grain sugar. That will cream faster. And, if you have to use coarse grain sugar, pulse it in the food processor a couple of times, and it will be beautiful. However, if you do not cream the butter and sugar cookies well, the cookies will be flaky.
  • Vanilla extract – I like using vanilla extract. But it also has the tendency to color the dough. So, if you need a white or fair mixture just add clear vanilla extract or rose essence. Having said that, always use a good quality vanilla extract. I know it’s expensive. That is why I make my vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste as well as vanilla sugar.
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (3)

Best Sugar Cookies Recipe

  • Dry ingredients– In a medium bowl,sifttogether the flour and salt. Set aside. Or use a whisk to combine.
  • Creaming– In a large bowl of astand mixerwith the paddle attachment on medium speed cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    Pro tip– Do not skip on this creaming step for the butter/sugar. Creaming works best when the butter is at firm room temperature, not soft room temperature.
  • Wet ingredients– Add the vanilla extract followed by the eggs one at a time making sure each is well incorporated.
    Pro tip– I combined the vanilla extract with the eggs in the video. But, you don’t necessarily have to do that.
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (4)
  • Wet to dry– Next, add the flour mixture. Combine well but do not over-mix at this time.
    Pro tip– We do not want to activate the gluten in the dough so do avoid overmixing the flour.
  • Chill– Transfer the dough onto a work surface and divide the dough into two discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm enough to roll About 30 minutes to an hour at least.
    Pro tip– you can keep the dough chilled in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can even freeze the dough in the freezer for up to a month.
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (5)
  • Roll– Once the dough is chilled; roll the dough on a lightly floured surface evenly.
    Pro tip– I roll my cookies to about 1/4-inch or 6 mm thickness using a rolling pin with spacers.Read –10 Tips – how to roll and cut sugar cookies
  • Cut– Using your favoritecookie cuttercutout desired shaped cookies and place them on acookie sheet one inch apart lined with parchment paper. I’ve used some 3-inch round and square cookie cutters for these cookies.
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (6)
  • Oven– Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 177°C/ Gas Mark 4
    Pro tip– It is best to keep the cookies chilled in the refrigerator while the oven is preheating. Chilled cookies will prevent spreading.
  • Bake –Transfer the chilled cookies to the oven and bake on the middle rack for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the cookies.
    Pro tip– The cookies must not be dark around the edges. As soon as they get a slight color on the bottom they are ready. They will continue to cook with the residue heat on the baking tray.
  • Cool– When baked let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to awire rackto cool further before you transfer to an airtight container.
    Pro tip– always frost cold cookies otherwise the icing will melt
    .
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (7)

Tips for Success

  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your butter, eggs, and any other dairy ingredients are at room temperature. This helps them incorporate better into the dough.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar Thoroughly: Creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy helps create a tender cookie texture.
  • Don’t Overmix: Once you add the flour mixture, mix the dough just until everything is combined. Overmixing can result in tough cookies.
  • Chill the Dough: Chilling the dough for at least an hour (or overnight) helps solidify the fats in the dough, which can prevent spreading and result in a better texture.
  • Roll Dough Evenly: When rolling out the dough, try to keep it an even thickness to ensure even baking. Using spacers or rolling guides can help achieve this.
  • Use Parchment Paper: Line your baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking and to make cleanup easier.
  • Preheat Your Oven: Make sure your oven is fully preheated before baking the cookies to ensure they bake evenly and at the right temperature.
  • Rotate Baking Sheets: If you’re baking multiple trays of cookies at once, rotate the trays halfway through baking to ensure even cooking.
  • Cool Baking Sheets: Allow baking sheets to cool completely between batches to prevent the dough from spreading too much.
  • Decorate with Care: If decorating with icing or frosting, make sure the cookies are completely cool before decorating to prevent the icing from melting.
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (8)

Troubleshooting

  • Why are my sugar cookies flat?
    Always, follow the recipe correctly unless you know what the outcome is different. Adding extra flour will give you dry, crumbly cookies. Too much sugar or butter can make the cookies spread and lose their shape when baking. Rolling the cookies too thin will give you hard flat cookies.
  • Baking cookies in hot and humid conditions?
    Yes, hot and humid conditions can be a challenge, especially with butter-based cookies.
    The best way to work around this is to roll the dough between two parchment papers.
    Let the dough chill before you roll the dough and
    Chill again after you roll the dough.
    Cut the cookies out of chilled dough. This will give clean precise cuts and handling chilled cookies are easier to transfer from the work surface to the baking tray.
  • Why did my sugar cookies become too brown on the outside?
    If you bake the cookies at a very high temperature or if you bake them for too long the edges will get brown more quicker. 180C is a guide I like to use but every oven is different so adjust the temperature accordingly.
    If you have cookies baking quicker with most recipes then perhaps it’s time to check if your oven temperature needs calibration.
  • Why are my cookies hard when cooled?
    Overbaked cookies when cool tend to be dry and hard. This is why you need to bake them until they are just about to start getting some color on the edges. The cookies continue to cook and set as they cool too.

Ultimate Lemon Sugar Cookies: Soft, Tangy, and Absolutely Irresistible

No Chill Sugar Cookies (No-Spread)

Rice Flour Sugar Cookies – Gluten-Free

Soft Almond Sugar Cookies

Creative ways to use homemade sugar cookie dough

  • Cookie Cutouts: Roll out the sugar cookie dough and use cookie cutters to create fun and festive shapes. Bake the cookies until golden and decorate them with icing, sprinkles, or colored sugars for a delightful treat.
  • Sandwich Cookies: Roll out the sugar cookie dough and cut out shapes. Bake the cookies and let them cool. Spread a layer of frosting, jam, or Nutella between two cookies to create delicious sandwich cookies.
  • Cookie Cups: Press small portions of sugar cookie dough into a muffin tin to form cups. Bake until golden and let them cool. Fill the cookie cups with your choice of fillings such as chocolate ganache, fruit compote, or cheesecake filling for bite-sized treats.
  • Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches: Bake small rounds of sugar cookie dough and let them cool. Sandwich a scoop of your favorite ice cream between two cookies and roll the edges in sprinkles or chopped nuts for a delightful frozen treat.
  • Cookie Truffles: Crumble baked sugar cookies and mix them with cream cheese or frosting until well combined. Roll the mixture into small balls and dip them in melted chocolate. Chill until set for delicious cookie truffles.
  • Cookie Parfait: Layer crumbled baked sugar cookies with yogurt, fresh berries, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup in a glass or jar. Repeat the layers and top with a dollop of whipped cream for a delightful and easy dessert.
  • Cookie Milkshake: Blend crumbled baked sugar cookies with vanilla ice cream, milk, and a touch of vanilla extract to create a creamy and delicious sugar cookie milkshake. Top with whipped cream and crumbled cookies for added indulgence.
  • Cookie Crust Cheesecake: Press crumbled baked sugar cookies into the base of a springform pan to create a flavorful cookie crust for your favorite cheesecake recipe. Bake according to the cheesecake recipe instructions for a delightful twist on a classic dessert.
  • Cookie Dough Bark: Melt chocolate and spread it in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle crumbled raw sugar cookie dough over it. Let it cool and break into pieces for a delicious and crunchy cookie dough bark.
  • Cookie Pops: Insert a lollipop stick into unbaked sugar cookie dough rounds and bake until golden. Let them cool and decorate them with colorful icing, sprinkles, or edible glitter for fun and festive cookie pops.
The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (13)
  • The Best Chocolate Sugar Cookies
  • No Chill Sugar Cookies or No-Spread Sugar Cookies
  • Rice Flour Sugar Cookies – Gluten-Free or Soft Almond Sugar Cookies
  • Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
  • Marbled Heart Cookies – Valentine Sugar Cookies
  • Stenciled Halloween Sugar Cookies or Stenciled Christmas Sugar Cookies
  • Eggless Chocolate Sugar Cookies or Eggless Vanilla Sugar Cookies
  • Gingerbread Sugar Cookies
  • See all cookie recipes

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

No-Spread Sugar Cookies

Eggless Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Eggless Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Frequently asked questions

What sugar cookies are best for decorating?

Sugar cookies for decorating need to be crisp, not soft. And with a flat, not puffy top. Also, you want sharply defined edges, not round edges. This recipe gives you just that, crips, flat and well-defined sugar cookies. As a result, these will make the most beautiful decorated sugar cookies.

Can I make sugar cookies ahead of time?

Yes, you can make sugar cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze it. You can also bake the cookies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or freeze them for longer storage.

Can I freeze sugar cookie dough?

Yes, sugar cookie dough freezes well. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

How do I prevent sugar cookies from spreading too much?

Chilling the dough before baking can help prevent spreading. Also, make sure your baking sheets are cool before placing the dough on them.

Can I use margarine instead of butter in sugar cookies?

While you can use margarine, the flavor and texture may be slightly different. Butter typically gives sugar cookies a richer flavor and better texture.

Can I add flavorings to sugar cookies?

Yes, you can add various flavorings to sugar cookies, such as almond extract, lemon zest, or cinnamon, to customize the flavor.

How do I store sugar cookies?

Store sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. You can also freeze them for longer storage.

Can I decorate sugar cookies with royal icing?

Yes, royal icing is commonly used to decorate sugar cookies. It dries hard and is perfect for intricate designs.

Can I make sugar cookies without eggs?

Yes, you can make eggless sugar cookies using substitutes like applesauce, mashed banana, or commercial egg replacers. The texture may be slightly different, but they will still be delicious.

Can I use cookie cutters with intricate designs for sugar cookies?

Yes, you can use intricate cookie cutters for sugar cookies, but make sure the dough is well-chilled and the cutter is floured to prevent sticking.

How long should you chill the dough before baking?

I usually chill my cookies for about 30 to 45 minutes. It is always a good practice to refrigerate cookies while the oven is preheating. Chilling cookie dough helps solidify the butter in the cookies which helps when baking, preventing the cookies from spreading as chilled dough takes longer to melt compared to room temperature fat.

Can I use brown sugar for these sugar cookies?

You can, but the texture and taste will be different. Brown sugar will keep the cookies soft, tender, and chewy while white sugar will give them a crisp texture which is what you need in sugar cookies for decorating.

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Irresistible Chocolate Sugar Cookies for Any Occasion

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The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (21)

The Best Sugar Cookies Recipe

Author: Veena Azmanov

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Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 10 minutes mins

Total Time: 1 hour hr 20 minutes mins

Calories: 177kcal

Adjust Servings Here: 24 Cookies

Description

Vanilla sugar cookies are a classic treat loved for their simplicity and delicious flavor. These cookies are made with basic ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract, resulting in a sweet and buttery cookie with a hint of vanilla. They're perfect for any occasion and can be decorated with icing, sprinkles, or enjoyed plain.

Video

Ingredients

  • 3 ¾ cups (468 g) All-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 8 oz (226 g) Unsalted butter ( room temperature )
  • 1 cup (200 g) White sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract

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Instructions

  • Dry ingredients – In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside

    3 ¾ cups All-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

  • Creaming – In a large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

    Pro tip – Do not skip on this creaming step for the butter/sugar. Creaming works best when the butter is at firm room temperature, not soft room temperature.

    8 oz Unsalted butter, 1 cup White sugar

  • Wet ingredients – Add the vanilla extract followed by the eggs one at a time making sure each is well incorporated.

    Pro tip – I combined the vanilla extract with the eggs in the video. But, you don't necessarily have to do that.

    2 large Eggs, 2 tsp Vanilla extract

  • Wet to dry – Next, add the flour mixture. Combine well but do not over-mix at this time.

    Pro tip – We do not want to activate the gluten in the dough so do avoid overmixing the flour.

  • Chill – Transfer the dough onto a work surface and divide the dough into two discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm enough to roll About 30 minutes to an hour at least.

    Pro tip – you can keep the dough chilled in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can even freeze the dough for up to a month.

  • Roll – Once the dough is chilled; roll the dough on a lightly floured surface evenly.

    Pro tip – I roll my cookies to about 1/4-inch or 6 mm thickness using a rolling pin with spacers. Read – 10 Tips – how to roll and cut sugar cookies

  • Cut – Using your favorite cookie cutter cutout desired shaped cookies and place them on a cookie sheet one inch apart. I've used some 3-inch round and square cookie cutters for these cookies.

  • Oven – Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 177°C/ Gas Mark 4

    Pro tip – It is best to keep the cookies chilled in the refrigerator while the oven is preheating. Chilled cookies will prevent spreading.

  • Bake – Transfer the chilled cookies to the oven and bake on the middle rack for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the cookies.

    Pro tip – The cookies must not be dark around the edges. As soon as they get a slight color on the bottom they are ready. They will continue to cook with the residue heat on the baking tray.

  • Cool – When baked let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool further before you transfer to an airtight container.

    Pro tip – always frost cold cookies otherwise the icing will melt.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your butter, eggs, and any other dairy ingredients are at room temperature. This helps them incorporate better into the dough.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar Thoroughly: Creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy helps create a tender cookie texture.
  • Don’t Overmix: Once you add the flour mixture, mix the dough just until everything is combined. Overmixing can result in tough cookies.
  • Chill the Dough: Chilling the dough for at least an hour (or overnight) helps solidify the fats in the dough, which can prevent spreading and result in a better texture.
  • Roll Dough Evenly: When rolling out the dough, try to keep it an even thickness to ensure even baking. Using spacers or rolling guides can help achieve this.
  • Use Parchment Paper: Line your baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking and to make cleanup easier.
  • Preheat Your Oven: Make sure your oven is fully preheated before baking the cookies to ensure they bake evenly and at the right temperature.
  • Rotate Baking Sheets: If you’re baking multiple trays of cookies at once, rotate the trays halfway through baking to ensure even cooking.
  • Cool Baking Sheets: Allow baking sheets to cool completely between batches to prevent the dough from spreading too much.
  • Decorate with Care: If decorating with icing or frosting, make sure the cookies are completely cool before decorating to prevent the icing from melting.

Conversions Used

1 lb = 453 grams, 1 cup = 240 ml, 1 stick = 113g, 1 tbsp= 15 ml, 1 tsp= 5 ml,

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

The Best Sugar Cookies Recipe

Serving Size

39 g

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

Fat

8.2

g

13

%

Saturated Fat

5

g

25

%

Trans Fat

0.3

g

Polyunsaturated Fat

4.7

g

Monounsaturated Fat

g

Cholesterol

36

mg

12

%

Sodium

111

mg

5

%

Potassium

mg

%

Carbohydrates

23.4

g

8

%

Fiber

0.5

g

2

%

Sugar

9.2

g

10

%

Protein

2.2

g

4

%

Vitamin A

IU

%

Vitamin C

mg

%

Calcium

mg

%

Iron

mg

%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

Did you make this recipe? Share it with me.Tag @veenaazmanov on instagram or #hashtag it #veenaazmanov

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The Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe (23)

Veena Azmanov

Veena is an experienced food and cake decorating blogger, with over a decade of experience. Across her three blogs, Veena Azmanov, Cake Decorating Tutorials, and East Indian Recipes, she provides readers with delicious, easy and practical recipes that feature instructional videos and tutorials. As an expert in her field, Veena has even been featured in countless online magazines and publications worldwide. Plus, she offers free online masterclasses to guide novice cooks and bakers to success! Stay connected with her on your favorite social media as well.

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  1. Hello! I’ve made these many times in the past but always on an as needs basis. I’m planning to make these ahead of time and am wondering if I can follow the usual steps and then freeze the cookies already cut in to shape? If I cut, freeze, thaw in the fridge and bake, will the cookies still work?

    Many thanks!

    Reply

    1. Yes, Cat – I have frozen the unbaked cookies and then baked from frozen. They will take a few minutes more to bake. Mine have baked beautifully.

      Reply

  2. Buenos días Veena Azmanov,queria pregunta te por el diámetro de las galletas.De altura son 6mm y de diámetro cuánto es? Gracias y buen trabajo.He probado la receta y salen muy buenos,sobre todo con esencia de fresa o con chicle.Los niños se lo comen enseguida.Un saludo

    Reply

    1. Hey, Anguelina I rolled the cookies to almost 1/8 mm cookies and 3 inch in diameter. Thanks

      Reply

  3. Hello, I love your recipes and have tried many.

    I tried these sugar cookies a few times and they came out hard I follow your detailed instructions carefully, and I use the exact ingredients listed.. I weigh my ingredients. I roll the dough to slightly less than 1/2″. The flavor is great, so I refuse to give up until I can master these cookies.

    Any ideas what I’m doing wrong?
    Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Hey Tracie. Thank you, I am happy you are enjoying my recipes. This recipe has had great success with many.
      What happened to your recipe? Perhaps I can help troubleshoot.
      XX

      Reply

      1. Can I use margarine instead of butter ?

        Reply

        1. Margarine has more water content and less fat so the cookies will spread.

          Reply

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