This melt in your mouth cut out sugar cookie recipe yields soft, buttery cookies with a slightly crisp edge and a delicate hint of almond. You may have just stumbled upon the BEST easy to follow recipe which even includes no chill time. These simple sugar cookies are ready in under 20 minutes for you to decorate or enjoy plain while cozying up with a nice cup of tea or some holiday hot chocolate!
If you’re a fan of any and every sugar cookie, you should also check out this copycat Lofthouse recipe. Soft pillowy sugar cookies slathered with a thick coat of icing are a little more involved in the ingredients and process but definitely a must-try! We also love using this sugar cookie recipe to make the BEST Candy Cane cookies with Peppermint Marshmallow frosting! mmmmmm.
What are sugar cookies?
There’s a reason why tried and true cut out Christmas cookies remain a fan favorite. This centuries-old cookie is made with only a handful of ingredients. It consists of butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla, or in this case almond extract. A simple cookie that delivers on taste and function!
With a cut out sugar cookie recipe, specifically, you want very little leavening ingredients so that the cookies do not puff or spread too much and turn your pretty cut out shapes into indistinguishable blobs! There are no eggs and just a touch of baking soda in this cookie recipe.
Get out your favorite cookie cutters, set up a decorating DIY station, and have loads of fun with the family without all the fuss and shopping for crazy ingredients you’ve never heard of. They’re a great starter cookie if you’re just beginning your baking journey and they’re easy enough for the kids to help out!
You’ll be able to whip up a batch of soft cut out sugar cookies in a pinch. The dough freezes well, which comes in handy when you’ve got unexpected company at your door, or when it’s 10 o’clock at night and your kid tells you they need a dozen cookies for school by the next morning.
They make delicious gifts when packaged up nicely but, of course, they are perfect just for you to bake and enjoy at home during the holidays!
Cut Out Cookie Supplies:
You do not need any special equipment to make this cut out sugar cookie recipe. Mix the ingredients with a standing mixer or a hand mixer, but you can also just mix them up by hand!
You will need a rolling pin – I’m always collecting vintage rolling pins because I just can’t resist a cute red handle. Any smoothly rolling rolling pin will do! Dust the rolling pin with flour to prevent it from sticking to your dough!
COOKIE CUTTERS come in every shape and size imaginable! I had a lot of fun with my newest set of Christmas cookie cutters (ref) and they arrived on my porch in a day! Everyone loves a simple round cookie though and you can even just use the top of a glass or mason jar to cut out perfectly shaped round cookies!
Sugar Cookie Ingredients:
- Salted butter – Softened. To cut down on prep time, keep the butter at room temperature earlier on (at least 20 minutes) before starting.
- Granulated sugar – Because, sugar cookies.
- Egg – Room temperature as well. Having ingredients all starting out at one temperature will make for even baking.
- Almond extract – Using almond extract instead of vanilla is a preference. You can definitely swap one for the other. Both will add their own lovely individual flavor. Get crazy and use them both together!
- All-purpose flour – Stick to all-purpose if you can. If you do end up going rogue and trying something different, keep me posted on how that goes.
- Salt – The magic of salt is that it brings out the natural flavors of, well, everything!
- Baking soda – This will help give the cookie the shape that doesn’t spread out too far and gives it a bit of a rise (almost yeast-like).
How to Make this Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe:
Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. This creaming process of fat and sugar is the foundation for many baked goods. It helps beat and hold the air into the mixture which gives way to a wonderful texture. You can’t beat cold butter so this is why it’s important to get everything to room temperature. Then, add the egg and almond extract and continue beating.
Step 2: Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and add it to the butter mixture. Combine everything until the dough comes together. Scrape down the sides as best as you can, incorporating all ingredients. At this point, if you’re wanting to freeze the dough for later use, wrap in plastic wrap and either keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If you’re baking immediately, continue on to the next step. If you do find your dough a little too soft (this can happen too) chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes before rolling it out.
Step 3: Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Grab two sheets of parchment, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Place the dough in between the sheets and roll out the dough until about ¼″ – ½″ thick. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut out as many shapes as your dough provides. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Scoop up the remaining dough, form it into a ball, and re-roll it to get even more cookies. You might need more than one baking sheet.
Step 4: Bake until the bottom of the cookies are just slightly golden brown – so slight you can just barely see the browning, but it’s there. These don’t take very long so don’t stray too far once they are in the oven. They won’t be soft and chewy if you overcook them and you certainly don’t want them to burn! Once completely cooled, have so much fun decorating them. Make sure you grab one before they’re gone!
Pro Tip: Try not to handle the dough too much. If this happens, it will become too dry and perhaps a little tough.
As awesome as these cookies are all on their own, the icing on top really does add a little something extra! If you’ve ever been mesmerized by one of those cookie decorating videos it might appear as though icing a cookie is a serious business.
In real non-professional pretty cookie maker life, it’s totally not. It’s actually a ton of fun and with a simple sugar cookie icing, it’s way easier than you might think. I even found these tubes of pre-colored frosting and my standard cake decorating tips screw right onto the tubes! It does not get easier than that!
So, grab your ingredients, put on some Christmas tunes, and make the most of this holiday season! Oh and don’t forget to leave a couple of cookies out for Santa!
For a fun and festive idea, add some gel food coloring to your recipe for extra flare. Add it in to the butter/sugar mixture just before adding the flour.
I love checking kitchen stores and cute new shops when I travel. And, of course, I’m always on the hunt at antique stores for a fantastic vintage cookie cutter. BUT, you can find cookie cutters almost anywhere. In fact, I picked up this multi-pack of Christmas cookie cutters right here! (referral link)
Yes, you definitely can make the dough in advance. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place in a freezer ziploc bag and refrigerate for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months! The dough, even frozen, thaws enough to roll out in a matter of minutes!
Yes you can freeze your finished cookies! I love to make a big batch of cut out cookies early in December and then we can pull out whatever we need when the girls have friends over and want to do some cookie decorating or when it’s time to pick some special cookies for Santa!
This recipe is excellent for cutting out shapes because it has no eggs and very little baking soda in the recipe. Therefore, the dough does not puff or spread much at all. Unlike some recipes that have no baking soda or baking powder, this one does puff just ever so slightly – this makes it my absolute favorite because the finished cookie has a nice soft, slightly chewy texture that you can sink your teeth into. Chill your cutouts right before baking for the least amount of puff.
There are definitely days for more complicated recipes, but don’t forget good old-fashioned decorated sugar cookies in the holiday baking line-up! I hope you love this recipe as much as our family does!
Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer or with a hand mixer.
- Add in egg and almond extract and beat together well.
- Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda and add to butter mixture.
- Mix until combined and the dough comes together.
- Dough does not need to be chilled, but can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator (up to 3 days) or freezer (up to 3 months) until ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment, waxed paper, or plastic wrap to ¼"-½" thick.
- Use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies are just barely showing a bit of browning.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes before removing cookies from baking sheet and transferring to a cooling rack.
- Frost, if desired, when cookies have cooled completely.