close up photo of cut out sugar cookies in the shape of snowflakes on parchment paper

This foolproof cut out sugar cookie recipe is the one you’ve been looking for. It makes an incredibly reliable, sturdy dough that will hold any kind of elaborate cookie cutter shape. The recipe also only uses 7 ingredients, most of which are likely already in your pantry.

The best part? The sugar cookies are delicious, too! The taste incredibly buttery and vanilla-forward—you could mistake them for shortbread!

In addition to making a reliable sugar cookie dough, the recipe teaches you tons of tips and tricks on how to make sugar cookies. These tricks will save you tons of time and clean-up in the kitchen!

photo of michelle from hummingbird high picking up a snowflake cut out cookie from gold sheet pan

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here’s everything you need to make this failsafe sugar cookie recipe:

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Ingredient Substitutions and Sources For The Recipe

photo of cut out sugar cookie dough rolled and stamped with snowflake cookie cutters

How To Make Foolproof Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Here are the basic steps to make this foolproof cut out sugar cookie recipe from scratch. It’s worth reading this section to learn about why this recipe is foolproof and what makes it different from other sugar cookie recipes!

  1. Prep the ingredients for the cookie dough. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)
    Note that this recipe instructs you to use cold butter and eggs. There’s no need to bring anything to room temperature beforehand. This is important!

  2. Make the cookie dough. (Work Time: 5 to 10 minutes)

  3. Roll out the cookie dough. (Work Time: 5 to 10 minutes)
    Most cut out sugar cookie recipes instruct you to chill the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling it out and using a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. However, I instruct you to roll the dough out immediately after making the dough. Why? Because we used cold ingredients to make the dough, the dough is the perfect consistency for rolling out. There’s no need to chill it again, saving you time!

  4. Chill the dough. (Chill Time: at least 1 hour)
    NOW is the time to chill the dough. You’ll need to refrigerate it for at least 1 hour to get sharp and crisp cookie cut out shapes. You can also refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days—just be sure to wrap the entire tray in plastic wrap!

  5. Cut out cookies from the dough. (Work Time: 5 to 10 minutes)
    After the dough has chilled for at least 1 hour, use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the rolled out dough. Work quickly and efficiently so that the dough stays cool while you work!

  6. Freeze the cookies while you preheat the oven. (Chill Time: 10 minutes)
    I like to multitask and freeze the dough one last time while I preheat the oven. It usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes to preheat my oven. That’s the perfect amount of time to chill these cookies one last time to ensure that they come out with crisp and clean shapes!

  7. Bake the cookies. (Bake Time: 10 minutes per batch)

Step-By-Step Photos On How To Roll Out Cut Out Sugar Cookies Without Any Extra Flour And Making A Huge Mess

My cut out sugar cookie recipe is also unique in that you don’t need to use any extra flour to roll out the dough. Why? Instead, I instruct you to roll out the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper. The parchment paper acts like flour and prevents the dough from sticking to your countertop and rolling pin.

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

Help! I don’t have enough time to make the recipe. Do you have any advice?

Yes! I get it—sugar cookies can be a BIG project, especially if you need to decorate them. So I like to split up the work over multiple days.

I first make the cookie dough and roll it out per the recipe instructions below. Doing so means I’m only in the kitchen for about 30 minutes. I then refrigerate the dough overnight (though you can get away with refrigerating it for up to 3 day total) and cut out the cookies the next day. I typically then refrigerate the cutouts overnight. Then, I bake and decorate everything the next day.

Although it turns into a 3 day long baking project, I’m really only working in the kitchen for 30 minutes at a time. It turns into a much more manageable recipe that way! And if this is your jam, definitely check out my cookbook, Weeknight Baking. It has tons of tricks to help you fit baking recipes into your schedule!

If at any point your cookies are sticking to the parchment paper and/or cookie cutters, it means your dough is too soft! Stop cutting out cookies. Instead, move the cookie dough (still on the parchment paper and on the sheet pan) into the freezer. Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes and try again.

Can you freeze cut out sugar cookies?

Yes! You can freeze cut out sugar cookies several ways:

  1. Freeze the cookie dough. You can freeze the cookie dough immediately after making it. You can freeze it as a disc like you would pie dough. But I like to roll it out per the recipe instructions below, and freeze the cut out cookies. I freeze them on a sheet pan and wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap. That way, I can bake the cut outs whenever I have a sugar cookie craving! Just follow the instructions for baking below—you may need to add 1 to 2 minutes extra to the Bake Time if baking from frozen.
  2. Freeze the baked cookies without any decoration. You can freeze the baked cookies without any decoration. Place them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then decorate when slightly chilled.

    Although this is doable, I don’t actually recommend it. It can make the cookies extremely soft. I much prefer freezing the cookie dough cut outs!

Best Recipe Tips

Tip About Ingredients

  • The recipe works best if your butter is VERY cold. I like to cut the butter first, then place it in the freezer as I measure out the rest of the ingredients to give. And check out my TikTok on how to slice butter into cubes quickly and efficiently!

Tip About Baking Equipment

  • The yield of this recipe will ultimately vary depending on the shape and size of your cookie cutter; however, I’ve provided an approximation based on a 3-inch round cookie cutter.

  • The best cookie cutters are made with metal. If you’re a beginner baker, go for a shape without too many sharp corners. It’s easier to cut out hearts and circles than it is stars!

  • I also recommend cookie cutters with stamps that press more elaborate shapes into the dough and/or push the cookie dough out of the cutter. Like the snowflake cookie cutters I used for these cookies!

Tips About Baking The Cookies

  • I like to bake the cookies one pan at a time. I find that doing so makes the best cookies, ensuring that none of them have overly burnt bottoms or raw centers. However, to save time, you can bake two sheet pans at a time. Position a rack in the upper-third position of the oven, and a second one in the lower-third position of the oven. Bake a pan on each rack, swapping their positions half way through the Bake Time.

  • If you want softer sugar cookies, roll out the dough on the thicker side (¼ inch thick) and bake each tray for 10 minutes. If you want a crispier sugar cookie, roll out the dough on the thinner side (⅛ inch thick) and bake each tray for 12 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Best Foolproof Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

This foolproof cut out sugar cookie recipe uses so many cool tricks to make PERFECT sugar cookies with any cookie cutter that are tasty and delicious to eat, too.
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces or 227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 ⅓ cups (15 ounces or 425 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cold large egg, straight from the fridge

Instructions
 

  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla, then add the egg and dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 3 to 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.
    Reduce the mixer to low, add the egg, and beat until just incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
    With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until combined. Increase the mixer to medium-low and beat until the dough clumps around the paddle and/or sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Roll the dough between parchment paper. Tip the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper around the size of a half sheet pan and use your hands to shape it into a rough 6-inch disc.
    Place a second sheet of parchment over the dough, creating a parchment sandwich with the dough in the middle. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough between the parchment, working from left to right. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat every so often—doing so will prevent the dough from cracking as you roll it. If the parchment starts to wrinkle and leave creases in the cookie dough, pull the sheet loose and smooth it before rolling the dough more.
    Continue rotating and rolling until you have a rough oval about 13 inches wide, 18 inches long, and between ⅛ and ¼ inch thick.
  • Chill the dough. Transfer the slab of cookie dough, still in between the parchment, to a half sheet pan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).
  • Prep the chilled dough for stamping out the cookies. Remove the sheet pan of dough from the refrigerator. Use the overhanging parchment as handles to carefully lift the slab of dough off the sheet pan and onto the counter. Peel the top layer of parchment from the slab and use it to line the sheet pan once more.
    Line a second half sheet pan with parchment as well.
  • Stamp out cookies. Working quickly, use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes, placing the cookies at least 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. As you work, the dough should remain cool and firm to the touch.
    Place each sheet pan in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes before baking.
  • While the dough chills, preheat the oven. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • Bake the cookies. Bake one pan at a time (keeping the other pan in the refrigerator) for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies are set and feel firm to the touch.
    Repeat to bake the remaining cookies.
  • Serve and store. Serve warm or at room temperature. If decorating the cookies, cool completely before frosting.
    The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • The recipe works best if your butter is VERY cold. I like to cut the butter first, then place it in the freezer as I measure out the rest of the ingredients to give. And check out my TikTok on how to slice butter into cubes quickly and efficiently!
  • The yield of this recipe will ultimately vary depending on the shape and size of your cookie cutter; however, I’ve provided an approximation based on a 3-inch round cookie cutter.
  • The best cookie cutters are made with metal. If you’re a beginner, go for a shape without too many sharp corners. It’s easier to cut out hearts and circles than it is stars!
  • I also recommend cookie cutters with stamps that press more elaborate shapes into the dough and/or push the cookie dough out of the cutter. Like the snowflake cookie cutters I used for these cookies!
  • I like to bake the cookies one pan at a time. I find that doing so makes the best cookies, ensuring that none of them have overly burnt bottoms or raw centers. However, to save time, you can bake two sheet pans at a time. Position a rack in the upper-third position of the oven, and a second one in the lower-third position of the oven. Bake a pan on each rack, swapping their positions half way through the Bake Time.
  • If you want softer sugar cookies, roll out the dough on the thicker side (¼ inch thick) and bake each tray for 10 minutes. If you want a crispier sugar cookie, roll out the dough on the thinner side (⅛ inch thick) and bake each tray for 12 minutes.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.