How to Make Sugar Cookies

It's easy to make perfect sugar cookies. Here's how.

Sugar cookies, a special favorite at holiday time, are sweet, simple bites usually made with flour, sugar, and butter. These wonderfully versatile treats can be created as drop cookies or rolled, cut, and decorated with icing and sprinkles. Sugar cookies are easy to make, as you can see in this classic recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. There are hundreds of variations, and you'll find links to some of the very best following the basic recipe.

Meanwhile, here are some tips for baking perfect sugar cookies:

  • Butter is your best bet for making delicious cookies. If you prefer margarine, choose a stick margarine that contains 80 percent fat. Low-fat, liquid, and soft vegetable oil spreads don't work well for baking; they cause cookie dough to spread in the heat of the oven.
  • You'll also want to refrigerate dough for cutout cookies for at least two hours (longer if you use margarine) to avoid spread.
  • To keep sugar cookies tender, don't let them brown.
  • Cool cookies completely before freezing. Unfrosted cookies can be frozen for up to six months; frosted cookies for up to two months. You may want to freeze cookies unfrosted and then decorate them right before serving.

Sugar Cookies

Servings: about 60
Prep: 40 mins
Total: 1 hr 25 mins


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 15 minutes or until tops are slightly crackled and sides are set (do not let edges brown). Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies.
  3. Tip: For a colorful platter of cookies, roll the dough balls in different colored sugars instead of the white granulated sugar.
  4. To store: Place cookies in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen, before serving.

Here are 19 more of the Web's best sugar cookie recipes. Enjoy the variety!

Red Hot Sugar Cookies

Red cinnamon candies top these sugar cookie cutouts. Kids love this cookie's bright color and fun taste.


Sugar Cookies

During the holidays, try making these soft lemony cookies and serve them with hot cocoa for dipping.


Sugar Cookie Mittens

A buttery sugar cookie dough becomes a holiday treat that can be served with or without icing.


Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Enjoy delicious sugar cookies without feeling guilty with this low-calorie, lower-fat version of traditional sugar cookie dough.


Brown Sugar & Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

The darker the brown sugar, the deeper the cookies' flavor. You could use a more exotic brown sugar in this recipe, such as dark brown cane sugar or light or dark muscovado sugar.


Buttermilk Sugar Cookies

Use this recipe to make "stained-glass cookies" that will brighten up your holiday dessert tray.


Striped Ginger Cookies

Refrigerated sugar cookie dough and gingerbread dough are intertwined in this recipe to make these kid-favorite treats with just four ingredients.


Cinna-Spin Cookies

Try a new spin on sugar cookies that's fun for kids to shape and tastes like snickerdoodles.


Eggnog-Frosted Nutmeg Sugar Cookies

Eggnog adds the perfect holiday touch to these cutout cookies. Make a double batch of the icing so you can drizzle your rum cake and gingerbread with the leftovers.


Lemon Verbena Sugar Cookies

Lemon verbena adds pleasant tang to these simple sugar cookies.


Date-Nut Icebox Cookies

Dates and black walnuts blend to create the richness in this brown sugar cookie recipe.


Polka-Dot Sugar Cookies

Several portions of dough are tinted a different color for this fun sugar cookie recipe. Enlist kids to help -- they'll love mixing and matching the colors.


Stained-Glass Star Cookies

Melted butterscotch candies form the translucent stained glass in these holiday cookies. Be sure to bake the cookies on parchment paper so they can be removed easily from the cookie sheets.


Swirled Mint Cookies

Dainty, colorful cookies make a light finish to a special holiday feast.


Lemony Spritz Cookies

A lemon glaze tops off these delightful cookies. Serve with fresh fruit for a light dessert.


Orange-Macadamia Nut Cookies

Orange peel and orange juice do quadruple duty in this delicious cookie: Use both in the cookie dough and the frosting.


Rosemary-Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Your family will ooh and aah over these shaped cookie sandwiches filled with a yummy mixture of lemon curd and mascarpone cheese.


Citrus Snowflakes

Intricately decorated with white icing, this orange-flavor cookie makes an attractive addition to your holiday platter.


Snickerdoodle Sandwiches

The oh-so-popular snickerdoodle is transformed into a scrumptious and easy-to-make cookie sandwich recipe.



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