The Best Sugar Cookie  

This sugar cookie is way more than just a blank canvas for icing and sprinkles. It's actually delicious all on its own.

Best Sugar Cookies
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
20 cookies

Congratulations! You've found the one and only sugar cookie recipe you need for all of your holiday cookie decorating wants and needs. This versatile sugar cookie is tender in the center with a slightly crisp edge, and not overly sweet so it can hold up to all of that icing you'll use to decorate. And it just so happens these sugar cookies are incredibly satisfying all on their own, too. Now all you need to decide is which cookie cutters you'll use on this baking adventure.


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface and cutters

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Royal icing, for decorating (optional)

  • Sanding sugar and sprinkles, for decorating (optional)


  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; continue beating on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until incorporated, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beating until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Shape dough into a flat disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut out shapes from dough with floured 3- to- 3½-inch cookie cutters. Transfer to baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Gently press dough trimmings together and repeat rolling and cutting process until all dough is used, baking in batches if necessary.

  3. Bake cookies until edges are lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate cookies with royal icing (recipe here), sanding sugar, and sprinkles, if desired. Let icing dry completely before storing cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Related Articles