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Classic Sugar Cookies

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  • Prep 60 min
  • Total 7 hr 50 min
  • Servings 55
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We consider this the best sugar cookie recipe out there—because it's the kind your grandma or even great-grandma would recognize. Baking sugar cookies from scratch is a time-honored tradition, after all! With a tender, short texture that comes from a good buttery base, these cookies break with just the right balance of bend and snap. And the taste? Perfection. But when it comes to the perfect sugar cookie recipe, there's one more crucial factor: how easy your cookies are to decorate. We've come up with a simple icing that's easily tintable, covers smoothly and dries firmly so that you can stack your finished cut-out sugar cookies without fear of smudging them. However you choose to decorate them, dress these Christmas sugar cookies up in holiday style, and they'll be the star of every festive gathering.
Updated Sep 29, 2023
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How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

Grab your cookie cutters, icing and festive sprinkles, because it’s time to make this sugar cookie recipe your own! Once you’ve learned how to make sugar cookies that taste great, why not make them stand out with sweet, colorful toppings? From royal icing to classic buttercream frosting and yummy candies, there are plenty of fun ways to decorate your sugar cookies.

If you are looking for an alternative to the icing used in this recipe, we’re big fans of using homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting on top of these easy sugar cookies. Just hold one cookie at a time, scoop a tablespoon of frosting onto the center of each sugar cookie using a small metal spatula and slowly spread the frosting to the edges. You can easily add some food color to your vanilla frosting to create whatever color you like. From there, add some adorable sprinkles and tasty candy decorations. Store these cookies in a single layer as the frosting will not set up to allow for stacking. Who doesn’t love fun, festive homemade sugar cookies?

How to Store Homemade Sugar Cookies

Happen to have leftover sugar cookies? No problem! You can easily keep your extras in an airtight container for a few days or freeze them for longer storage. If you leave your sugar cookies out in a covered container at room temperature, they’ll stay fresh for about three days.

If stored correctly, your homemade sugar cookies will keep in the freezer for up to two months. Store them in flat-bottomed plastic containers with airtight lids. Line the bottom of each container with waxed paper or plastic wrap, and your yummy sugar cookies are all set for safekeeping!



  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups Gold Medal™ All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • Food colors, if desired
  • Colored sugar or candy sprinkles, if desired
Make With
Gold Medal Flour


  • 1
    In large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, the softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the almond extract and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Divide dough in half; shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • 2
    Heat oven to 375°F.
  • 3
    Roll each disk on lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters into desired shapes. On ungreased cookie sheets, place cutouts at least 2 inches apart.
  • 4
    Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely.
  • 5
    In medium bowl, beat 3 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla with spoon until smooth and spreadable. If icing is too stiff to spread, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Tint with food color. Spread icing on cooled cookies. Decorate as desired with colored sugar or candy sprinkles. Let stand about 4 hours or until icing is set. Store covered in airtight container at room temperature with waxed paper between layers.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Choose your cookie sheets wisely—look for shiny aluminum sheets with no sides that allow air circulation for sugar cookies to bake evenly. Dark sheets absorb more heat, making it hard to control browning. Insulated cookie sheets slow down baking, providing control but also requiring longer bake times.
  • tip 2
    If you don’t have cooling racks, you can transfer the warm cut-out sugar cookies to a chilled cookie sheet lined with clean kitchen towels, or use a cooled wooden cutting board—anything to cool the cookies down quickly.
  • tip 3
    As you bake, be sure to allow cookie sheets to cool before you place fresh cutouts on them for the oven.
  • tip 4
    You can prevent cookie dough from sticking to the cookie cutter by dipping the cutter in flour between uses.
  • tip 5
    Cookie sheets should be at least 2 inches smaller than the inside of your oven so the heat can circulate completely around them. Be sure to arrange the oven racks before you preheat the oven, so that you can bake in the center of the oven. We recommend baking one cookie sheet at a time.
  • tip 6
    As an alternative to decorating with icing, sprinkle cutter cookies with granulated or colored sugars before baking.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Tell When My Sugar Cookies Are Done?

Unlike other cookies, you shouldn’t wait until sugar cookies are golden brown to remove them from the oven. Once this easy sugar cookie recipe calls for them to be removed, take them out. Don’t worry if they haven’t achieved much color or don’t appear set—this is normal! Your sugar cookies will continue to set as they cool.

Can I Make Sugar Cookie Dough Ahead of Time?

Have an event coming up later but don’t want to bake your sugar cookies yet? Your prepared dough can chill in the fridge up to 24 hours before baking. If you chill the dough longer than 4 hours, you may need to let it sit on the counter for a few minutes before rolling out.

Want to keep sugar cookie dough on hand at all times for last-minute hosting? Stick your prepared dough in the freezer for up to 6 months! When you’re ready to bake tasty homemade sugar cookies, just transfer your dough from the freezer to the fridge for thawing. After a few hours, your dough should be ready to roll out, cut and bake to sugar cookie perfection!


90 Calories, 3 1/2g Total Fat, 0g Protein, 14g Total Carbohydrate, 10g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Cookie
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
3 1/2g
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Our Classic Sugar Cookies have such a tender crumb and balanced sweetness, you’d never know how easy they are to mix, roll out and cut. If it’s your first time behind the rolling pin and cookie cutters, take a few minutes to read over these step-by-step sugar cookie instructions that walk you through mixing, rolling and baking. Once you have a counterful of baked cookies ready to go, the real fun begins, as your sugar cookies serve as blank canvases for your colorful creativity. Icing, frosting, sprinkles and colored sugar will make these classic sugar cookies distinctively yours. Check out our best sugar cookie recipes for even more creative ideas. Once you master the basics, you’ll find yourself picking up new cookie cutters wherever you travel, and making classic sugar cookies all year long.
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