Sugar Cookie Recipe – The first recipe I used
The first thing you need when making sugar cookies is a good sugar cookie recipe. I tested many and found that I like Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookie Recipe the best. I love the taste and the softness of these cookies, but they still had a crisp edge. One day I may create my own and call it “My Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe” or I might use this one until I die. I want to encourage all of you to test a few recipes and see which one you like the best. You can always play around with the flavors to make it your own.
Supplies for Sugar Cookie Recipe:
4 cups All-Purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 sticks butter (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low.
Gradually mix in the flour mixture with your mixer on low increasing speed as needed. Add a little at a time. Don’t dump it all in at once.
Divide dough into 4 discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325°. Let disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. I use spacers to roll out the dough so it is even every time. I got mine here.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and place it on top of the disc.
I bought Mainstay Flexible Cutting Mats to roll my dough on. They are great because you can roll your dough on them with the plastic wrap on top so you don’t have to use flour. The flour will make your cookies tougher when you re-roll. They are also flexible enough to bend when removing your cutouts. I got them at Wal-mart.
They are in a 3 pack and less than $5.
Cut out your shapes. Remove the excess dough and place the mat with the cutouts in the freezer until the dough is very firm about 15 minutes.
Then, I turn the mat upside down and pull it away from the cookies so the cookies come right off.
Place on a baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps, and repeat.
Baking times will vary. Martha Stewart’s recipe says to bake 15 to 18 minutes but mine only take 11 minutes. It all depends on how thick you roll your dough. You need to watch yours the first few times you bake to learn how long yours will take. Remove from oven and let them cool on wire racks.
Sugar Cookie Recipe:
You may enjoy the “Beginners Guide to Cookie Decorating” for all kinds of tips and tricks. If you have trouble with cookies spreading when they bake, I have a few suggestions here in the “Why do Sugar Cookies Spread” post,
Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 4 cups All-Purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 sticks butter 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
- Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachment.
- Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix until combined.
- Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix on low increasing speed as needed. Add a little at a time and mix just until combined.
- Divide dough into 3-4 discs.
- Wrap each in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325. °
- Let disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes.
- Cut out your shapes.
- Remove the excess dough and place the mat with the cutouts in the freezer until the dough is very firm, about 15 minutes.
- Bake for 7-11 minutes. Baking times will vary so keep a close eye on them. Remove from oven and let them cool on wire racks.
I’ve tasted a LOT of sugar cookie recipes and even make my own.. but this recipe of yours is my favorite. Best tasting and a little chewy while still holding their shape well. Mmmm… wish I had some now 🙂
excited to try this one!!!! Does it spread a lot?
I don’t have trouble with spreading. But I have noticed if I roll the same dough out more than 3 time it will spread some. I have been please with this recipe. It is the one I have used since I started baking.
I find if I pop my cookies while on the tray into the freezer for a few minutes before baking, the don’t spread.
That is exactly what I do! 🙂
I have been looking for a good sugar cookie recipe and I am going to try yours for sure. Thanks so much. I usually make shortbread cookies.
How do you store your iced sugar cookies? I’m going to be making some for a baby shower but I don’t want to have to do them all the day of or the day before…but I also want them to taste fresh & yummy. 🙂 But I don’t know what’s the best way to store them. Thank you!!
I have heard that sugar cookies stay fresh anywhere from 4 weeks- 2 months but, I never give them out if they are more than a week old because it may take a couple of day for the recipient to eat them. I try to give them out the day after they are made.
As soon as the cookies are dry, I store them in an airtight container or a Ziplock bag. The day before the event, I place them in cellophane bags and add a bag topper or a cute little ribbon. If I make a “platter” then, I arrange them an hour or so before delivery.
Out of curiosity, when you roll out the dough on those mats, does it stick? Also I checked Walmart and they no longer sell that particular Mainstay Mat. They are now colored ones. I guess they are probably the same thing.
Thanks:) Such great tips and ideas.
No Diana, they don’t stick. I place them in the freezer for a few minutes after I roll the dough out. Then, I remove them from the freezer and place them upside down on the counter and peal the mat away. Then, I flip it over and place the dough back onto the mat and it cuts perfect ever time with no sticking and no flour.
Hi Diana, I bought my mats at Walmart and they are various colors too, but essentially the same mat!
Lisa, I love this website so much! I want to try your MS Sugar Cookie recipe. My question is, have you ever tried one unsalted AND one stick of salted butter, omitting the additional salt? Keep up the great work!
I have made it with unsalted and salted butter. I prefer the unsalted but, there wasn’t really a difference in taste.
I just bought some more mats last week and I love the new fun colors. I am going to go back and get more. LOL Someone needs to stop me!
Can your cookies be purchased? I am interested in the penguins cookies for my daughter’s baby shower? Your cookies are absolutely beautiful. Kim
I am sorry but, I don’t sell cookies. I live in a state that doesn’t allow home bakeries. Maybe someday the laws will change but for now, I am not allowed.
How many cookies does this recipe make? I got a 5″ leaf cookie cutter to make fall cookies for my daughters class. I have to make 26 cookies. I think I should have gone with a smaller cutter.
I have never actually counted how many cookies this makes but, I want to say about 35. I am making cookies today so I will be able to give you a better answer later today.
I’m so excited to find your site. Thank u for this recipe. I love love your site .
hi lisa, whenever I make sugar cookies they crunch too much. They have that crunchy texture. I am thinking it is the sugar in the cookie. I really cannot explain it to you. You will probably laugh and say “yup cookies are suppose to be crunchy” But it is not that crunch I am talking about, I am saying I can see small granules of sugar in my sugar cookie. I googled my problem and majority of the websites says to cream butter and sugar properly. I have creamed my butter n sugar properly. But those grains of sugar simply wont go away. Does your recipe has the same problem? If not I am going to make them. Thanks
I am not sure I know exactly what you are talking about but, I can offer a few suggestions to try. You may want to try extra fine granulated sugar and see if that help minimize the crunchiness. Or you could try placing your sugar in a food processor and pulsing it for a few seconds before you use it.
Don’t know if it will help but it won’t hurt to try it.
I went to Walmart to buy my ingredients and I forgot to get the mats! I tried rolling out on a hard cutting board with plastic wrap on the top and bottom of my dough and it worked great! The cutting board slid a little but it was only the first couple of rolls when it is still in ball form. I made sure to use a cutting board that could fit in my freezer. Great tip with the plastic wrap, better cookies and less mess : )
I am so glad the plastic wrap worked without the mats! That is really good information for those who can’t find the mats. Thanks so much for sharing your idea!
I just switched to a gas oven (not convection) from electric and let’s just say I want to cry! It bakes weird? It doesn’t want to bake all the way through in my opinion. The bottoms will start to brown but I will have raw spots! Do you use a gas oven — any tips? I current bake at 350 for about 11 min. It was 9 min in my electric. I’ve learned in this oven that it is only about 11:30-12 min max before they start to brown on bottom.
Hi Amanda. I am so sorry. I didn’t see your comment until now. I was redesigning my blog and I think your comment somehow got through without me seeing it. I always try to answer each question within a day or so but I honestly missed yours. I am truly sorry!
I suggest using a Silpat. They are wonderful and will help the cookies bake evenly.
Another thing you can do is use an insulated baking sheets and pans. You may want to move the oven rack up a few spaces away from the burner.
You can also try stacking 2 cookies sheet so there is insulated air between them. This will work in place of an actual insulated baking sheet.
Hope these tip help and so sorry for missing your comment.
Amanda, did you cook these cookies at 350? If I’m not mistaken, the recipe calls for a temperature of 325. If I’m wrong, I apologize in advance.
I know that you left your comment a month ago, but I wanted to chime in and encourage you with your gas oven predicament. Do not give up hope! They can be tricky devils and I too have suffered cookies that were burnt on the bottom and raw on the top. Two questions for you: have you tried air insulated cookie sheets and have you tinkered with the oven position of the rack?
Air insulated bakeware is designed to create that much needed cushion between whatever it is you are cooking and the sometimes too-intense radiant heat from the heating element. Not to get into the science of it, but having that lower conductivity gap of air (creating a convection zone) between two highly conductive sheets of metal makes for much gentler baking with an intense gas element. As for the position of your oven rack, if you don’t have a top element (which it sounds like you don’t, except for possibly broiling) try moving your rack up a position. Not only will you be moving away from the source of the radiant heat, but you will be moving it closer to the ceiling of your oven, which is also reflecting heat. Heat (and energy in general) dissapates and intensifies substantially with distance (thank you inverse square law!) What this means for you is that a slight shift up with your pan will lower the intensity from the element, and bring your cookie pan closer to the heat-reflecting ceiling of the oven.
Of course, of this is assuming that you are allowing adequate time for your oven to preheat (so that that super hot, pesky element isn’t blazing, trying to bring your oven to temp) and you aren’t overloading your racks. By that I just mean, if your oven is packed full of cookies, someone down in the bottom 3rd of your oven feels like he is sitting too close to the sun. 🙂
Do not be discouraged and take heart! Baking is science and there is a reason for everything. You can do it!
I honestly didn’t see Amanda’s comment. Thanks for respondig to her. I saw your comment and that led me to hers. I think I missed it due to the blog re-design.
I apologize for the typos and misspellings. I hate it when I do that!
Just recently have I started flooding cookies and am in love with this process. I am looking to begin baking cookies now for Christmas time as I make several hundred for our youth group at church. Have you ever frozen an iced cookie? Do they freeze well? Would it be better to bake the cookies and then freeze them without frosting to be frosted then as needed? Have you ever frozen the MS Cookie dough raw? If so, do you cut out the cookies and then flash freeze them or do you freeze the dough in a ball? Sorry to ask so many questions….
I have never frozen a decorated cookie before. I want to but haven’t tried it yet. Bridget at Bake at 350 has a great post on how she did it. You can find it here: http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2012/05/yes-you-can-freeze-decorated.html I am sure you will find more information if you Google it.
Here is one I shared on my FB page:
It is awesome!!
If you want to freeze the dough before you bake the cookies, I have had success with freezing the dough in a ball or cutting the shapes and placing them in an airtight container. I use wax or freezer paper to separate the layers. I have also baked the cookie shapes and placed them in airtight containers in between layers of parchment or freezer paper and it works very well.
I personally don’t freeze them for more than 3 week. I don’t know the scientific reason behind it but, that is what has worked well for me.
Hope this helps,
Hello! I love your sugar cookie info and have become addicted to making cookies for everyone. Have you tried freezing decorated cookies yet? I to make a few dozen for a friend, but I’ll be at the beach when she needs them so they’d have to be made earlier and frozen until she needs them. Please reply. Thanks!! 🙂
Hi Chassidy! Welcome to the “I am addicted to Cookies World! So glad you are here with the rest of us! LOL
I have not tried freezing decorated cookies yet. It is on my list but you can find a good post here by Bake at 350: http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2012/05/yes-you-can-freeze-decorated.html
Hope this helps!
awesome! thank you so much! 🙂
Hi ! My cookie batter was super soft so I popped it in the freezer overnight. I’m making a gem-shaped cookie without a cookie cutter – not sure how they will turn out! Also, if too much baking powder is added, will that make it lose the shape? How can I keep the shape?
And do you have any suggestions for how I can cut the shape without a cookie cutter? Last question: do you know any recipes which don’t need meringue powder for the icing ? I’m in a place where it’s hard to find it . Sorry for the questions.
Meringue powder is hard to find sometimes so I have a recipe for how to make royal icing with egg whites. Here it is:
is it okay to use self rising flour or does it make a difference
Self rising flour will make a difference in the cookies. Sorry to say but, you need to use all-purpose. Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!
I’m a fan of yours over in the UK. I’ve been admiring your cookies for a good while now and I’m going to take the plunge and give them a go!
I currently work in Chocolate but I’m itching to add new products to my page.
Keep everything crossed for me!
Adore your cookies so much 🙂
Just Love your creations. I’m new to this and hope you can help. Is there anyway to estimate the number of cookies a recipe will yield. I need to make Bunny Butts for my granddaughters and need 35 bodies and 70 feet. My cookie cutter is 3.5 in round body and 1.5 in oval for the feet. I have no idea how many batches of dough to make or how thick to roll the dough. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!~ Diane
Each batch makes about 30-35 cookies per batch. I roll mine 1/4″ thick most of the time. Hope this helps. 😉
Thank you for sharing your recipe. I usually have some spreading of my cookies so I can’t wait to give your recipe a whirl.
P.S. I have found my cutting mats at the Dollar Tree. (if you have one in your area). 🙂
I also forgot to ask what thickness do you roll out your cookies?
I like to roll my cookie out to about 1/2″ thick. Some like it thinner and some like it thicker but 1/2″ works for me. 😉
My sugar cookies keep spreading!!! I took out the baking powder and I let them sit in the fridge. Do I need to let them sit longer in the fridge or does it have to be the freezer? If so, how long? Should I cut down on the butter? Maybe a little less than the 2 cups? Ahhhh!!!!!
I am going to email you so we can see if we can find the problem! Talk to you soon! 😉
Here is a post I wrote about Why Cookies Spread: http://thebearfootbaker.com/2013/12/sugar-cookies-spread-baked/
This might help and I sent you an email.
I’m a novice and venturing into cookie making. Last night I left my dough ready in the refrigerator. How long can I keep it in the refrigerator before actually rolling out the dough?
Also, once baked storing them in an air tight container work? I’m afraid they may become soft??
If you make your cookie dough ahead of time you can store it in the refrigerator for about 2 days before using it. You can store it in the freezer for up to two months if it’s wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container.
Once they are baked you can store them in an airtight container. You can place them in layers separated by wax paper for up to four weeks, but I prefer to used them within two weeks. If you are worried about them going soft you can place a few slices of bread in the container to help absorb moisture.
Great, Thank you Lisa for the tips! I’m going to roll and bake cookies tonight.
Hi, may i ask, how does the cookies taste after we pipe royal icing on it? i mean does it still crunchy or it will get soften when it get contact with royal icing? Thank you, as i m facing this problem, it taste like it gets soften with royal icing.
Once the royal icing is added the cookies taste the same. I like soft sugar cookies so this recipe works well for me. If you like a cruchy cookie, you try baking the cookies a little longer and see how that works.
hey Lisa, when you roll out your sugar cookies, using your “spacers” on your rolling pin, how think are they?
LOVE your BLOG, so informative and you are a clever chick!
When I first started baking cookies I used the 1/2″ rolling spacers but over time I have changed to the 1/4″ rolling spacers. I honestly don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to your questions because the thickness of the cookies should depend on what the baker prefers. So for now, I use the 1/4″ rolling pin spacers. 😉
Nice cookies, but they needed water to actually stick together, but once I added that they were good.
What is the tool you are using to press the baked cookies down to smooth out the bubbles? I need one of those. Where can I get it?
It’s a fondant smoother for cakes. It makes the cookies perfectly flat for your royal icing.
what’s the average amount of cookie this recipe makes?
I usually get 25- 35 cookies depending on the size of the cutter. I hope this works for you!