How To Make The Best Sugar Cookie : Sugar Cookie Recipe


I’m going to show you the tips to make the best sugar cookie recipe with my two favorite sugar cookie recipes.  Baking comes naturally to me only because of the talent of my mom.  Thanks, Mom!  She taught me that baking comes down to two things – measuring and timing.  It’s no surprise that she’s a math teacher.

This week I tested two sugar cookie recipes, and to my delight they were equally good, just different.  However, it takes more than just a good sugar cookie recipe to make the best sugar cookies around.

Here are my tips to make the best sugar cookie this Christmas.

You can find the Best (and easiest) Sugar Cooking Icing Recipe here.

Tip 1 : Use good quality baking pans.

I use air-bake cookie sheets.  If I baked my cookies on my dark sheets that I use for pizza-making, I get a completely different cookie. Since the goal in my sugar cookies is a soft cookie, using an air-bake cookie sheet is a must.

Tip 2 :  Pre-Measure all ingredients.

Before I start combining one thing I pre-measure all my ingredients.  All my flour, baking powder and salt go into one bowl.  I then pre-measure the sugar, the vanilla and even the butter is ready.  I even crack all the eggs.  In this way, the recipe comes together quickly and fluidly.  It’s also less likely that you’ll make a mistake measuring ingredients if you’re focused on that one task only – instead of checking what’s already in the mixer.  Measuring ingredients accurately is very important when baking.

Here’s my favorite measuring spoons.  And here’s my favorite measuring cups.

Tip 3 :  Chill the dough overnight.

Most recipes will say that you can chill the dough for as little as one hour.  In my experience, there is not a shortcut to this one.  You’re invested in making a great sugar cookie (otherwise you wouldn’t be here), so take that extra step and chill the dough overnight.  To be honest, I actually prefer to do it this way simply because it’s easier to clean up the kitchen without worrying about baking the cookies at the same time.

Tip 4 : Don’t be afraid of flour. It’s how we roll.

Flour the countertop generously.  Place your dough on the countertop and lightly flour the top of the dough.  Flour the rolling pin as well.  Roll the dough from the center and work your way to the outside.  Put more pressure in the middle and let the roller do the work as you get to the edge. It is key that your dough be a uniform thickness of 1/4 – 1/2 inch to avoid crispy edges when you bake.  The flour assists you to avoid the dough from sticking to the countertop, the roller or the cookie cutters.

**Flour your cookie cutters as well so that the dough will loosen from the cutter when you place it on the cookie sheet.  Here’s a great list of cookie cutters!

Tip 5 : Put the dough back in the refrigerator.

Because I typically bake a number of cookies at once, it’s a good idea to place the dough you’re not currently rolling back into the refrigerator.  With a hot oven nearby, the dough starts to warm and it will be much harder to roll your next batch.

Tip 6 : Don’t Overbake the Cookies.  Please!

If your cookies are turning a light tan – they’re overbaked.  That is unless, you prefer it that way.   The recipe I tried most recently said to bake the cookies for 6 to 8 minutes.  I set the timer for 6 minutes and then checked the cookie ever 30 seconds until it was done.  8 minutes and 30 seconds ended up being the optimal time.  Every oven is different so every time I bake cookies I start at the lowest time possible.

**If you’re nervous about how your cookie will bake, bake a test cookie.  Place only one cookie on the cookie sheet and bake it.  Let it cool and taste it.  Is it the texture that you like? Again, you’ve already invested your time, this one small step may make the biggest impact on your end product.

Again, using air-bake cookie sheets helps this step!

Those are my Cleverly Simple tips to make the best sugar cookie!  Are you ready to try a few good recipes?


The first recipe is from my mom’s Recipe Book.  This is the sugar cookie my family makes every single year.  It’s a lighter cookie (by taste, not by calories).  I may be bias because I grew up making these cookies, but it’s a delicious cookie that will make a nice addition to any Christmas cookie plate.  It’s soft and it’s yummy.

4.5 from 2 reviews
How To Make The Best Sugar Cookie : Sugar Cookie Recipe
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 4¾ Cup Flour
  • 1½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Margarine
  • 1½ Cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
  2. Beat margarine and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs. Fold in Vanilla.
  4. Stir in flour mixture.
  5. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  6. Roll out dough until it's about ¼ - ½ inch thick
  7. Using cookie cutters, create shapes.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees in pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes.


Sugar Cookie Recipe #2

This week on Facebook, I also mentioned that I was trying a new sugar cookie recipe.  This recipe form All Recipes turned out to be  much denser cookie that was equally as tasty!  It wasn’t cakey, just dense and I really liked it.  You can find the recipe here.  I’m going to stick with my mom’s recipes, but if you’re looking for a less soft, and more dense cookie then this is a great one to try!

And what about the icing?  Here’s the recipe for the Best and Easiest Sugar Cookie Icing!

I have a great list of my favorite baking tools that I use to make sugar cookies!  Here’s the best list of baking equipment and tools!

Baking-Equipment-and-Toolssugar cookie icing


  1. hmmmm says

    not sure how this recipe even works. Myself and friend both tried it separately and it was too crumbly to even roll out. I used cold butter in the same amount instead of margarine and my friend used margarine. My husband is currently adding 2 tbsp of water to try and fix it. Ugh.

  2. Melissa says

    Found this recipe & made it last night. Let it stay in the fridge til today. All seemed to be going well, but after I had rolled it out in flour it seems to be separating. Could I hv used too much flour on my counter? Can’t seem to get it to stick bck together!

    • says

      Hi Melissa, yes. You just need a light dusting of flour to keep it from sticking to the counter. If you use too much, it will make the dough too try and it will start to fall apart. Try to blend all the dough together to see if the flour will even out for the cookie dough.

  3. Regina says

    Hi! I would love to make this today! But I was wondering if I could use cake flour because that is all I have right now?

  4. Karry says

    If you use butter instead of margarine, do you use salted or unsalted butter? Do you know how the results differ from using one over the other?

    • says

      HI Karry. I’ve used butter and I used salted butter. If you only have unsalted butter, add 1/4 tsp of additional salt to the recipe. Unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt in a recipe. Salted butter has a varied amount which gives you less control. That’s really the only difference. :)

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  6. Diane G. says

    Have made large cutout ‘number’ cookies for b-days, since my son were small…my latest batch were 35’s! Decided to try your mom’s recipe and they were a huge success. Soft and delicious. I added white vanilla and a little lemon juice to powdered sugar for the icing, which I make in small batches. Actually, I roll out the dough in small batches and keep the rest in fridge/freezer. Ice with my finger and cover in sprinkles! Really tasty and very cute!

  7. Beth says

    My hardest issue with sugar cookies is knowing when they are done. I can tell when they’re too done… but not when they need to be taken out. Any advice? Just tried your recipe last night and am going to bake them today.

  8. Adrianna says

    I didn’t use the recipes, but I followed all of your tips :) Thank you for explaining so well. The cookies came out amazing! I made Valentine cookies last night because I am travelling this week and want to give them to my boyfriend. Should I freeze them until then or should they be fine in a cookie tin until Valentines day?

    Thanks again :)

  9. Charyl says

    I am so glad I found this recipe for cookies and icing. I’m going to try these this weekend for our Superbowl Party. My kiddos love sugar cookies and I have been searching for a great recipe…this one sounds delicious!!! Can’t wait to try it.

  10. Amy W says

    Quick tip from my sister…. Instead of using flour on the counter and rolling pin — use powdered sugar when you roll out the dough!

  11. fay meaux says

    I made the dough last night and put it in the fridge overnight. This morning, the dough is hard as a brick and I cant do anything with it. Suggestions?

    • says

      HI Anisna, I usually leave the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The longer the better, although I wouldn’t leave it there for longer than 24 hours as it can start to dry out.

  12. Dianna says

    hi just made the cookies with my granddaughter and they where perfect…..thank you we have a new Christmas cookie now……we used the icing too turned out awesome…..thank you thank you.

  13. Mia says

    I made these yesterday, I pre-measured everything, I scooped the flour out and measured it, rather than using a measuring cup to scoop it and measure at the same time. These were extremely dry, I triple checked everything as I pre-measured and followed the recipe exactly. I’ve gone over it a few times since mixing the dough, and can’t figure out the issue. I was able to make a ball with the dough, with my hands, and then wrapped it and put it into the refrigerator… it came out even more dry, after only 9 hours in the refrigerator. I don’t think I’ll be making this again. On the hunt for a new recipe, that hopefully turns out. Thanks, anyway!

    • says

      I’m sorry to hear that Mia. I just made them last week and everything was fine. Flour can be funny based on humidity but you really should not have had that hard of a time with it drying out like that. If you want to try again, which you may not want to, I would slowly add the flour mixture and leave about 1/2 cup out of the recipe and see if that helps. I will say that in the summer, I use more flour because of the humidity, but this time of year, this recipe does well for me. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. Did you bake them?

  14. Theresa says

    Well due to your incorrect instructions, I mixed all the dry ingredients as you instructed only to read next that I was to creme the sugar and margarine together. Too late now!

      • amy jones says

        I just wanted to say that your instructions are in no way confusing. I just read them and unless you changed the way it was written it is very clear. But most people who bake know that you cream together the butter and sugar first then add other wet ingredients then dry ingredients its pretty basic baking 101. Anyways I’m looking forward to trying this out. Thanks for the tips!

  15. Hannah says

    Hi! I had a quick question. Is it possible to substitute baking soda for the baking powder ? And if so do I use the same amount ?

    • says

      I don’t believe you can substitute them as they have different functions. I would stick to the recipe as is. If you try it though, let me know how it turns out. :)

    • says

      I typically roll out the cookie dough to about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch. Make sure you roll from the middle of the dough to the edges to keep the dough as even as possible. :) Let me know how they turn out!

  16. Adrienne Phelps says

    My dough has been in the fridge for over 8 hours and it still seems sticky. I thought I added to much flour when I was mixing everything this morning. But now I just have a huge mess.

    • says

      HI Christine. That’s a touch question with sugar cookies. It depends on how big the cookie cutter is. :) With the average sized cookie cutter you will get at least two dozen.

    • says

      You want to mix your wet ingredients first and then slowly add your dry ingredients. Make sure you’re not packing your flour into the measuring cup as that can make a difference. I scoop the flour into the measuring cup and then level it which is what this recipe is based on. If you scoop your measuring cup into your flour and then level, you will end up with more than the recipe needs.

      Let me know if that helps.

  17. sara says

    Hi. I made your first recipe and It turned out perfectly. My kids loved it. Making another batch right now. Thanks for sharing.

  18. LiRosa says

    Thank you for your quick answer!
    I have a few questions if you don’t mind..
    How much is 350 degrees in Celsius? I tried to look it up but every website says something else and I want the cookies to be perfect :)
    Also, I want to use your sugar glaze recepie and wanted to ask in which point I need to add the coloring? And what do I need to use to draw thin lines on it?
    Thank you again!!

    • says

      Hi LiRosa, I found that 350 Fahrenheit is 177 celsius. I found it online, so take it for what it’s worth. :)

      I add the coloring after I mix the sugar cookie icing. I do this because I will sometimes make a big batch of icing and then I divide it into smaller bowls to and add a different color to each one. Hope that helps!

    • says

      I wouldn’t leave it in the refrigerator for longer than a few days, personally. It will start to dry out. These cookies freeze really well, so if you want to make them ahead of time, they do great!

    • says

      Hi Patricia. I use the first recipe that is listed completely on this post for everything. I tried the other one and liked it, but I’ve been making sugar cookie cut outs from the other recipe for years. It would be perfect for your soccer ball and jersey cookies!

  19. LiRosa says

    I’m suppose to bake Halloween cookies soon and I wanted to use this recipe.
    I’m from Italy and my english is not that good so I was wondering if you could explain what “beat in” and “fold in” means? :)

    • says

      Hello! To “beat in” means to use something like an electric mixer. To “fold in” means to use a spatula or large spoon to manually fold the dough into itself. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  20. alicia rockingham says

    I am going to try both receipe and have my son and grand children as taste testers. they always give an honest opinion. I will let you know how they turn out and my little peoples opinion thanks for the help….

    • says

      Hi Beth. I have never tried this sugar cookie recipe with Butter. However, I believe butter and margarine are interchangeable when you bake. I would just keep an eye on the cookies, as I believe butter browns much quicker. Let me know how it goes!

  21. Wendy says

    Perfect Tea Party cookie! Not too sweet with a beautiful finish for royal icing. I got 40 3.5 inch circles.
    Thank you for sharing. It was exactly what I was looking for!

  22. Ashley says

    Just to clarify,in your mom’s recipe, when it says stir in the flour mixture that refers to using a spoon or fork, not a mixer, right?

    • says

      Hi Ashley. I use my mixer on a lower setting. You can use a spoon as well, but a mixer is easier in my opinion since I’m already using it. You just don’t want to “beat” it. You mix it until all the flour is incorporated well.

    • says

      It can make up to 4 dozen but it depends on how big the cookie cutter is that you use. When I make big Christmas trees, I get less cookies out of the dough. :)


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