March 23, 2022

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

If you have been searching for the best cut-out sugar cookie recipe then your search ends here! Add this one to your recipe box. These cookies taste wonderful, hold their shape, bake flat, and are versatile. This classic sugar cookies recipe is nostalgic for me since it reminds me of decorating Christmas cookies when I was a kid. I have used this recipe many times and it is in my top three favorite recipes. I hope it becomes a favorite for your family as well!

Recipe Source: This recipe has stood the test of time as it was given to my mother by a neighbor and friend in the 80s. Original recipe source is unknown.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

The perfect cut-out sugar cookie that is sweet, tender, and soft. A Christmas staple but enjoyable any time of the year. Share with friends and cookies make great gifts!


Anne Voss

  • 3.5 cups all purpose flour (~485g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mix after each egg.
  4. Add extract and mix briefly.
  5. Add in dry ingredients (in batches) and alternate with adding milk.
  6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
  7. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut to the desired shape.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F
  9. Bake for ~10 to 12 minutes until the bottoms are light brown (larger cookies may require longer baking time).
  10. Transfer to cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

The number of cookies this recipe makes will depend on the size of your cookie cutters.

This website contains affiliate links to Amazon. This means that I may make a small commission if you purchase a product using these links. This is no way affects my opinion of these products. Links are provided to share products I have used when making this recipe.

Recipe Notes

Below you will find tips and tricks to help achieve the best vanilla sugar cookies.


Baking soda – many sugar cookie recipes call for baking powder however this recipe calls for baking soda. Don’t get them confused as it is easy to do. It will not be a fatal flaw if you use baking powder by accident but the cookies will rise more than desired.  

Room temperature ingredients – use butter and eggs at room temperature. This helps to ensure they cream together nicely.

collection of ingredients needed for the sugar cookie recipe

Supplies Needed

Stand mixer or hand mixer. I prefer to use a stand mixer for this recipe as the dough is stiff and hard to mix by hand. Mix the dough using the paddle attachment.

Rolling pin and flour for dusting

Cookie cutters

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I absolutely love parchment paper. It is an awesome invention. You can use the parchment paper multiple times while baking batches of cookies and they will come off the cookie sheet with ease. I like the Kirkland brand from Costco, but there are other options you can find online or in the grocery store.

step by step photo of cookie making process

Tips and Tricks

You can double the recipe if you have a large mixer or want to add in the last of the dry ingredients by hand. When making cookies I prefer to make two separate batches of dough. I find that the ingredients get incorporated better than trying to make a double recipe. That is too much dough for my stand mixer to hold.

Don’t worry if the butter and sugar mixture appears chunky or curdled after adding the eggs. Just keep going and the cookies will still turn out fine. This can happen if the eggs are added too quickly (all at once) or if the eggs are too cold.

Chill dough for at least an hour. The dough can also be chilled overnight or even frozen for a later date. I almost always make two batches of dough and freeze one if I choose to bake it later.

I do not roll out all the dough at one time. Roll out in batches and try not to reuse the scrapes too many times. Dough that has been rolled out over and over will make for a tougher cookie. Another alternative is to roll out the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill or freeze it in sheets. Shapes are easier to cut out and transfer when the dough is cold.

Roll out dough on a floured surface or you can also roll between two sheets of parchment paper. You may need to add more flour to the surface as you are working with the dough and the dough becomes warmer. You can also put the dough back in the fridge.

The trick to cookies with uniform thickness is your rolling pin. A rolling pin with guides is a game-changer for sure! It prevents you from pressing or rolling too hard and you can adjust the thickness. I have the Joseph Joseph rolling pin which is popular for a reason. I love mine and would highly recommend it.

Baking time may vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter. I bake test batches to figure out the baking time since I often bake a variety of sizes and shapes. Try to bake similar sized cookies on the same baking sheet. The perfectly baked cookie has just a hint of light brown on the bottom and uniform height on the top. An underbaked cookie will sink in the middle or will start to sink as the cookie cools.

Set up an assembly line process when cutting out and baking cookies. I typically have three stages: rolling out dough with the rolling pin, chilling cut-out shapes in the fridge, and baking a batch of cookies in the oven.  Chilling the cut-outs before baking will help them keep their shape and minimize spread.

three panels each showing a completed and decorated sugar cookie


Substitute half the extract for different flavors (lemon, almond, orange, etc). You can also use vanilla bean paste. It adds pretty bean speckles to the sugar cookie dough. I love using almond extract around Christmas time as it adds additional flavor. 

Mix citrus zest into the butter and sugar before creaming. Lemon, lime, orange zest, etc.

Substitute milk with juice. Orange juice, apple cider, etc.  

Add dry spices such as pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

What Frosting To Use on Sugar Cookies?

I prefer to use royal icing for my sugar cookies. Royal icing is very sweet, but if you roll out the cookies at least 1/4 inch thick then the icing to cookie ratio will taste great. I like royal icing because it dries hard and you can easily stack cookies.

Check out my Royal Icing recipe

These cookies taste nice plain, or you can also top them with buttercream frosting as well.

Can You Freeze Sugar Cookies?

Yes! You can make and freeze this vanilla sugar cookie recipe. You can freeze cookie dough, or you can freeze the cookies after they are baked. You can even freeze cookies with royal icing after they are decorated.

I prefer to make a few batches of dough at a time and then freeze it until I am ready to bake. I wrap the dough in plastic wrap when freezing. I place the dough in the fridge the night before and it is ready to roll out the next day.

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December 3, 2023
They are amazing. Would it be possible for you to send the recipe to my email? I don't have a printer
December 24, 2022
Woke up and my boyfriend said he had NEVER cut out cookies before, so I had to make these. Super good!
October 25, 2022
These cookies are very good, and easy to make. I will definitely be adding them to my cookbook.