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Best Sugar Cookies | Perfect cut-out cookies for all holidays and celebrations

Best Sugar Cookies

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The best sugar cookies recipe is perfect to use for making cut out sugar cookies for the holidays! When my friend, Kaye, shared her recipe for the Best Sugar Cookies, I knew I had found a keeper.

I reserve this sugar cookie recipe for the holidays. My family goes nuts for the delicate, buttery sugar cookies.

Best Sugar Cookies on a round white plate

The Best Sugar Cookies: A Classic Holiday Cookie

I’ve been using this classic sugar cookie dough for all my cut-out cookies since I first tried it. These sugar cookies keep their shape and taste wonderful.

My decorating skills are a bit limited, but I like to tint the icing and spread it on with an off-set spatula. A few sprinkles make them extra festive. I remember icing dozens of round cookies orange and piping on black lines to make basketballs for Nick’s elementary school class. Now that was tedious! But they were well loved.  And I’ve iced pink hearts for Valentine’s Day, too.

But lately, the versatile classic sugar cookie dough is whipped up for Christmas and Christmas alone. This is one sugar cookie recipe the whole family adores—and that doesn’t happen too often around here!

Best Sugar Cookies with holiday frosting and sprinkles

Winner in the Battle for the Best Sugar Cookies

I invited friends over a couple years ago to test out a couple sugar cookie recipes. Interestingly, the dough that tasted the best didn’t make the winning cookies! Not that either dough was shabby in my humble opinion!

This classic sugar cookie recipe was the winner, and it’s the recipe I’ve been baking for over a decade. The icing is a riff on royal icing. It’s shiny, but doesn’t involve either egg whites or piping (which is far from my strong suit!).

If you don’t like to use corn syrup, go ahead and add a little more milk or even some heavy cream to thin the frosting. The results won’t be as glossy, but they’ll still be delicious!!

Best Sugar Cookies on a cooling rack

Tips for Making the Best Sugar Cookies:

  • Use the best quality ingredients for the best tasting cookies…brand name butter and real vanilla extract are key.
  • Have your butter, eggs and cream cheese at room temperature for easier incorporation.
  • Roll your cookies out with a minimal amount of flour so your cookies don’t get tough.
  • Alternatively, use powdered sugar to roll out your cookies to avoid adding extra gluten.
  • Use a large Silpat Roul’Pat to roll out your dough for easy clean up.
  • Roll cookies to a thickness of approximately 1/8 inch. You can make them thinner for a crisper cookie or thicker for a chewier cookie (you can also use a thicker cookie for a Christmas tree ornament. Just make a good sized hole at the top of your cookie before baking and reopen as needed when they come out of the oven).
  • Baking for a little longer will give you a crispy cookie and underbaking will give you a softer cookie.
  • Bake your cookies on Parchment Paper Baking Sheets for easy clean up. You can reuse your parchment for a number of batches.
  • If your dough starts sticking to your cookie cutter, dip the cutter in a bit of flour before using. Re-chilling the dough will also help.
  • Keep dough cold so your cookies keep their shape. Refrigerate any leftover dough before reusing. You may also put your Baking Sheet full of  unbaked cookies in the fridge to rechill the dough for about 10 minutes if needed before baking.
Best Sugar Cookies

Best Sugar Cookies

The best iced sugar cookies! Perfect for the holidays. Recipe courtesy of my friend, Kaye.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Yield 36


Cookie Dough:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (makes the frosting glossy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Food coloring of your choice


  1. Cream butter, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder and stir till combined. Put dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Wrap well and chill for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375º.
  3. On floured surface, roll out half of dough to about ⅛ inch thickness. Keep other half refrigerated till needed. Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut and place on parchment lined cookie sheet at least an inch apart. Bake 7-9 minutes till cookies start to brown on edges and are firm. Cool for a couple minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
  4. To make the frosting , whisk together all ingredients. Add a bit more milk and/or corn syrup to thin if needed.


Total time does not include chilling time.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 0mg Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 0g

Best Sugar Cookies on a white plate on a Christmas napkin with holiday felt garland

More Christmas Week Recipes

Welcome to Day 4 of Christmas Week. This annual event was started in 2012 and is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic. This year we have over 35 bloggers sharing festive sweet recipes for the event. Plus we all chipped in for a huge Amazon Gift Card Giveaway so be sure to enter! Click over to my Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes Post to enter this holiday giveaway. Open to those in the US and Canada.

Recipes from Day 4 of Christmas Week! Please visit all our talented participants:

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