These no-fail soft and chewy Sugar Cookies are my all-time favorite, made with simple ingredients and easy to decorate for any holiday or party! Top them with cream cheese frosting or buttercream frosting.
Frosted sugar cookie with sprinkles

I am pretty particular about my sugar cookies, and I only enjoy them thick, soft, chewy, and frosted! This recipe is the BEST!

You’ll notice I use shortening instead of butter in my sugar cookies, and that is because I’ve tested them both ways and found that shortening yields a much softer cookie, that doesn’t get hard after cooling and storing. They last longer and freeze beautifully. You can substitute butter if you want, but the results will not be quite the same.

How to make Sugar Cookies:

  • In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix.
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients–(flour, baking powder, and salt). Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet mixture until you form a large dough ball. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  • Lightly flour your counter top. Roll dough ball out to ½ inch to ¾ inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters (or use a round drinking cup).
  • Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Four process photos for making sugar cookie dough, and rolling it out.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F for about 8-11 minutes. Cookies will be very light colored and just set (not shiny on top), when you take them out. They will harden as they cool, so don’t over bake them.

A stack of baked, round, unfrosted sugar cookies.

Pro Tips:

Roll the cookies out thick– at least ½ inch.

If you roll them out too thin then they are more likely to over-bake and harden as they cool. No one likes a hard, dry sugar cookies!

Don’t over-bake them.

If you wait to see golden brown along the edges like you would with other types of cookies, they will be overcooked! Look for them to be just set on the top, no longer shiny, but still pale. They will set up and harden as they cool.

Frost them:

Use buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting and color the frosting different colors with food coloring. Use different cookie cutters and colored sprinkles to decorate for holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

Sugar cookies will last for 3-5 days stored in an air-tight container at room temperature unfrosted, or refrigerate if frosted.

You can freeze sugar cookies with or without frosting for up to 3 months. If frosted, flash freeze them for 30 minutes and then add them to an airtight container, with parchment paper between the stacked layers and return to freezer.

Sugar cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the freezer about 2 hours ahead of time to allow it to soften enough to roll out.

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Recipe

Frosted sugar cookie with sprinkles
Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 25 mins
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Ingredients
  

  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening (or use half butter, half shortening)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but makes a great flavor )
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1/2 cup butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. 
  • Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix.
    Eggs and vanilla added to a mixing bowl with creamed shortening and sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients--(flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet mixture until you form a large dough ball. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  • Lightly flour your counter top. Roll dough ball out until ½ inch to ¾ inch thick.  Cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters (or use a round drinking cup)
    Rolled out sugar cookie dough being cut out with cookie cutters.
  • Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 7-10 minutes. Cookies will be very light colored and just set, when you take them out. They will harden as they cool, so don't over bake them. 

For the frosting:

  • Add the butter and cream cheese to a mixing bowl and beat well until smooth and creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Add more powdered sugar, as needed, until the frosting is smooth and thick and tastes perfect.

Video

Notes

Yield: This recipe makes about 12-15 cookies, depending on how thick you roll the dough and the size of the cookie cutter used. 
Storing and freezing Instructions: Sugar cookies will last for 3-5 days stored in an air-tight container at room temperature unfrosted, or refrigerate if frosted. 
You can freeze sugar cookies with or without frosting for up to 3 months. If frosted, flash freeze them for 30 minutes and then add them to an airtight container, with parchment paper between the stacked layers and return to freezer.
Sugar cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the freezer about 1 hour ahead of time to allow it to come to room temperature before rolling it out.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 243mgPotassium: 116mgSugar: 29gVitamin A: 340IUCalcium: 52mgIron: 1.4mg

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I originally shared this recipe March 2013. Updated December 2020.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. I followed this recipe exactly except for using butter instead of shortening and the dough came out super sticky and baked more like a bread than a cookie. They don’t taste like cookies – more like an oven pancake. I was very excited for these but they came out a huge disappointment.

    1. That might be because you used butter instead of shortening! I tried a cookie recipe using butter instead of shortening, and it came out super sticky. But I made it again using shortening as required, and it came out amazing! I have yet to try this out.

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