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.

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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Have you tried this recipe?! 

RATE this recipe and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

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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Comments

  1. I made them with butter flavored shortening. These cookies are soft but the taste is very bland. I never frost cookies but for this recipe frosting may be necessary.

  2. 5 stars
    These are by far, the softest, tastiest sugar cookies I’ve ever made. I did include the almond extract which I think helped even more. The dough was still a bit sticky after being refrigerated so it did make it a bit tough to handle the once we cut it out with the cookie cutters, but I just rolled the dough a bit thicker and added a bit more flour to my countertop and rolling pin and they were fine. They are fluffy and cake-like. Also, for the frosting, I only ended up using 2 cups of powdered sugar so as not to make it too sweet. Everyone that had one raved about them as well. I’ll definitely be making these again.

  3. 2 stars
    I followed the recipe exactly and the dough is sticky and fluffy. I refrigerated and rolled out and it baked fine, but the cookies are mediocre at best. They taste doughy and bland. They are fluffy, almost cake-like, whereas I prefer my sugar cookies to be more crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I won’t make this recipe again.

  4. 4 stars
    These taste good, but my dough after a half-hour of refrigeration was too mushy and sticky to cut with cookie cutters. I ended up rolling balls and flattening them out. I used shortening too. I am going to see if colder dough will solidify enough to roll out.

  5. 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.

    2. 5 stars
      My dough came out sticky as well. So I kept adding a bit more flour until I just ended up sprinkling flour on the top and scooped it away from the edges of the bowl to lightly coat the entire outside of the dough ball with flour. After refrigeration it rolled out & baked up Beautifully!

  6. 5 stars
    The cookies were easy to make and were a hit with my family. They were soft and chewy and had good flavor. I ended up baking 10 minutes because I liked the bottom of cookies to be light brown. The cream cheese frosting wasn’t my favorite. I tasted too much cream cheese so added a lot more powdered sugar, Karo syrup, and some milk.
    I’d make the cookies again!

  7. 5 stars
    I made these sugar cookies for church. After church everyone comes downstairs and has coffee and snacks. Some of the older ladies make bake goods. As I always do too. I made your sugar cookies,a double batch, and they came out mint.[use to be a chef,cook in the military,84 Bravo] Well needless to say they was none left. The kids came back for seconds and thirds,and so did the adults. So I put your name down on the paper as it was your recipe,and I included the recipe,then I sign my name as the baker. Needless to say I was ask to make them for next week. See Mrs. Allen what your recipe did,made more work for me.[ha,ha,ha] I think your kids did a better job than me,they were prettier!! Thanks for your recipe! Randy. 9Feb2020

  8. 5 stars
    These sound awesome and I’m going to try them soon!!! Do you have a good buttercream recipe for these? I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting for sugar cookies. I have a great recipe for cake frosting but it’s too soft for cookies.

      1. I haven’t made these yet but they look perfect!
        I was wondering if I could use the solid coconut oil instead of the shortening

  9. I made this recipe with cup4cup gluten free flour, coconut butter and coconut milk, was a lot e worries but so far so great. In the oven baking now, and the dough was perfect consistency. I only added a little extra flour until it felt right. 🙂

  10. My dough seems to be a little fluffy for putting in a bowl and rolling out. Would refrigerating overnight or freezing be helpfull ?