These soft and buttery Sugar Cookies taste like they came from a bakery!
Everyone loves a classic Sugar Cookie, and this recipe will become your new go-to. These drop cookies can be baked soft or crisp, and with no chill time they come together in minutes. I have all the tips and tricks you need for making the perfect sugar cookie every time. Plus, my secret ingredient for what sets this recipe apart from others.
Prefer cut out cookies? Click here: CUT OUT SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
Recipe overview: Easy Sugar Cookies
- Beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add 1 egg and 1 egg yolk – the extra yolk helps keep the cookies soft.
- Flavor the dough with a combination of almond extract (my secret ingredient) and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients: flour, leaveners and salt.
Once you have this basic dough all you have to do is decide how you want to prepare them. You can choose from thick and puffy drop cookies or thin and crisp drop cookies.
- Butter should be softened to cool room temperature. Your butter should be soft, but still cool to the touch.
- Use a cookie scoop. This ensure your cookies are equally sized and perfectly round. I use a 1-1/2 tablespoon scoop.
- Roll the dough balls in granulated sugar. This adds a pretty little sparkle to the outside of the cookies.
- Place the dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. This helps the cookies from spreading too much, and ensures easy cleanup.
Soft baked sugar cookies
For soft sugar cookies with puffy centers, bake the dough balls until the edges are set, and the center is still slightly underdone (pictured above). The cookies will continue to bake as they cool on the baking sheet.
Crisp sugar cookies
For crisp sugar cookies place the dough balls on your baking sheet and flatten gently with the underside of a drinking glass. Bake the cookies until the center is set. This technique will create a flat cookie which works works well if you want to decorate your cookies with Sugar Cookie Frosting, or use them as a base for something more elaborate like Sugar Cookie Fruit Tarts, Spider Cookies or Bird’s Nest Sugar Cookies. Pictured below.
Can sugar cookies be frozen?
YES! Sugar cookies can absolutely be frozen. You can freeze the baked cookies, or you can freeze the cookie dough balls.
- FREEZING SUGAR COOKIES: Place baked and cooled cookies into freezer bags and then into freezer containers (or double bag them). Double wrapping ensures that they will maintain their fresh flavor. Freeze for up to 3 months. If you are frosting your sugar cookies, I recommend freezing them without frosting. In a pinch, if you have to freeze frosted cookies you can, I prefer the ease of stacking and storing them without frosting.
- FREEZING SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH: Place cookie dough balls into freezer bags and then into freezer containers (or double bag them). Double wrapping ensures that they will maintain their fresh flavor. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough balls in the refrigerator overnight before baking. You also may need to add a minute or two to the bake time.
Frosting for sugar cookies
This Sugar Cookie Frosting is a classic, and it’s my favorite. Alternatively, you can dip the top of each cookie in melted white chocolate (I have successfully used melted Ghirardelli white wafers).
Easy Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
- 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, SEE NOTE
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough balls
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (this helps the cookies from spreading).
- Using an hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes, until light and creamy. Add extracts, egg and egg yolk, and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour (see note), baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until combined.
- Place 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Scoop dough into 1-1/2 tablespoon balls (I use a cookie scoop), and roll in the sugar. Space dough balls about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Optional: For flat cookies: Use the bottom of a glass to flatten each ball of dough. If you do not flatten them they will be slightly puffy with a thicker center.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is just slightly underdone (for soft cookies). The cookies should still be light in color, not brown. I recommend rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom once during bake time. Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool. Allow the baking sheets to cool completely between batches.