Sugar Cookie Recipe

Recipe Update!

This sugar cookie recipe, although still great, went through an update. Click here to see the latest recipe I use for most of my decorated cookies.

Being that this sugar cookie recipe is the one I use most for decorating cookies, I should have posted about it way earlier on my blog.  Oh well, better late than never.

I’ll be upfront and say that, even though I use this recipe a lot, I’m not a big fan of sugar cookies.  I don’t hate them.  I just think they taste, well… plain.  I have tried many recipes out there. Most of them have pretty much the same ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract.  However, with helpful hints and suggestions on the internet I found a secret ingredient that I think makes a big difference– CREAM CHEESE. Just throwing in a small amount to the batch adds a creamy flavor but still makes for a sturdy cookie.

Besides tasting good this recipe makes a wonderful roll out cookie dough and here’s why:

  • The cookies hold their shape well during baking.

  • The top of the cookies remain nice and flat (which is key for decorating with royal icing).

  • The dough also freezes really well. You can make the dough ahead of time, freeze it, and when you’re ready to use it let it thaw for a few hours.

  • The cookies are very sturdy (but still chewy when bitten into). I mailed a batch of cookies to my brother recently and all the cookies arrived intact.


  • 1 cup
    (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup
    granulated sugar
  • 1
  • 2 oz
    (¼ of a package) cream cheese
  • 1 tsp
    vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp
    almond extract
  • 1 tsp
    baking powder
  • 1 tsp
  • 3 cups
    all-purpose flour


  1. 1

    In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, extracts, and cream cheese. Mix until it is all well incorporated.

  2. 2

    Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add, a cupful at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture until fully incorporated.

  3. 3

    Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

  4. 4

    Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and chill again before cutting into shapes.

  5. 5

    Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven before the first indication of the edges turning brown.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Oh! By the way, this is the technique I use when I roll out my cookie dough.  Although, I don’t use the wooden guides like she has in the video.  I just eyeball the thickness.  I love how you don’t have to use any extra flour and there is NO MESS! Your kitchen counters and rolling pin remain nice and clean!


  • Place the sheet of unbaked cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking in the oven.  It reduces the chance of the cookies spreading while baking.

  • I love to use parchment paper when baking the cookies.  The cookies are so easy to transfer off the cookie sheet when baked on parchment paper.  I have used silicone bake mats before but I still get some cookies that will stick to the mat.

  • Wait a day after baking before icing your cookies.  Waiting reduces the chance of oil from the cookie to mess up the royal icing.

I’m always on the hunt for other great tasting and easy-to-work-with roll out recipes.  I have a few other favorites that I’ll post about soon.


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12 replies on “Sugar Cookie Recipe

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe and the video. I already saved it for a future reference. I will try them soon…

  2. Awesome cookie recipe!! I knew I had to try it when you said you had struggled as well to find a good one!! I love to bake cookies and this is one that will be baked many times over!:) cream cheese must def be the secret!

  3. Hi Mike,

    this sugar cookie recipe sounds very delicious. Thanks for sharing! I definitely have to try it! Do you know, whether the dough can be stored in the freezer for some days (or weeks)?
    Best regards,


    1. Hey there, Anna. I have frozen the dough before, but it seemed to darken after it thawed and the baked cookie was slightly tougher. However, I have frozen cookies after I’ve baked them with no problems at all.

  4. Gracias por la receta. Espero hacerla lo mas pronto posible.
    Saludos desde Chile

  5. Hi Mike! I love all your cookie designs and your blog! I am new to cookie decor and am trying to absorb as much info as I can. I love it! I definitely want to try your recipe, thank you so much for sharing!! Question, do you think leaving the baking powder will help with the spreading of the cookies?

  6. Sorry, I meant to say “leaving the baking power OUT will help…”

    1. Hi Terri! Yes, I do think baking powder is one of the leading culprits for the spreading of cookies. It’s a leavening agent, which increases the volume of bake goods by releasing carbon dioxide in the batter. It makes for a fluffy cookie, which is nice for drop cookies but not great for cut out cookies. Let me know how the recipe works out for you!

      1. Thank you so much Mike! I will let you know how it turns out! Have a great day!

  7. Is overnight too long to keep rolled dough in fridge?

    1. Hi Denise. Overnight should still be okay. I would wrap it in plastic wrap so it won’t dry out.

  8. Hi Mike, Love your cookies! I find that sugar cookie recipe dry-I think it’s known as No Fail Sugar Cookies. Maryann at Sweetopia has a good one. My version uses 2 1/2c. butter, 1/2 tsp. baking powder add some vanilla bean paste and 1/4-1/2 tsp. almond emulsion. I find the almond and vanila bean boosts it from a plain cookie to something much more flavorful. I’m looking for a cookie decorated like a pancake-do you have anything like that ? Thanks!

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