Updated Roll-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

Over the weekend I did some major housekeeping. I donated three huge bags of clothes I don’t wear anymore, de-cluttered my condo storage locker, and deleted seven rarely-used apps off my iPhone. Why not keep this cleaning streak going?

I’m in between cookie projects at the moment, so I’d like to use this down time to update my go-to sugar cookie recipe. When I posted my original sugar cookie recipe it was right when I began decorating cookies (November 2011). As I continued to bake and ice more cookies, I tweaked a few aspects of the original post. I’ve incorporated a few techniques and shortcuts I learned over the past two years, usually a result of trial-and-error.

Recently, I’ve been getting questions about the roll-out sugar cookie recipe I use, but realized the original post is a little out-of-date. I’d like to take this time to finally do an official update.

Keep in mind that this recipe is just what works for me. Feel free to modify it to your liking.


  • 1 cup
    (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup
    granulated sugar
  • 1
  • 1 ½ tsp
    vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp
    almond extract
  • 1 tsp
  • 3 cups
    all-purpose flour


  1. 1

    In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Mix until fluffy and well incorporated.

  2. 2

    Add egg, salt, and extracts. Mix until it is all well incorporated.

  3. 3

    Add flour, mixing a cupful at a time, to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. After everything is well mixed, the dough should be non-greasy to the touch.

  4. 4

    Roll to 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. After rolling, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

    rolling the dough for a roll out sugar cookie recipe
  5. 5

    Once the dough is well chilled and hard to the touch, cut out shapes and place them on a parchment paper-lined, light-colored baking sheet.

    cutting the dough for a roll out sugar cookie recipe
  6. 6

    Bake at 375 for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven before the first indication of the edges turning brown. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

  7. 7

    Remove cookies from the baking sheet with a spatula and place on a cooling rack for a few hours before decorating.

    roll out sugar cookie recipe on a cooling rack

Makes about 2 dozen 3-inch cookies, but this recipe can be doubled easily if needed.

What’s Changed from the Original Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • I left out the cream cheese and added more extract. I love the taste and texture cream cheese adds but it’s a bit pricey. Skipping the cream cheese and upping the extract still leaves the cookies with a great taste. Although, I still add cream cheese on special occasions (like during the holidays) for a little extra kick.

  • I left out the baking powder completely to minimize spreading and achieve smoother baked edges.

  • I now sift the flour before adding it in the mixer. Before, I thought it was a time-wasting step that I could easily skip. However, the dough would be really clumpy, with unmixed flour at the bottom of the bowl. Sifting makes incorporating the ingredients easier and a lot faster. There’s no time wasted scraping the bottom of the bowl if I sift.

  • I bumped up the heat on the oven to 375 degrees and lowered the baking time to 7 minutes. I found that the cookies spread less if they cooked at a higher temperature than at 350 degrees. This could just be unique to my oven, though.

Baking Tips for Perfect Cut-Out Cookies

  • I found I achieved crisp, square cookie edges if I cutout shapes when the rolled out dough was refrigerated for about an hour. It should feel hard to the touch, like cold slices of cheese. Also, I freeze the cut-out dough shapes on the baking sheet about 15 mins before placing in oven.

  • Use light colored baking sheets with parchment paper when baking cookies. Dark colored, non-stick baking sheets get too hot and can brown the bottoms of your cookies before the tops are done baking.

  • If possible, try to bake the same day you make the dough. I learned that refrigerating prepared dough and baking it a day or two later can darken the dough. Although, this isn’t a big deal if it gets covered with royal icing.

  • If you would like plan ahead, baking and then freezing the baked cookies works well.

  • If the cookie does spread a little after baking, there’s a small time window where you can press the dough back into shape while it’s still hot.

  • I always wait a day after baking to start decorating the cookie. I would leave them out to dry on a cookie sheet for a day to avoid butter bleed, or dark spots appearing on the icing. The cookies are still soft after decorating.

Roll-out sugar cookie recipe by Semi Sweet Designs

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107 replies on “Updated Roll-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

  1. Replaced 1 cup of flour with a cup of custard powder. AMAZING!

    1. I like the idea of custard powder. Which brand and flavor did you use?

    2. What were the cookies like?

    3. Rene – sounds like a great idea to boost flavor. Being that custard powder is mostly sugar and you replaced 1 cup of the flour with this powder, did it affect the texture or spreading of the cookies?

  2. I have baked your cookies at lease 30 times since finding your site April 2014, for Easter, Birthdays, Bake Sales, School Events, Baby Showers,ect. Everybody loves them. Once I decorate them, no one takes one at an event, they take 2-3. My decorations are not perfect but there is something magical when you put a cookie on a stick, wrap it and tie a bow on it

  3. Also, I add 1/8 cup more of sugar and use 1 Tbls each of vanilla and almond. I use your royal icing all the time with Americolor Meringue. However, I can no longer find it anymore at Amazon, so I will try CK Meringue for Christmas. Again, thank you and I enjoy my new hobby!

  4. Sorry, wanted to say with extra vanilla and almond the dough is softer but I still roll between paper, freeze for 20 mins, cut shapes, put on pan, freeze again 20 mins, bake 10 mins at 350, till little brown and no shine….and No spreading!!!! Love your cookies. Think I found them on page three when I was looking on my PC for a better sugar cookie, so glad I kept looking and FOUND YOU!!!

  5. I am using this recipe and covering my cookie in Royal icing. How long are the decorated cookies good for? And how far in advance can they be baked and decorated?

  6. hi, i tried your recipe but my cookies get hard after cooling, would you please tell me whats the reason? I like it for not changing shape, and taste is great! Just getting so hard is my problem! Thanks

    1. Decreasing the baking time should take care of that.

      1. My first batch was hard as well because I like a more brown edge sugar cookie but I liked the taste and wanted more vanilla and almond taste. So I now use Wilton’s vanilla and almond, 1 tablespoon each, found my cookies are softer and I can bake a little longer for a more brown

  7. the dough was easy to roll. Tasted good except to almonds next time I make I will use 1/2 tsp instead of 1-1/2tsp n more sugar. But overall very good Okies and easy to roll

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