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I’ve been getting questions about the roll-out sugar cookie recipe I use, but realized the original post is a little out-of-date.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

This post is linked up to one of these link parties.


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125 replies on “Updated Roll-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

  1. I literally just made this recipe after stumbling onto your website through another favorite blog of mine. My son ate two without icing and couldn’t stop! Excited to try decorating them. 7 minutes at 375 was perfect for baking the cookies. Thank you for so generously sharing your recipe and ideas. Love all of your cookie designs!

  2. I love your site. I stumbled on it while I was checking out another site for info and I am so glad I did. You have detailed information to make it possible for people like me who love to bake and decorate and want to turn out a good tasting and wonderful looking cookie!! I do not want to go into business, but love to help my grandchildren with bake sales, sport events to earn money and so on. Thank you so much for your generosity and sharing!!! Love your Seahawk cookies too!!!!!

  3. Mike, I am new to your blog and to cookie decorating. I was looking at your updated cookie recipe and wondered, if I am going to ad cream cheese, how much do I ad to the recipe? And, do I change any of the other ingredients?

    Thanks! Can’t wait to get started!

    1. I usually add half a brick of cream cheese, which also requires to add a little more flour until it’s not sticky. I hope that helps!

  4. How do you make cookies put of the remaining dough? Can you clump it all back together and just roll it out?

    1. Yes! Just combine the scraps of dough, roll it flat again, and chill it in the fridge until it’s firm to the touch.

  5. Diving into to cookies to add to my cakes and have tried several sugar cookie recipes. Just wanted to let you know that YOUR recipe is the BEST I’ve tried and I’m stopping here. : ) Thank you for sharing!!!!


  6. Love love love this recipe!!! My only issue is that sometimes the bottom of the cookie still looks wet. I Usually bake it at 350 for about 11 min. Any suggestions??

    1. Hi Gessy, that means the cookies are still a tad underbaked in the middle. This usually happens with larger cookies. Try to bake like-sized cookies and bake them for a little longer. Take them out of the oven once the tops look non-shiny is a good rule of thumb. Also, adding a pinch of baking powder helps bake the middle of the cookies more evenly, although it could make the cookies have a tendency to spread.

  7. hi! Wondering if you have a gluten free version of this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kristen, unfortunately I do not.

  8. Do you cover your cookie sheets when you leave your cookies to dry overnight before icing them? If so, what do you use to cover them? I left mine out on a rack overnight and the edges kind of got a little hard but the middle was still soft. It wasn’t your recipe so I’m not sure if that matters. I’ll be making yours next!

    1. Hi Kim. After my cookies have air-dried for about 8 hours I stack them in a covered Tupperware container until I’m ready to decorate them. They remain soft that way. :)

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