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I’ve been getting questions about the roll-out sugar cookie recipe I use, but realized the original post is a little out-of-date.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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94 replies on “Updated Roll-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

  1. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!! I have made it twice now and they are so yummy, plus perfect for decorating! One question though… after the 7 minutes is up they still always have dark spots on them and look really dark in the center if you break one in half, as if they are still raw(especially when I used unbleached flour), is that normal? I baked them longer just to be safe since I was feeding them to my kiddos. I would love to hear from you about this! Thanks again.

    1. Hi Tiffany, that’s not normal and you did the right thing. Every oven is different. Also, larger cookies would need more time to bake than smaller ones. A good indicator when the cookies are done baking is the surface of the cookie isn’t shiny anymore in the oven.

      1. Thanks for the response. Now I will keep an eye on them after the 7 minute mark and look for them to lose that sheen. I just want them to be done… not dried out from baking too long :) Some dark speck on top should be OK though right?

    2. My husband prefers them slightly raw in the center. As far as I know they are perfectly safe to eat as they should have been baked long enough to kill the bacteria.

  2. Hi Mike,

    You used to have a chocolate roll out sugar cookie on here that you did the teenage mutant ninja turtle cookies with. I made it a couple of times and it was amazing. What is the difference with this recipe? Just add cocoa? Also how does the cream cheese fit in replace some butter with it? Thanks!

  3. I made sugar cookies with a recipe like yours except it had 1 1/2 tsp baking powder. The dough was like elastic that it didn’t hold the shape that I had cut.
    Was it because of the baking powder?? I was expecting the cookies to be crisp.
    Do you have a recipe for a crisp sugar cookie? Looking fwd to your reply.

  4. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I made snowflake cut outs with a popular “5 star” recipe and was disappointed with the spreading of the cookie during baking. These had no spreading, are tasty, and will definetly be my “go-to” recipe for cut outs. Beautiful work all the time btw. :)

  5. Hi Mike. I was interested in your cookie recipe that uses cream cheese as an ingredient. Can you share that recipe? Or direct me to it on your website if you already have it posted. Thank you!!! :-D

    1. Hi Toni. You can see the original recipe here.

  6. Hi, I liked the subject, but I’m from Brazil and would like to know about the temperature, which is measured is 375 degrees “Fahrenheit”, and if the oven is preheated and time. Still, I would try some recipes without gluten and lactose, you suggest something? I thank and congratulate your work inspired me to start, hugs.
    *Sorry for the translation …

  7. Hi MIke,
    This is the best recipe ever!!! as for taste and decorating..THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
    Do you think the chocolate version is as good? Have you tried it as a chocolate version?
    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Brenda, I like this version of a .

  8. Mike I just wanted to tell you that I made this recipe twice one late evening & the cookies turned out beautifully! It was easy & without the leaveners the texture was just like a sugar cookie should be & not short-bread like. My friend’s mom said also they were not too sweet even with a covering of RI. Thank you for the recipe & keep churning out those fantastic cookie designs!!!

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