Sugar Cookie Recipe

Written by Mike Tamplin • Jan 10, 2012

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Sugar Cookie Recipe
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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 egg
  • 2 oz (¼ of a package) cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour


Step 1

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

Step 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.

Step 3

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4

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

Step 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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