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This is the best sugar cookie recipe you’ll ever make! Tender inside with crisp edges, these sugar cookies are perfect any time of the year.
Sugar Cookies All Year Long
I have always enjoyed making sugar cookies, and not just at Christmas time. They are the perfect cookie for any time of the year! They are perfect for kids’ parties as the decorating can become not only an activity during the party, but a party favor.
I always do this for Christmas parties, but I’ve done it a few years for Valentine parties as well. I’m sharing with you today my go-to recipe for the easiest and best sugar cookies ever!
Like most popular cookie types, there are a ton of recipes out there, all claiming to be the best. Of course, you will have to be the judge of that, but truly I love this recipe and will never change it! It’s perfect just like it is. The cookies are light and fluffy and oh so tasty.
How to Make Sugar Cookies
This is truly an easy recipe, with easy ingredients!
- Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. I use a stand mixer but you could use a hand held or a wooden spoon and a little elbow grease.
- Stir in the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar, just until combined. Be careful not to over mix. Watch closely and when you can’t see the flour anymore, it’s done.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes. I usually press the dough into a ball and refrigerate for as long as I need. You can also freeze the dough at this point which I’ll share more about in the tips section.
- Form your cookies using a cookie scoop or roll the dough out and use cookie cutters. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Cool on a wire rack.
A Secret Tip
Of course my kids like the decorating part the best, but I have a secret – I’m not a fan of sugar cookies with frosting. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, unless it’s really, really good chocolate, or chocolate chip cookies.
Sugar cookies can be pretty sweet as it is, so I prefer to just add sprinkles. I have found that the best way to apply the sprinkles is BEFORE you put the dough on the cookie sheet. Scoop with a two tablespoon cookie scoop and press into the sprinkles. Then release the dough from the scoop and turn it over onto the cookie sheet, pressing lightly.
Storing: Allow cookies to cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you use a dairy based frosting you’ll need to refrigerate the cookies.
Freezing the cookies: Again, cool the cookies completely before storing. Place in an airtight freezer container. If you frosted the cookies you can still freeze them but you may want to flash freeze on a baking sheet for an hour before storing.
Storing the dough: If you don’t plan on baking the cookies right away, you can wrap the dough in a couple layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 months. If freezing, wrap in plastic then place into a freezer bag to protect from freezer burn.
More Cookie Recipes
The Best Sugar Recipe EVER
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar*
- In a large bowl or your stand mixer, mix butter, sugar, egg and vanilla.
- Stir in the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar, just until combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
- Roll chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For drop cookies:
- Using your hands or a cookie scoop, roll dough into two inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar or dip in sprinkles (optional) and place on a cookie sheet about 2-inches apart. Press down lightly with the palm of your hand. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Frost with your favorite icing recipe. Mixing powdered sugar and water works well to create a nice glaze that will harden at is sits. Just add water to the powdered sugar until it’s a consistency you like.
- If you don’t have cream of tartar on hand, you can replace the last three ingredients (flour, baking soda, cream of tartar) with self rising flour.
- Storing: Allow cookies to cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you use a dairy based frosting you’ll need to refrigerate the cookies.
- Freezing the cookies: Again, cool the cookies completely before storing. Place in an airtight freezer container. If you frosted the cookies you can still freeze them but you may want to flash freeze on a baking sheet for an hour before storing.
- Storing the dough: If you don’t plan on baking the cookies right away, you can wrap the dough in a couple layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 months. If freezing, wrap in plastic then place into a freezer bag to protect from freezer burn.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
Delicious recipe to make with Grand-daughters
I tried these following exact instructions with powdered sugar and all and the dough did not turn out. Both times an overwhelming flour mixture that wouldn’t turn to a typical cookie dough. What could I have done wrong? Thank you
I have been making this surger cookie recipe since 1973. And found it in my Betty Crocker book also like you Kristin. I have made cutouts for room parties for three children, then sent them on busses and parties for their sports and then grandchildren. Cutout basketballs footballs fish for swimmers round ones for gymnastics . Plus every holiday . Sometimes colored sugars but 90% of time they are iced ! I thinkits great you have shared this recipe for everyone to enjoy ! It’s truly my favorite also . The only difference is the recipe I have used “almond flavoring ? Try it!
Thanks for your comment Judy! So fun to hear of you using the same recipe for so many years! My son is very allergic to nuts so that’s why we avoid it (might be totally safe, but we don’t take chances!).
I had this recipe, or a similar one, years ago and lost it. I have been on the hunt since then! Yes, they are that good! Thanks to bloggers like you and to Pinterest to help us find our way through the hunting grounds and to the prize! Seriously, thanks for posting this. My sis in law is visiting for a bit. She has as major sweet tooth and a desire to do family activities. Baking and decorating sugar cookies for New Year’s should fill both bills!
how many cookies does this recipe make?
It depends on the size and if you’re using cookie cutters or the cookie scoop. With the cookie scoop you should be able to get 2-3 dozen.
I have been using this recipe for 40+ years. So glad someone else is calling this the best ever!
Do you think it’s okay to use butter over margarine? Or would you stick with margarine?
Thanks. Can’t wait to try them out.
I personally only use real butter in my cookies. Margarine tends to make them spread more. That said, yes you can use it, but you may not get the same results.