Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies.

Soft cut-out sugar cookies with crisp edges and room for lots of icing and sprinkles. Use your favorite cookie cutter shapes and have fun baking and decorating!

The BEST Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. Soft centers, slightly crisp edges, and room for lots of icing and sprinkles!

Today is my birthday and I’m sharing a recipe I have been working since my last birthday. I kid you not. This recipe was supposed to go in my cookbook last summer, but I just could not get the texture perfected! Disappointment after disappointment.

I was going for a soft centered, yet slightly crisp edged roll out sugar cookie. A cookie that would keep its cookie cutter shape in the oven, a recipe without any crazy ingredients, and one that was easy and approachable for everyone. Cut-out sugar cookies are so temperamental! But luckily, I finally got it right. Happy birthday to me indeed! 😉

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by These are the BEST!

Cut-out sugar cookies are all the rage during Christmas time. I remember making and decorating dozens and dozens of them with my sisters growing up. We’d have them covering every inch of the counter! Our decorating “skills” probably seemed atrocious to others, but when sugar, butter, icing, and sprinkles are involved – who cares what the package looks like right?!

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you; I could hardly wait until December. Instead of snowflakes and santa hats, you’re getting hearts and hot pinks and rainbows.

Lucky for you, my decorating skills have vastly improved over the years!

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by These are the BEST!

Let’s get down to it. The recipe? It’s not complicated! It just took me a good while to find the perfect combination of butter and sugar, flour and leavener.

Start with the right consistency of unsalted butter. This is so important! Butter must be softened, but not melty in the slightest. You should be able to press your finger into the stick of butter and make an indent easily, without your finger sliding anywhere. Firm, but not cold. Lightly softened is what you should go for.

Here is a good visual. You’ll need 3/4 cup (170g; 1 and 1/2 sticks) of butter.

Perfectly Softened Butter for Sugar Cookies

The cookie dough will be thick and not wet. Slightly sticky and crumbly, yet manageable. I compare it to the consistency of play-doh.

Very, very important: This sugar cookie dough does require chilling. Not too long; only about 1 hour. Once the cookie dough is prepared, divide the sugar cookie dough in half, shape into balls, and then roll into two flat rectangles – about 1/4 inch thickness each. Stack onto a baking sheet and chill. Chilling is mandatory not only to keep the butter cold to help prevent spreading, but also to give the gluten in the flour a chance to rest. As you notice, I chill the cookie dough AFTER I have rolled it out. With all of my recipe testing, I learned that this method is so much easier than chilling the cookie dough as a whole and then trying to roll out a cold chunk of dough.

After 1 hour of chilling, you may use your favorite cookie cutter and cut into difference shapes. At this point you can just bake the shaped cookies plain or you may add sprinkles directly onto them. I lined some cookies with circle-shaped sprinkles, as you see above and below. This did take me awhile… maybe about 6 minutes per cookie. Also took me a lot of precision and patience, but hey… they’re pretty right?! Beauty is pain.

Visuals are SO important with these cookies, so I made sure to take a ton of pictures. Here are several of the steps I just explained:

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by These are the BEST!

The secret to their soft, tender centers? Underbaking. The cookies will take about 8-11 minutes, or until the look “set” and are very lightly colored on top. You do not want to overbake these cookies. I kept one batch in the oven for about 12 minutes and they were much, much crunchier on the edges than the others.

If you prefer a crunchy sugar cookie, just bake longer.

This cookie dough will hold its shape in the oven. Something so extremely important when it comes to shaped sugar cookies! The edges are sharp and precise; no spreading or distortions. Truly a perfect cookie cutter dough.

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by These are the BEST!

Have fun decorating and playing around with the icing! Making these cookies is all about enjoying the process with others, so this is the fun part. I used my all-time favorite sugar cookie icing recipe, available on All Recipes (with a video too!). It’s so simple. Rather than using egg whites or meringue powder, this recipe uses milk and corn syrup.

It’s fantastic, it’s quick, it’s the best in my sugar cookie experimenting!

I doubled the frosting recipe to frost a majority of my cookies. I used a paint brush for some and dipped others directly into it. I did not color the icing.

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by These are the BEST!

So here we go. My birthday present to you!

Don’t be overwhelmed by all the steps, I’m just extremely thorough.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 2 hours (includes chilling)

Total Time: 4 hours (includes cooling)

Print Recipe

Soft cut-out sugar cookies with crisp edges and room for lots of icing and sprinkles. Use your favorite cookie cutter shapes and have fun baking and decorating!

Yield: The number of cookies this recipe yields depends on how thick you roll the dough and the size of the cookie cutter you use. If hoping to make dozens of cookies for a large crowd, double the recipe. I got 18 medium size cookies.



  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (makes the flavor outstanding)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For Decorating


  1. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. 
  2. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
  3. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces (with paper) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Chilling is mandatory. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper. Chill up to 2 days (max).
  4. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The amount of batches will depend on how large/small you cut your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
  5. Before baking, you can apply sprinkles like I did on the rainbow sprinkle lined cookies shown in this post. If you’re planning to only ice them instead, or you just want to keep them plain -  skip the sprinkles.
  6. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. My cookies took 9 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. I always let mine cool overnight, just to be sure.
  7. Make the icing and decorate the cooled cookies however you'd like. I doubled the frosting recipe to frost a majority of my cookies. I used a paint brush for some and double-dipped others directly into it. I did not color the icing, as you can see. Add sprinkles on top of the icing if preferred. Once the icing has set, these cookies are great for gifts, sending, or munching on right away. I find they stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.
  8. Make ahead tip: unfrosted cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Frosted cookies do not freeze well at all. You can freeze the unbaked cookie dough before rolling for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then allow to come to room temperature for about 1 hour. Then roll and continue with the recipe as directed.

Additional Notes:

  1. Room temperature egg is preferred to be easily dispersed in the cookie dough. Good rule of thumb: always use room temperature egg if recipe calls for butter at room temperature or melted.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


BONUS: Cookbook Discount! ☆

Since today is my birthday, I have a very special offer for you! Celebrate my 29th birthday with a batch of these cookies AND with a 29% discount off my cookbook! Hop on over to my publisher’s website and enter the code SALLY29 to receive 29% off. The discount code expires after today (May 27th 2014). 

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by

See more birthday recipe ideas.


My FAVORITE Cut-Out Sugar Cookies! Soft centers, slightly crisp edges, and room for lots of icing and sprinkles!
These are the SOFTEST cookie cutter cookies. My go-to recipe!

410 Responses to “Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies.”

  1. #
    Annaposted July 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    After chilling the dough for an hour I went to cut shaped out however the dough is sticking to the parchment poster and the shapes are pulling apart. Any suggestions? I made this recipient once before and it was perfect.  


    • Angelareplied on September 15th, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Make sure the egg and butter are room temp. You want to really cream everything together and add the flour in half cup amounts at the end. If its a rather hot day in your kitchen add a bit more flour. You want the dough soft but firm. Press you finger to make a dent and see if it holds the shape. Roll the dough on wax paper and place in fridge. Make sure its not the top or bottom of the fridge- in the middle is best with these. If they still stick to the paper try placing in the freezer for 10 or 15 mins to really firm it up. The heat in the kitchen/outside can really mess these cookies to make a sticky situation. If that doesnt work- you can try rerolling it on the counter and place flour under it instead of paper. you can just dust them off when they are cooled. 


  2. #
    Katposted July 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Yum! I made these last night for a friend! They came out great!!


  3. #
    Laura Henryposted July 23, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    great recipe! Love it!!


  4. #
    Luluposted July 27, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Omg thanks so much for this amazing recipe usually I don’t write feedback but for this recipe I just had to thank you
    My sons birthday is coming up and I was looking for something exactly like this 
    You give great details I just wanted to try a patch today before his actual bday to test it out I had to add more flour maybe half a cup but i think I worked the butter to much I guess but they came out fantastic 


  5. #
    Luluposted July 27, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I had the same problem but I just added more flour and left it overnight and it came out amazing 


    • Lulureplied on July 27th, 2015 at 8:45 am

      I meant to reply to Anna sorry it went out as a comment 


  6. #
    Sabrinaposted August 9, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    I have been trying many sugar cookie recipe the past few days for a friend’s bridal shower in September and these are the absolute best and so easy!!! Thank you for sharing!!


  7. #
    Kayleeposted August 10, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I kept on having to add more flour over and over again and I followed the recipe exactly


  8. #
    Joposted August 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Sally, Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! i have tried so many and the problem I am having is that by the time I decorate each one with royal icing dry and wrap them back up ( i usually put them in a zip lock or air tight Tupperware until ready to eat/serve)  they loose any softness. Before I try this recipe, Is there any tips for this or does recipe keep it’s softness in the center?  Thank you!


    • Sallyreplied on August 19th, 2015 at 7:45 am

      These cookie cutter sugar cookies stay soft. Make sure they are covered tightly to keep in all the moisture.


    • Angelareplied on September 15th, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      I find this too sometimes so i bake until i see a slight golden color around the edges. Let them cool for 10 or so minutes then place in a ziplock or container while i get my icing and decorations ready. Once im good, i take the cookies out one at a time and make sure i keep the bag closed or the container sealed. This way really works for me. I place the decorated cookie in a large long container (so they dont overlap while drying) and close the lid. Then they are ready for whatever you need them for and stay soft! You want that moister to keep in so you dont want them completely cooled! Also if that doesnt work try baking them just a little bit thicker. Follow the same rule though*** pull them out as soon as you see a slight brown on the sides. 


  9. #
    Brittany Kingposted September 4, 2015 at 11:55 am

    These cookies taste great. I just made them for my son’s birthday party tomorrow, but they spread terribly. I’m so disappointed. I had made cookies before that didn’t taste as good but at least you could tell what they are. 


  10. #
    Angelaposted September 15, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    LOVE THIS RECIPE! I always use this recipe for sugar cookies! Its perfect and cookies come out in great shape! I saved this wedsite link on my phone and unfortunantly last week at my parents house i didnt have this recipe nor could i remember the link! I used some recipe i found online on my parents computer and they had great reviews… but they DID NOT COME OUT GREAT! 

    These cookies though— YUM!!! I have tried a lot of different sugar cookie recipes and this recipe always comes out perfect! 

    Make sure your butter and egg are room temp! Really cream everything together! I rolled them out on wax paper and placed it in my fridge. Your area cant be too hot though as the cookies will stick to the paper when trying to lift them off for the oven. Overnight in the fridge is best for these but i usually just fridge them for an hour or two to make them nice and firm and bake them the same day! 


  11. #
    Cassposted September 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Haven’t made these yet. Very excited to. One question is do they freeze well and how long do you think they would keep?


  12. #
    Tiffanyposted September 20, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Is there any way to make these without using a stand mixer?


    • Brittneyreplied on September 27th, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Just use a hand held mixer or a rubber spatula, I don’t have a stand mixer. Hope that helps.


    • Juliareplied on October 1st, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      I just used a fork and some elbow grease and my cookies came out perfectly!


  13. #
    Jacquieposted September 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Sally!! I’ve been obsessed with your blog for forever but i can’t thank you enough for perfection this recipe!! I have been searching for a soft sugar cookie recipe that holds its shape for ages and your recipe just cam out absolutely perfect! you’re the best!!


  14. #
    Abbyposted September 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

    I had all but given up on sugar cookies. They were a pain to make and then came out looking like bloated blobs. Then, I tried this recipe and was stunned. I made hippo shaped sugar cookies for my daughter’s birthday and they were perfect. I freaked a little bit when I realized I was out of parchment, but did you know plastic grocery bags can be used instead in a pinch? Definitely passing this one on to my girls later in life!


    • Paola Mancillareplied on September 28th, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      The same happened to me but I haven’t tried this recipe yet 😛 I’m trying tomorrow but it looks promising! hahaha


  15. #
    Paola Mancillaposted September 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I always come to your page when I feel like baking something delicious but I decided to comment until today. YOU ARE AMAZING! 😛 I love everything you do and it makes me LOVE baking everyday a bit more 😛 A baking lover from Guatemala 😉


  16. #
    Morganposted October 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I made these last weekend and they were perfect, just as you described. I’m going to be posting my experience with them and the icing you suggested soon on my blog! Thanks!


  17. #
    Alethiaposted October 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I can definitely go to the store to buy more butter but it’s recommended to not drive right after having a baby :) ❤ so my question is , is it ok to substitute butter for olive oil or canola oil ? (Ran out of coconut oil) 
    I only have about half the amount of butter this recipe calls for .


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