Easy Sugar Cookies

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My earliest memory of baking sugar cookies places me in my grandmother’s kitchen, a sunlit, flour-dusted, buttery-smelling paradise. Every school holiday, my siblings, cousins, and I would travel to her countryside home. The journey was long, but the destination, with the promise of Grandma’s sugar cookies, was worth every mile.Years later, during a college exchange program, I shared this recipe with my host family in Italy. Despite the language barrier, the warm, sweet scent of baking spoke for itself, weaving through the corridors and bringing curious, smiling faces into the kitchen. That day, we didn’t just share a cookie recipe; we created a bond that transcended words—a testament to the universal language of delicious, homemade sugar cookies.

How to Prepare Easy Sugar Cookies

Ingredients for Easy Sugar Cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions for Easy Sugar Cookies

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position your oven racks in the center.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed until the dough just comes together.
  6. Using a small ice cream scoop or your hands, roll the dough into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Place them about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets or sheets lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are just set and the edges are a light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. It’s important not to overbake them if you want soft cookies!
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy them as-is or decorate with your favorite icing or toppings.

What makes a sugar cookie chewy?

The secret to a chewy sugar cookie lies in the moisture content. Using brown sugar or honey, reducing baking time, and ensuring your butter is at room temperature can all contribute to a chewier cookie. It’s also key to not overbake them; removing cookies from the oven when they’re just set gives them that perfect, soft texture as they cool down.

Can I use self-rising flour in my sugar cookies?

Self-rising flour can be used, but it’s not ideal. It contains both salt and baking powder, which could affect the taste and texture of your sugar cookies. If you must use self-rising flour, omit the baking soda and reduce the baking powder to 1/4 teaspoon. Be mindful that this may alter the final product’s texture and rise.

How do I keep my sugar cookies from spreading?

To prevent your sugar cookies from spreading, ensure the butter is at room temperature but not too soft or melted. Chill the rolled cookie dough balls for at least 30 minutes before baking. This step solidifies the fat, ensuring that the cookies hold their shape better while baking. Additionally, avoid placing dough on hot cookie sheets; allow them to cool completely between batches.

Why did my sugar cookies turn out hard?

Sugar cookies can turn out hard for a few reasons. Overbaking is a common cause; it’s important to remove them from the oven when just set. Another factor could be too much flour in the dough, which can happen from over-measuring or over-mixing. Lastly, not using enough fat or using a substitute with a different moisture content can result in hard cookies.

Can I freeze sugar cookie dough?

Absolutely, sugar cookie dough freezes exceptionally well. Roll the dough into balls, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours, and then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container. They can be frozen for up to three months. When ready to use, bake without thawing, adding an extra minute or two to the baking time.

How do I make my sugar cookies taste better?

Enhancing the flavor of sugar cookies is easy! Use high-quality butter and pure vanilla extract for a richer taste. You can also add zest from a lemon, lime, or orange for a citrusy twist, or incorporate spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for a warm, spiced flavor. Experiment with almond extract for a nutty undertone or browned butter for a deep, toasty richness.

Are sugar cookies and shortbread cookies the same?

While they share some ingredients, sugar cookies and shortbread cookies are distinct. Sugar cookies typically have more sugar and are often made with eggs, giving them a sweet, tender, and chewy texture. In contrast, shortbread cookies are traditional Scottish cookies with a high butter content and a crumbly, buttery texture, usually made without eggs.

Can I substitute the egg in this sugar cookie recipe?

Yes, if you’re looking to make the recipe egg-free, you can substitute the egg with 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana. Another option is using a flax egg: mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2.5 tablespoons of water, let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken, then use as you would an egg in the recipe.

Easy Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Servings 4 dozen


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Stir flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a small bowl.
  • Beat sugar and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in flour mixture. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until edges are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets briefly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
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