If you want to make classic sugar cookies for decorating, this is the best, easy sugar cookie recipe (and cream cheese frosting). Heck, if you want to make any cookie, this is your dough: Just add your choice of mix-ins to create endless delicious variations.

holiday sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles

I teamed up with Kroger to share these cute & delicious must make holiday cookies. As always, all opinions are my own.

Even though the holidays get super busy, there is one thing I ALWAYS make time for… homemade sugar cookies! With all of the stress and business that comes with the holidays, traditions like decorating sugar cookies makes me feel calm and helps me to enjoy these special moments. I can remember making and enjoying Christmas cookies with my mom every year when I was little, and it’s something I have looked forward to with my kiddos and now grandson too.

little boy cutting out shapes in sugar cookies

There is one recipe that I’ve found makes the PERFECT sugar cookie cut-outs every time, and I couldn’t let this Christmas go by without sharing it with you. If you’re planning on making cookies for the holidays, you definitely need to give this recipe a try. I’ve tried a lot of sugar cookie recipes and this one is a family favorite!

little boy's hand using a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in sugar cookie dough

What makes this sugar cookie recipe the BEST?

I know the basic recipe for sugar cookies is pretty universal, but there’s a few things that sets mine apart.

  • Use softened butter, but not melted. Leave your butter out at room temperature for at least an hour before you start prepping, so that you get the perfect fluffy texture when you cream the sugar and the butter together.
  • White sugar: You want your sugar cookies to be pale and uniform so that they look even better decorated.
  • Completely cream butter and sugar together. It should take about five minutes. To make sure you have the right texture, rub a little bit of the mixture in between your fingers. You’ll know it’s ready once you don’t feel any sugar granules.
  • Scrape the bowl while you’re mixing. When you’re baking, every teaspoon of ingredients counts, and you’d be surprised how much sugar, butter, and dough can cake up on the sides of your bowl while mixing.
  • Almond extract: Vanilla is a must when you’re making sugar cookie dough, but the addition of a little almond extract gives the cookies a certain depth of flavor that’ll make your cookies taste richer and even more scrumptious. So good!
  • Salt: Like the other savory ingredients in this sugar cookie recipe, the point of salt isn’t to make the dough salty, but rather to emphasize the other flavors by contrast.
  • Don’t overmix. Stop mixing the dough once you stop seeing streaks of flour. If you mix any more, you risk ending up with a tough and overly chewy cookie.
  • Rolling the dough. Once the dough is ready, place the dough between two sheets of wax or parchment paper and press it into a disk, then roll flat. While I’m rolling, I’ll occasionally (carefully) lift up the wax paper on the top, put it back down, flip, and do the same on the bottom. That’s because the force of the rolling can cause the wax paper to crinkle.
  • Keep the dough cold. Chilling the dough once it’s already rolled flat makes the dough chill so much faster – you can cut out your cookies after as little as 30 minutes. And, the chillier the dough is when you bake it? Means your cookies stay in the shapes you cut them in.
  • Flour the cookie cutters. A bit of flour will help the shapes pop out of their cutters easily.
cut-out sugar cookies on a baking sheet

We had so much fun with these sugar cookies, this year! My grandson is finally old enough to get in on the action and had a blast. It was a little messier this year, too, thanks to him! 😊 We also used some sugar cookie cut-outs that my mom passed onto me. So fun to use the cut-outs that I used as a child.

little boy cutting out sugar cookies with cooking cutters

Are you Team Frosting or no? I’m definitely Team Frosting! I love the sugar cookie – frosting combo! If you’re not or don’t want the extra steps of making and icing the cookies, you can decorate these cookies very simply with colored sugars before baking.

little boy decorating sugar cookies with sprinkles

One bite of these incredible cookies and you will never make them any other way again! They are perfectly tender with just the right amount of sugar. I just love the texture of these cookies! I cannot say enough about how wonderful these cookies taste and bake up, so you’ll just have to try them yourself! Promise me you will try them this Christmas! P.S. Santa will LOVE them too!

little boy taking a bite of a sugar cookie

LOOKING FOR OTHER SCRUMPTIOUS HOLIDAY COOKIE RECIPES? 

Be sure to check out other stress free holiday tips and ideas here on the Wellness Your Way site this month for wellness savings at Kroger! All of the ingredients used for this recipe were from Kroger. I love the Organic Simple Truth products!

I’d love to know if you make this (or any) recipe! Tag @kimscravings on Instagram and be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

decorated sugar cookies on a white plate
holiday sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles
Print
5 from 17 votes
Nutrition Facts
Best Easy Sugar Cookies + Cream Cheese Icing
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 113 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 19mg 6%
Sodium 39mg 2%
Potassium 15mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Sugars 7g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 3%
Calcium 13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Servings:36 cookies (depending on the size of each cookie)
Best Easy Sugar Cookies + Cream Cheese Icing
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
9 mins
Total Time:
39 mins
 

My family's favorite sugar cookies, perfect for decorating and must have cream cheese frosting!

Ingredients
Sugar Cookie Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cup Simple Truth Organic granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Simple Truth Organic unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large Simple Truth Organic egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups Simple Truth Organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Simple Truth Organic unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz Simple Truth Organic cream cheese, cold
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups Simple Truth Organic powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons Simple Truth Organic milk
Instructions
Sugar Cookies
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter with an electric hand or stand mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Scrape down the bowl as needed to evenly beat the mixture. 

  2. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Make sure to spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife to ensure accurate measurements. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.

  4. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. Chill for about 20-30 minutes.

  5. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  6. Dip cookie cutters of your choice in some extra flour and cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet. Gather any excess dough into a ball, then re-roll and cut out more cookies and repeat until all of the dough is used. 

  7. Bake cookies at 350ºF for 8-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating with frosting. Store in an airtight container. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Mix the butter, cream cheese and almond extract for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Add in 1 tablespoon of milk to thin, as needed. If it is too thin (it may be that butter is too soft) add more powdered sugar.
Recipe Notes

*For this recipe, the dough only needs to chill about 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator since it is already rolled out. If you would rather chill the dough first before rolling, you'll want to increase the chill time to about an hour.

*Using the parchment paper is a great tip for rolling the dough, because it eliminates the need to add extra flour to keep it from sticking.

*My cookies were done baking in 9 minutes, but check yours closely. You want them to be just barely set and not yet browned. They'll seem slightly undercooked right out of the oven, but will firm up nicely once cooled. 9 minutes seemed to be the sweet spot for me!

*Once the cookies come out of the oven, only let them stay on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, or just until you're able to carefully slide a spatula underneath the cookies without breaking them to transfer to a cooling rack. Letting the cookies stay on the baking sheet any longer will dry them out, making them less soft and tender.

*If you'd rather not decorate cookies with frosting, you can decorate cookies with sprinkles and colored sugars before baking.

*Nutritional information does not include frosting.

Author: Kim
Course: cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best sugar cookies, easy sugar cookies, sugar cut-out cookies

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