Celebrate the season with a tried-and-tested recipe for The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies that are buttery, soft and hold their shape after baking.
What better way to kick off Christmas than with cutout cookies? This recipe has become my go-to during the holidays because it yields consistently soft, chewy and perfectly flavored sugar cookies. Best of all, you can cut it into any shape or size imaginable and it’ll stay that exact same shape, even after a hot date with the oven.
How to Make Cookies That Keep Their Shape
There are a two key tips that will lead to cutout cookies that will keep their shape:
- Chill the Dough: Because of the amount of butter in this dough, it’s important to refrigerate it so that the fat has a chance to re-solidify.
- Chill the Unbaked Cookies: The chill fest continues as you then refrigerate (or even freeze) the cutout cookies for 15 minutes prior to baking them. This guarantees that the butter will not melt too quickly, which causes the cookie to spread. Spread-out cookies = shapeless cookies… and we don’t want those!
Now all that’s left to do is decide what shape you’re going to make! No matter the season or the holiday, this recipe is guaranteed to become a staple in your dessert repertoire.Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Store-bought or homemade frosting
- Assorted sprinkles
- Assorted cookie cutters
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla.
- Turn the mixer off. Add the flour and then beat just until combined.
- Remove the dough, shape it into a disk about 6 inches wide and wrap it securely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 1 hour. (See Kelly’s Notes.)
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Roll half the dough between two pieces of wax paper until it’s about 1/4-inch-thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out your desired shapes and place them roughly 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining dough. (Leftover scraps can be re-rolled.)
- Refrigerate the cut-out cookies for 15 minutes. (This helps them keep their shape when baking.)
- Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes until pale golden, and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Frost and decorate as desired.
- The dough can be refrigerated overnight, however when you remove it from the fridge, you will likely need to let it rest at room temperature for some time before it’s soft enough to roll.
- When in doubt, remove the cookies from the oven just prior to them turning pale golden. The cookies will crisp slightly as they cool, so removing them while slightly underbaked guarantees your cookies will remain soft. For crispier sugar cookies, bake them the full time.
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Recipe adapted from Gale Gand.