These Rolled Sugar Cookies are soft, chewy and perfect for cut-out cookies of any shape and size. Decorate with festive sprinkles and your choice of royal icing or buttercream frosting, or even enjoy plain.
Best Rolled Sugar Cookies Recipe
Nothing says holiday baking quite like soft frosted sugar cookies. Our Rolled Sugar Cookie recipe is absolutely one of those recipes to come back to again and again. Not only do they hold their shape, they taste great, too!
- Best Rolled Sugar Cookies Recipe
- Easy Royal Icing Recipe for Sugar Cookies
- Buttercream Frosting for Rolled Sugar Cookies
- Ingredients in Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- How to Make Rolled Sugar Cookies
- Decorating Ideas for Rolled Sugar Cookies
- Rolled Sugar Cookie Tips and Tricks
- Storage and Freezing Instructions
- Rolled Sugar Cookies Recipe
We've also given recipes for both royal icing and buttercream frosting so you’ll be well equipped whether you plan to decorate yourself or with the kiddos. Use food coloring to dye your frosting any colors that you choose!
This cookie dough is also great for freezing ahead so that you can defrost and roll out when you have the time. Or, you can even freeze the baked and decorated finished product and spend the rest of the holiday relaxing!
Easy Royal Icing Recipe for Sugar Cookies
If you want a sugar cookie icing that hardens fairly quickly and actually tastes good, this is your recipe. Since we use meringue powder, you also don’t need to worry about using raw egg whites.
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
- 5 Tablespoons Warm Water
- 3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
How to Make Royal Icing Using Meringue Powder
- Make sure all utensils are washed and grease-free.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together meringue powder and warm water with whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar to meringue mixture and whisk again. Once all sugar has been added, whip on high for several minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Separate frosting into several different bowls and color as desired - Gel food coloring works best.
- Thin the frosting out with ½ tsp water at a time (Note: when you pull a spoonful up, it should quickly dissolve back into itself and become smooth on top)
- Pour frosting into piping bags or squeeze bottles and decorate cookies as desired.
- To speed up the drying process, place frosted cookies in front of a fan.
- Freezing Royal Icing: Place frosting in a freezer bag or other covered container in the freezer for up to 12 hours. Before re-using, re-whip icing and add small amounts of water until you reach the correct consistency.
Buttercream Frosting for Rolled Sugar Cookies
Buttercream frosting is a tasty sugar cookie classic. It doesn’t set quite as shiny and clean as royal icing, but the taste can not be beat. You can keep the frosting plain white vanilla, or color and flavor however you’d like! A few of our favorite flavors include Eggnog Buttercream, Lemon Buttercream and Cinnamon Buttercream.
- ½ cup Butter (room temperature)
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2-3 Tablespoons Milk
How to Make Buttercream Frosting
- Add the room temperature butter to your mixing bowl and then beat with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy. You can also do this in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.
- Add half of the powdered sugar, all of the vanilla extract and half of the milk. Switch to a whisk attachment and whip until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and whip to combine. While continuing to whip, add the milk a half tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- If you have leftover buttercream frosting, you can store it in an airtight container in your fridge for a couple of weeks. When you're ready to use it again, just take the frosting out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. Whip until you have fluffy buttercream frosting again and use as desired.
Ingredients in Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Flour - we use all-purpose flour for these sugar cookies. You could also try these with all-purpose gluten free flour if you want!
- Cream of Tartar - this helps to keep your cookies nice and soft.
- Salt - you always want to add a touch of salt to your baked goods for flavor.
- Butter - use unsalted room temperature butter. You can use salted, but you’ll want to add less salt to the dough.
- Sour Cream - this is what helps to make these soft, and it adds great flavor.
- Sugar - we use regular granulated sugar.
- Eggs - you will need both a whole egg and an egg yolk. It’s best to use eggs at room temperature which you can do quickly by placing them in a bowl and running under warm water for a couple of minutes.
- Vanilla Extract and Almond Extract - it’s best to use pure extracts, rather than imitation. The flavor is unmatched.
How to Make Rolled Sugar Cookies
- Make the cookie dough. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, and salt and set aside. Place room temperature butter, sour cream, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer cream with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, or about 3 minutes. Slowly add the egg, egg yolk, almond extract, and vanilla extract and mix again until combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl to make sure that all of the butter has mixed in completely.
- Chill. Divide the dough in half, press into 2 flat dough patties and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Roll out the dough: Sprinkle the counter and rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough on your floured surface until it is about ¼" thick.
- Cut out cookie shapes. Cut cookies out into desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat at least 1" apart.
- Bake: Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are set and there is just a hint of golden brown color. Let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Decorate: Frost and decorate cookies as desired and enjoy!
Decorating Ideas for Rolled Sugar Cookies
There are a few main ways that you can decorate your sugar cookies, each with varying levels of difficulty.
The easiest is to skip the icing, and simply brush your unbaked cut out cookies with milk then add sprinkles. Bake as directed and cool completely. Ta da!
Another great option that is also good for kids is to decorate with buttercream frosting. You’ll want to make sure the cut out cookies are completely cooled before trying to frost and decorate. You can either put the buttercream frosting into piping bags, or small bowls and let each person spread on with a spatula or butter knife. Place little containers on the table with different candies for decorating.
If you want your cookies to look a little more pro, we recommend using royal icing. You can color the icing however you would like, then put each color into a separate piping bag. Squeeze your icing around the edge of your cookie shapes, then fill in the entire surface. If you want to add little details with other colors, or top with candy decorations, you’ll need to do so while the icing is still wet. Otherwise, let dry for at least 1-2 hours before displaying and eating.
Rolled Sugar Cookie Tips and Tricks
- Chill your dough - there’s no getting around it. This way, it will not spread in the oven.
- Roll your sugar cookie dough to ¼ inch thick for softer cookies, or ? inch thick for crisper cookies. The bake time will be slightly less for the thinner cookies.
- Roll your dough directly onto a piece of parchment, or a Silpat, for an easy to transfer to baking sheets if you want to roll and chill your dough before cutting out shapes.
- You can re-roll dough up to 3 times before it starts to get worked too much and they will shrink, or get misshapen.
- Use disposable piping bags for different colored frostings.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
- How to Store Baked Sugar Cookies: You can store your decorated or undecorated sugar cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature. You can also store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks as long as they are stored properly in a sealed container.
- Freezing Rolled Sugar Cookie Dough: Cookie dough freezes great! If you made too much, or simply don’t have the time to roll, cut, bake and decorate all of them at once, just freeze a portion for up to 3 months. You can freeze the dough as a flattened mound or rolled and cut shapes. Just be sure and wrap well with plastic, then store in a freezer bag or another airtight container. To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight. If you have frozen cut out shapes, you can transfer to baking sheets and bake immediately. Otherwise, let the dough come to room temperature for about 30 minutes, then roll, cut and bake as directed.
- Freezing Plain or Decorated Sugar Cookies: You can also freeze baked cookies for up to 3 months, whether they have been decorated or not. Be sure to separate them with layers of parchment paper inside an airtight container and store frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, you can thaw either in the fridge or at room temperature.
Rolled Sugar Cookies Recipe
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Butter room temperature
- 3 T Sour Cream room temperature
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 large Egg
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Almond Extract
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, and salt and set aside.
- Place room temperature butter, sour cream, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer cream with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, or about 3 minutes. Slowly add the egg, egg yolk, almond extract, and vanilla extract and mix again until combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl to make sure that all of the butter has mixed in completely.
- Divide the dough in half, press into 2 flat dough patties and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sprinkle the counter and rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough on your floured surface until it is about ¼" thick.
- Cut cookies out into desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat at least 1" apart.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are set and there is just a hint of golden brown color.
- Let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Serve as is, or decorate as desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in a covered container in the fridge for up to 12 days. Enjoy!
Here are some more of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes:
- Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Andes Mint Cookies
- Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting
- Soft Molasses Cookies
- Mint Chocolate Dipped Oreos
- Cranberry Orange Cookies
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Nothing says holiday baking quite like these Rolled Sugar Cookies. They are soft, chewy and perfect for cut-out cookies of any shape and size.