If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that the fall and winter holidays are all about cookies. And by cookies I specifically mean the all-time classic sugar cookie.
I mean, think about it: when it comes to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, they all have their own unique delicacies… but only a few of those treats that can work for all holidays.
These easy sugar cookies just happen to be one of them.
My fascination with holiday treats probably goes all the way back to when I was growing up in Virginia and my dad (who worked as a mail carrier) would come home with his hands full of candy and baked goods, all of its gifts from the residents on his delivery route. That wonderful “southern hospitality” meant there was a never-ending supply of sugar and chocolate in our house from October through December, and oh do I miss it.
However, this little food blog has helped me become braver on this whole “cooking journey,” so I wanted to start mastering all of those drool-inspiring sweets from my childhood. And (like usual) I wanted to start with something basic. Something textbook and classic that I can use as a foundation for experimenting with later, or improving upon if it needs it.
Enter stage left: The perfect soft and chewy sugar cookie.
Now, I’ve gotta be honest: even though I’m talking big game about my baking skills, acting as if I’m going to whip on my chef’s hat and get into the kitchen and experiment… I have to say there’s not much you can do to improve upon this recipe.
As far as classic cookies go, these came out practically perfect. They’re a little moist and just a tiny bit chewy with a buttery vanilla taste.
And being the holiday cookie connoisseur that I am, I know that sugar cookies can come in a variety of ways – but personally? I like this version far better than the sugar cookies you typically get at a bakery. Bakery cookies always seem to be either dry and tough and brittle or they’re so doughy that they’re not even like a sugar cookie at all. And, of course, they almost always come overloaded with frosting.
Not that frosting is a bad thing, of course, but sometimes you just want a cookie, ya’know? Frosting should be a bonus, not a centerpiece.
But, hey, don’t take my word for just how good these sugar cookies are! Check out the comments below to see all the other readers who have fallen in love with this classic sugar cookie. I’m sure you’ll be crazy about them, too!
What kind of cookies does this recipe make?
I mentioned before that sugar cookies come in various types, and for this recipe, there’s another important distinction:
This recipe is for making round sugar cookies. This means this recipe is not ideal for rolled, cut-out sugar cookies. However, you can still decorate the tops of these cookies with sprinkles or royal icing.
If you’re looking for a sugar cookie recipe with dough you can roll out and use cookie cutters with, check out this one: Rolled Sugar Cookies.
Do you need to chill the dough?
This particular recipe calls for chilling the cookie dough for one hour.
I know it can be frustrating to put your baking on hold, but when it comes to cookies, chilling the dough is totally worth the impact it as on your baking.
The short explanation for chilling has to do with the butter. The firmer the butter is at the time of baking, the slower it will melt, which makes cookies less likely to spread while baking. So, as a general rule of thumb, chilling the dough will lead to more dense, fluffy cookies while not chilling will lead to flatter, cheweir cookies. This is not always the case, though. Whether you need to chill depends largely on the amount of butter used AND the composition of the other ingredients.
If you’d like a more indepth explanation of chilling dough (with examples!) then check out this article: To Chill or not to Chill.
Notes & tips for this sugar cookie recipe
- If you’re doing a lot of baking, I highly recommend having some silicone baking mats or silicone baking mats on hand. Baking cookies takes enough time without having to cut or measure parchment paper. Or if you prefer using parchment paper, you can try using pre-cut parchment paper sheets instead.
- Plus, some quality baking sheets are a must for a cookie baking extravaganza!
- For this recipe, I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. This recipe would be difficult to make by hand with a whisk.
- If you’re looking for a new take on a sugar cookie, check out this Frosted Sugar Cookie Dip!
More fun cookie recipes
How to make crinkled sugar cookies
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Since this recipe doesn’t involve rolling or cutting the dough, the steps to make them are much simpler.
Step 1 – Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients thoroughly, then set the bowl aside.
Step 3 – Reduce mixer speed and blend in vanilla and egg.
Step 4 – Remove bowl from mixer. Using a spatula, blend in the dry ingredients you prepared in step 1. Mix until dough is firm.
Step 5 – Chill dough for 1 hour (see notes below about chilling).
Step 6 – Using a 1 teaspoon (or up to 1 tablespoon) cookie scoop, scoop out some dough, roll it into a ball, coat it with sugar, and place the cookie ball on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Repeat this still until all dough has been used.
Step 7 – Bake cookies.
Step 8 – Enjoy!
This post was originally published on October 9, 2014. It was updated on March 4, 2018.
Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set bowl aside.
Drop mixer speed to low and add the vanilla extract and egg to the creamed butter, mixing thoroughly.
Remove bowl from mixer. Using a spatula, slowly add the dry ingredients in with the butter mixture until fully incorporated. Dough should be soft and slightly dewy when ready.
Cover bowl and place dough in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Scoop out about 1-2 tablespoons of cookie dough and roll into a ball (about 1 inch wide) then toss the cookie ball in the bowl of sugar, covering the outside. Place finished cookie ball on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until all dough is used, placing cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until the top of the cookie begins to crinkle and the bottom sides turn a light golden brown.
Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in a sealed container on the counter for up to 4 days.
Recipe from Rock Recipes.