You’re going to fall in love with this sugar cookie recipe. It’s SO much easier to cut shapes out with and when you bake them the cookies will not spread. Instead of rounded pillows that only slightly resemble the shape you cut them into, you’ll have super-sharp edged cookies PERFECT for decorating with Royal Icing or Sugar Cookie Icing. For another holiday cookie, try my ginger snap cookie recipe!
What You’ll Need for This Recipe
Unsalted Butter: If you’re using salted butter then reduce the added salt in the recipe to 1/4 tsp.
Vanilla Extract: You should definitely use the highest quality you can because it does make a difference in the taste.
How to Make Sugar Cookies
1. Sift the flour, corn starch, and salt in a large bowl. Give it a whisk.
2. In your standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together.
3. Add the eggs while mixing. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
4. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix to combine.
5. Pour in the flour mixture and mix until everything is well incorporated, making sure to scrape the bowl down.
6. Put the dough in a plastic bag, flatten it together, then chill it in the refrigerator so it firms up. Once the dough is chilled, place it on a rolling mat, sprinkle with flour and roll out with a rolling pin. Move the dough around to prevent it from sticking. Use circular cookie cutters to cut out your cookies. Take away extra scraps to re-roll for more cookies. Place them on non-stick cookie sheets and bake at 375F for 12 minutes. Once they are done allow them to cool on the cookie sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Pro Tips for Sugar Cookies
- I often use 1/2 cup of corn starch for this recipe as it gives you LASER sharp edges but recently reduced it to a 1/3 cup. This gives a slightly softer cookie while still retaining almost all of the shape during baking. If you want a really soft cookie just add a 1/4 cup and your cookie dough will still be pretty manageable.
- If your butter isn’t room temp just cut the sticks into a few slices and microwave on 50% power in 5 second bursts. Flip the butter with every burst.
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a kitchen scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and then use a knife to level it off.
- Scrape your bowl down a few times. If you have a glob or two of butter that doesn’t get mixed with the flour then it will loose shape and melt when baked.
- Use a high-quality vanilla if you can. Aside from the butter it’s the main flavor you’ll taste and worth the splurge!
- This recipe does not use baking powder because baking powder would cause the cookies to puff up and lose their shape thereby making them not suitable for things like royal icing.
Adding that 1/3 cup of corn starch really changes the dough. You’ll notice it handles better at room temperature than other cookie doughs and really stays together instead of getting stuck to your fingers or the work surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to stop your cookies from spreading in the oven
- Add cornstarch to the dry ingredients. I would recommend starting with a tablespoon of cornstarch per cup of flour. See how you like the consistency and adjust from there.
- For cookies that spread less avoid using leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder. Your cookie will be a bit more dense but it will not puff up in the oven nearly as much.
- For a recipe like this the chill time is only there to let you handle the dough without marring the surface of the cookies. It’s not about how they spread in the oven. Recipes without cornstarch may need hours of chill time for the dough to fully set up.
What can you decorate sugar cookie with?
I actually love using buttercream to decorate sugar cookies but you can dip them in chocolate, add a glaze, use your favorite sugar, or of course use royal icing! Here are my favorite frosting recipes to use on sugar cookies:
How do you keep sugar cookies from sticking?
Using corn starch helps but the best way to prevent cookie dough from sticking is to roll out the dough between two layers of plastic wrap. This way there’s no fuss and ZERO chance of sticking. It’s always a good idea to flour your work surface well and move the dough often. I like to work on a pastry mat which can be lifted up and even transferred into the refrigerator.
Why do recipes ask for unsalted butter?
Various brands of butter add different amounts of salt to their product. Using unsalted butter helps to control the amount of salt in a recipe and give people a uniform result no matter where they live. This is also why you’ll see recipes call for kosher salt. Different types of salt have smaller and larger grains; the smaller the grain, the more salt each teaspoon will hold. Specifying kosher salt just calls for a standard grain size. All this being said you can usually use salted butter and just reduce or eliminate the added salt in a recipe.
If you’ve tried this sugar cookie recipe then don’t forget to leave a rating and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 4 cups flour 480g, sifted
- 1/3 cup corn starch 40g
- 3/4 tsp salt 4g
- 1 cup unsalted butter 227g
- 1 cup sugar 200g
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
- Sift your the flour, corn starch and salt in a large bowl. Give it a whisk.
- In your standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together.
- Add the eggs while mixing. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
- Add 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- Pour in the flour mixture and mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Put the dough in a plastic bag, flatten it together, then chill it in the refrigerator so it firms up.
- Once the dough is chilled, place it on a rolling matt, sprinkle with flour and roll out with a rolling pin. Move the dough around so to prevent it from sticking.
- Use a circular cookie cutter to cut out your cookies. Take away extra scraps to re-roll for more cookies.
- Place them on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 375F for 12 minutes.