Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

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The Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies take me back to my childhood. Made with simple ingredients and topped with a delicious frosting, you’ll come back to them again and again!

A plate of decorated cookies with other cookies around it.

Tis the season for Holiday Cookie Platters! We love including No Bake Peanut Butter BallsEasy Homemade Toffee, Mini Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, and Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies.

Cut Out Cookies

I’m the fifth kid out of six in my family. When Mom made cut-out sugar cookies, I can recall getting to help decorate them. I’m pretty sure mine weren’t all that pretty, but instead, PACKED with sprinkles.

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Meanwhile, my older siblings (especially my artsy sis, Jackie) had that decorating knack and made the pretty cookies that went in the GOOD cookie container. Mine went in the CUTESY little kid container (aka the sloppy ones that everyone ate to be nice).

Truth be told, I’ve never been one for decorating cookies. But I’m doing it for the blog. I care much more about the TASTE of the cookies than making them pretty. And guess what? These are BOTH pretty and tasty!

Try our Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies next!

Side shot of the snowman sugar cookie with other cookies around it.

Cookie Ingredients

  • Butter – I always use unsalted butter in my recipes. Make sure you let the butter sit on your counter until it is softened. But not too long. It should be just softened but not melty!
  • Sugar – You’ll need granulated sugar.
  • Eggs – Use room-temperature eggs as well.
  • Vanilla – One whopping tablespoon of vanilla.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour is best.
  • Baking Soda – The leavening agent.
  • Cream of Tartar – This ingredient is the defining ingredient in my sugar cookie recipes.
  • Salt – Just a pinch of kosher salt.

Frosting Ingredients

I realize that cut-out cookies are often decorated with royal icing, but my made it with powdered sugar frosting. They are a little harder to store, but just SO delicious and worth it. 🙂

  • Butter – Again, use unsalted butter.
  • Half and Half – You could use heavy cream instead.
  • Vanilla
  • Powdered Sugar – This is a big batch of frosting, and you’ll need at least six cups.

How to make Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Step 1
Make the dough. In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla -and mix again. Then add the dry ingredients – the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and kosher salt. Mix until just combined.

Step 2
Chill the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for several hours, or overnight.

Step 3
Roll out dough. Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and use a floured surface to roll out the dough (I do about half of the dough at a time). You can decide how thin you want the dough.

Step 4
Cut out shapes. Use some cookie cut-outs to form the shapes. Try to form shapes close together. Transfer shapes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Take the scraps and roll out again until all the dough is used.

Step 5
Bake. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they just start to brown on top. Don’t over-bake! Remove baking sheets from the oven, and let sit for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely.

Some baked cookies on a tray.

Step 6
Make frosting. In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, half and half, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir to combine, and then test it to see if it’s firm enough. Add more powdered sugar to make it firmer, or half and half to make it a little looser. Just add a little at a time when adjusting the texture of the frosting.

Step 7
Add colors. Take some of the frosting and spoon it into various smaller bowls. Then add food coloring (depending on what you are making).

Step 8
Decorate cookies. Add frosting and decorate cookies as desired. See my pictures on this post for inspiration, or do your own thing!

Go crazy with the cookie cutter shapes! I’ve done Santa Claus, candy canes, gingerbread men, snowmen, stars, ornaments, trees, etc. For this recipe, I stuck to three shapes.

The finished cookies with bowls of icing.

Expert Tips

  1. Make the dough the day before you bake the cookies. Store in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Use plenty of flour on the surface before rolling the dough out. This will ensure it doesn’t stick.
  3. Be careful to not overroll. You want the cookies to be about 1/4 inch before baking. If you roll too much, the cookies will be too flat and not as tasty.
  4. After cutting the shapes out, take all the scraps (left around the shapes) and roll out again to make additional cookies.
  5. Bake for approximately 11 minutes, or until cookies are just starting to brown.
Overhead shot of some decorated cookies.

Storing cookies

Store the cooking in an airtight container on your counter for up to four days. It’s best not to stack these cookies to keep the frosting intact!

Freezing Cookies

  • Place as many cookies as you can on a baking sheet, careful to not overlap.
  • Place in freezer for 45 minutes to quick-freeze.
  • Stack them in an airtight container and place back in the freezer.
  • Repeat until all cookies are packaged and in the freezer.

If you use this method, your pretty icing will still look pretty after stacking. Quick-freezing is the way to go and is well worth the additional effort.

Get your kiddos in the kitchen this holiday season, and bake up some of these Cut Out Sugar Cookies. Making memories at Christmas time is so much fun!


My hand holding a cut out ornament cookie.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

Some decorated cut-out sugar cookies.

Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

The Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies take me back to my childhood. Made with simple ingredients and topped with a delicious frosting, you'll come back to them again and again!
4.81 from 31 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 28 cookies
Calories: 280kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf


For the cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter – softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs – at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – 420 grams
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter – melted
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 6 cups powdered sugar – or to right of consistency
  • food coloring
  • sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc.


For the cookies:

  • In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients – the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Pour into mixer and combine with wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Don’t over-mix.
  • Scoop dough into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least several hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place on floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out into thin layer, about 1/4 of an inch.
  • Take cookie cutter, and cut shapes out of dough. Lift gently onto prepared baking sheets. 
  • Bake for approximately 10-11 minutes. Remove to cooling racks.

For the icing:

  • Mix the icing ingredients together and stir until well combined. If the frosting is too wet, add more powdered sugar. If it is too dry, add some half and half (slowly – about 1 teaspoon at a time)
  • When the consistency is correct, separate into several bowls and add food coloring, depending on what you are making.
  • Decorate cookies.


Other tips:
  1. Make the dough the day before (or several hours) baking the cookies. Chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Use plenty of flour on the surface before rolling the dough out. This will ensure it doesn’t stick.
  3. Be careful to not OVER-roll. You want the cookies to be about 1/4 inch before baking. If you roll too much, the cookies will be too flat and not as tasty.
  4. After cutting the shapes out, take all the scraps (left around the shapes) and roll out again to make additional cookies.
  5. To freeze cookies, place in single layer on baking sheet. Then place in freezer for 45 minutes to quick freeze. Repeat until all cookies are frozen. Stack cookies in airtight container and store in freezer for up to two months.


Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 297IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!


  1. Christmas classic!! Great recipe!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Tiff!

  2. I love these cookies! They always turn out perfect and are fun to decorate with the whole fam!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      That so great to hear, Brook! Thanks for making these!

  3. Allison O’Neal says:

    Amazing taste, easy to make, and super fun to decorate! 100/10 recommend

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks so much Allison! I’m glad you loved them!

  4. I did something wrong with my cookies, and they are really thick and have a cake-like texture. They taste amazing though, and the recipe was really easy to follow. I had a lot of fun making them!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      If you make them a little thick, they do tend to be a bit cake-like, which we also love!

  5. Hubby & I made these as a fun Christmas Eve activity!! Such a yummy recipe!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yay! Thanks for making these Tiff and hubby! 🙂

  6. Julie gatz says:

    This is the perfect cookie cut out recipe. Made these and decorated with sprinkles and made helmets, footballs and jerseys for the Bronco tailgate. Also rolled dough in balls, smashed with glass, baked and then made the icing and sprinkled with sugar. As always Sue perfect recipe and I’ll send you pic for the cookie contest.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Julie! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cut out cookies! Thanks for entering my challenge!! 🙂

  7. This is the perfect sugar cookie recipe. They are soft and not too sweet. We used sugar on top instead of frosting but this recipe would taste great with icing also. The search is over. Thanks

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thank you so much for your feedback, Kay. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  8. I was looking for this exact recipe. I thought it would be impossible to find a match for my favorite sugar cookie recipe. I was so happy to find it. Thank you so much for having it on-line! I have been making this exact recipe since I got married (58 years ago). Never missed a year since then baking them. My recipe has worn badly & become hard to read. You came to my rescue. So you made my day!! We will have our beloved cookies again. This is the best recipe ever. Thanks again.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m so glad, Joan! My mom made them when we were younger, so it is a very nostalgic recipe for me too. Please let me know how they turn out for you! 🙂

  9. Jackie Thill says:

    Made sugar cookies this year, for the first time since my kids were home and young enough to want to frost them. Sue’s post motivated me, partially because of nostalgia, but also because my family still loves them. I followed Sue’s direction to make them puffier by not rolling too flat, but then I decided to also make some flatter and crispier – remembering that I also like crunchy sugar cookies (like my Dad). Puffy or crispy, they were as tasty as I remembered. I sent some home with family after our Christmas party, and froze the rest, There can never be too many Christmas cookies, except that now everyone is starting their post holiday diets.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m so glad you made them Jackie! What shapes did you make? I bet yours were prettier than mine. 🙂

    2. Did you just bake longer fir the crispy ones

  10. This classic is the best Christmas Cookie ever! ❤️

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