THE BEST Cut-Out (rolled) Sugar Cookies

This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe for cut-out cookies that I decorate in a simple, sweet, hard-drying cookie icing for a perfect treat great for any occasion.  


The best part about this recipe is that these cookies freeze wonderfully so you can make ahead of time! 

A little trick I use is rolling the cookie dough between parchment paper or wax paper.

This dough is also super versatile and can be flavored to create anything from espresso sugar cookies to lemon to chocolate sugar cookies!

Whip up the simple cookie icing and get decorating! I like to pipe an outline around my cookies and then thin the icing out a little to "flood" in the centers.

What I love most about these, is the cookie dough can be frozen for later use AND the baked cookies can be frozen plain or decorated! 

These cookies are perfect for the holidays too! Get creative and enjoy.

Classic Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 2-3 dozen cookies


Roll Out Sugar Cookies
  • 2 3/4 all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (add up to 1/4 cup more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar (may sub 1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • Confetti: Add 2 tablespoons sprinkles
    • Almond: Add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
    • Lemon: Add 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice OR 1 teaspoon lemon extract
    • Chocolate Chip: Replace half of sugar with brown sugar and add 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
    • Espresso: Add 2 tablespoons espresso powder
    • Spiced: Add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg and 1/8 tsp. allspice

Hard Drying Cookie Icing
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder (found online or in the baking aisle of your local crafts store)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla or flavor extract of your choice
  • food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together softened butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly beat in the four mixture until dough forms and is no longer sticky, adding extra flour as necessary. 

Roll out dough about 1/3-1/4 inch thick, dusting with flour if it gets too sticky (Tip: roll out dough between parchment paper to avoid sticking to your work surface). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter or knife and transfer to a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes or freeze for about 10 minutes to firm up so cookies hold their shape better while baking. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, before moving to a cooling rack. Store in an air tight container until ready to decorate (Up to a week).

For the icing, beat together the sugar and meringue powder, followed by slowly adding the water and flavoring extract, on low speed. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5-7 minutes, stopping the mixer when the icing is fluffy, shiny and has formed stiff peaks (icing stands straight up when beater is lifted, without the tip wilting over. Divide icing into separate bowls and add food coloring until you have reached your desired color. Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing.

This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called "flooding."

Pipe, pour, spread or paint onto tops of cooled cookies and decorate as desired. 


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