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Classic Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

This is a classic sugar cookie recipe that we've used in my family as long as I can remember. We would pull it out every year to make our cutout Christmas cookies, and I have a huge collection of cookie cutters. I usually pick out only six to eight of them each year so the selection doesn't get too overwhelming when cutting them out.

The exact texture of the finished cookies depends on how thin they are and how long they are baked. The thicker the cookie dough when cutting out the shapes, the softer the finished product but the less distinct the details since the cookies will rise while baking. I happen to prefer a softer, chewier cookie, but adjust according to your preferences.

You can decorate these cookies in so many ways. For clearly-defined lines and details, use royal icing and decorating tips. An alternative and tasty topping is cream cheese buttercream icing. I have several icing recipes that I use. Don't hesitate to pull out sprinkles, small candies, and other fun toppings to add some extra pizzazz.


2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter (softened) You really do need butter, not a substitute, for flavor in this recipe
2 eggs
6 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder


Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Incorporate well. Mix in the dry ingredients, adding in several stages. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Roll out the chilled dough, using only as much flour as needed to prevent sticking. Have a little pile of flour to the side that can be used for dipping the cookie cutters. Carefully transfer the cutout shapes to a cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until just barely starting to brown at the edges.


  • If you're having problems getting the cookies from the counter to the cookie sheet, try rolling out the dough directly on the sheet and then removing the excess from around the shapes.
  • Open cookie cutters - that are just an outline - work better with thicker dough than the enclosed type. If using the latter, getting the dough the right thickness to take the surface details from the cutter while still releasing easily will take some experimentation.
  • Allow the baking sheets to cool between batches.
  • You can reuse dough that's already been rolled out, but it works best if you mix it with an equal amount of fresh, chilled dough.
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Try one of my Icing Recipes to finish these cookies.


SilkThimble (author) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 08, 2011:

So glad to bring back good memories!

rjsadowski on December 08, 2011:

I used to help my mother to decorate the sugar cookies that she made at Christmas time but I don't recall how she baked them. That was over 60 years ago. I will try these when I get a chance to see if they taste the same. Your hub brings back memories.

SilkThimble (author) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 07, 2011:

Thank you so much! Good luck with the baking :-)

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on December 07, 2011:

Nice! I'll have to try this - I have plenty of cookie cutters but not one recipe has come out good enough to really cut the cookie dough yet...I admit I'm a lousy baker - but I'll try!

Welcome to HP! Really great hub!

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