My Favorite Sugar Cookies

Be honest here: in a lineup of a classic chocolate chip cookie, an oatmeal cookie, a double chocolate cookie, a peanut butter cookie or a sugar cookie, which cookie, if you could only pick one, would you choose to eat every day for the rest of your life?

Seriously, I want to know. Because, as much as I have droned on and on about my favorite cookies, I would choose a sugar cookie hands down to win out against any other kind of cookie. Every day. Every time. I cannot resist a good sugar cookie. I simply can’t resist. And I have the thighs to prove it.

Because I am a self-professed sugar cookie lover, and I mean LOVER, I am particular about my sugar cookies, baby. I like them soft and really thick while still holding their shape while baking. They need exceptional flavor; something different to set them apart from the rest of the sugar cookie pack. And don’t even get me started on the frosting. The frosting will make or break even the best sugar cookie. Let’s be real: sugar cookies are a lot of work. I want to know after all the mess and rolling and vying for Mother of the Year award for letting my kids help in the first place that the finished sugar cookie is going to blow my mind in deliciousness.

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

I have tried more sugar cookie recipes than I care to count and I will honestly say there are only two recipes that I ever make – and I’ve been making both for years now. The first recipe I posted a while ago (a phenomenal, creamy, unique sugar cookie). I adore them. But I like to have options and the recipe I am posting today is undeniably one of the best sugar cookie recipes on the planet. The powdered sugar in the buttery dough creates a light, melt-in-your-mouth quality as the subtle lemon and almond flavors tickle your palate. These cookies take sugar cookie devotion to new levels. They are unbelievably delicious.

The keys to sugar cookie success: the right recipe (I’ve got your back on this one), don’t overbake (we’re talking eight minutes max here, probably more like seven), roll them thick (at least 1/4-inch if not slightly thicker), and fantastic frosting.

I refuse to top my beloved sugar cookies with anything but my favorite frosting, which I included below the recipe. Light, decadent, creamy and beyond compare, this frosting is the icing on the cake. Or the cookie, so to speak.

So as you contemplate the land of sugar cookies and my apparent snobbery when it comes to them, don’t forget to enlighten me on which lineup cookie you would choose.

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

One Year Ago: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Two Years Ago: Creamy Chicken Fettuccine

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

Yield: Makes 2-3 dozen sugar cookies (about 2-3 inch size)

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

The baking temperature for this recipe may seem high but I believe it is one of the keys to success. The cookies still remain soft and light because they bake for such a short time (and they keep their shape really well!).

Also, many of you have reported the dough is way too soft and sticky to roll out right away. So much depends on how the flour is measured - but if you don't want to chill the dough, add an extra 1/4-1/2 cup of flour to the dough to roll out right away.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) butter, softened to cool room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 5 cups (25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon zest; mix. Add two cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft.
  3. The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or it can be rolled out right away (if it seems too sticky add another 1/4 cup flour or refrigerate for an hour or so). Dust a counter with powdered sugar or flour and roll the dough to desired thickness (I prefer my cookies on the thick side so I roll my dough out to about 1/4-inch, maybe even slightly thicker than that). Cut the dough into shapes. Place the cookies on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies won’t appear browned on top (or on bottom) when they are done baking so don’t let them overbake! I find 7 1/2 minutes is about perfect but if they are even lightly browned on bottom, I decrease the time by 30 seconds. I like them super soft with not even a hint of browned edges or bottom. This way they literally melt in my mouth.
  4. Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting. The baked cookies (unfrosted) can be stored in a tupperware or ziploc bag in the freezer for up to a month. I also often freeze 1/2 of the sugar cookie dough when I don’t have time or don’t want to roll it out and cut shapes. I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then stick it in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and freeze it for up to a month. I take it out the night before I want to roll it out and store it in the refrigerator to thaw (for about 12-15 hours). About 30 minutes before I want to use it, I let it sit on the counter to soften a bit and then I roll it out and cut out the cookies.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/my-favorite-sugar-cookies/

Recipe Source: method adapted slightly from Good Things Catered

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting


*Note: the key to success here is using really soft cream cheese and beating it with the powdered sugar until no lumps remain.

*Makes about 4 cups of frosting

1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix until very smooth and light and no lumps remain. In a separate bowl, beat the cream to stiff peaks. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until well combined and smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

237 Responses to Sugar Cookies {My Favorite Recipe!}

  1. I love a good sugar cookie. I don’t think I’ve ever baked one that high, so I’d love to give it a try.

  2. Kim in MD says:

    If I only had to pick one cookie to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose chocolate chip cookies. Not just any chocolate chip cookie- it would have to be soft on the inside and chewy on the outside, like your sugar cookies! I feel the same way about sugar cookies as you do. Too often they look pretty but are dry and flavorless! I will give your recipe a try…who knows? Maybe I will come back and change my cookie answer! Thanks for sharing, Melanie! 🙂

  3. Jolyn says:

    ok, you have my mouth watering at 6:45 am! If I had some in my house right now I’d have it for breakfast (good thing I don’t!) Can I sample next weekend :)?

  4. nikki says:

    My fave would have to be a double chocolate, chocolate chip cookie. Not too soft and not crispy, I like them chewy.

  5. Annie Jones says:

    I’ve bookmarked this recipe to try soon.

    If I could only eat one cookie for the rest of my life, I’d have to pick a classic oatmeal cookie made with real butter, without raisins and just a little soft and chewy instead of hard and crunchy.

  6. Liz @ Blog is the New Black says:

    Cute cookies! I need a good SC recipe. 🙂

  7. Kristen S. says:

    Snickerdoodles!!! Not one of your options, but it is my all time favorite!

  8. Those cookies are beautiful and tasty looking too!

  9. Melanie_S says:

    We are from the same mold, I swear! My must-have sugar cookie is exactly as you have described!!! I will definitely have to try this recipe…when I have a few moments 🙂

    The one cookie I can NEVER resist? No bakes!!

  10. Petra says:

    If I HAD to choose, it would be chocolate chip. But not the thin, crispy ones…No, no no! They have to be soft and chewy.
    To be honest, that is why I never got into sugar cookies. Most people make them so thin and crispy. Ashamed to admit, I like the storebought kind because they are soft and thick. But seeing that you have a recipe to remedy that, I will start making my own!

  11. Stephanie B says:

    I would pick peanut butter cookies. I love peanut butter and honestly think I could never get sick of it.

  12. Kensi says:

    Those look so yummy! I will be trying them once the Christmas season rolls around! My favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin!

    Oh and I love the new logo you have on your pictures!

  13. Joyce says:

    I love how this recipe includes both lemon and almond! I love both!! In the past I tend to avoid making sugar cookies because they’re too thin and crispy and the flavor is dull. But these I WILL be making. Just curious, where did you get your frosting colors from? Did you just mix the traditional red and blue together? The green looks so vibrant…. I’m always looking for colors other than red, blue, yellow, green, but have had no luck… is there such a thing?

    • Mel says:

      Joyce – I usually use the Wilton gel colors for my frosting, mostly so the frosting doesn’t get thinned out by the liquid food coloring. It’s the same coloring I use when I decorate cakes – I just use it for my sugar cookie frosting, too (they can be found at any big box craft store like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and I think even Walmart carries a few colors).

  14. Jan says:

    Chocolate thumbprint with caramel inside. I am a sucker for all things chocolate, nutty, and caramely.

  15. Sara says:

    Mmmm, sugar cookies are my favorite! But you’re right, they are a lot of work…I always get so excited when I’m about to make them, but halfway through the process I’m over it. 🙂

  16. Julie says:

    Hands down, Sugar Cookies! They are my true weakness! I can only bake them occasionally because I generally eat 75% of them! Maybe an exaggeration, but maybe not:) Can’t wait to try this one, I’ve been through many looking for the perfect, soft, flavorful sugar cookie!

  17. Denissa says:

    I totally agree w/ you on the sugar cookies! I’ve never tried them w/ the powdered sugar in them or the lemon. I’ll definitely be trying this recipe!! I did leave a question about the pumpkin bread, wondering if I used all white flour instaed of both white and wheat, if you think that would work?
    Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Denissa – I didn’t see your comment on the pumpkin bread…sorry for the delay in answering. Yes, you could definitely use all white flour with great results. The wheat flour adds a hint of depthness and nuttiness without being overpowering but it would be just fine without it.

  18. Molly says:

    This is perfect! I was going to make halloween shaped sugar cookies with my kids this weekend…so I will have to try this recipe. And as for me, I could live on chocolate chip cookies.

  19. Ashley Wood says:

    Definitely a sugar cookie for me too!! I am a snob when it comes to sugar cookies, but because of that, I have found good recipes, and know where in town to get a good one!! This recipe looks like a good one, can’t wait to make them. I just might even make them tonight…. we need some good Halloween cookies around!

  20. Tammy says:

    I’ll be honest, I almost never cook anything that calls for almond extract because I don’t like it at all. I’d definitely choose a nice soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookie as my favorite.

  21. these look yummy! and If I could only have 1 cookie for the rest of my life, it would be plain ol’ chocolate chip. I can’t live without them!

  22. Jessica Z says:

    This post is just one day too late! Drat! I made sugar cookies yesterday. And I’m totally wishing I would have made your frosting. As for the line-up…chocolate chip all the way! (And in case you’re wondering, I’m making them today.)

  23. I’m so excited to see this post! I ordered a megaphone cookie cutter a while back and have been wanting to make cookies for my daughter’s high school cheerleading squad. I thought it would be cute to write each of their names on the megaphones and use their school colors. Sugar Cookies kind of freak me out and that’s why I’ve been putting it off. You have given me motivation ~ thanks!!

  24. jane says:

    Thanks! I agree with you, I am a LOVER of sugar cookies too. I am excited to try your favorite.

  25. A Little Coffee says:

    Chewy chocolate chip cookies! But I have no beef with sugar cookies. I will totally make these.

  26. Stacie D. says:

    In a line-up, I would choose chocolate chip everyday. But I am particular–they must be soft and a little chewy. I have my favorite recipe…and I eat them nearly everyday! 🙂 I also love sugar cookies, especially around any holiday. I have a favorite sugar cookie recipe, but I will definitely try yours because you never let me down. Who knows what I am missing?!

  27. Denise McEntee says:

    THank you for posting this. I have been looking for a good recipe for ages. Same criteria. Sounds perfect. And the frosting looks wonderful! Does it harden a little on the outside when sitting out like a royal icing? Wondering if you can stack them once decorated kinda thing…

    And I”d have to go with a standard choc chip recipe if i had to pick one simple/standard cookie. But this recipe might change my mind! Will have to give it a try!

    • Mel says:

      Denise, no, this frosting doesn’t harden. It is super soft and creamy. So that is the one downfall – you can’t stack these babies once they are frosted. However, I just line them out on my large baking sheets and transport them that way. I haven’t been able to ever convert to loving the taste of royal icing so the inconvenience of easily-smudged cookies is worth the value in taste factor!

  28. Julianne says:

    My “you-must-eat-one-every-day-or-else” cookie choice would have to be a warm, soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, preferably my mom’s recipe (which is reeeeeally similar to one you have posted).

    These cookies look good. Like…good enough that you may have just spoiled my “don’t eat naughty food today” resolve. Thanks alot.

  29. Jennifer says:

    I would have to choose the oatmeal raisin cookie. Whenever I need a warm, comforting, sugar rush that’s what I always make. There is something so homey about them. I’ve always loved the Quaker “Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie” recipe but I’ve recently discovered Alton Brown’s “Oatiest Oatmeal Cookie” from a recent episode of Good Eats that almost leaves it in the dust. Almost.

    However, this sugar cookie recipe looks like it just might make me change my mind….

  30. Yum, you made these sound so good and I don’t even like sugar cookies! But the powdered sugar and almond extract got me 🙂 I will give these a try for the- melt- in- your- mouth comment.

  31. Oh- I forgot….your Double Chocolate M&M cookies. That and my Choc Chip, Oat, Pecan Huge cookies. Too close to call. But man those M&M one’s. Love those!

  32. Kat says:

    My favorite cookie has got to be oatmeal raisin (the soft, chewy kind). I made them last week with Craisins instead. heaven. These sugar cookies look great too, and you can’t go wrong with cream cheese frosting!

  33. Amy Neal says:

    While I do appreciate a GOOD sugar cookie and will be trying these next week, I could never give up chocolate chip cookies. Ever.

  34. Brianna says:

    how do you frost your cookies? With pastry bags? Thanks!

  35. Barbi says:

    I am so trying these. I made a sugar cookie recipe that my family didnt love last weekend… while on a search for a new recipe, I noticed a few of the other blogs I check ALL had the same recipe! I was so excited to see yours was different. 🙂

  36. Mandy says:

    I am a faithful follower of your blog & I have loved every recipe I’ve tried. Thank you so much! I just baked these cookies & they proved, once again, that I am sugar cookie impaired. I cannot seem to make a batch that doesn’t spread! I’m making them for my Activity Day girls & last year no one wanted to decorate mine because they were nearly unrecognizable. This recipe was better but still spread out much more than yours. Help! What am I doing wrong??

    P.S. Your cousin Camille is one of my best friends from High School. I just love her.

    • Mel says:

      Mandy – I’m so sorry that you had bad luck with this recipe! I want you to love these – but I’m not sure why they would have spread so much. Did you refrigerate the dough after you made them or roll it out right away? Was your butter overly soft when you made the dough or more like a cool room temperature? What was the consistency/feel of the dough when you rolled them out? Stiff, soft or really soft? Sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I can help you figure this out because I’m all about helping a girl out when it comes to sugar cookies. I know that sometimes different doughs can be affected by altitude and humidity. If this dough was overly soft and super sticky, you might try adding an extra 1/4 cup flour and see if that helps stabilize it or refrigerate it before rolling out (even though the recipe says you don’t have to – maybe it will help your cookies keep their shape). Let me know…

  37. Katie S. says:

    Mel- I’m with you.. sugar cookies all the way (of course the must be cut into cute shapes and frosted)! I have yet to master rolling the dough to the right thickness… but it helps to know that you roll it thick. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  38. Megan H. says:

    Mel….youre my hero 🙂 I cook with your recipes 80% of the time. There is a group of us here that are some of your “greatest fans.” wow, that sounds super lame, groupie-ish… But your recipes are awesomely delicious, every time, all of them! It is pretty amazing that there has not been one dud yet. I have made most of your recipes and they are all sooo good. Cant wait to try these! If you HAD to choose which sugar cookie out of the 2 would you choose?

    (oh and the pumpkin bread was THE best! And it has to be “healthy” because of the wheat flour?? right?)

  39. Veronica says:

    Chocolate chip for me but it can’t be any chocolate chip. It has to be the Nestle recipe or similar–nothing too cakey or crispy or anything but soft & chewy with crispy edges made with REAL butter. If it doesn’t have all that going on, I’d rather not have it at all! I refuse to eat them if they aren’t homemade. Forget the store-bought ones, even if they’re from the bakery! Yup, I understand being a cookie snob–lol. I will def try this recipe and I love the frosting. I’ve been meaning to try whipped cream cheese frosting and totally forgot until now!

  40. Veronica says:

    Question–do you need to keep the cookies in the fridge after frosting them? The frosting seems like it might melt if left at room temp?

    • Mel says:

      Veronica – the frosting doesn’t melt at room temperature but it definitely stays soft. Because there are a lot of dairy ingredients in the frosting, I would recommend refrigerating them after they have been frosted if you have the room in your refrigerator.

  41. Susan says:

    Can’t wait to try these! We are a nut-free house so that rules out peanut butter cookies for me…so I’d say that chocolate chip is my fave. I will have to omit the almond extract but I read above that it shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for another great recipe!

  42. Elena says:

    These look amazing. So timely. I will have to make some cute ones for Halloween.

    Hands down I’m a chocolate chip cookie girl. I love your best chocolate chip cookies!!

  43. I love my sugar cookies exactly the same way – soft, thick and tender. I’ll have to give your frosting a try. They look scrumptious.

  44. grace says:

    confession: i’m simply too lazy to make and decorate sugar cookies. isn’t that terrible?!?! we used to do it as a family every christmas, and lemme tell ya–once a year is plenty. 🙂 i love your frosting colors though–lovely!

  45. These are SO pretty, they look melt in your mouth perfect! I love the whipped frosting 🙂

  46. Sarah says:

    at what point in making the frosting do you add the color? By the way, I love this site. It is my go to for everything!!!

    • Mel says:

      Sarah – I add the coloring after the frosting is all mixed together. I separate it into the number of bowls I need and gently mix in the colors with a small whisk or spoon.

  47. Brye says:

    When you say mix the whipped cream and cream cheese together do you mean like hand mix with a wooden spoon type or beat with a mixer? I don’t want to over beat my whip cream.

    • Mel says:

      Brye – I mix it together with a hand mixer just until it is combined. You could also mix it by hand, but I haven’t had any problems whipping it really quickly for a short minute or so with a mixer.

  48. Tracey says:

    I’m not going to lie. A sugar cookie would NEVER top my list of favorite cookies. I’m a chocolate chip cookie gal for sure! However, after reviewing your recipe for these sugar cookies and frosting, I am quite tempted to give it a try:)

  49. Mandy says:

    Melanie, thanks for your reply! I did refrigerate the dough but my butter may have been a little too warm initially. The dough was very soft so I’m going to try adding a little more flour as well. This recipe is so delicious, I’m determined to get it right!

  50. Nicole says:

    I have a tried and true “grandma” recipe that we always use for sugar cookies, but I just had to try yours. SO we have a batch of each in the fridge waiting to be baked. I will let you know the kids’ verdict. 🙂

    One question. My dough for your recipe was very sticky and runny. I ended up adding about 1 1/2 cups more flour. I hope they still turn out yummy. I will admit, I have snitched some dough and grandma better watch out….if those cookies are half as good as the dough she is in trouble!!

    • Mel says:

      Nicole – let me know the verdict. I love side-by-side comparisons. As for the dough, I’m kind of surprised the dough was so sticky and runny! I even went back to the recipe and double checked I didn’t have a typo in the amount of flour since when I make this, the dough is definitely soft but still firm and rollable. Anyway, let me know how they turn out!

  51. Jennifer says:

    I made these cookies yesterday and frosted them today. They are AWESOME!!! The timing for the cooking was spot on! Thanks so much for this great recipe. I don’t think I can make any other kind of sugar cookie again, or with any other kind of frosting. Thanks!

  52. Lindy says:

    I have to say, I’ve tried many sugar cookie recipes over the years, and these are the best yet. Yesterday I had a taste test between this recipe and a Cook’s Illustrated sugar cookie. Yours won hands down! I love how easy the dough is to work with! They have great flavor and hold their shape really well. I rolled mine a little thicker that 1/4 inch and they were perfect. I’m so excited to have this recipe – thanks!!

    • Mel says:

      Lindy – whew! I’m so glad to hear this. I mean, here I claimed they were “the best” and all, and I really needed to hear someone agree with me. I love you forever.

  53. Cammee says:

    I am the biggest cookie snob around. It is one thing I never buy because I am the self professed “cookie queen” and none of those bakery cookies can compare. I know, I know, I sound snobby, but I’ve got the goods to back it up! Last week my daughter’s friend told her his pumpkin cookie recipe was better than ours. She told him to bring it on because we are the cookie family and made cookies better than anyone. We made him a batch and his mom called us begging for the recipe :). Needless to say, I get the cookie snobbery thing. ESPECIALLY sugar cookies! I have my favorite recipe and my favorite frosting, but I’m excited to give this one a shot…after all, you got me to toss aside my favorite cinnamon roll recipe!

  54. Rebekah says:

    I am so glad you posted this in time for us all to try it before we take them to all the classroom Halloween parties! They are so so great! However if I had to choose one cookie for the rest of my life it would be martian cookies. It has a combination of zucchini, semi-sweet chocolate, butterscotch morsels and pecans in a chewy cookie that has and always will be my favorite cookie!

  55. Lucy says:

    I have never been a sugar cookie lover until now. I enjoy making them a couple of times a year and decorating them with the kids, but I didn’t love eating them until I made this recipe. Both the frosting and the cookies were amazing. Flavorful, soft, delicious. I didn’t know a sugar cookie could be this good!

    • Mel says:

      Lucy – well, I’m glad that this recipe helped convert you into a sugar cookie lover. More people in my camp! Yay! Thanks for letting me know you liked this recipe.

  56. Camille says:

    Mel- is there a huge difference between imitation and pure almond extract?

    • Mel says:

      Camille – well, I don’t know the scientific properties and answer but it’s kind of like vanilla to me – I prefer pure vanilla extract for it’s, well, pure taste and the same goes for almond. I think pure almond extract is always the better option (but definitely use imitation if that is all you have). A lot boils down to what you personal preference is!

  57. […] and icing can both be found on Mel’s blog at mykitchencafe.com these were fantastic…. and i’m not a sugar cookie fan… steve and his family […]

  58. leslie says:

    mel! do you have any tips for baking at high altitudes (8000 feet)? these cookies did not turn out for me. it could be because i am a horrid baker and dont even like cookes…but it could be because of the altitude. the dough was too soft to work with so i added 1/2 cup more flour but then the dough was really stiff and the cookies tasted really dense. i didnt know that you could put the dough in the fridge…maybe i will have to try that next time because i just know these cookies will be delish. My husband does love cookies so i would like to get this right! if you happen to know any tips i would love to hear them!

    • Mel says:

      Leslie – baking at high altitudes can be tricky! The highest altitude I’ve lived and baked at was about 6400 feet. I’m sorry that these cookies did not turn out for you! I know that sometimes extra flour has to be used but I’m not sure of the exact measurements. Here is a website from King Arthur Flour (a company I completely trust!) with some recommendations on high altitude baking:
      http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/high-altitude-baking.html

  59. Amy M says:

    I don’t know what kind of magic you’re practicing in your kitchen but I like it! Because I was entertaining kids the day before Halloween I decided that decorating sugar cookies would be fun… I don’t know why I somehow thought this would be fun because EVERY time I make sugar cookies I’ve find the dough so hard to work with that I swear them off forever. Beyond the amazing bakery quality flavor this dough has it was a dream to work with. It didn’t stick to my very large cookie cutters, was easy to move from the counter to the baking tray and they didn’t spread in the oven desorting the shapes like other sugar recipes can. I’m so impressed! I did find slight spreading in some of the dough but it was the scrap dough leftover that I had re-rolled and had gotten warmer than the rest that did this. Once I chilled it again it was perfect. With this recipe I would feel confident to try more complicated docorated cookies for Christmas…like using royal icing and the “flooding” technique.

    This frosting was good but I think I like more of an icing on sugar cookies. I will say that it is super important to beat the cream stiff. I didn’t get mine stiff enough and the resulting frosting was a little too soft.

    Thanks for a great recipe!!!

    • Mel says:

      Amy M – speaking of magic, it takes just that to make sugar cookies WITH your children. That’s a feat of super-human mommy/chef strength. They are so much work! Having said that, I’m so happy this recipe came through for you and that you loved it. I’ve only experimented a couple times with royal icing and always end up going back to traditional frostings because they taste better…but you are right, these cookies would be fantastic for fancier decorations. Thanks for checking in!

  60. Nancy says:

    I’ve been testing out sugar cookie recipes on my blog trying to find that prefect, best ever sugar cookie recipe that I so want to devour. This might be the winner… if I ever get around to baking them in my holiday treat craziness. I still have Halloween treats I haven’t gotten to yet…

  61. Michelle says:

    Oh Mel,
    You’ve done it again. I’m going to be making these for my daughter’s cooking bday party on Monday along with your overnight pizza dough. I’m stoked.

    Have you ever used Almond Immulsion (sure I’m spelling it wrong). It’s a thick almond paste that I use instead of extract that is to die for. We only have one place out here in UT that I can find it at. I could bootleg you some if you wanted to try it.

    Also, for the frosting, do you use your Bosh to whip the cream cheese? I know you can’t resist using that thing. Take care!

    • Mel says:

      Michelle – I’ve never used Almond Immulsion. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never even heard of it! I’ll have to look into it or take you up on your offer to “bootleg” me some (loved that phrase in your comment). And yes, I usually do use my Bosch to whip up this frosting but I have a handy-dandy hand mixer that I use a lot, too. Either works great.

  62. Emily says:

    These are amazing! Seriously the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had! My husband’s not a big sugar cookie guy, but they converted even him! Thanks for sharing your great recipes!

  63. Lorraine says:

    Hi
    I followed your recipe and ended up with the most delicious sugar cookies ever! Thank you.

  64. Anissa says:

    Hi Mel – Have you ever tried using this dough, at room temp, in a cookie gun? I’m needing to make mass quantities of cookies for holiday gifts and think I might pass out if I have to roll and cut each cookie individually. The cookie gun is super fast and cute…
    Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Anissa – I’ve never used a cookie gun in my whole life, I must confess. So I have no idea how this dough would fare! I’m sorry I can’t help you because I’d love to help you find a good solution. I suppose it is always worth a try…although you may have good luck searching for a cookie-gun-recipe online. Good luck!

  65. Anissa says:

    Just finished making these cookies with a cookie press!

    A few tips if you want to use a cookie gun/press:
    – The lemon zest can get a little clogged in the press, so you may want to sub lemon extract. I did the zest and was able to work through it, but probably would use extract next time.
    – Bake the cookies for 4 1/2 minutes ONLY. 5 min was too long.
    – This recipe will produce close to 220 cookies with the cookie gun. Perfect for mass producing cookies for gifts.
    – Sprinkle the cookies with colored sugar BEFORE they go in the oven. That way the sugar comes out baked onto the cookie and doesn’t fall off when moving it.

    Cookie presses/guns are VERY FUN! I highly recommend people get one and give it a try. Mine is a manual one, and it worked great. No need to spend a ton of money on an electric one. 🙂

  66. Charlotte says:

    For the frosting do I need to fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture or can I just add it to the mixer and combine that way?

    • Mel says:

      Charlotte, I’ve tried gently folding the cream into the cream cheese and then just scooping it in and mixing with a mixer and the latter option works just fine. I just whip it all together until it is smooth.

  67. Tricia says:

    I made these over the weekend and love them. But what’s the best way for storing them once they’re frosted? Since the frosting doesn’t set up, do you have a hint for stacking them? I don’t have enough containers to just keep putting them in one layer…

    • Mel says:

      Tricia – if you want to stack these cookies, you’ll probably want to look for a frosting that sets up a bit firmer than the whipped cream frosting I include in the recipe. Whenever I make them, I am always stuck laying all of them out flat on my baking trays.

  68. Tricia says:

    Ok, thanks! I ended up leaving some unfrosted and brought the cookies and frosting and some sprinkles to work for people to decorate their own :o) This is a great recipe– thank you for sharing!

  69. Kensi says:

    We made these for Santa, and oh my! I am just in love with them, even without frosting! I couldn’t get enough of them, they had such a soft texture and just the right amount of sweetness. So yummy! These could possibly be my new favorite cookie! Santa ate them up too! Thank you Mel!!!!! 😀

  70. Melissa says:

    How long does it take for the whip cream in the frosting to become “stiff peaks?” I want to make sure I know when I’m there, the description sounds right but I want to know when to really look for it.

    • Mel says:

      Melissa – it depends on the speed of your mixer but I would say anywhere from three to six minutes. Take care not to overbeat or the cream will curdle and lose it’s smooth texture. Good luck!

  71. Kathy F says:

    Mel – The frosting doesn’t harden does it? How do you keep the cookies separated (at least for 1-2 days)?

    • Mel says:

      Kathy F – yes, you are right, the frosting doesn’t harden so I usually have to make sure the frosted cookies are stored in a single layer (like on large baking sheets). If you don’t have that much storing space you may want to frost with royal icing since it hardens (although I haven’t found a great royal icing recipe that tastes very good, to be honest).

  72. Haley says:

    So I will be honest – I have a sugar cookie recipe I adore (which I’d be happy to share if you’d like), but I had to try these to see how they compared…. the verdict – I liked the cookie -they were soft and moist but I’m not sure what I thought about having a lemon taste in my sugar cookie. Overall I did enjoy it… the icing however I could do without. It wasn’t sugary enough for me 🙂 I whipped up my icing for my sugar cookie recipe and finished icing them with it. My first round of cookies I rolled out lost their shape pretty easily as I was transferring them from the counter to the cookie sheet, but after I kneaded in a little more flour they kept their shape better! I think next time I try my recipe I’m going to try baking them at 400 for the 7-8 minutes to see how they turn out. It was fun to try though so thanks for sharing!

  73. Mayme says:

    This was seriously the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever tried! I’ve never been able to find a recipe where the cookie would hold it’s shape – and this was perfect!

    The frosting, though…. I dunno, it just seemed really weird on a sugar cookie… it wasn’t even the cream cheese as much as the whipped cream. I think it would be awesome though on a soft gingerbread cookie!

  74. Heather Miller says:

    I don’t know if you will get this by tomorrow but I just made a batch of these cookies for a baby shower that I am throwing tomorrow night. I had a recipe that I was going to use for the frosting but then I saw yours and it looks fabulous! I do have a question though…I am making these into fruit pizzas and I was wondering if (in your expert opinion) you think your recipe would be good as a fruit pizza base? I am putting mandarin oranges, kiwis and strawberries on them? It sounds good but as I have never tried it and you have amazing taste in food, I thought you might be able to give me your opinion?!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Heather – I think the cookies and frosting would be divine as a fruit pizza! If you haven’t already whipped up the frosting, I would add some freshly grated lemon zest or juice to the frosting to give it that quintessential sweet tanginess that is usually in a fruit pizza frosting. But if you don’t have the lemon zest/juice, I still think it would be fantastic. Let me know how it turns out. I love the idea of making mini fruit pizzas on the cookies!

  75. Danielle says:

    I was SO excited to try these, for the coming Halloween parties I’ll be baking for. However, using Calphalon non-stick baking sheets does NOT work. I even sprayed them, which only made the cookies darker on the bottom. I’m a seasoned baker, but these certainly look nothing like the picture above. 🙁 I’m trying them at a lower heat, and on different baking sheets to see if that makes a difference.

    • Mel says:

      Danielle – I use the average, dime-a-dozen rimmed baking sheets (11X17-inch) that don’t have a nonstick coating (I use either parchment paper or a silpat liner on the sheets). Sorry they didn’t work out on the darker baking sheets, I suspect the high baking temperature doesn’t work well with the dark pans.

  76. Lisa says:

    Hi Mel,

    Just found your site and can’t wait to try some of your “best” recipes like the chocolate cake and sugar cookies. I also am always on the hunt for the best sugar cookie so this one, I will try! As for all of the comments about the frosting not drying hard. I have found one on Allrecipes.com that is fantastic. It dries hard and shiny and is beautiful on sugar cookies…tastes good too! You can find it here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sugar-cookie-icing/detail.aspx . I’m sure yours is delish but I usually like to put them in a nice wrapping and give them as gifts or to my son’s class so I need to stack and store. Will be following you now!

  77. Lindsay says:

    Mel, would you recommend the frosting in this post for piping frosting on cookies? Like writing words or doing designs? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Lindsay – while this frosting is absolutely delicious, I think it is a bit too soft and luxurious for piping or writing words. I’d recommend something like the quick vanilla buttercream – that would be delicious with the cookies and easier to pipe with.

  78. brooke says:

    the elusive sugar cookie…..i don’t know what happens to me while i make them…they NEVER turn out and i was so sure these would.
    the dough was just really, really soft and sticky. my butter was coldish, i beat it to a fluff and tried rolling right after, impossible. then i refridgerated for about 20 min…still sticky…
    what altitude are you at? i want to avoid too much flour because i don’t want the cookie to be dry!.
    are some people sugar cookie impaired?

  79. Mel says:

    Brooke – I’m so sorry these didn’t work out for you! I live right around sea level. I don’t think you are sugar cookie impaired! It sounds to me like refrigerating the dough for an hour or more may help. Also, if you are measuring the flour with a light hand (spooning it into the cup and leveling versus dipping and sweeping) then you may need to add an extra 1/2 cup flour.

  80. […] Best Sugar Cookies @ Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  81. You amaze me! I cannot wait to try SO many of your recipes. This one topping the list with Christmas cookie baking around the corner! Love you, love your blog!

  82. Lorrie says:

    Made these for our new family tradition. Decorating cookies after Thanksgiving dinner dishes are done. I made three batches the weekend before and froze them. They are awesome and are now my go to recipe for sugar cookies.
    Thanks
    Lorrie

  83. Rachel Russell says:

    Fab!! My husband’s fav cookie is the sugar cookie and we will now never need another ‘google’ search for ‘best sugar cookie’ as we have FOUND IT!! THANK YOU!!!

  84. […] Recipe from melskitchencafe.com  […]

  85. Rebekah says:

    I’m not sure what I did wrong but my cookies didnt hold their shape at all! Let me say that I have never made sugar cookies before so that could be part of it 🙂 Also I used soft white wheat flour instead (freshly milled) of all purpose flour and I halved the recipe. So I know its probably something I did, just wanted your imput as to which one it was 🙂 Thanks for all the great recipes, i really love your site!!!

  86. Mel says:

    Rebekah – the main reason these cookies wouldn’t hold their shape would be not enough flour or if the dough is too warm and not “set up” enough. Was your freshly milled flour warm at all? When I grind fresh wheat flour it has a bit of warmth to it and that could definitely play into the cookies not holding their shape. Also, freshly milled flour has much more air and is less compact that storebought flour from a bag so I always add at least 1/2 cup more flour to recipes where I’m using freshly ground flour. Hope that helps a little and I hope you have better luck if you try them again!

  87. Heather says:

    I just made these cookies for Christmas Cookie Decorating day in our house and they were AMAZING!!! Perfect consistency, super moist. LOVE THEM! They will become a staple in this house. Also that frosting is DIVINE, although a little depressing knowing how fattening it is…..Still doesn’t stop me from eating it though. 😉 Also for those of you that have cookies that the bottoms burn, I would suggest using aluminum baking sheets. They are cheap and nothing out there does as good a job with cookies. My cookie bottoms never ever burn!!! Dark pans always burn cookie bottoms, at least in my past experience.

  88. jillmc says:

    Made these again today-turned out better than last year, because I rolled them thicker, (I glued 2 paint sticks together-two sets of them-and rolled the dough between parchment paper, using the sticks as a guide for the rolling pin-perfect!) and took them out of the oven before they browned at all. YUMMO! Your frosting is delish, as well! Merry Christmas!

  89. Casey says:

    I made the dough for these last night, and made just a few of them for practice. They are wonderful!! This is going to be what we use for Santa cookies this year. I did not make the icing… I love anything with cream cheese, but I’m thinking I will make one that gets hard so I can stack them. My dough was really sticky, so some of my shapes were a little distorted… do you have any suggestions to help this problem? Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!!

  90. Mel says:

    Casey – it sounds like you may need to add another 1/4 cup flour (doing so gradually) until the dough has a slightly stiffer consistency. Also, chilling the dough will help, if you have the time – that way the shapes don’t spread. Good luck!

  91. Cindy says:

    These look amazing I am giving them a whirl tomorrow 🙂

  92. Kelly says:

    So….I too have been on the hunt for a unique sugar cookie recipe. I carefully read all of the reviews especially for the frosting, and was prepared for it to be soft. When I whipped it up yesterday, though, I was surprised at how soft it was. Mine was the consistency of mayonaise. So I refrigerated it, hoping for the best. Not so much. Then I went a rechecked the recipe think I surely had mistaken the 1.5 cups of powdered sugar for 1.5 pounds, LOL. In a last ditch effort, I added more powdered sugar….about 2 cups more. I was nervous about this since I had already folded in the heavy whipping cream. To my surprise it came out wonderful, and gave me the added stability I was seeking. If I had it to do over again, I of course, would add the extra powdered sugar at the beginning. But for those who liked that taste but couldn’t handle the texture, hope this helps.

  93. J says:

    First time making sugar cookies and this recipe gets a big thumbs up from me. While mixing the dough, I found the almond extract a bit too strong for my liking but the cookies turned out really good. This batch made around 80 odd cookies, which I frosted using a simple sugar icing. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  94. Terri says:

    First, my fave cookie if I had to choose…oatmeal loaded with raisins and walnuts…Now, that being said, these cookies ARE delicious!! And the frosting…WOW!! So light and fluffy! Truly a great cookie!
    And since it’s New Years Day, I made them in the shape of a bell, to ring in the New Year….Ha, what a way to start…devouring these little babies!!
    Mel, I have to say, your blog is VERY dangerous to my waistline! So far everything I have made from this blog…my family has loved!
    And another little secret….just between the two of us…I’m a Field Editor for Taste of Home magazine, and ALWAYS go to the TOH website when I need a new recipe…Now…I come HERE!! Shhhhh…..let’s keep this between us, OK?? 😀

  95. Dallas says:

    Dearest of the Mel-Hearts… I just JUST tried your cookies last night. And guess what? You WIN! 🙂 I think this recipe takes the cake, so-to-speak. I’m making my own cookie cutters and tried these out and together they make beautiful music! Thank you very much, honey! Pause & Rejoice – Dallas

  96. Sonja Villalobos says:

    I love this recipe!!! It is my go to recipe for sugar cookies. Thank you for posting it on here and sharing it with us!!!

  97. Oh Melanie! You never let me down. I too am a sugar cookie snob…and I don’t make sugar cookies often because they’re just not worth it when they taste like flour! I’ve been making a recipe that tastes pretty good, but they are a PAIN to make. These…I love these. The dough was easy to work with, just a few minutes out of the fridge and a dusting of flour. I love the little bit of almond (some recipes just have too much!) and the lemon! They held their shape for the most part and your baking instructions were perfect! I will add these to my cookie file as my go-to sugar cookie! Thanks for yet another great recipe!

  98. Ashley says:

    OMG! I love sugar cookies! IM going to try them! I want to be a baker blogger when I grow up (IM 13) Ive been doing alot of baking things but I always forget something at the store. Turns out we didnt have ANY eggs or baking powder. So I was lucky enough to find some liquid egg whites. But I put in 8 eggs in egg whites which is 2 things of 3/4 of the egg whites. I was freaking out because all the egg whites were on the bottom and the butter and sugar were clumping at the top. Then I added only vanilla extract cause I dont know If I like the lemon zest and almond extract on mine. And added the 2 cups of flour. After that it started to look like cake batter, but at least it got thicker! And I was like “Dont worry… theres 3 more cups after that!” When I put the baking powder substitute in I used 1/3 teaspoon baking powder and 1/3 teaspoon flour. IM CROSSING MY FINGERS. FINAALLLLLY I added the last thing of flour and a little pinch for good luck and it finally and the wonderful creamy dough texture! HALLELUJAH! Hahha… How do you think it will turn out? I mean … even if you still look at the post over here! And do you have a simple frosting without whipping cream or cream cheese… cause Uhmmm…urmm.. I dont have any ^.^

  99. Kim says:

    I am new to the sugar cookie world, and have tried in the past and failed miserably. Now with your favorite sugar cookie, I have found success. The flavor of this cookie is refreshing and delightful, lemon zest, amazing! My family was very impressed with them, and my mother, who does not normally eat sweets, ate 3 of them back to back. My first time baking them was a trial run, but will be whipping up some more Thursday so I can ice Friday to get ready for baby shower on Saturday. I did have to refrigerate dough to work with…and also had to re-refrigerate between rolling and cutting and after cutting. I wanted to ensure I did not lose shape of cuts.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, you have blessed me and my family immensely!!!

  100. Casey says:

    I am now a sugar cookie snob thanks to you!! haha I made these for Christmas this past year, and swore these would be my go to recipe for sugar cookies. I volunteered to make cookies for kids to decorate at church for Easter this weekend; I have two little ones and a friend coming into town and I thought-I’ll just make a quick recipe that I found using a cake mix. Tried them out tonight and decided I will just do what it takes to make these because nothing even comes close to these!!

  101. Maryse says:

    Have you ever tried to turn this into a giant cookie cake? I have never make sugar cookies before. My family is very partial to chocolate chip cookies…. My daughter in law has requested a sugar cookie cake with cream cheese frosting for her birthday (on Sunday) and I want to try out your recipe as I have always had great success with your recipes. How would the baking time change? Would it make more than 1 cookie? Thanks.

  102. Mel says:

    Maryse – I’ve never used this dough to turn into a giant cookie cake. Sorry I can’t be of much help! I’d probably suggest lowering the heat of the oven, if you try it, though, so that the cookie bakes all the way through. I’d think it would make more like 2-3 huge cookies. Good luck!

  103. Alicia says:

    You’re recipes have yet to fail me! Exceptional cookie!

  104. […] My Kitchen Cafe – “My Favorite Sugar Cookies”2. What Megan’s Making – “Soft Sugar Cookies” 3. Bake at 350 – […]

  105. Ashley says:

    I just made these cookies Sunday night for my hubby to bring to work for the 4th! They are fantastic! My first attempt at the frosting failed miserably though (user error-not recipe) and I ended up with a runny mess. I decided to freeze it and hopefully make the best of it later. Sure enough, I tried again this morning and it’s perfect. And let me tell you, this makes a delicious fruit dip–forget frosting cookies! 😉

  106. Kyvele says:

    How do you measure the flour for the sugar cookies? I lightly spooned the flour into the measuring cups and the dough was way too sticky so I added more flour. Unfortunately the cookies turned out doughy or even bready. I’m never sure about flour measurements for cookies. I’d appreciate your input. Thanks.

  107. Kyvele says:

    just forgot to check the notify me box via e-mail

  108. Deb says:

    SOOOOO good 🙂 Made these into soccer balls for treats after my 5 year olds’ first soccer game (which they won! proud mama :)). The dough was too sticky to roll out right away after making, but firmed up nicely in the fridge. Loved the combo of almond and lemon, they were subtle but added great flavor. And the cookies were so soft, I could have eaten a ton if I wasn’t making them to give away!

  109. angie says:

    I haven’t used lemon zest before, can I use lemon juice or extract instead? I don’t even know how to zest a lemon.

  110. Mel says:

    Angie – I’ve never subbed in lemon juice or extract so I’m not sure. If you have a box grater, you can shave the outer yellow peel of the lemon on the small holes of the grater and that will get the zest for you.

  111. […] kind enough to make SOFT homemade sugar cookies with delicious icing! Here’s a recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe that we based our recipe on. They not only tasted great but looked amazing. Thank you, […]

  112. […] over beautiful frosting. I would just rather eat a sugar cookie with homemade buttercream or cream cheese frosting than with that totally-beautiful-but-not-quite-as-tasty royal icing. The problem? I rarely can […]

  113. […] over beautiful frosting. I would just rather eat a sugar cookie with homemade buttercream or cream cheese frosting than with that totally-beautiful-but-not-quite-as-tasty royal icing. The problem? I rarely can […]

  114. Terry says:

    I was wondering if the icing remains sticky? I like to make them and ship them to my out of town family. Thank You, Terry.

  115. Lisa says:

    Wow…did I write this blog post??? Like you, I am always on the hunt for the best sugar cookie recipe and have tried several. My downfall is that I make a recipe and forget to take notes about why I liked or didn’t like a recipe so every year, I make something different! I have tried one from another blog that does great decorating but I didn’t like the taste. I am always looking for one that is easy to roll (since I agree that they are A LOT of work), retains their shape AND tastes delish. I hate putting a lot of work into the dough only to have the cookies all spread into blobs. My favorite cookie is the Lofthouse Sugar Cookie and I could eat the whole container by myself over a few days but have never attempted to make those with the copycat recipes out there. I’m not a huge cream cheese fan and I like to stack my cookies so I don’t think I’d use the frosting but I’ll try this and your White Velvet Sugar Cookies. Can’t wait to bake for the holidays! Thanks for the recipes!!

  116. […] two stores looking for food coloring, and finally we made these from a recipe that I found here at melskitchencafe.com….and the beautiful thing was that thanks to her step by step instructions they not only […]

  117. Sara says:

    These look great. Do these cookies maintain the shape well during baking, or do they expand?

  118. Mel says:

    Sara – the cookie maintain their shape but they do puff a bit larger and expand. Not overly so, but just enough to make them soft and thick.

  119. sandra says:

    How long will your “favorite frosting “, the one on your sugar cookies , hold ? Do the cookies need to be in the fridge after frosting because of the whipped cream ? Thank you.

  120. Mel says:

    Sandra – if it is cool room temp, I’ll leave the frosted cookies out for up to 8 hours, otherwise I refrigerate them.

  121. Mishelle H says:

    I am getting ready to make these yummy cookies for Thanksgiving! If they are a hit (I’m sure they will be based on all the awesome comments) I want to make these for my little girl’s first birthday. Quick question, you mentioned these can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. I plan to try this, but only store them a week or so. Just wondering, what is the best way to thaw the cookies?…on a counter? refrigerator? length of time? Thanks so much!

  122. Mel says:

    Mishelle – when I thaw the cookies, I just carefully (so they don’t break) place them on the counter and they are defrosted within an hour or two (if they are in a single layer).

  123. These are delicious! Since moving to a high-altitude city I’ve struggled with flabby, over or under-cooked cookies. These came out perfect. I baked them on parchment paper, and I didn’t happen to have lemon zest or almond extract, so I just used a little extra of my Mexican vanilla extract. They are amazing!! I’m so glad I found this recipe!!
    Thanks!
    Steph
    http://www.curioussoup.blogspot.com and
    http://www.filmcriticsdaughter.blogspot.com

  124. Trish says:

    I love your blog! My husband thinks I am addicted to it. I do check it every day – but hey, your recipes make me look good. 🙂 I tried this recipe out. My favorite cookies are sugar cookies as well. I tried a litte dough – amazing! But I run into this problem every time with sugar cookies – the dough is so soft/sticky that I end up having to add quite a bit of flour as I roll/cut them. In the end the taste is nowhere near what I’m sure it could be (although they were still delicious). My cookies puff up quite a bit & don’t hold their shape very well (the circles look more like flattened biscuits when they come out). 🙂 Any suggestions?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Trish – even though this recipe says you can roll out without refrigerating, it sounds like a good chill of your dough may help. Not only will chilling make it so you can add much less flour while rolling, but the cookies will hold their shape better. Also, someone once told me they roll their cookies in powdered sugar, not flour. I don’t know if that would make them too sweet but it might help the rolling issues.

  125. Karisa says:

    I thought the frosting needed 2 cups of the powdered sugar, as it wasn’t very sweet, and I usually hate sweet frosting. Maybe I’m just not a fan of cream cheese. None of my kids liked them much. I thought all those different flavors (vanilla, almond extract, lemon) would make for a taste sensation, but in the end I felt the cookie couldn’t figure out what it wanted to be. Plus I took them to a family, and since that frosting is so whip-creamy, they don’t cover well, or travel well, and have to remain refrigerated if not eaten soon.
    Still sticking with my sugar cookie which I adore, but was glad to give something else a try. If nothing else, I learned that I am not a fan of cheese in my cookies!

  126. Sara says:

    I made these this year, the first time I’ve strayed from my great-grandmother’s recipe, and I have to say… Best. Things. Ever. I made four dozen with some corn syrup frosting, and they were gone in less than a week. There are only three of us (and 3 elves who keep eating all my sugar!). Thank you so much!

  127. Susie says:

    Dear Mel,
    I’ve never made anything of yours but I just did this sugar cookie recipe and it makes me SOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy! I love making sugar cookies with the kids and have tried different recipes but never found one that tasted good AND didn’t puff up too much or twist out of shape while cookie. So I am so happy with yours and I will never need to find a different recipe. Thank you my dear! Merry Christmas! I really feel like this is a Christmas miracle! (I know I sound like a dork, but oh well). Oh, and I put them in the fridge and then rolled them in between parchment paper so I didn’t have to even add any flour so it is such little mess when you have kids help. Yay! I’m the best mom ever!

  128. Lisa says:

    After mixing and freezing my dough, I finally baked them last night. They came out yummy but I did have some problems with the first batches. I cut about a 1/3 of the dough off, rolled in between wax paper and cut them but that batch came out like a little puffy and more like blobs. And that batch, I had a hard time peeling the cookie from the wax paper. After that, I lightly dusted the wax paper and then rolled. Better. I found the later ones that I had to work the dough a little bit and add a little bit more flour came out the best and maintained their shapes. So I’m not sure if that means I should add more flour in the mixing stage or if I’ll need to work the dough a little bit when I’m at the cutting stage. I’ve also read another blog who does beautiful cookies and she always leaves out any baking powder or baking soda. I’m afraid to try that but her cookies are so pretty. Will try again!

  129. Susie says:

    Can I say that what helped me was refrigerating it all night, then rolling it out between the parchment paper, and THEN I peeled the dough from the letters I cut out and left the letters on the parchment paper and baked them in the oven, now they are perfect and only the slightest bit puffy, so no extra flour added.

  130. Valerie says:

    Santa loved these cookies. I left out the lemon – but he (and the family) loved them anyway.

  131. Jessica Bybee says:

    Can I substitute the butter with Crisco butter flavored? I need to make sugar cookies for preschool and they have to be dairy free.
    Thanks!!! Love your website!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jessica – I never use shortening in my cookies because I don’t like the after-taste so I haven’t tried it but if you are working around food allergies, then I definitely think it’s worth trying. I think it should work just fine with minimal other changes needed.

  132. Yvette says:

    I made these for Valentine’s Day this year and they were fabulous!! Thanks so much for your website. I use it all the time and look forward to your posts.

  133. Amanda says:

    Well, sadly my cookies didn’t hold their shape either… The dough was fine when I was first rolling it out, but it got soft really quickly so balled it up and chilled it. They still lost their shape. Next time maybe a bit more flour?
    No matter what they LOOK like, they taste delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  134. Debbie says:

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter for the cookie dough?

  135. Melanie says:

    Hi. I am looking forward to trying this recipe this week, but I’m wondering if you used salted or unsalted butter for the cookie dough? Thanks!

  136. Melanie says:

    Wow. Nevermind. For some reason, I didn’t see the comment from yesterday! You can just delete that!

  137. ShaNae says:

    Hi, can the lemon zest be left out? I am allergic to lemons and all citrus.

    Thanks so much, ShaNae

  138. lisa g. says:

    Hi Mel, I have an important Q…most sugar cookie recipes state to get the dough cold in the fridge before rolling. Your recipe does not say to do this. Do I need to? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Lisa, I’m usually too impatient to chill the dough so I don’t but other commenters have said this worked out better for them if they chilled the dough first.

  139. Joelle says:

    Just a tip…..I normally use flour to roll the dough out on, but this time I thought I would try powdered sugar, and my cookies were A LOT harder to scrape off my pan (even though it was sprayed with cooking spray). I even ruined my whole first batch cuz right when I took them out I had to run to get my waking baby and came back to them completely stuck to the pan and had to scrape them all off in a crumbled mess. I switched to flour for the remainder of the dough, and it was MUCH better. delicious cookies!

  140. Mammacani says:

    First off, I want to tell you that when it comes to my weekly planning of meals this is the first place I go. I’ve NEVER been disappointed. With that being said, I know you said that the almond extract can be omitted, but can it be replaced with vanilla extract instead? You’re awesome Mel! Keep the recipes coming!!!

  141. Jennifer says:

    We made these today and again, you do not disappoint with your recipes! Best sugar cookie ever, and super easy! The dough rolled out beautifully and I made the icing and had to try some with the cookie… Amazing. The kids will decorate the cookies tonight with the icing, they don’t like the royal icing so I’m always looking for a better icing recipe, they will love this one! Thanks again, you Rock!

  142. Laurie says:

    Help!!! What happens if you forget to put in the baking powder? Any way to add it once the dough has already been refrigerated? Thanks a ton!

    • Mel says:

      Laurie – hmm, that’s a good question. I suppose you could try one of two things: baking them as is to see how they turn out (my guess is they will be a bit flatter and more dense) or try letting the dough come to room temperature and kneading in the baking powder to the dough and refrigerating again. Good luck!

  143. Rachel says:

    I’m so bummed! The cookies just didn’t have much flavor and the frosting never came close to hardening. You mention 3 sticks of butter as well as 1 1/2 cups of butter, these are different measurements. Alot of work for a fail.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Rachel, I’m sorry you weren’t impressed with these cookies – a few points of clarification, though, 3 sticks of butter actually does equal 1 1/2 cups so either measurement can be used interchangeably. Also, the whipped cream cheese frosting will stay soft; it isn’t a royal icing that will harden at all. I don’t like the flavor of royal icing and so I prefer this creamy, whipped frosting – if you want a stackable, frosted cookie, you’ll want to use a royal icing that hardens.

  144. Rachel Russell says:

    FAB as always!! Made these with kids and were PERFECT! Love love love how soft they are- very thankful husband also as sugar cookies are his fav- and these were off the charts perfect. THANK YOU!! best. sugar. cookies. ever.

  145. Tricia says:

    Mel- I made these cookies yesterday. They taste great but they are fragile & break easily. Sorry, but I think I will stick to my recipe for sugar cookies. The dough is wonderful to work & holds up when frosting without crumbling.

  146. Adrienne says:

    Just made these cookies for Valentine’s Day with my 2 1/2 year old daughter and they are a-mazing! Never had batter this easy to work with and the taste is fabulous. Mel, you are my go-to for getting great tasting recipes right the first time! Thanks for all you do.

  147. Gen says:

    Hi Mel, thank you for posting this great recipe! Valentine’s Day is Friday and my 5th grade daughter’s teacher requested sugar cookies. I reluctantly volunteered, knowing that I have miserable luck with sugar cookie recipes. I decided to check your site and I gave this recipe a trial run last night, making a half batch.

    I’m so glad I did! The dough was easy to work with, the cookies did NOT lose their shape at all, and they tasted great. Instead of using your frosting, I new I’d be sending these in and wanted to be able to stack them. So I used a crusting vanilla buttercream recipe. They are perfect. Exactly what I was looking for. The next day, they were even better. It’s like the frosting melded to the surface and became one with the cookie. So good! Can’t wait to share this recipe with my other “sugar cookie challenged” friends. 🙂

  148. Sujoomama says:

    Hi Mel!!! I loved these cookies! I made them last night for a Valentine’s day party at school. The lemon zest made them taste so bright and fresh, and the almond extract wasn’t overwhelming at all (I may have to add more next time!). 🙂 They didn’t spread and they held a wonderful shape! I did have to pay attention to the baking time as 7 minutes was too long for my oven, so I did as you said and reduced the times by 30 seconds each time. DH loved them too (which is a lot to say, since he isn’t a big ‘dessert’ person).

    Anyway, I wanted to post here, in case people like me were novice bakers and your answer may help someone else too..it is regarding the frosting. So first time in my life….I whipped cream. Never, ever did it before, so I was pretty nervous. I didn’t want to overwhip it (if that is even possible), so I stopped when it looked like it was thickened. (I think I read somewhere up there in the comments that the cream can break if you overwhip..is that right?) I don’t think I did it until I got stiff peaks!? ?? Anyways, after making it and folding it into the cream cheese/sugar mixture, it tasted kind of ‘milky/creamy’, (the whole frosting) so I’m guessing I didn’t whip it enough and maybe was too scared to even mix it properly. Is my guess right? Is there anything I can do to it now, or is it too late, since I already mixed it with the sugar and creamcheese mix? Is it okay to mix it well with the cheese/sugar mix, or do I have to just fold it in? Also, is it possible for you (in your spare time…I know, what’s that? LOL), to do a little tutorial on whipping cream? Maybe a video!!! ????

    Thank you ahead of time, a million times over, for all that you do to help us out here in the world! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hey Miss Sujoo – long time, no see. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the cookies! I made them yesterday too. Ok, about the frosting, I’m sorry it took me a day or so to get back with you because yes, you can go ahead and whip the frosting again even once the whipped cream has been added to the sugar and other ingredients. In fact, many times, I don’t whip the cream separately, I pour it into the whipped sugar/cream cheese mixture and blend it for 4-5 minutes until it is thick and fluffy. Were you able to make it work? I’m kind of a cheater, too, because when I am just whipping cream on its own, I usually use my Blendtec blender. It sounds like you probably needed a bit more whipping time with the cream but all is not lost – you should be able to whip that frosting right back into creamy, fluffiness.

      • Darcine says:

        How long and at what setting do you whip cream in a Blendtec?

        • Mel says:

          I use speed 1 or 2 and the time really depends on how much cream I’m using – a minute or two (I give it a few good stirs during the process, turning off the blender before doing so, to get the runny cream up from the bottom).

  149. Larissa says:

    These look great!, I love sugar cookies. I was wondering if they freeze well with that frosting? If you froze them in a single layer before you stacked them would they still smudge?

  150. Chris says:

    Really good compared to my other recipe I have been using which make dense flat hard cookies, that I am now embarrassed to say I used to make. These really were light, moist, soft but kept their shape and hardly spread much at all.

    Right! now this is the weird part and we can never blame Mel for her recipe for any disaster to this recipe as (like in her testings) different factors produce different results. I did two batches with the exact same ingredients (one had almond essence left out as daughter didn’t like it and was worried about nut allergys in her class even though I pointed out most cheap almond extract is made with peach kernels not nuts)

    My first I did by hand as was at 5am and the butter slightly colder, curdled with the egg!!! The flour brought it together fine and I just rolled right away, cut shapes then baked. Delic but 1/2 tsp was still strong so make sure you like marzipan flavor.

    Next batch made about 10am with same stuff was so overly greasy it was difficult to work and I added loads more flour in the end (my hands were all buttery) but the butter was still only room temp so must have warmed up more. You experiment was spot on!!
    dough kept sticking to roller in small parts even when sugared or floured.

    Anyway still made a great cookie and kids loved them. Looked fantastic and tasted great (though not a huge cookie fan) Loved the lemon with the vanilla on second batch more.

    Just a tip which you may have put out before, I roll in cling film to desired height and then fridge for brief time before cutting, saves over adding more flour or sugar.

    thanks again

  151. Amy says:

    Thank you for the recipe. I made these with my 8 y.o. daughter and although I loved the frosting and think it would be great on carrot, pumpkin, or banana cake, I thought it was not sweet enough for these sugar cookies. And I also found out, as others have mentioned, it does not harden so we just frost the cookies as we eat them.

  152. Bri says:

    OK Mel, I’m giving these a try tomorrow. My son has been begging to make sugar cookies for a while now. Since my GF days are on sabbatical for some time (think nausea and severe sugar cravings) I was finally convinced (easily I might add) to make them tomorrow. I sure hope I love them. I’m not a huge fan of almond extract, but I am trusting you on this!

  153. Amy says:

    Mel, we need to talk. I’ve been following your blog for years and have loved everything I’ve made, but until today, I’ve stuck with my MIL’s recipe for sugar cookies. Today I was out of sour cream, so naturally I turned to your recipe next. These were SO good, I may have downed four without hesitation – honestly, I lost count. Only problem, how am I going to explain to my mother-in-law why I’m not using her recipe anymore?

  154. Kira says:

    Well, I have probably already commented somewhere on here, but have to say I have made these several times and they are perfect every single time. I love this recipe. They hold their shape so perfectly-puff up so beautifully, and are so delicious. a no fail sugar cookie! I cut out letters last time, which I was sure would end up looking like blobs after cooking, but even they came out perfectly! Thanks- as always.

  155. Jerry says:

    I have a dumb question.

    I’m reading your recipe on sugar cookie frosting. The one with cream cheese and whipped cream in it. Do the cookies have to be refrigerated after using the cream cheese and whipped cream in the frosting? Can they be stored on the counter?

    I usually make a big batch and freeze them for later. I don’t like to use the frosting with lard, that’s way to unhealthy.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jerry – I store these in the refrigerator if I’m not serving them right away but if they are going to be served within 4-8 hours and your kitchen is at a pretty cool temp (not overly hot), they’ll be fine out on the counter. Hope that helps!

  156. Carrie says:

    First off, I’m a big fan. Ive tried lots of your recipes with complete success and satisfaction. I tried this recipe the other day, as I wanted to inaugurate my new Kitchenaid mixer and make sugar cookies with my young daughter. I didn’t want to make a big batch, so I halved the recipe. I still measured carefully and only left out the almond extract as i didnt have any. Like other comments, I found this recipe was far too difficult to work with. I chilled my dough, then rolled it out thick. But the dough was so sticky I couldn’t use my cute cutters. It was a mess. I was adding flour as I worked the dough, flouring the cutters, etc. Nothing worked. I ended up doing most of it myself because it wasn’t firm enough. Didnt even make it to the frosting step. Do you think halving the recipe could’ve been the difference? I may try again if you think that was my blunder. It’s saving grace is that the cookies do taste great. Didn’t hold their shape as much as I’d like, but softer than most sugar cookies. Considering going back to my grandma’s recipe, but would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure, Carrie, to be honest. It’s a little baffling to me that the dough is hard to work with for people because I make this recipe monthly, at least, and it’s never given me problems. I suppose halving the dough could make a difference. It’s on my to-do list to add weight measurements to the recipe so it’s more exact – I’ll try to do that soon.

  157. shana says:

    Mel, I’m a die hard fan! Love all your stuff and you are my go to gal for any type of recipe!! Im from Utah, and you strike me as a good person thats possibly LDS?? I say that because you just seem like a really good, kind, christian woman. 🙂
    Anyways, I enjoy your writing and your recipes even more! I also love your sugar cookies, but I also wanted to share a variation of sugar cookie with you!! It has almond extract in the dough and frosting and its oh so good! Its a fun change up from the original. Here’s the link: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/thick-sugar-cookies.
    Keep up the good work! Thanks for finding yummy recipes for all of us!
    Shana Mortenson
    [email protected]

  158. Sara K. says:

    Help! My dough was soooo sticky I couldn’t roll or peel it off the powdered surface. Ideas? Could my butter have been too warm? Thanks

  159. rebecca says:

    thanks for another wonderful recipe, mel! i made 200+ heart-shaped cookies for a valentine’s day party i hosted, and they were perfect. i’d never tried using powdered sugar to powder the rolling surface, and i really liked that tip. i had a lot of success popping dough in the freezer for 10 minutes before rolling the dough out each time. i used a classic buttercream frosting with these, and the combination was delicious! just so you know, if you were to write a book, i would buy copies for everyone in my family–thanks for what you do.

  160. Nancy says:

    The dough turned out too sticky, but I’m afraid of adding more dough because I don’t want it to be chalky. It’s currently in the fridge, what do you think I should do?

  161. Leslie says:

    Hi! I love your site!! I was wondering if I used a scoop like normal cookies, instead of rolling them out into shapes, would they cook through? Would you recommend lowering the temp? TIA!

    • Mel says:

      Great question, Leslie – unfortunately I’ve never tried doing that with these cookies but the dough is on the softer end so it probably could be scooped and baked. I would probably lower the temp to the classic 350 and see how it goes.

  162. Jennifer says:

    These turns out well for me and held their shape; I think the key here is to not overly soften the butter (it needs to be just ever so slightly firm), and also making the cookies small (about 2 or 2.5 inches in diameter) helps cook them quickly so that they don’t spread. Also, I chilled the dough while the oven preheated and in between batches. I wish I could post a picture, they look so nice and are super soft when cooked for only 5 min in my oven.

  163. Jessica says:

    So I tried your recipe, I did everything step by step, I didn’t miss a single thing!!!! Honestly!!! But mine look NOTHING like your cookies in the pictures; the dough was too sticky to roll out and cut shapes from it, I ended up having to do drop cookies and spreading the dough out a little to give them shape. They came out puffy like biscuits, BUT they were delicious and super soft almost like the sponge cake of cookies, they were soft and chewy and puffy, not flat hahaha.

  164. Lynn says:

    These cookies taste great but the dough was way to sticky to do cut outs. 🙁

    • Mel says:

      You might try adding a little more flour, Lynn. I’ve made these countless times (it’s my go-to rolled sugar cookie recipe) and they aren’t too sticky but it might be a difference in how we measure flour.

  165. Megan Parr says:

    I made these for my daughter’s birthday party yesterday- and the frosting too. OH MY HEAVENS. My long search for the best sugar cookie recipe and frosting is over. These are hands down THE BEST. Thank you!!!! Delicious! We can’t stop eating them….

    • Megan Parr says:

      Oh- and i”m glad I made these in October, because I get to look forward to having a reason to make them AGAIN in December!!

      • Megan Parr says:

        Okay one more- I had frozen bunch of the cookies to use at Christmas time, but we will have them finished off by this afternoon. There’s no keeping these for later. Sincerely, a sugar cookie and Mel’s Kitchen addict

  166. Sheri says:

    I live at an elevation of 7200 feet. Do I need to make any adjustments? Thanks!!!!

  167. Hyeyoung says:

    I am glad I came across this wonderful blog and thanks to you. I do have a question about the amount of flour for this recipe. It says 5 cups (25 ounces) all-purpose flour but shouldn’t 5 cups be 36 ounces since 1 cup=8 ounces? I tend to go for weighing the ingredients and got a little confused. Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      I measure 5 ounces per cup of flour so the total is 25 ounces of flour. The eight ounces you are thinking of is fluid ounces (1 cup = 8 fluid ounces). Does that help?

  168. Cindy says:

    I loved the lemon and almond flavoring in the cookies. However, the frosting was too “whippy” for me. I like a good sweet frosting on my cookies and the frosting I made seemed better suited for a pie. It was honestly the first recipe of yours that I’ve tried and didn’t like.

  169. Kensey says:

    I really wanted these to work, but they were just not firm enough. I tried being heavy-handed with the flour and made sure to put in the fridge over night. At first I thought they might work, but after rolling out just one batch the dough was getting soft. They held their shape well enough that I think I can still give them out to the teachers (made them to go with teacher gifts), but they most definitely spread while baking. I was able to roll and cut about 4 before i had to put the dough back in the fridge.

  170. Beth says:

    I’ve been making this recipe for 4 years now, I love it!!!

  171. rachel says:

    Hey this is my go to sugar cookie recipe now for a couple of years. I’m going out on a limb here… but have you ever experimented with subsituting some of the sugar for Jello packets? My mom has this tradition that I loved growing up of making pink jello heart shaped sugar cookies for vday…it’s not vday without those little babies! I like her recipe and all but it calls for shortening so I’m trying to find an alternative. I know you aren’t a huge jello fan, I just thought I’d ask you because everytime I make something that isn’t one of your recipes my husband complains.

  172. Aimee says:

    Made these at Christmas with a crusting buttercream so they could be stacked. Mel, they were perfection!! Shapes were sharp, cookies soft and delicious. My 16 year old begged me to make cut outs, and I cringed. So much work in such a busy season…but I did it and we set them out with frosting and sprinkles on Christmas Eve and created a new tradition! Everyone helped decorate … which was great for me because I could continue cooking our meal! On this subject, my Christmas menus were all mostly Mel! Fruit soup…yowza! And the fluffy cranberry salad…divine! I just find your recipes to be perfect for serving family and guests alike. And your blogging style just works for me. So uncluttered and substantive. Thank you for blogging and for making an often grueling chore more pleasant. Yours is the only blog I read regularly and the only one to which I subscribe! Oh, and I do share with all who will listen. Best to you and your darling family!!

  173. Shikha Machhar says:

    Hi!
    You had mentioned that you baked these cookies with the vinegar+baking soda+water egg substitute. I would like to use that substitute. Could you tell me at what stage of the recipe should I add the mix specifically? I usually chill the dough for a couple of hours before baking the cookies. Is it ok to do that even with this substitute in the dough?

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