You won’t believe it, but these are the BEST, FOOLPROOF NO-CHILL CUT-OUT SUGAR COOKIES EVER. Like, ever ever. No dough chilling required, made in minutes and yields the most perfect cut-out cookies with a sweet vanilla flavor. Plus, my royal icing glaze recipe is the best!
There is no other Christmas cookie more perfect than the sugar cookie.
Quintessential, classic, straight-forward, yet never deemed “plain” – it is beautiful and revered in its simplicity. Most other cookies need accouterments or bells & whistles in order to get people’s attention, but sugar cookies always have mine, and I’m here to share with you this amazing recipe for these sugar cookies!
A long time ago, I had a bone to pick with sugar cookie recipes. I always found that they never did as the recipe promised – meaning, I’d spend a ton of time meticulously cutting them out with cookie cutters just so, only to have them balloon and bloat in shape upon finishing their time in the oven. What was once a crisp, defined gingerbread man became a bloated, indistinguishable mass that may taste good, but presentation-wise lacked immensely. Let’s just say it was a cookie I was not too keen on presenting to Santa.
To add insult to injury, royal icing – the predominantly preferred icing for sugar cookies – is such a finicky little brat. Yeah, I called icing a brat because it is! Unless you have all the time in the world, in which case – what’s your secret, you sorceress? – most of us don’t have the time, energy, skill-set or patience to pipe out a royal icing border, wait for it to dry, then flood the cookies with another icing, wait for it to dry, and then decorate. That’s two types of icing consistencies that you have to maintain during the decorating process which you should probably start now if you want your cookies looking gorgeous for Christmas in 30 days, PLUS the decorating to transform a peasant gingerbread man into a regal, austere gentleman.
No shade to those gorgeous cookies or those artistes who make them, but that’s so not my jam. Believe me, I get lost watching the time lapse videos of people decorating those stunning cookies all the time, but for every day life? For a bustling, super busy Christmas season? Yeah, I can’t even, nor do I want to!
These Foolproof No-Chill Sugar Cookies are my answer to all those predicaments. The recipe is designed to not only produce an amazingly goof-proof cookie, but a delicious one, too! (Sometimes those gorgeous cookies are seriously lacking in the flavor department. How good is it if it looks like a piece of art but tastes like cardboard?). There is NO chill time (hallelujah!) AND the recipe produces awesome cut-outs if that’s the route you choose to take.
A note about cut-outs: I find that the smaller the cookie cutter, generally the clearer and more defined cut-out cookies you’ll get. If you start getting crazy with huge cookie cutters, chances are there will be some spreading. Why? Because the larger the cookies, the longer it takes to bake them… and the longer they’re in the oven, the hotter they’ll get and therefore, the likelihood of spreading increases. I’m not saying you have to make only mini-size cookies, but just keep in mind when selecting your cookie cutter that size can make a difference!
And because no self-respecting sugar cookie is complete without an icing, my foolproof royal icing “glaze” is a real winner! Instead of whipping, beating, using raw egg whites, or any of that nonsense, this glaze is only 4 ingredients, tastes great and sets FAST which is perfect for packing, storing, or stacking cookies. The best method for this glaze is to dip the face of the cookie into the glaze and allow excess to drip off. You could try piping it but it will not have a clear border like traditional royal icing does. This is definitely more of a glaze consistency than a stiff icing.
These sugar cookies have a crispy outer edge but a softer interior, pack well and taste amazing with hints of lemon and vanilla. You MUST make this recipe for the holidays!
*adapted from my book, Out of the Box Holiday Baking
Foolproof and PERFECT No-Chill Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- FOR THE COOKIES:
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter softened
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of one small lemon OR you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in place of lemon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ROYAL ICING GLAZE:
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract if using
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- Liquid or gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and confectioners' sugar together with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the egg, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed, followed by the vanilla extract and lemon zest (or almond extract, if using), beating well. Lastly, add in the baking powder, salt, and flour and mix on low speed until a soft dough has formed and everything is incorporated.
- On a clean, flat work surface, add some confectioners' sugar - about a Tablespoon or two. (I like using confectioners' sugar to roll out dough over flour because it doesn't leave a floury taste, however, flour may be used). Add half of the dough and roll out with a rolling pin until it reaches about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Using your favorite cookie cutters, begin cutting shapes out of the dough and place 1" apart (2" apart if using larger cutters) on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes for miniature cookies, 10-12 minutes for larger cookies, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even baking for both pans. Cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Repeat recipe with remaining dough until all the cookies are baked.
- For the royal icing glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the warm water, corn syrup, vanilla extract and confectioners' sugar until a smooth glaze comes together. It should be thick but still pourable. If desired, divide the glaze among smaller bowls and tint each bowl a different color.
- For the most low-maintenance cookie ever, dunk the top side of the cookie face-down into the glaze, allowing excess to drip off. Return to the wire rack and leave plain or top with sprinkles, as I recommend. Allow the glaze to set completely - about 20 minutes - before stacking, packing or serving.
Remember, this recipe makes anywhere from 24 bigger cookies to 48 mini ones, so be prepared to double up if needed! Just watch the size of your cookie cutters and you’ll have perfect cut-outs in no time.
Have a super sweet day!
Loved that you don’t have to chill this dough! The dough rolls out beautifully and cookies taste so yummy! I just sprinkled on colored sugar before baking for a simple decoration and the cookies looked so cute! Reminded me of cookies my mom would buy during the holidays!
LiAnn, so happy you enjoyed this cookie recipe!
Can I save some of the dough for cutouts in a few days after making it?
Hi Adrienne, you could probably freeze the dough!
THIS! This is my new all time favorite cookie. And let’s face it, I like cookies. Super easy. Perfect texture- crispy not crumbly, a smidgen softer in the center. And the royal icing glaze, is magic! Thank you!
Robyn, I am so glad you enjoyed!
Hey great recipe but do you have alternate for egg??
Hi Samita, I do not as I am not familiar with egg substitutes.
After 40 years of making the “chilled” dough kind of Christmas cookie, I’m looking forward to trying your recipe!!!!
Made these cookies and they lasted two days until everyone ate them up! I loved the icing it made the cookies look store bought!
I have never made this kind of cookie before and I was nervous about rolling out dough but it was so easy! It was great not to need to chill the dough since I have an impatient 4 year old. AND the cookies are so delicious and buttery, everything you want in a sugar cookie.
Easy and so delicious! Can’t stop eating them.
Thanks Amanda S.!
I made these today and they are delicious and so easy! Truly kept their shape and the icing a sprinkles made them look great! Thank you!
My sixteen year old daughter made these for a family cookie contest and won! They were great and this will definitely be our go-to sugar cookie cut out recipe!
Woo, so glad she won, Jen!!
I’m a pretty good baker but my cut outs are always a fiasco. Not these!!! Not only do they look great but they taste amazing! Thank you so much for this great recipe, can’t wait to glaze them tomorrow.
Nicole, so glad you enjoyed!
what thickness do you roll your dough to ? my little cookies burnt at 400° at 6mins, and the big ones at 10 mins still had browned edges 🙁
Hi Kecia, I usually do 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. If they are too thin they will cook and brown faster. Did you also rotate your pans halfway through baking time to ensure they browned and cooked evenly?
Arielle T. says
I have never had so much success making cut out sugar cookies! They are so easy to make, delicious, and look so pretty with the frosting. A huge hit that I will definitely make again!
Love love this recipe !!! I am a newbie when it comes to baking and it was so easy to follow! Cookies tasted delicioussss!!!! Can’t describe it ! So perfectly toasted and the flavor was like Woww! I was craving Christmas Cookies and voila! This the best recipe ever !
My 7 year old had so much fun to cut allll the cookies in diferente shapes and also to dip in alll the cookies inside the glazed. My family enjoyed them.
Definitely I will do this recipe every Christmas year with my daughter!
I will start a new tradition at home! 🙂
Isela, so so glad you enjoyed this recipe and had fun making the cookies with your 7 year old! Merry Christmas!
I made these cookies with my niece and she wanted to take them all home so I had to make another batch the next day to keep for myself. Easy and delicious ?
I made these cookies the other day. They were so easy and tasted delicious! I had many compliments on them. I love the icing recipe. The easiest recipe ever! Thanks for sharing this recipe. It will be my go to sugar cookie recipe from now on.
I make sugar cookies every year as part of my holiday baking, and every year I struggle. For some reason they never turn out properly. The dough is too hard or too soft, spreads too much in the oven or I’m exhausted making a crazy quantity. I tried this recipe yesterday and the cookies turned out AMAZING! Easy to follow steps, bakes perfectly and tastes delicious. And the glaze was easy as well. Thank you!!!
Made a double batch, as I intended to take some to work to share… The next day, I was called and told I had to quarantine for two weeks because I was potentially exposed. All that to say, my partner and I are still working through the double batch a week and a half later, and they’re still AMAZING. They keep beautifully if they’re in an air-tight container!
Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I had just enough icing sugar left in the house to make both the cookies and one batch of icing. I had trouble making kid-friendly dough earlier for cookie cutters and knew when yours said no chill that it should work. My kids had a blast making and decorating cookies and they tasted so good.
Sheyla Dzambic says
Awesome cookie recipe! They were delicious 🙂
Amazing recipe. I have made these twice now and it just tastes better everytime.
Can I do the prep a night before to bake in the morning? I need to make a large batch and I dont want to be up too early in the morning.
Hi there! I personally have not tried freezing the dough, but I think it should work! Just let it come to room temperature before rolling and cutting into shapes. Alternatively, you could make and cut the dough, bake the shapes and then freeze the baked cookies and wait to ice/glaze the next day!
This was a super easy recipe and very good!
The absolute best sugar cookies! So soft and delicious and so easy!! Making them for the third time right now! Thank you!
Kimberly Green says
What can be used in place of corn syrup?
Hi Kimberly, agave nectar, golden syrup or honey can be used as a substitute in this instance.
Finished the dough and two batches. Have last batch about to go in.
Very easy to roll and handle. Not sticky or anything. I did the double parchment paper to avoid using the sugar or flour. I do feel there was some expanding of the dough in the oven though, but I never used any recipe that isn’t prone to expanding. Very minimal, and on the thicker ones.
About to start the glaze which looks easy. Always make Christmas cookies but never garnish them as too much drama. Excited to try the glaze.
Thanks, Hayley! These are perfect!
Great recipe! The hardest thing was finding the small Christmas cookie cutters!
Do you think I could use agave syrup instead of corn syrup in the glaze?
Hi Peter, I have not tried using agave, but it should work.
I made these cookies and glaze this weekend in hearts for Valentine’s Day. The cookies had the best flavor and the glaze is so easy and tasty. This recipe is a winner and one I’ll definitely be making for every holiday going forward. Thanks for sharing. 🙂