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Sugar cookies in cooling rack
4.7 from 23 votes

Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe (with Icing!)

This is, without a doubt, the easiest and most delicious Sugar Cookie Recipe. This simple recipe makes versatile vanilla sugar cookie dough that is easy to roll and holds its shape while baked, giving you sharp, beautiful, defined edges perfect for decorating with your favorite homemade or storebought frosting. In this post, you'll learn How to Make Sugar Cookies for all your holiday baking needs.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Chill Time2 hrs
Total Time27 mins
Servings: 48 cookies
Calories: 166kcal

Ingredients

For the Cookies:

For the Icing:

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • ½ cup room temperature water start with less, add more as needed
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Cookies. Roll then Chill (recommended method)

  • Make the Dough. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, on low speed, until just combined. Beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. On low speed, carefully add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and beat until just combined.
  • Roll the dough. Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper, leaving enough excess parchment paper on both sides, and roll it out to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness with a rolling pin (I leave an overhang of parchment paper on one end which hangs off the counter. I keep it in place with my hip). 
  • Chill the rolled dough. Refrigerate your cookie dough. The best way to do this is to roll out a few slabs of cookie dough, each between their own sheets of parchment paper and carefully stack each on top of each other. Transfer the stacked slabs of dough to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2-4 hours.
  • Cut out the cookies. When ready to cut out your cookies, remove a slab or pre-rolled and chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Transfer to a flat surface. Flour your cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes and leave the shapes on the paper! Simply peel away the extra dough (and save to re-roll). Transfer the entire piece of parchment paper with the cut-out shapes on to a baking sheet.
  • Bake. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Transfer cookies to preheated oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden (not brown!) Remove from the oven and carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Cookies. Chill then Roll

  • Make the Dough. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, on low speed, until just combined. Beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. On low speed, carefully add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and beat until just combined.
  • Chill the dough. Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Roll the dough. When ready to roll, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grab a couple of baking sheets, parchment paper, additional flour, desired cookie cutters, and rolling pin. There are a couple ways to roll out your cookies- on a floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper.
  • To roll out on a floured surface- sprinkle flour over a large, clean working area and on your rolling pin. Roll out the dough. You will also need to dust the top of your dough will flour (careful! don't add too much extra flour!) Roll until the dough is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Flour the cookie cutter and cut out your shapes. Carefully transfer cutouts to un-greased cookie sheets. Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 6-8 minutes or until edges are just golden (not brown!).
  • To roll between parchment paper- Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper, leaving enough excess parchment paper on both sides, and roll it out to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (I leave an overhang of parchment paper on one end which hangs off the counter. I keep it in place with my hip). Once desired thickness is reached, flour your cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes and leave the shapes on the paper! Simply peel away the extra dough. Transfer the entire piece of parchment paper with the cut-out shapes on to a baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.
  • Cool and decorate. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

For the Icing

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, salt and 1/4 cup of water. Your icing will probably be far too thick, or still powdery. To test if your icing is ready, allow the icing to run off the end of whisk and into the bowl. It's ready when the line of icing holds on the surface for 2-3 seconds before being reabsorbed back into the icing. If it is too thick, slowly add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until consistency is reached. If too much water is added, simply add more confectioners' sugar and whisk to combine.
  • If making different colors, divide icing between bowls, adding 1-2 drops of liquid or gel food coloring to each bowl.

Notes

  • I decorated these cookies with a Wilton No. 5 Tip and a popsicle stick. 
  • Always try to cut your cookies as close together as possible to get as many cookies from each “roll” as possible. 
  • Don’t waste the scraps. Save the remaining dough and re-roll. This is, once again, best done between two sheets of parchment paper as it prevents the cookies from becoming dense and heavy from too much added flour.
  • For softer cookies, slightly undercook and roll them so that they are approximately 1/4-1/2 inch (shown in the images).
  • Will this recipe work for any cookie cutter? Yes! Absolutely. From stars to hearts, trees to puppies, all shapes love this dough recipe.
  • Can I flavor my sugar cookie dough with flavor extracts? Yes! Popular extracts like almond, lemon, maple, and peppermint are all delicious added to this recipe. Skip the vanilla and add one of these extracts in its place.
Originally published December 2016 and updated in December 2018.

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 195IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.7mg
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