Classic Cut-out Sugar Cookies

December 17, 2018(updated on August 30, 2021)

I know that most of you probably already has a favorite Christmas cut-out cookie, but on the off-chance you’re shopping for a new recipe, let me nominate this one. It’s the sugar cookie I’ve been making for the entirety of my life. It’s a resilient dough. It can be made well in advance. And if it’s well-chilled, it rolls beautifully and the scraps can be re-rolled at least twice.

There have been times when I’ve separated the dough into chunks and dyed portions of it red and green to make it more festive. I’ve iced them, decorated them with sprinkles, and tucked red hot candies into them. I made these cookies with every kid I ever babysat and my nephews expect me to make them with them every Christmas. My husband is also a big fan.

Perhaps they will become your cookie too.

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Classic Cut-out Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well-combined. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Don't beat this mixture too much, as you don't want to aerate the dough.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the wet ingredients. Stir just until combined.
  • Form dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 72.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Divide dough into four pieces. Sprinkle your board with flour and roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with your favorite cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until cookies are set but not too browned.
  • Let cookies cool on sheet for 1 minute, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

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