How to Make Sugar Cookies

Make classic sugar cookies for the holidays with these easy steps.

Related To:

Sugar Cookies 101

These buttery sugar cookies from Food Network Kitchens are fun-shaped and festively decorated for the holidays.

Get the Recipe: Sugar Cookies


For the cookie batter, you will need 1 large egg; 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract; 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened; 1/2 cup granulated sugar; 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar; 1/4 teaspoon fine salt; and 2 cups all-purpose flour. For decorating, you will need 1 cup confectioners' sugar; 1 tablespoon milk and food coloring.

Combine Ingredients

Whisk the egg and vanilla in a small bowl, then set aside. With a hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, add both sugars and continue beating until light, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl again, if needed, then add the egg mixture, beating for about 1 minute. Sift the salt with the flour. Reduce the mixer to a low speed and then add the flour mixture, mixing just until blended. Turn the dough out of the bowl.

Flatten the Dough

Divide the dough in half and place each half between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment or waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a disk about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the dough/parchment sheet onto a flat cookie sheet, or on the back of a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Place 1 disk of the cookie dough on a clean work surface and peel off the top sheet of paper.

Make Your Shapes

Cut cookies with a 1 1/2-inch round or decoratively shaped cookie cutter, directly on the parchment.

Transfer to Baking Sheet

Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Repeat with the other sheet of dough. Any excess dough can be rerolled, refrigerated and cut later.

Cool After Baking

Bake at 325 degrees F until the edges of the cookies are a light golden color, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

Decoration Time

Whisk 1 cup confectioners' sugar with about 1 tablespoon milk to make a thick icing. Transfer icing to a small plastic bag. Press the icing into a corner of the bag and snip off the corner with scissors to make a small opening. Gently press the icing onto the cookie to make a simple pattern. Decorate as desired. Set aside for about 1 hour to let the icing harden.