My Secret Sugar Cookie Recipe

I think we've already established that I'm not very good at keeping secrets.

Silly me. My rule to never tell which recipe I use for sugar cookies was doomed from the beginning. One reason I kept it hush-hush, is because I have a small Etsy-based business from which I sell artfully decorated sugar cookies. I have recently come to the realization, that people are not paying me for the cookie portion, but for the aforementioned decoration. I recently shared this recipe with a reader, and it made me very happy to do so.

The recipe itself is not a secret. Some of you may be using it already. If so, then you already know how this dough bakes up to be so very buttery and delicious. There are other recipes that are considered better for professional decorating, (ie. flatter surface) but the taste is unsurpassed. I don't mind working around a minor imperfection for such delicious results.

My Favorite Sugar Cookie Dough

This was once my “secret recipe” for Sugar Cookies. I’m not very good at secrets, and it’s much more fun to share anyway.


3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

In a mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. On low speed, gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture. Dough will be very stiff. Wrap or cover dough and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, knead dough a few times. This will help cut-outs keep their shape while baking. Roll out dough to ¼” to ½” thickness while it is still cold. Use cookie cutters for desired shapes. Bake for 7-9 minutes, depending on thickness of dough. Cool completely

This dough should be kneaded a little after chilling. Incorporating just a bit more flour into the dough helps the cookies hold their cut shape. You still want your snowflake to look like a snowflake, and not bake into a blob. This will help.Tips and Tricks:
  • Cut the dough in two after chilling. Work with one portion and leave the other portion in the refrigerator to stay cold. This will also help with the shape issue.
  • The softened butter should still be just a little cool to the touch, and not completely room temperature. Warm, or room temperature butter will make your dough extremely sticky. It's a bit harder to work with.
  • Bake on parchment paper. It makes life so much easier in the long-run. No sticking, easier clean up... it's something that I can't live without.
Christmas is just around the corner, and if you'd like to treat Santa to something extra special, then you may want to give this very simple, but very delicious recipe a try. (This recipe yields about 4 to 5 dozen if using 3" or 4" cookie cutters.) Note: Photography by Morgan Trinker. And, cookies by me... (of course)
link My Secret Sugar Cookie Recipe By Published: My Secret Sugar Cookie Recipe Recipe


  1. Thanks for sharing!! Your cookies are beautifully decorated!!

  2. Wow! Your cookies are gorgeous! Also, that hot chocolate on a stick is sooo awesome! I am totally making that for my kiddos class!!!

  3. Thanks for the recipe!!! I love decorated sugar cookies, one of my favorites to eat year round. I found your blog through Munchkin' Munchies, and it's wonderful!!

  4. how many cookies will this make about? can't wait to try it!

  5. I love your cookies; they're adorable! Love the sparkle of the stars! :)

  6. Hi Heather
    Loved your cookies and your wonderful skill in giving such good visual appeal to them

  7. Thank you everyone for such sweet comments!
    To the person asking about the quantity - this recipe yields about 4 to 5 dozen if using 3" or 4" cookie cutters.

  8. Those star sugar cookies are so beautiful, thank you for sharing your recipe. I have the same trouble, mostly it comes from my mother, who believes everything is a "secret family recipe". I'm not necessarily from the same school of thought as her, I think recipes are meant to be shared, ideas exchanged. So, thanks again! I'll have to try these out!

  9. i will definitly try this. i dont have a very good sugar cookie recipe so i was google searching for one and came across your site. and i didnt want one with sour cream or milk (makes them too puffy and light) and yours doesnt have either of those ingredients so i think i'll really like this

  10. How do you make your icing. and btw your cookies are way beautiful.

  11. What do you use as the decorations?

  12. I love sugar, I think this cookies will be so wonderful to have it at home because it contains sugar that is an ingredient that it could leave behind in our recipes, it makes it a special and powerful recipe.

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  14. Thank you for this recipe! I stumbled across your blog earlier and have fallen in love with it. I recently finished making sugar cookies for a birthday that turned out subpar...my biggest difficulty was with the frosting. Can you point me in the direction of a good recipe? Thank you for your awesome blog!

  15. Delicious thanks a lot, I cook cookies like this always in special days like christmas and nights with fireworks and stuff like that, but just those days because I have to work, thanks for the post.

  16. Thanks for sharing! How long will these keep?

  17. Thank you, I am so excited to try these out with some Halloween decor. I found that the dough became very sticky when I started to roll it. Do you think that means I should use a little more flour to roll it with?

  18. A coworker made these cookies for a fundraising event at work and after one bite I was hooked and asked for the recipe. These are by far the best sugar cookies I've ever tasted! Thanks for sharing!


  19. I'm looking everywhere to find the quantity of butter to use. Maybe it's late and that's why I can't find it?

  20. It's a the top of the recipe card: 3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened.

    Sometimes the recipe card isn't viewable on certain devices. I really need to remove the card sand place the text in the post. Thank you!

  21. Thank you so much, I thought I'd seen it because that's how much I'd set out. Looking forward to the raves from another one of your fabulous recipes. I think I'm doing the berry tart as well, it will be a Sprinkle Bakes kind of day--Happy Thanksgiving!!

  22. Results are in...BEST EVER SUGAR COOKIE! Thank you for sharing!!

  23. My dough did nor turn out as stiff as expected, any ideas?? Thanks! Love your blog!

  24. It's hard to say what happened. You could add flour a little at a time until a firmer consistency is acheived, about 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. Refrigerating the dough will help too. Thanks for trying the recipe!


  25. Heather, I've made these lots of times and they are fantastic! I'd like to make them chocolate this time–what substitutions would you make? Thanks! Melissa

  26. Hi mel! Some of the flour can be substituted for cocoa powder. This recipe makes quite a big batch, so I think up to 1 3/4 cup of cocoa powder could be used in place of flour. That's almost a whole container (or in some cases, more than a whole container) of cocoa powder, so you might want to pick up an extra package or two next time you're shopping. :-)

  27. Hey! These look delicious and I can't wait to ty them, but I just wanted to know what type of icing you use for the sugar cookies? I want to make some, Easter themed! :)

  28. Hi Anonymous!

    I use the following recipe (link), but thinned with water so it's flood consistency.


  29. Hello! I'm having trouble seeing the recipe, though I've been able to see and use it before. Any ideas? Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Mrs. Pifer!

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I've added the printable recipe to the blog post.

      I once used a service called "Key Ingredient" to display printable recipe cards. It seems they've changed their services and my old recipes are not viewable. I'll be working on restoring those. :)

  30. The star sugar cookies are gorgeous!!! Thanks a lot for sharing


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