Easy Sugar Cookies (From Scratch) For Decorating

When I did wedding cakes I also made wedding cookie favors, and this was my go-to recipe.

It’s a basic, easy sugar cookie-from-scratch recipe with only 6 ingredients that you probably have in your pantry already.

They’re good for decorating with royal icing, wafer paper, fondant, modeling chocolate, or just to eat by themselves, but they’re really designed to be decorated because they’re not super sweet.

Easy scratch recipe for sugar cookies to decorate

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Baked cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies From Scratch

A quick sugar cookie that rolls out well, doesn't need chilling, and can be used for decorating or eating without decorations.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 19 3″ round cookies


  • 1 stand mixer or hand mixer
  • 2 insulated cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cooling racks
  • rubber spatula
  • Rolling Pin
  • cookie cutters


  • 1 1/2 sticks good-quality unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • Extra flour for dusting the rolling surface


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
    putting the parchment paper on the cookie sheet
  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, or mixing bowl, cream the butter until soft
  • Add the sugars and cream until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl to make sure that everything is incorporated evenly.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated well.
  • Add the flour and mix until incorporated. The dough shouldn't be too sticky, so add a little more flour if you need to.
    Adding flour to the dough
  • Remove the dough from the mixer by forming it into a ball. Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface, either the countertop or the parchment that was cut out to fit the cookie sheets.
    flour on parchment paper on the counter, ready for the dough to be rolled out on it.
  • Roll the dough to about 1/4" thick.
    rolling out cookie dough
  • Cut cookies using the cutters and place on the cookie sheets.
    Sliding the parchment paper onto the cookie sheet
  • Bake for about 12-15 minutes at 350F. The cookies will be done when the edges are slightly golden brown, but don't let them get too dark. They'll bake faster on non-insulated pans, so keep an eye on them after 12 minutes or so.
    Baked cookies
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and slide the parchment sheets onto a rack to cool off, or take them off the parchment and put them on the racks.
    Baked cookies
  • Cool completely before decorating.
  • Wrap with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container when they cool off.
  • If you're decorating them with royal icing, only do that when they're completely cooled off!
Keyword cookies, sugar cookie

flower piped cookies

Recipe notes.

This cookie isn’t very sweet, it’s meant to be decorated, so the extra sugar in the decorations will give the cookies more sweetness.

putting the parchment paper on the cookie sheet

Insulated cookie sheets will save you from a lot of burnt cookies. The cookies will also bake a little slower on insulated cookie sheets, so pay attention if you’re using non-insulated sheets because they’ll bake faster.

Use good-quality butter or the cookies will brown too quickly.

Use good-quality vanilla for the best flavor.

Substitute other extracts for the vanilla if you want to add a different flavor to the cookies.

flour on parchment paper on the counter, ready for the dough to be rolled out on it.

Rolling the cookies out on the parchment paper instead of on the counter will let you move them onto the cookie sheets without changing the shape of the cookies.

Cookie dough with a finger print to show the texture

The dough should be soft enough to roll out smoothly without cracking the dough, but not too sticky or it will be hard to remove the dough from around the cut-out shapes. If you can tap the dough with a finger and leave a little indent, it’s fine.

Try not to add too much extra flour to the dough while you’re rolling the cookies out because that can make the finished cookies tougher. Sprinkle some flour on the parchment, the top of the dough ball, and rub some on the rolling pin, but keep it light.

re-rolling the dough scraps

Try to minimize handling the dough (don’t knead it to combine scraps, just mash them together gently.) Too much mixing develops gluten in cookies and makes them tougher.

flattening out the dough before rolling it

Pat the dough ball into a flat disc before you start rolling it out to make the rolling easier.

rolling out cookie dough

Use two 1/4″ dowels to keep the dough rolled out to a consistent thickness so that the cookies bake evenly.

tapping the cookie cutter in flour

Tap the cookie cutters in flour to keep the edges clean for a better and cleaner shape, and clean the edge of the cutters if any dough sticks on them.

cut out cookies on the parchment paper

This cookie recipe doesn’t spread very much, so you can leave them relatively close to each other on the sheets.

removing dough from around the cookies

Cut the cookies out after rolling the dough on the parchment, then remove the extra dough from around the cut-out shapes.

Rotate the cookie pans between the racks in the oven if you have a couple of pans so that they bake evenly when you’re putting new sheets in.

Baked cookies

These cookies don’t change color too much when they’re baked, so watch the edges carefully and don’t let them get too brown. They’ll get harder as they cool off, so if you overbake them they’ll be really crisp.

The back of the baked cookies

If you’re decorating the cookies, you can roll the rolling pin over them gently when they come out of the oven to flatten out any bumps, or decorate the back of the cookies instead of the top side.

royal icing iced cookies

The backs are flat because they baked against the flat cookie sheet, so they’ll be more even when you decorate them on that side.

You don’t need to refrigerate this dough before baking the cookies, but you can if you want to prep the cookies ahead of time.

This recipe doubles and triples just fine, I used to multiply and make three or four batches at one time. You’re only limited by how big your mixer is.

You can wrap the unbaked dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you want to bake the cookies if you need to work ahead.

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