Cut Out Cookies
If you’ve been looking for the best Cut Out Cookies recipe that won’t spread during baking, this is the one! The sugar cookie dough is easy to work with, and it’s a solid, reliable recipe that’s perfect for decorating and special occasions.
This recipe is from my friend Bridget, arguably the cookie queen of the internet, of Bake at 350.
If you’ve ever had issues with your cut out cookies spreading in the oven, or tasting like cardboard, this recipe will make those problems a thing of the past. This is the best sugar cookie recipe!
This is Bridget’s tried and true Vanilla Cutout Cookie recipe from her second cookbook, Decorating Cookies Party.
Decorating cookies can be suited to all kinds of occasions, but I love making these cookies every Christmas, along with Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, and Snickerdoodles.
They’re very similar to my Simple Sugar Cookie Recipe that I decorate with frosting and Christmas sprinkles, but these are even more flawless.
There are only 7 ingredients required to make these cutout cookies: all purpose flour and baking powder for the dry ingredients, plus butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
They are classic sugar cookies that take well to all sorts of cookie shapes. Decorating cut out cookies is the ultimate arts & crafts type activity that you get to EAT afterwards. Kids and adults love it equally as much!
Step by Step Overview:
First cream together cold butter and sugar, either in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer and large bowl:
Salted butter is used here, but if you only have unsalted butter, that will work too. In that case, add 1/8 teaspoon of fine sea salt to the ingredients.
Next, add an egg, vanilla extract and almond extract:
Add all-purpose flour and baking powder, then mix on low speed to incorporate the flour mixture and turn it into a soft dough:
Roll the dough out onto a flat, lightly floured surface using a rolling pin, then cut your shapes out:
Be careful not to add too much extra flour during the rolling.
Also, here you can truly do any shape you’d like, and I even do many different shapes with one batch of dough.
Just organize them by size on baking sheets so you don’t have big and small shapes on the same sheet, since bake time will vary.
Set the cookies out on a silicone mat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet:
In my experience you get a slightly softer cookie with the silicone mats, but you can also cut bake time by a minute or two if using the parchment. Watch the edges of the cookie closely to check for doneness.
Freeze the cut out cookies for 10 minutes, then bake immediately in a 350 F oven.
FYI: Freezing chills the butter, and will prevent the cookies from spreading flat in the oven. This is absolutely essential in order to have the best results.
You should get nice, crisp edges right out of the oven, barely bigger than how you cut them:
Let the cookies cool completely before decorating with royal icing, buttercream frosting, sprinkles, or any other desired toppings.
More Favorite Cookie Recipes:
You can see more of Bridget’s cookie designs on her blog, or in her first or second book.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Yes, you can either freeze them cut and unbaked, and add a few minutes to baking time when you’re ready to cook them, or you can freeze them already baked, then thaw and serve.
There are many ways to get creative with this. For round shapes, you can use drinking glasses or measuring cups. If you don’t have those, you simple use a knife to cut squares or diamonds.
These will keep at room temperature for at least 4-5 days, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Store in an airtight container or well wrapped with plastic wrap. If the cookies have been decorated, let them dry in a single layer, then I recommend storing them between pieces of wax paper so the decoration doesn’t get messed up.
Cut down the baking time and pull the pan from the oven before you see browning on the edges. You may also swap brown sugar for the granulated sugar, but note that this will add flavor and change the color of the dough slightly.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Bridget’s Cut Out Cookies
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup salted butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set this mixture aside.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until combined and fluffy. Beat in the egg and extracts, mixing until combined.
- Add the flour mixture in three parts, mixing on low speed. Scrape down the sides and bottoms of the bowl as needed. After the last addition, the dough will look very thick and crumbly.
- Prepare a rolling surface and roll out a portion of the dough. Cut as many shapes from the dough as possible and place them on a prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. Freezing the cookies will help keep them from spreading. Meanwhile, knead the scraps and remaining dough together and continue the rolling, cutting, and freezing process on a second cookie sheet.
- After freezing, immediately bake the cookies on the center rack of your oven for 9 to 12 minutes (for 3.5 to 4-inch cookies), or until they appear done in the center. The baked cookies won’t change much in color.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes. With a thin cookie spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in November 2018. Originally published December 2014.
35 Comments on “Cut Out Cookies”
Absolute best cookie cutter recipe I have found yet. They come out delicious and perfect every time, even with some of my more detailed cookie cutters. I don’t do it often, but this recipe went in my physical recipe box and will be passed down!
Omg they are yummy!
Unfortunately they were unable to keep their shape in the oven, even though I followed the recipe to the letter. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong (every time…), but I’ll keep trying til I get it right, cause I really want to learn how to get a perfect Xmas cookie. And even disfigured cookies were gone in less than an hour…. or maybe I should switch the holiday and proclaim them „my scary Halloween cookies“ and problem solved!
Merry Xmas everybody and happy new year!
Is it alright to make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate for a few hours or so before baking?
What is the gram or oz. weight of the unbleached flour? King Arthur is 120 grams per cup & different then others. So wish you would list your ingredients in grams 🙂
Can we use unsalted butter? If so, would we add some salt? Thanks!
I hadn’t found an easy an delicious cutout cookie till now! These are delicious and easy to make. This one definitely goes in my recipe box😊!!
Hi just wondering, is it 321 calories per cookie?
No, because it depends on how large the cookies are. The automatically calculated calories are for 1/12 of the recipe.
Can you use margarine instead of butter
Oh these cookies are wonderful. I had a cookie cutter in the shape of a bulldozer. Used another recipe and they came out horrible. Looked like funny clouds. Tried this recipe today. The bulldozer looks like a bulldozer. Grandson will be thrilled. The dough is thick and crumbly, but kneading it and rolling out it is easy to use. Will use this recipe again for my cut out cookies!
The recipe is excellent and works very well—I added lemon to mine instead of almond. But my only predicament is that I took this recipe and cut it is half and I got about 30 cookies instead of the 6-9 I should have gotten—regardless, excellent recipe. 🙂
This is by far the best rolled out cookie recipe I’ve ever found. Ever since I discovered it it’s my go to roll out cookie.
Great recipe. The only question I had while using it, was how thick to roll the dough. I prefer thicker cookies so I did some adjusting of baking time. The dough is easy to work with and the taste is great.
Can you skip the almond extract or substitute anything else? I’m not a fan of it but I don’t want the cookies to be lacking something either.
You can leave it out, it’s fine.
Do you recommend any high altitude changes? I live at 8700′
Can we put the cookie dough in the fridge overnight?