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This is the best soft and chewy sugar cookie recipe that is so quick and easy. A classic sugar cookie recipe that doesn’t even need frosting!
Sugar cookies are a timeless treat loved by many, and when they’re soft and chewy, they are simple perfection. I grew up with a Mom who loved making sugar cookies. We had them for every single holiday and many times, we would eat them before we even frosted them.
What makes this the Best Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe?
This is a super easy, drop sugar cookie recipe. No rolling. No shaping. No cutting into shapes. No frosting. This is as easy as it gets!
It is the perfect soft and chewy sugar cookie with sparkling sugar sprinkled on after baking for extra sweetness and a touch of crunch.
These sugar cookies are made with simple, high-quality ingredients and are such a crowd-pleaser…especially on holiday goodie plates.
Soft Sugar Cookie Ingredients:
- Butter — I suggest using unsalted butter in order to control the amount of salt but see below if you would like to use salted butter.
- Sugar — this recipe calls for granulated sugar.
- Egg + Egg Yolk — the extra egg yolk helps to ensure a chewy texture.
- Vanilla Extract — I suggest using a high-quality, pure vanilla extract.
- Flour — use all-purpose flour or you can use half cake flour and half all-purpose flour for a more tender cookie.
- Baking Powder + Baking Soda — helps the cookies to rise in the oven.
- Salt — brings out the flavor of the cookies.
- Sparkling or Sanding Sugar — coarse sugar that adds sweetness and crunch.
How to make Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies:
- CREAM BUTTER and SUGAR. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar for 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add egg and egg yolk and vanilla and mix for 1 minute longer.
- ADD DRY INGREDIENTS. Fold in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Don’t overmix or it creates too much gluten, which leads to tough cookies.
- CHILL the DOUGH. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- PREHEAT OVEN to 350 DEGREES. After the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Line baking sheets with parchment paper sheets. Roll into balls and place on the light colored baking sheet.
- BAKE. Place on a light-colored baking sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges but still soft in the center. As soon as you remove from the oven, sprinkle with sparkling or sanding sugar. See below for making round circles. Let cool.
Why does the sugar cookie dough need to be chilled?
Chilling the dough is essential for preventing the cookies from spreading too much during baking. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or overnight. This also allows the flavors to meld, and the dry ingredients to soak up some of the wet ingredients, and allowing the flavor to richen and deepen.
I did recipe test this without chilling and they still tasted delicious but were flatter without the chilling.
Why are my sugar cookies flat?
The sugar cookies may turn out too flat for several reasons. I would suggest using barely softened room temperature butter. You don’t want it to be too soft and definitely not melted! Also, make sure to measure the flour correctly.
The cookie dough may need to chill longer to help prevent the sugar cookies from spreading too much in the oven.
5 EXPERT BAKING TIPS:
Now, let’s move on to the tips that will elevate your sugar cookie game. This is such a quick and easy sugar cookie recipe but little tips can make all of the difference.
Tip 1: Soften the Butter Properly
Softening butter is a crucial step in achieving the perfect sugar cookie texture. Allow the butter to come to room temperature for optimal softness. You should be able to press your finger into the butter easily, but it should still hold its shape. Don’t melt the butter.
Tip 2: Cream the Butter and Sugar
Creaming the butter and sugar together creates air pockets that contribute to the sugar cookies soft and chewy texture. Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. This usually takes 3-4 minutes.
Tip 3: Use the Right Amount of Flour
Measure your flour accurately to avoid a dry or crumbly texture. Too much flour can make your cookies dense and dry. Spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge.
Tip 4: Chill the Dough
Chilling the dough is essential for preventing the cookies from spreading too much during baking. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1-2 hours or overnight.
Tip 5: Don’t Overbake
Overbaking is the enemy of soft and chewy sugar cookies. Keep a close eye on your cookies and remove them from the oven as soon as the edges are set but the centers are still slightly soft. The sugar cookies will continue to firm up as they cool. I love to sprinkle the sugar cookies with sparkling sugar as soon as I remove them from the oven.
Where to find sparkling sugar?
Sparkling sugar can be called sanding sugar or shimmer sugar as well. You can find it in the baking aisle at your local grocery store or online.
Making Ahead, Storing, and Freezing:
Store sugar cookies in an airtight container in order for them to stay soft and chewy.
CAN SUGAR COOKIES BE FROZEN?
Yes! You can freeze both the cookies and the cookie dough. You can chill the dough before baking the cookies by freezing the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet until firm. Then put them in a Ziploc freezer-safe bag until ready to bake. When ready to bake, place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 minute longer.
To freeze already baked sugar cookies, let them cool completely and then place them in a Ziploc freezer-safe bag.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes! If you use salted butter in this recipe, just reduce the salt to 1/8 teaspoon in the recipe. I suggest using unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the sugar cookie recipe, but you can use salted butter, no problem.
To make the cookies perfectly round, as soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, use a large round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and place it around the cookie and move it around until it forms a round circle. You can also use a small turner and press the edges towards the center of the cookie to make a uniform circle.
Since oven temperatures can vary, it is important to watch the cookies carefully. Once the sugar cookies have started to form an edge and have a very light golden color, you can remove them from the oven. DO NOT OVERBAKE! These are soft and chewy sugar cookies so they will be slightly underbaked when you remove them from the oven and they will continue to set up once you remove them.
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Best Soft Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 1 large Egg
- 1 large Egg Yolk
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 1/2 cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt (if using salted butter, use 1/8 teaspoon)
- Sparkling or Sanding Sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar for 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add egg and egg yolk and vanilla and mix for 1 minute longer.
- Fold in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Don't overmix or it creates too much gluten, which leads to tough cookies.
- Chill the dough. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Line baking sheets with parchment paper sheets. Roll into balls and place on the light colored baking sheet.
- Place on a light-colored baking sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges but still soft in the center. As soon as you remove from the oven, sprinkle with sparkling or sanding sugar. See below for making round circles. Let cool.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.