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The Best Rollout Sugar Cookie Dough

Editors pick easy-to-make rollout sugar cookie dough (this one has no baking powder) for roll-out cookies.

This dough holds its shape well, tastes good, and can be made 2 to 3 days ahead. This dough is perfect for decorating – here, I used a beautiful buttercream frosting for cookies!

A tray with parchment paper and decorated Christmas cookies with cups of sprinkles.

This has been my favorite sugar cookie dough for years. This is probably one of the most worn index cards in my recipe file.

I found this recipe years and years ago in an issue of Family Fun magazine. The editors claimed that they’d tried A TON of recipes over the years, but found this one to be the best. And I agree!

These cookies hold their shape and they have an excellent flavor, which can be customized to your liking by adding orange zest, lemon zest, or other flavorings like almond or lemon extract.

Ingredients

Ingredients for rolled sugar cookie dough

Ingredients for the sugar cookie dough include flour, egg, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla. You may swap the vanilla extract for another flavoring, like almond or lemon extract.

Step by Step

Butter and sugar in glass mixing bowl.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until lightened in color

Adding egg to the butter in a glass bowl.

Add egg and mix until evenly distributed.

Wet ingredients for sugar cookie dough in glass bowl.

Add vanilla and salt and mix well.

Glass mixing bowl with ingredients for sugar cookie dough.

Add flour and mix until combined.

Wooden spoon full of dough hovering over a glass bowl full of cookie dough.

After combined, shape into a flat square, wrap well with plastic wrap or place in a plastic gallon bag, seal, and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Rolling the Dough and Cutting Out

  • Ensure your cookie dough has been chilled before you roll out the dough to cut the cookies.
  • Consider rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment paper before refrigerating to speed up the rolling/cutting process.
  • After chilling the dough, it will need to sit out for 20 minutes or so to facilitate rolling (time will depend on the thickness of the dough/how you shaped it, and the temperature in your kitchen)
  • Roll your dough out to 1/4-inch thickness using guide rails or rolling pin guides to make evenly thick cookies.
  • Consider rolling the dough out directly onto parchment paper so that when you cutout the cookies you don’t have to transfer them to bake them.
  • Use a relatively generous amount of flour (or powdered sugar) on top AND underneath the dough as you roll it out. Otherwise, the dough can and will stick.
  • If the dough starts feeling warm to the touch, place the dough in the refrigerator.
  • Consider chilling your cut out cookies for about 10 to 15 minutes before baking to ensure that they don’t spread.
  • It may help to dip your cookie cutter in a bowl of flour.
Cutting cookies from rolled-out dough with star and candy cane shapes.

Baking and Storing

  • Use parchment paper or silicone baking sheets to prevent burning the underside of cookies
  • These cookies don’t spread much at all but you should still allow at least 1/2-inch space between the cookies as you place them on your baking sheet.
  • Monitor the bake – baking too long may result in a very dry cookies. Start checking the cookies at 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let your cookies dry completely before storing in a sealed container; otherwise, they will soften and there is a greater chance of spoilage.
  • Let your cookies cool completely before decorating; otherwise, your icing will run.

Decorating

  • This year, I used a buttercream cookie frosting to decorate my cookies.
  • In the past, I’ve used an icing recipe by Sweet Hope Cookies. It’s a mix of royal icing and glaze.
  • The icing serves as a base that will need to be diluted to piping and flooding consistency, which I defined as 15-second icing (it will smooth out within 15 seconds after you run a knife through it). This seems to be a personal preference.
  • To make the icing into a 15-second icing, simply add water, 1 teaspoon at a time until it smooths within 15 seconds after you run a knife through it.
  • You can add more sugar to thicken icing back up again if you find its gotten too thin.
  • Special note: I added 1/2 teaspoon salt per batch of icing (which used a total of 2 pounds confectionary sugar) to cut the sweetness. I also flavored with lemon to balance the sweetness of the icing.
Christmas sugar cookies decorated and placed in a white dish for Santa.

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📖 Recipe

Two squares of cookie dough with a rolling pin about to be rolled out.

The BEST Rollout Sugar Cookie Dough

Editors pick for easy-to-make sugar cookie dough for rolled-out cookies. This dough holds its shape well, tastes good, can be made 2 to 3 days ahead, and is perfect for decorating! Makes about 30 or more cookies (depending on size)
5 from 4 votes
Author: Marie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 114 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter softened (2 sticks = 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 (50 g) large egg
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) vanilla extract (see notes)
  • 1/3 teaspoon (2 g) salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5 g) flour

Instructions
 

  • Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until lightened in color.
  • Add egg and mix until evenly distributed then blend in vanilla extract and salt.
  • With wooden spoon, combine the flour with the creamed ingredients.
  • The dough will seem soft but will firm up when refrigerated.
  • Divide the dough in half, flatten each into a disk shape, and seal in plastic wrap or a plastic bag.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours; preferably, overnight.
  • To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • To achieve the ideal thickness for your cookie dough, start by liberally dusting the countertop and the dough's surface with flour. This will prevent sticking and make rolling smoother.
  • Aim for a uniform 1/4 inch thickness across the dough. As you roll, periodically reapply flour as necessary to maintain a non-stick surface.
  • For added convenience and to avoid distorting the shape of your cookies, consider rolling the dough out directly on parchment paper. This method eliminates the need to transfer the cookies later, ensuring they retain their perfect shape from rolling to baking.
  • Cut your desired shapes using a cookie cutter (sometimes dipping the cutter in flour or powdered sugar helps.)
  • It helps to keep the cookies in the refrigerator if the oven is still warming up or if you are working on cutting out more cookies.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. They are done when the edges are very lightly golden. They cookies will continue to harden as they cool.

Notes

  • This dough is mildly flavored (vanilla flavored); for a more robust flavor, consider adding grated citrus rind (lemon or orange), lemon extract, or almond extract to your dough.
  • Make sure your cookie dough has been chilled before you roll out the dough to cut the cookies. Consider rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment paper before refrigerating to speed up the rolling/cutting process (I didn’t do this but may try in the future)
  • After chilling the dough, it will need to sit out for 20 minutes or so to facilitate rolling (time will depend on the thickness of the dough/how you shaped it, and the temperature in your kitchen)
  • To make evenly thick cookies, roll your dough out to 1/4-inch thickness using guide rails or rolling pin guides. This makes things easy!
  • Use a fairly generous amount of flour on top AND underneath the dough as you roll it out. Otherwise, the dough can and will stick!
  • If the dough starts feeling warm to the touch, place the dough in the refrigerator.
  • Consider chilling your cut out cookies for about 10 to 15 minutes before baking to ensure that they don’t spread.
  • It may help to dip your cookie cutter in a bowl of flour.
  • Use parchment paper or silicone baking sheets to prevent burning the underside of cookies
  • These cookies don’t spread much at all but you should still allow at least 1/2-inch space between the cookies as you place them on your baking sheet.
  • Monitor the bake – baking too long may result in a very dry cookies. Start checking the cookies at 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let your cookies dry completely before storing in a sealed container; otherwise, they will soften and there is a greater chance of spoilage.
  • Let your cookies cool completely before decorating; otherwise, your icing will run.
  • I used an icing recipe by Sweet Hope cookies. It’s a mix of royal icing and glaze. I feel that straight royal icing isn’t very good, taste-wise, and so this icing is definitely a step up.
  • You can make this icing ahead and it keeps well for 2 to 3 days on the countertop, 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator, and indefinitely if frozen according to Sweet Hope.
  • The icing serves as a base that will need to be diluted to piping and flooding consistency, which I defined as 15-second icing (it will smooth out within 15 seconds after you run a knife through it). This seems to be a personal preference.
  • To make the icing into a 15-second icing, simply add water, 1 teaspoon at a time until it smooths within 15 seconds after you run a knife through it.
  • You can add more sugar to thicken icing back up again if you find its gotten too thin.
  • Special note: I added 1/2 teaspoon salt per batch of icing (which used a total of 2 pounds confectionary sugar) to cut the sweetness. I also flavored with lemon to balance the sweetness of the icing.

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 29mgPotassium: 15mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 197IUCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
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