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Soft Sugar Cookies

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Made with the usual sugar cookie ingredients, it’s the special ratio that turns them into my dreamy Soft Sugar Cookies!


Hi Bold Bakers!

If you’ve been on a search for a recipe for a bakery-style soft sugar cookie, search no more! There’s something really special about mastering a classic and my Soft Sugar Cookies recipe has got all techniques to make your sugar cookie soft just the way you want it.

Decorated to the nines with colored frosting, and of course a mix of fun rainbow sprinkles, these cookies are perfect for all kinds of celebrations!

What makes makes my Soft Sugar Cookies so soft?

There are just a few tweaks that take sugar cookies from crisp to super soft. Just like all baked goods, these cookies are made with the same ingredients as other sugar cookies: butter, flour, sugar, egg and baking powder, but in a slightly different ratio.

[ Prefer a sugar cookie that’s crispier? Try my Best Ever Sugar Cookie Recipe! ]

What makes these cookies incredibly soft is the amount of butter, which adds rich flavor, and the use of 2 eggs. Using more egg than your average sugar cookie, or shortbread recipe, makes these cookies have a tender bite. The cookies are made quickly in one bowl and bake for only 10 minutes, which means these cookies are a breeze to make.

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How to Frost Sugar Cookies

A sugar cookie is great on its own, but what Soft Sugar Cookies to the next level is frosting or the icing.

Made of powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and butter, this frosting is made specifically for super soft sugar cookies. It stays thick and malleable thanks to the butter, and this makes them perfect for swirling atop the cookies using a butter knife or offset spatula. After frosting, I top them with sprinkles. Optional? Yes. But just look at them and tell me if it’s really a choice!

Also, the frosting will set over time and harden on the outside — but the inside will still be soft, perfectly complementing the texture of the cookie itself.

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How long do sugar cookies last?

My cookies keep really well covered in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. These make the most lovely gift or party favors, but once you give them a try they will also surely become a staple in your repertoire!

Get More Cookies!

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4.26 from 35 votes
Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

Made with the usual sugar cookie ingredients, it's the special ratio that turns them into my dreamy Soft Sugar Cookies!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 30
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (6oz/170g) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (6oz/170g) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups (11 1/4oz/319g) all-purpose flour
Icing:
  • 2 1/2 cups (10oz/287g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pink food coloring
  • 4 tablespoons mixed sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F (180°C), then line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. 

  3. Next, add the eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. 

  4. Stir in salt, baking powder and flour and mix until a dough is formed. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour*. At this point the dough can also be frozen to be baked off at a later date. 

  5. After 1 hour, roll the cookies into 1 tablespoon balls. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet and press down to create a 1/4 inch thick cookie.

  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 

  7. While the cookies are baking make the icing: Using a whisk, combine the powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla until you have a smooth thick icing. Color the icing with a few drops of food coloring then mix until even in color. 

  8. Using a small offset spatula frost the cookies then scatter over sprinkles. Allow to set for about 30 minutes.

  9. Once set, cover and store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Recipe Notes

*Chilling: don't skip this step! Chilling helps the cookies retain shape, and further helps with flavor and texture. In fact, chill for longer if you can!

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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55 Comments

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  1. Shaneece Yashar on April 23, 2019 at 2:58 am

    Hi Gemma !

    I’m planning in making these cookies for Orthodox Easter and was just wondering if it’s possible to do different shapes (rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters) with these cookies or of the dough would be too soft?

    Thank you in advance!

    Shaneece

    • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      Hi, yes these cake be cut or rolled into almost any shape you like. Enjoy!

  2. Mrslane76 on April 20, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Gemma I am so glad I stumbled across your website So far I have loved all of the recipes I have tried thus far I had trouble with the dough for some reason and hope you can help I made up the dough and had it chilling in the fridge overnight As I was getting ready to scoop out some dough I noticed that it was very sticky I have never run into this problem before baking I made sure to measure everything out correctly the only thing different was I used a margarine spread instead of butter Should that have been what caused the error or was it something else? Any help to correct this issue would be most appreciated Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on April 21, 2019 at 4:41 am

      Hi there,
      I am happy that you are baking with us and sorry that you ran into an issue with this recipe.
      butter is a different thing to soft spreadable margarine. This will work well in sponge cakes, where you are looking for a soft moist result, they have a water content, which is absent from butter. There is a block of baking margarine which will behave more like butter in a bake, that would work better for this type of cookie recipe.
      Soft spreadable margarine cannot set up in the fridge, it is designed to stay soft. you did not say how they baked, a little extra flour may have corrected this to a degree.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Mrslane76 on April 22, 2019 at 7:45 pm

        Yes I did try to add more ingredients to offset the error This did help and the dough became less sticky after I rechilled the dough They still baked in the oven as normal however the color and shape are a little bit to be desired My kids didn’t seem to mind the appearance of them since they added frosting I am new to baking so from here on out I will be sticking to real butter in the recipes Lesson learned =)

        • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2019 at 11:31 am

          I’m delighted to hear you liked how they came out!

  3. Sweet Pea on April 18, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    I made these the other day and smuggled them into the movie theater with me. Perfectly soft so no crunchy sounds to give me away during the movie. Delicious!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 19, 2019 at 5:45 am

      Haha!
      Every day here at BBB I get a laugh out loud moment, this was it today!
      You are a naughty girl, but I have been there, never thought of a soft cookie though!
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Laurie on April 4, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Probably not a good idea to say preheat the oven to 350 and then later on to chill dough for 1hour. You shouldnt preheat your oven until after the dough is chilled and youre ready to bake. I turned my oven on for no reason.

    • Gemma Stafford on April 5, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      Thank you for the feedback!

      • Anon on April 14, 2019 at 6:26 pm

        I guess you didn’t edit it yet, I just had my oven heating up, only to turn it off.

    • Odette on April 14, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Perhaps you need to read the direction all the way to the end, before you turn the over on. Dumba**

  5. Teresa Dressler on March 11, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Tried thisrecipe, but the cookies spread out too much….followed directions and even chilled overnight..any suggestions

    • Gemma Stafford on March 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      Hi, this can be because of inactive raising agent, but they will spread a bit.

  6. Gracie08 on March 6, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Decided we needed a little something sweet for a treat so I made your Soft Sugar Cookies. They are good. The cookie by itself isn’t sweet but the icing alone is sweet. Once you put them together they balance each other out. I didn’t have any sprinkles so I used the colored sugar that I had. I have a 1″ binder all filled with recipes that I want to try. They are not all desserts. Onward to something else now.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 7, 2019 at 3:19 am

      Hi Gracie,
      Good woman! work through that folder, you will be a very bold baker in no time at all!
      Thank you for the kind review,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Nancy Lankford on February 25, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Very good! turned around in my oven at 10minutes then baked another 3 minutes. Worked great. I had to use margarine but next time I will use real butter. Rarely do I make home made cookies. These were tasty sweet and perfect. I did not make the icing instead I sprinkled them with Raw organic Sugar. I used Nancy Jane All purpose flour, Imperial Margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder and followed the instructions to the t.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 27, 2019 at 5:58 am

      Hi Nancy,
      Good job bold baker! You are right, a good baking margarine will work well in this cookie, but butter is always best, for me in any case. I live the idea of the sugar sprinkle, a simple and delicious finish, well done you.
      I looked back to see if you sent me a pic, but think not! next time 😉
      Gemma 🙂

  8. ShellyLee on February 24, 2019 at 10:18 am

    I’m looking for a sugar cookie recipe for my daughter’s baby shower so my question is can u freeze them after they are cooked and cooled?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 25, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      Hi, yes, these freeze and thaw very well.

  9. Ray on February 15, 2019 at 6:13 am

    Could you substitute the flour for blanched almond flour?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 15, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      For this recipe, you will not get the same result if you used almond flour. It will not hold the cookie together.

  10. anonymous on February 12, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I don’t think I made any mistakes, but this was a very bitter cookie after it was cooked.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      Hi, that’s very odd as these should be nice and sweet.

  11. jkm on February 11, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    No need to pre-heat if you are chilling for an hour+. I’d move that from the #1 spot.

  12. Alexandra on January 18, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    How sweet is the cookie itself? I’ve been trying to find a good soft sugar cookie recipe that had a similar taste to a bakery I used to live near, but the cookies there were not as sweet as a usual sugar cookie. Would you say these are pretty sweet? If so how much would you cut back on the sugar so that they weren’t as sweet, but still had that obvious sugar cookie taste? Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on January 19, 2019 at 7:50 pm

      Hi, yes these are on the sweeter side but it is not overpowering. I hope you give them a try!

  13. Kimberly Weidner on December 24, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I would like to know if the butter and sugar is not mixed up fine will cookies still bake right. I’m disabled and I wasn’t able to mix it up very well. There are bigger pieces of butter in the mix. Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      You want it to be pretty evenly incorporated in the dough.

  14. Gracie on December 18, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I was wondering if you absolutely have to chill the dough before baking it off? Will the recipe be just as good if I don’t chill it?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      Chilling the dough just stops the dough from spreading a lot after baking which sometimes can happen. You don’t have to do this step but the dough likes it.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  15. Miranda on December 18, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Hi, Gemma. I just made a batch of your Chocolate Chip Cookie dough and put it in the fridge to bake up for Christmas Eve. The recipe stated that the dough will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. Is that true for the Sugar Cookie dough, as well? Also, if I freeze the dough, do I freeze the bowlful…or scoop it into balls first? Do I thaw before baking? Thank you for your help…and for your wonderful recipes!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      Hi there, yes you can freezer both cookie doughs, great idea. I would suggest scooping into balls first just for ease then allow to thaw before baking. Enjoy and happy holidays!

  16. Neha on December 17, 2018 at 3:49 am

    Hi Gemma! I’m the same person who asked whether coconut milk could be used for this recipe. I just made these and they taste absolutely phenomenal! They’re perfectly sweet and soft! This recipe will definitely be a staple of mine. Thanks a lot <3

    • Gemma Stafford on December 17, 2018 at 8:55 am

      Great idea! I am delighted to hear that, great job 😀

  17. Viktoria Mangarin on December 15, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Hi gemma! Can i use royal icing on this recipe?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 16, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Yes Viktoria you absolutely can 🙂

      Best,
      Gemma.

  18. ReemaBhingarde on December 11, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    Any substitute for eggs?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 12, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Hello! the best egg sub for this would be a flax egg. Enjoy!

  19. Neha on December 10, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Hey Gemma! I love your videos. Just had a question. Can coconut milk be used in place of regular milk? I hope so. I’m really looking forward to making them. Thank you <3

    • Gemma Stafford on December 11, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      For this recipe yes you can, enjoy!

  20. Tina on December 8, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Can you cut these cookies out using Christmas cutters?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 9, 2018 at 3:53 am

      Hi Tina,
      I think they will not keep their shape, but you can do it!
      Let us know how this worked for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Yvonne on December 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Are these able to be used as cutouts as well

    • Gemma Stafford on December 9, 2018 at 3:09 am

      Hi Yvonne,
      I think not! however I did not try it, I think they would change shape in the bake,
      Gemma 🙂

  22. Hime on December 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    This is such a simple and yet amazing recipe!

    I made them today in a rush for a co-worker as a thank you gift, and she and her son loved them. And all the few leftover cookies were eaten by my mom by the time I came home, which is saying a lot since she usually doesn’t like sweet things very much.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us! <3

    • Gemma Stafford on December 8, 2018 at 4:03 am

      Hi there,
      I am very happy to have this kind review, many thanks.
      Happy that you are baking with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Molly McCarty on December 6, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    I made these with great expectations. Unfortunately they had a very strong taste of soda. Although the consistency of the cookie was great, the taste was terrible with so much soda. Is the 2 1/4 teaspoon a typo? Seems like a lot for such a small batch.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 8, 2018 at 3:06 am

      Hi Molly,
      I am sorry you were disappointed in this recipe.
      The recipe calls for baking powder, 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder, not bicarbonate of soda.
      Bicarbonate of soda is a common ingredient in cookies, usually combined with high sugar to make a crisp cookie. Normally it is in a little amount. I am wondering if you used the wrong thing! do let me know,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Jennifer on December 6, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Can you use this icing on the chewy version?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 7, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      Yes you can. Enjoy and happy holidays 😀

  25. tmonteagudo on December 6, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    When you add the dry ingredients, how you mix them?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 6, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Hi,

      I’m not I’m understanding your question. do you mean how low do I mix them?

      Gemma.

  26. lizza7573 on December 6, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Hi Are you using salted or unsalted butter please. I have only unsalted but know how to add salt to it. Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 6, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Hi, you can use whatever you have on hand 😀

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