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The Easiest Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe & Icing For Decorating

4.66 from 434 votes
Made with the usual sugar cookie ingredients, it's the special ratio that turns them into my dreamy Soft Sugar Cookies!
Soft Sugar Cookies recipe decorated with icing for the holidays.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

IN THIS RECIPE: You’re about to get my tried-and-true recipe for Soft Sugar Cookies — not on the crispier side like my Best-Ever Sugar Cookies, and not exactly chewy like my Chewy Sugar Cookies, but in an incredible, simple, soft league of their own. Decorate them however you want with my included easy icing.

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!

A cooling rack with holiday decorated soft sugar cookies next to sprinkles.

What Makes 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. That ratio is key for making them soft and pillowy.

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

Specifically, 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.

How To Make Soft Sugar Cookies

You don’t need to get fancy to make these cookies — and you definitely don’t need to be a professional to decorate them. By the end of this recipe, you’ll be confident in your ability to get the same results I did. I’ll let you in on a little secret: decorating isn’t my strong suit, and yet these cookies look great!

When it comes to making these Christmas cookies, or really these any holiday cookies, I even skip the scoop-and-ball method after the chilling (and yes, you need to chill your dough — this is where flavor develops and it keeps your cookies from spreading too much). Instead, I opt for rolling my cookie down into a log. This log then goes into the fridge, and when it comes out you simply slice it. That’s when you bake it.

I’ve tested this recipe, gone through all the trials and tribulations so you don’t have to. Skip the fuss and get the soft cookies you’ve always wanted.

Chill Your Dough

One of the best ways to keep your cookies from spreading in the oven is to chill them first. Luckily, this has another perk — especially with cookies like chocolate chip cookies. When you chill your dough (up to 5 days!) your dough gains a whole bunch of flavor.

For this sugar cookies recipe, though, the main goal is to get the circles and shapes you want without spreading.

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.

A close up of christmas tree decorations on my soft sugar cookies recipe.

How Long 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!

Have you seen my two new cookie lists? Check out The Top 10 Classic Christmas Cookies and the Top Holiday Cookies of 2021!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook — it makes the perfect gift!

Plus, SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Bold Baking Academy for exclusive in-depth baking courses, The Baking Concierge™, and the Bold Baking Academy Community!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe

4.66 from 434 votes
Made with the usual sugar cookie ingredients, it's the special ratio that turns them into my dreamy Soft Sugar Cookies recipe!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 30
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 recipe!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 30

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (6oz/170g) butter (at room temperature)
  • ¾ cup (6oz/170g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups (11 ¼oz/319g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Icing:

  • 2 1/2 cups (10oz/287g) powdered sugar, (sifted)
  • 3 tablespoons (1 ½oz/43g) butter (at room temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring of your choice
  • Festive sprinkles

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. 
  • Next, add the eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. 
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and mix until a dough is formed.
  • Lay some cling wrap on your counter and spoon your dough on top and form a log. Roll up the log like a sausage and chill the dough for at least 1 hour or pop in the freezer and freeze for up to 8 weeks.
  • Once your dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • Slice the cookies around ¼ inch thick. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake for roughly 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 
  • 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. 
  • Using a small offset spatula or the back of a small spoon frost the cookies then scatter over sprinkles. Allow setting for about 30 minutes.
  • 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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Sweet Pea
Sweet Pea
3 years ago

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!

Margie
Margie
2 years ago

Tip from the pros: Wait until after you chill the dough for 1 hour before you preheat your oven.

Lola WS
Lola WS
2 years ago

Made these cookies and they are literally the BEST thing that’s ever happened to me. Doubled your batch and my family ate them all within a couple hours. 100% recommend!!!

Odette
Odette
3 years ago

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

Pam Nelson
Pam Nelson
2 years ago

I want to try these cookies but use a lemon glaze instead of icing. Any suggestions?

Has
Has
2 years ago

Such a great recipe. I was craving the lofthouse cookies and this turned out to be exactly like them !!! Like wow. Super easy recipe, and tasted so soft and so delish. Will definitely make them again !!

Bobbi
Bobbi
2 years ago

Hi, I’m the one that added more flour because the dough was so gooey… I refrigerated the dough over night. It could’ve been filled out but I doubt it would’ve kept it’s shape??? Idk?? The cookie tasted really good but it must have lots of sugar sprinkles or frosting…it is too dry by itself! I baked them at 350 for 8 minutes in my oven, and my oven seems to always run a bit hot. I made balls then mashed with the bottom of a glass. I made small cookies about 1/2″ thick at most. Cooked till barely starting to… Read more »

Mickey
Mickey
3 years ago

For my family these were not sugar cookies, you couldn’t really taste the “sugar”flavor..

EstellaBella
EstellaBella
2 years ago

me and my sister just made these the other day and they are awesome, just the right amount of sugar so when you frost them they aren’t to sweet. Also my dad usually hates sugar cookies but he loves these.

Anna B-Nana
Anna B-Nana
1 year ago

Yummy! I made them. They’re very yummy! I subbed Irish cream for the vanilla in the cookies, and Subbed Irish cream for the milk in the frosting. Very tasty! 🧡🧡🧡

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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