The Best Sugar Cookies

Making decorated sugar cookies is a must during the holiday season, and these are the best sugar cookies you'll ever taste. Whip up a batch of these sugar cookies from scratch and decorate with royal icing to match any special occasion.

Prep Time:
35 mins
Chill Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
7 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 12 mins
36 cookies



  • cup butter, softened

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour

  • Small decorative candies (optional)

Royal Icing

  • 4 cup powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoon meringue powder

  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 - 4 tablespoon water

  • Assorted colors paste food coloring (optional)


  1. sugar cookie dough wrapped in plastic wrap to be chilled

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    In a large bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover; chill about 30 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.

  2. cutting shapes with cookie cutter in rolled out sugar cookie dough

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough, half at a time, until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Using 2-1/2-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  3. best sugar cookies on parchment paper ready to be baked

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Bake about 7 minutes or until edges are very light brown. Transfer to wire racks; cool. If desired, frost with desired icing and/or decorate with decorative candies.

sugar cookies decorated with royal icing

BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

Royal Icing

  1. royal icing in stand mixer for sugar cookies

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add the 1/2 cup water and the vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until very stiff. Add the 2 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make an icing of spreading consistency. If desired, divide icing into individual bowls and tint with paste food coloring.


Meringue powder is a mixture of pasteurized dried egg whites, sugar, and edible gums. Look for it in the baking aisle of your supermarket or in hobby stores where cake-decorating supplies are sold.

To Store:

Layer unfrosted sugar cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If desired, ice and decorate before serving.

Sugar on Top

For a subtle sparkly touch, sprinkle colored sugar over cookie cutouts before baking. The sugar will bake into the dough for decoration, so the cookies need no icing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

74 Calories
4g Fat
10g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Calories 74
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 14mg 5%
Sodium 55mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
Calcium 10.1mg 1%
Iron 0.4mg 2%
Potassium 11mg 0%
Folate, total 12.1mcg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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