Shop King Arthur Baking for all your baking needs!
top of page

Perfect No Spread Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

Updated: Apr 6

Here is the best sugar cookie recipe you'll ever make! My recipe makes delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, vanilla almond sugar cookies that you can even spice up with different flavors. This recipe creates perfect cookies that don't spread when baking, so you will have crisp sharp edges and shapes for decorating.


ball of sugar cookie dough

If you’re looking for the perfect cut-out sugar cookie recipe, one that tastes amazing, holds its shape to any cookie cutter imaginable, and doesn’t spread or puff in the oven, I’ve got you covered.


After multiple trials and errors, tons of cookie batches tested, I have created this sugar cookie recipe that is perfect for cut-outs...even intricate ones! This cookie recipe is not only great as is, but also for additional flavors and extracts such as raspberry, pumpkin spice, and even egg nog!

"Super easy recipe to follow, and I've been getting many compliments from the family on these!"

I know as soon as you see that they need to be chilled, you may want to change your mind, however, I promise you regardless if a recipe states no chill is needed: chilling produces the best crisp shapes and best flavor! A room-temperature dough will tend to shift no matter the ratio of the ingredients and can produce some uneven tops that make it difficult to decorate. I explain more about this process below.


Why You'll Love These Cookies

  • Cookies come out flat, yet are super tender with chewy texture and slightly crisp edges.

  • Gives an amazing irresistible buttery vanilla almond flavor or if you'd like, you can swap out the flavors for your twist.

  • This personal recipe yields perfect cookies that do not spread when baking, so you can use any cutter you like and get sharp clean edges.

  • This recipe includes instructions to easily customize the cookies on your preferred rolling thickness. Whether you prefer thicker and softer with a 3/8" or 5/16" or thinner and crispier sugar cookies at 1/4"

  • Stay fresh for days and freeze beautifully before and after decorating.


sugar cookies


Tools You'll Need

Here are some kitchen tools I like to suggest for making my sugar cookies. However, they aren't needed. These are the exact products I use every time:



Recipe Questions


My cookies bubbled on the tops, how can I fix them?

Some minor bubbling is normal! Take a flat, solid spatula and gently press on the tops while going in a circular motion right when they come out of the oven. Doing so will remove those air pockets.


Is it okay if I accidentally skipped the freezing before baking?

It is completely okay! Your shapes may have some minor spreading, but it will not be the end of the world. Especially if you are on a time crunch.


Why Corn Starch?

Adding cornstarch gives a more tender cookie, but also helps prevent spreading like other recipes - without sacrificing the flavor.


Why I Recommend Chilling


A lot of people try to go for "no chill" recipes and I understand if you are in a time crunch on why you may prefer that! In this recipe, you can skip chilling, but let me explain why it's great for the cookies.


  • Allowing the dough to chill for at least 3 hours but 12 preferably, will allow the ingredients to work together and eventually become one.

  • You'll notice after chilling and then baking, your cookies should produce a more prominent sugar and vanilla taste! it helps with the flavors! Development of your cookie dough I see as an important step to not skip. Developing your dough allows not only for your extracts/flavors to improve but also for the flour to absorb the moisture and allow everything to settle together properly

  • Chilling helps the texture! By creating a more evenly chewier inside.


These come out flat, yet super tender and delicious, and are a cookie great for all those flavors you've been wanting to try. I use this recipe for both my royal icing and buttercream designs and all my other flavor combinations, including my seasonal ones. Once I had a few family members try them, word of mouth spread and soon I ended up with everyone asking how I made them...so, here you are!


Perfect No Spread Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Printable Version


Sugar Cookie Recipe
.pdf
Download PDF • 159KB

Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes

Servings: Approximately 2 dozen (based on 3 - 3.5" cookie cutters)


Ingredients

  • 1 cup / 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature

  • 1 cup (212g) granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg at room temperature

  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups (380g) all-purpose flour (the amount of flour you use may differ from your egg/butter types, and your altitude)

  • 3 tablespoons (30g) cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon (8g) salt

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, see below)

  • 1/2 teaspoon butter extract (optional, see below)

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder (optional, see below)


Directions

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.


2. Using a paddle attachment, beat your butter and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. The time it takes may be less or more here. The color will lighten and become a pale yellow. Try to avoid over-mixing here.


3. Add your egg, vanilla, almond, and butter extract until just barely combined. (Can substitute or add flavorings at this step if desired) Scrape the sides of the bowl and re-beat them together if necessary.


4. Beat in the flour mixture to your wet ingredients a 1/2 cup - 1 cup at a time until the dough starts to form. Once all flour is combined, the texture should not be sticky (but will be soft) and should form a ball easily. If it is still sticky to the touch, add a bit more flour a tablespoon at a time. Humidity and weather can affect your flour amounts.


5. Form dough into a ball and split it into 2 equal parts for easier roll out further on. Skip to step 7 if you aren't going to "development chill".


6. Cover will plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours up to 12 hours. This is my recommended "development chill" process to let the ingredients settle together.


7. Roll between lightly floured parchment or cling wrap at your desired thickness and chill dough in the refrigerator or freezer until just firm to the touch if your dough has warmed up a bit. This helps make your shapes come out clean with your cookie cutters. Preheat oven to 375°F degrees and prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mats.


8. When your dough is firm, cut out shapes and "quick freeze" in the freezer once more until they are firm before baking. This should only be a few minutes depending on your freezer temperature. You may also do this in the fridge.


9. For your leftover dough, while it is workable (but still cold) and cut more shapes. If your dough becomes too soft, quick freeze for a couple minutes. Try to refrain from rolling dough more than 3-4 times as it can add air bubbles and cause spreading.


7. Remove your chilled shapes and immediately bake for 7-10 minutes and remove when the cookies turn matte, and you no longer see a sheen. The sheen is from the butter! Baking time should be around 7-8 minutes for 1/4" and 8-10 for 3/8" or 5/16". Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then flip the cookies over (top side down) onto the baking sheet and leave to continue cooling for 10 minutes. My secret for super flat cookies! Or you may also take a flat spatula and carefully press onto the tops of the cookies in a circular motion to remove any potential puffing.


8. Place on a cooling rack until completely cool to the touch before decorating.


stack of sugar cookies

Recipe Notes


Cookie Thickness

I like to roll my cookies at 5/16" or 3/8" which you will bake at 9 minutes, however, these also work at 1/4" at 7 minutes. Each oven is different, so be sure to know your oven and how strong it bakes!


Freezing Before Baking

Freezing the cookie dough before cutting the shapes and after for about 20 minutes helps reduce any spreading in the dough while baking. This also helps cut super clean shapes out. After taking the cutout shapes from the freezer, immediately place them in the oven.


Adding Cornstarch

Adding cornstarch gives a more tender cookie, without sacrificing flavor. You can add more if you desire to get an even more tender cookie, but that also will give you super sharp clean edges and change the texture.


Trapped Air Bubbles

If you have any bubbling in the cookies after baking, you can take a spatula and lightly run it across the cookies while pushing gently to pop them before flipping them over. If you end up having a lot of bubbles, you may have over-mixed your dough.


Optional Baking Powder

Baking powder can cause some rise but adds a more fluffy cookie. Some enjoy cookies with or without it, and in this recipe, you may choose either.


Optional Almond Extract

If you are not a fan of almonds, you can opt out of the almond extract. I find that it compliments the vanilla and butter nicely.


Optional Butter Extract

Butter extract isn't commonly used, but can be found in some if not most U.S. grocery stores. LorAnns sells both Butter and Vanilla Butter emulsions (really yummy) that you can purchase on Amazon. If you use Vanilla Butter, I would recommend reducing the vanilla extract and removing the butter extract entirely.


Have you tried this recipe? Tag me on Social Media!

Use #sweeteatsbyrachel and mention @sweeteatsbyrachel on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

17,517 views19 comments

Recent Posts

See All

19 Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Guest
Mar 09

hello from australia. what is the metric conversion for the butter please? also, what is butter extract? is it like vanila extract but butter flavoured?

Like
Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
Mar 12
Replying to

Hi! It is 2 sticks of butter which is about 226 g. Butter extract is completely optional! I am able to find it on Amazon or in our local grocery by the extracts. LoAnns brand has Butter extract or Vanilla Butter extract. I have it included since it just helps give that more "butter" taste. Hope this helps!

Like

Guest
Dec 09, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you, this is now my go-to recipe after testing at least six other sugar cookie recipes! I love the taste, texture, and sharp edges. Do you have this recipe in metrics version? I used a conversion chart to weigh the dry ingredients, but was curious if that aligns with what you’d have.

Like
Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
Dec 20, 2023
Replying to

I have updated the recipe’s dry ingredients. Hope that helps!

Like

Guest
Nov 10, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I absolutely love the combination of adding vanilla and butter extract together! Will need to try adding almond in the next batch, thank you!

Like
Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
Dec 20, 2023
Replying to

It’s delicious with all 3 flavors too! Vanilla and Almond is the perfect combination

Like

Guest
Nov 07, 2023

You do t say an approximate yield to this recipe—about how many cookies would this make?

Like
Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
Nov 10, 2023
Replying to

So sorry about that! I can make an edit to add that in. It makes approximately 2 dozen for 3.5-4" cookie cutters.

Like

Guest
Nov 07, 2023

This recipe is my next to try. My question is what do you do with the leftover dough once you’ve rolled it out, frozen it, and cut out shapes? Is the left over dough warm enough to come back together and re-roll it? Thanks!

Like
Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
Nov 10, 2023
Replying to

Great question! I let the leftover dough become mailable enough to combine and roll out but still cold to the touch! From there you can do so and cut more shapes out. I just wouldn’t recommend re-rolling more than 2 times. The more you re-roll your dough, the more air you put into it and can cause spreading.

Like
bottom of page