Basic Cookie Dough Recipe

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In Payson, Utah, Gloria McBride turns everyday ingredients into a versatile dough that's the basis for five sensational sweets. "You can bake some cookies right away, then pop the extra dough in the freezer for later," she notes.
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
MAKES:96 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
MAKES: 96 servings


  • 2-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 7-1/2 to 8 cups (30 to 32 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Nutritional Facts

4 teaspoons dough: 98 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 17mg cholesterol, 91mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk 7-1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture, adding additional flour if necessary. Divide dough into four 2-cup portions. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.
  2. Basic Cookie Dough may be used to prepare the following recipes: Crumb-Topped Date Bars, Cherry Surprise Cookies, Chocolate Mallow Cookies or Jelly Sandwich Cookies. Yield: 8 cups.
Originally published as Basic Cookie Dough in Quick Cooking November/December 2002, p52

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Margherita User ID: 9191013 267822
Reviewed Jun. 9, 2017

"Worst recipe ever!!! Don't waste your time and food with this."

maika User ID: 9095365 261932
Reviewed Feb. 28, 2017

"I've been looking for a great cookie recipe, and they always turn out wrong. this recipe was perfect- its the basic cookie dough recipe so i did what i usually do when im baking cakes- adjusted as I went along. I also split it up and mixed half of it with cocoa. I made a test batch - which i edited and they came out great- soft etc. I haven't added anything else to them just yet, but I'm sure it will turn out great. I think the key is to adjust it to your specs before you do anything else. In my case i used a a 50/50 sugar mixture [ confectioners sugar and white sugar] - i did the same with the butter [half whipped butter and half canola oil]. I used about 6 cups of flour at first - it ended up being around 8/ 8 and a half once i split my mixture in half. I may have used more milk as well- but i warmed it up... I made enough cookie dough to make a batch of cookies for a friend and still have enough left over.

I read some complaints about the amount of flour used- the amount recommended isn't a lot- check out some of the recipes for making A LOAF [ yes 1 loaf], of Challah bread- they ask for about 6 cups.
This dough works for me because I can tweak it anyway I want from the get go- actual recipes for regular cookies have not worked so great so far!!"

NanaHenderson User ID: 8002803 259048
Reviewed Jan. 2, 2017

"This is a wonderful sugar cookie recipe. I did follow the suggestions that were made by some by increasing to 4 large eggs and I used extra vanilla (I love vanilla) so I did have to adjust the flour some, but it is a silky soft dough. I froze the dough for about 2 weeks before I was able to bake with and make the jelly sandwich cookies. The texture of the dough was moist after I thawed it out, watery even so I just added extra four to my area and kneaded it back into the dough. The texture returned back to a silky smooth dough very pliable and easy to work with, I did have to use extra flour for rolling out the dough, it is a thirsty dough that likes to stick to the work area. I rolled the cookies about 1/4" for the sandwich cookie, double the recomended, so thicker is better with this dough. The baked cookie is so tender and good. I will try adding lemon or orange zest into some of it next I make this wonder cookie. It isn't a difficult dough to make or work with. I loved it and so did everyone else. It made the cookie trays beautiful."

peanutsnona76 User ID: 8027573 257732
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2016

"Our family has been enjoying this recipe from the first time we tried it back in '02. Have made most of the variations listed. Good, workable dough with delicate flavor. If you are looking for a super-sugary sweet cookie, you will find it too subtly flavored for your liking. Subbing 1 tsp. of lemon, orange, or peppermint extract for 1 tsp. of the vanilla works nicely too!"

lvarner User ID: 35803 257585
Reviewed Dec. 2, 2016

"This is a nice, basic sugar cookie dough to use for making cookies at holiday time. I love that there are so many variations! I used the dough to make the Jelly sandwich Cookies and they were tasty and very pretty. I look forward to trying the other variations!"

Bellabyrdie User ID: 8921776 253241
Reviewed Aug. 27, 2016

"This may be the worst cookie base I have ever EVER used. It couldn't be more off. I tried twice and both times it came out horrific. Don't waste your time. Find a different more balananced cookie base. Horrific."

catlovesbooks User ID: 4808399 245777
Reviewed Mar. 21, 2016

"This is the best sugar cookie dough base I have ever used! With a few tweaks, it can be used to make a variety of different cookies! Great!"

overture User ID: 1961135 244059
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2016

"I love this dough! It is easy to make, the cookies come out soft, and they're not super sugary. I hate "traditional" sugar cookies that are sugary to begin with, then you add frosting on top of that and it's just too much sugar. The best part about these cookies is that they hold their shape. They don't spread and they don't balloon. They are ideal for decorating!"

Englerthjenn User ID: 8724612 242883
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2016 Edited Sep. 14, 2016

"This will not be the best cookie dough ever (without chocolate chips it is a little lacking in taste). It makes a ton of cookies (seriously I had to use a huge bowl to follow the recipe mostly) but is light and fluffy and overall wasn't bad with some chocolate chips"

sstetzel User ID: 158954 238439
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2015 Edited Jun. 15, 2017

"We recently retested this recipe and had no problems with the flour / liquid ratio. Try weighing your flour instead of measuring.

8 cups flour = 1000g or 35.2 oz or 2.2 lbs
Sue Stetzel
Recipe Support Specialist/ Taste of Home Magazine"

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