Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies Recipe
Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies Recipe

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While I usually bake these cookies for Christmas, I'll also make them at Valentine's Day (in the shape of hearts, with messages written in frosting), at Thanksgiving (shaped like turkeys), at Halloween (pumpkins), etc. Children like to help out with the decorating. —Cynthia Ettel, Hutchinson, Minnesota
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
MAKES:42 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
MAKES: 42 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Colored sugar

Nutritional Facts

2 each: 158 calories, 8g fat (5g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 164mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.


  1. Cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured holiday-related cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  3. For frosting, beat confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla and enough milk to reach desired consistency. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. Cut a small hole in the tip of a pastry bag or in a corner of a food-safe plastic bag; transfer frosting to bag. Pipe decorations. Sprinkle with colored sugar.
    Freeze option: Freeze undecorated cookies, layered between waxed paper, in freezer containers. To use, thaw and decorate as desired.
    Yield: about 7 dozen (2-1/2-in. cookies).
Originally published as Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies in Country Woman November/December 1992, p31

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.

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annlindblad User ID: 7743001 261396
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2017

"Dough was easy to handle - and delicious cookies"

manga User ID: 4211076 259305
Reviewed Jan. 6, 2017 Edited Apr. 4, 2017

"I didn't chill the dough. I used a small scoop and made round balls. They came out good, but I don't feel this is a true sugar cookie. It's more of a butter cookie. It needed the icing to give it more flavor."

keely27 User ID: 4249986 240473
Reviewed Dec. 28, 2015

"A Christmas cookie tray favorite for years"

pampat30 User ID: 4803863 239772
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2015

"Very tasty cookie. I made the dough two nights ago and made the cookies today. It was very easy to work with. However, some of the cookies seemed to lose their shape during baking. I had some very bloated-looking candy canes! The frosting was also delicious, my only issue was that I doubled the frosting recipe and there still wasn't enough to frost all of my cookies, and we went light."

HHEHEA User ID: 8181827 215840
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2014

"I put the dough in the fridge for 24 hours...I panicked when I took it out the fridge & it was super hard. threw in the microwave for a few seconds..voila...perfect...these were delicious!!! had to triple the icing recipe...."

SandyLF59 User ID: 1752156 37033
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2014

"Simply put, these are the Best tasting sugar cookies I have ever made. I about panicked when I thought I lost the recipe. They taste wonderful with a buttercream frosting or sandwiched with seedless raspberry jam and a glazed top."

JujuMojo User ID: 7674723 8599
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2014

"I first made these cookies for the first time this past Christmas and then I made them again for Valentine's day to take as treats for work.This is hands down one of the best cookie recipes around. I was looking for a recipe that could compete with one my mom has that uses Crisco . My goal was to find a recipe that uses butter that is easy to work with and has a similar taste to the one my mom uses. A bite of these cookies is like a little bite of heaven. When rolled out a little thicker they are a little crunchy on the bottom, but very soft as well. My coworkers went nuts over these cookies. They said they were the best sugar cookie they ever tasted. One of them said these cookies taste like happy childhood memories. The dough is super easy to work with and it smells so good while you're working with it. I used my own buttercream frosting recipe instead of the one provided and I've been using home made vanilla extract and using double what the recipe calls for. You can't go wrong with this one."

2princesses2luv User ID: 4369472 8590
Reviewed Jan. 5, 2014

"Best sugar cookies ever!!"

mmkline User ID: 6263833 10726
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2013

"I made these today for Christmas. I thought the dough was very easy to work with. I did not use the frosting recipe provided, so I can't rate that. However the cookies were excellent. They have a light buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla. Very tasty and not overwhelming on any one flavor. I will make these again for sure."

queenmother User ID: 16177 13013
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2013

"Help..... Is it really 2 TABLESPOONS vanilla?"

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