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Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies Recipe

Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies Recipe

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 YIELD:42 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 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 tablespoon milk
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Colored sugar


  • 1. In a bowl, combine sugar and butter; beat until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture until completely blended. Chill for 30 minutes.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with holiday cutters dipped in flour. Using a floured spatula, transfer cookies to ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  • 3. For frosting, combine sugar, butter, vanilla and milk; beat until creamy. Thin with additional milk to desired spreading consistency if necessary. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Spread frosting over cookies and decorate with colored sugar.
    Freeze option: Freeze undecorated cookies, layered between waxed paper, in freezer containers. To use, thaw and decorate as desired. Yield: 7 dozen (2-1/2-in. cookies).

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies

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Reviewed Dec. 28, 2015

"A Christmas cookie tray favorite for years"

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."

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...."

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."

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."

Reviewed Jan. 5, 2014

"Best sugar cookies ever!!"

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."

Reviewed Dec. 22, 2013

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

Reviewed Dec. 12, 2013

"This is the only sugar cookie recipe I will ever use! No one can turn them can roll thin and make crispy or thick and make soft and gooey, and they still come out great! I have used countless recipes for sugar cookies over the years but kept trying different one's until I found the perfect one...this is it!"

Reviewed Sep. 2, 2013

"The cookie is excellent, but I'll use a different frosting next time. The frosting seemed a little bitter to my husband and I. But the cookie dough was easy to manage and the cookie turned out beautiful!"

Reviewed Aug. 15, 2013

"I don't know what all the fuss is about. I didn't have issues with sticky dough, but the cookies in general were pretty bland. I felt like the frosting didn't taste like much, either, just sugary.

I will stick with the White Velvet Sugar Cookie recipe, which I LOVE."

Reviewed Mar. 29, 2013

"Over the years i tried a lot of sugar cookie recipes. I did find one but it was very hard to work with and if you didn't mix it right it was tasteless. I made these cookies for my kids for Easter and they loved them. The dough was very easy to work with, the flavor was delicious and the texture was just how we like our cookie to be."

Reviewed Feb. 25, 2013

"Everyone tells me that these are the best sugar cookies they've ever eaten. This is my go to recipe for cut-outs."

Reviewed Jan. 27, 2013

"These are the best sugar cookies I've ever made! My family loves them. They freeze really well too."

Reviewed Dec. 23, 2012

"This is the sugar cookie recipe I always use now. The best !!"

Reviewed Nov. 25, 2012 Edited Feb. 10, 2015

"Just made these with my 9 year old daughter. Delicious! Dough is easy to work with. Will be my go-to sugar cookie recipe from now on"

Reviewed Dec. 27, 2011

"Very good cookies, my family enjoyed them"

Reviewed Dec. 16, 2011

"i have been searching for "my" perfect sugar cookie for quite some time and this was it! i love the flavor and the texture and it was amazingly easy to work with! i do have another favorite buttercream frosting that i use, but the cookie is wonderful!"

Reviewed Dec. 13, 2011

"I don't typically enjoy sugar cookies, but these are delicious! I made them as holiday gifts for friends and they were a hit all around! Cannot wait to make them again this year."

Reviewed Nov. 28, 2011 Edited Dec. 14, 2013

"Best sugar cookie recipe I have made. batch. Great taste.

This sugar cookie recipe is the best I have ever used. No need for any other recipe, love the taste."

Reviewed Nov. 21, 2011

"I got this recipe years ago, and its the best sugar cookie recipe that I've ever tried, so I don't even bother to try any other recipes for sugar cookies anymore, this one wins hands down! The extra vanilla in it makes all the difference. I make at least a triple batch for Christmas and they disappear before anything else every year!"

Reviewed Jan. 7, 2011

"I followed the directions exactly, but still ended up with sticky dough. I even left it in overnight. I haven't had any luck with making sugar cookies. Will try again."

Reviewed Dec. 24, 2010

"Very fragile cookie and not much of a taste. Thought I would try it regardless of the other comments that mentioned the same issue. They do look cute though!"

Reviewed Dec. 21, 2010

"I started making these cookies when the recipe first came out, my 3 boys and all their friends loved them, ever year all my family ask for them every Christmas, They say it would'nt be Christmas without them. Now my 5 grandchildren are enjoying them also..The Best !!!!!!!!"

Reviewed Dec. 18, 2010

"This became my go-to sugar cookie recipe 2 years ago. We love them in our house, and I've had many compliments on them when I've taken them places. The kids love frosting and decorating them, but I love to eat them plain with a cup of coffee! So good!! Thanks for the recipe."

Reviewed Nov. 22, 2010

"This is a great sugar cookie recipe. Very good flavor. I used the buttercream recipe on this site also, yummy!"

Reviewed Oct. 21, 2010

"I love these cookies, but the dough is very sticky. I use quite a bit of flour rolling them out.

I also have a problem with them puffing out and losing their shape while baking. Does this happen to anyone else?? I have made these many times and it happens every time. I always re-cut them as soon as they come out of the oven so they actually look like the shapes they were originally supposed to be."

Reviewed Jan. 22, 2010

"These cookies were very good! My sugar addict husband stated that the frosted was probably what made them so good!

My dough was also very sticky even after I stuck it in the freezer for 30 minutes! I ended up adding more flour each time I rolled it out to cut out the shapes. Perhaps adding the flour reduced the amount of sweetness? Overall these were very good cookies and everyone ate them up!"

Reviewed Oct. 22, 2009

"I have been making these since they were first published. they have never been sticky, and i only chill for the half hour recommended. Did you measure accurately?

for a rating i give them the highest possible."

Reviewed Aug. 5, 2009

"Mine were also very sticky, even though I refrigerated them overnight. I ended up sticking them in the freezer for awhile. I am wondering if perhaps the temperature in the house affects them, because I don't remember them being so sticky when I made them in spring (as opposed to August...) They taste great though, and I make them for various occasions!"

Reviewed Dec. 13, 2008

"I always make my dough one day and then refrigerate overnight, baking the next day. Try this and I'll bet you'll not have sticky dough! (I know because the same thing happened to me the first time!)"

Reviewed Oct. 20, 2008

"Help I followed these directions and my dough is very very sticky, I put it back in the fridge for overnight. Any suggestions? This is my first time making sugar cookies."

Reviewed Feb. 12, 2008

"these look good"

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Wine Pairings

Sweet White Wine

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