We all need a cookie recipe in our back pocket for any occasion, and these drop sugar cookies are just the thing. They’re so easy to customize for any gathering yet are so delicious on their own that you’ll look for any excuse to bake them. Birthdays? Yes. Bake sales? Absolutely. Your friend’s sister’s son’s best friend’s half-birthday party? But of course! Tender on the inside with a crisp edge and subtle lemony flavor, these drop sugar cookies are a go-to treat for any time of year.
Ingredients for Drop Sugar Cookies
- Sugar: Sugar sweetens the dough for the perfect, traditional sugar cookie taste.
- Vegetable oil: Vegetable oil keeps these cookies nice and tender long after they’re done baking.
- Grated lemon zest: Make sure you know how to zest a lemon properly so you’re not getting the bitter pith in the dough.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour isn’t too tough like bread flour and not too delicate like cake flour. A cookie’s texture usually falls somewhere in the middle.
- Colored sugar: Don’t have colored sugar? Do it yourself with our easy DIY colored sugar. All you need is granulated sugar and food coloring. Easy!
Step 1: Create the dough
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and lemon zest until blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
Step 2: Portion the dough
Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets.
Editor’s Tip: Feel free to use parchment or silicone baking mats instead of greasing the baking sheets.
Step 3: Flatten with a glass
Dip the bottom of a glass in the colored sugar, and press it lightly into the sugar cookie.
Repeat for each cookie.
Step 4: Bake
Bake the cookies until the edges are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool the cookies at room temperature for one to two minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks, and let cool to room temperature.
- Finish with frosting or icing: Once your drop sugar cookies have cooled completely, you can decorate them with fun designs using royal icing or your fave frosting.
- Sprinkle with sugar: Turbinado sugar creates a gorgeous finish and delightfully crunchy texture on these sugar cookies. It’s perfect if you don’t want to use colored sugar or you find frosting and icing too heavy.
- Enhance with extract: Transform the flavor of these cookies however you want with just a splash of extract. Lovely extract options are almond, lemon, orange, lavender, maple and peppermint.
- Add in sprinkles: Nothing dresses up a dessert quite like sprinkles. Rainbow, chocolate, non-pareils, Christmas sprinkles—there are so many to choose from! Either fold them into the cookie dough or sprinkle them on after baking.
How to Store Drop Sugar Cookies
To store, allow the drop sugar cookies to cool to room temperature. Place the cookies in an airtight container, and store at room temperature for up to five days.
If you find yourself making a lot of cookies, invest in one of the best cookie storage containers to keep your cookies tasting just as fresh as the day you made them.
Can you make drop sugar cookies ahead of time?
You can make the cookie dough ahead of time and bake the day you want to serve the cookies. Simply make the cookie dough, portion them out onto a baking sheet, and wrap the baking sheet a few times in storage wrap. Store in the fridge for up to four days, then bake as directed—no need to bring the cookie dough to room temperature.
Can you freeze drop sugar cookies?
Yes, you can freeze these cookies. Allow the cookies to cool completely to room temperature, then place them in an airtight container. Store them in the freezer for up to three months. That’s generally how to freeze most cookies, so keep this tip in your back pocket!
The cookie dough can be frozen, too! Simply make the cookie dough as directed, and portion them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pop them into the freezer until the cookie dough balls are hard, 30 to 60 minutes. Place the cookie dough balls in a resealable bag, and store them in the freezer for up to three months.
When the craving strikes, no need to thaw the cookie dough. Simply bake them off according to this recipe’s instructions, but maybe add a few more minutes of bake time.
Drop Sugar Cookies Tips
Why did my sugar cookies spread so much?
What makes drop cookies different?
Drop cookies are made by scooping from a batch of cookie dough and dropping the dough onto the baking sheet. There is no shaping or cutting involved when portioning drop cookies, unlike cutout cookies, sandwich cookies, slice-and-bake cookies, filled cookies or pressed cookies.
Can you shape drop cookies?
No, you cannot shape drop cookies. A drop cookie recipe, like this soft sugar cookie recipe, may have too many ingredients that spread during baking.