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Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies

These are one of my favorite cookies to bake for Christmas. The dough recipe is versatile and you can use it for other holidays, too. Children like to help with decorating. —Cynthia Ettel, Glencoe, Minnesota
  • Total Time
    Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    about 7 dozen


  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 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


  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 cookie: 80 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 74mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
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  • Julie
    Dec 19, 2020

    These are my families favorite cookie!! Easy to make- I use it year round

  • Katie
    Dec 17, 2020

    I’m going to make these tomorrow my son said mom , can’t you find a sugar cookie made with butter ?? So got on line sent me here ! I. Hoping for the best will let ya know what I think .

  • Kara
    Dec 7, 2020

    No comment left

  • Jay
    Mar 16, 2020

    Stuck at home, so I decided to make these cookies. I made them a touch softer by using a bit more butter, them "dropped" them onto the cooking sheets. Didn't feel like screwing around with rolling and cutting them. Haven't frosted them yet, but the cookies themselves are delicious!

  • Linda
    Dec 20, 2018

    No comment left

  • dschultz01
    Jan 2, 2018

    Made good cookies. I even froze the dough because I wasn't able to use it right away. Thawed in the fridge over a couple days, and left at room temp for a couple hours before baking. Came out great!

  • annlindblad
    Feb 16, 2017

    Dough was easy to handle - and delicious cookies

  • manga
    Jan 6, 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
    Dec 28, 2015

    A Christmas cookie tray favorite for years

  • pampat30
    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.