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Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies Recipe

Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies Recipe

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, Hutchinson, Minnesota
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling YIELD: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


  • 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).

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies

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Reviewed 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!"

Reviewed Feb. 16, 2017

"Dough was easy to handle - and delicious cookies"

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."

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."

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