Fall in love with these old-fashioned soft sugar cookies. They are light and fluffy, slightly chewy, and have the perfect sugar cooking tang. Go ahead and spread on some icing to make frosted sugar cookies, or enjoy them as they are – pure perfection!
There’s nothing better than a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookie. One that’s soft, with a light, fluffy texture, and a slight chew. It’s irreplaceable, and that, my friend is where these amazingly soft sugar cookies come in.
These cookies are so loved, I’ve taken their base and enjoyed them as the base for individual fruit pizzas, a giant raspberry sugar cookie, and they even inspired pumpkin sugar cookies. There’s truly nothing they can’t do.
This recipe was first introduced to our family via a family friend, and has been made so many times throughout my childhood it’s hard to even pin down exactly when it came to be part of our own family traditions.
Once you make them, you’ll soon see how they’ll become part of your cookie traditions too. They’re full of depth, flavor, and have the perfect texture. They’re slightly chewy yet still incredibly soft. Yes, it’s true, a sugar cookie that does ALL THE THINGS.
Even better is how easy they are to make…so let’s get baking!
Drop Cookies – So Easy!
Technically these sugar cookies are drop cookies because they don’t require any rolling or cutting out of the dough. You simply need to drop the dough and bake.
For this recipe, you will need to gently press the dough down with a sugar-dipped glass, but that’s it. They are not a traditional cut-out sugar cookie, but rather a simple anytime kind of cookie that’s quick and easy to make.
How to Make Sugar Cookies from Scratch
These sugar cookies are so easy to make, don’t be surprised if you end up making a batch week after week (that might be something I know something about…).
- Cream together butter and sugar. This helps create a light and fluffy base for the cookies, so be sure to continue creaming until they’re fully combined and lighter in color. If you’re not sure, keep going, you’ll see the change as it comes together and becomes a pale color.
- Add vegetable oil and eggs until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients. I do recommend sifting the dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet ingredients to make sure they are fully incorporated.
- Chill the dough. Yesssss, ok I do recommend chilling this dough to help the flavor develop and to help it set up in order to not spread too much during the baking process. Here’s my silver lining: you’ll be able to clean up the kitchen and once the cookies are done baking, all you’ll have to do is enjoy them!
- Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet, then press with a sugar-dipped glass. Gently press a flat-bottomed glass that has been dipped in sugar on top of each dollop of dough. Don’t press too hard, you’ll be able to feel once the dough is pressed to the right amount – don’t force it further.
- And bake! The key to soft cookies is slightly underbaking them. Bake these cookies until the edges are set and only ever so slightly turning golden. They honestly might not even look that golden, but take them out. If you cook them too long, the edges will be crispy (which tastes fine, it’s just a different texture than what we’re after here).
Tips for the Best Cookies
Use Room Temperature Ingredients
It’s especially important the butter is at room temperature for this recipe. Room temperature means enough that a fingerprint holds. Not too soft that it is close to melting, and not cold enough that it doesn’t like to budge.
Room temperature butter will cream best with the sugars to create this beautifully soft melt-in-your-mouth texture. If the butter is too cold, it will end up in small clumps and melt in odd ways as the cookies bake.
Weigh the Ingredients
…especially the flour! Too much flour and the cookies will be dry. Not enough, they will end up too thin. The best way to properly measure flour for baking is to weigh it out (this also saves on dishes – always a win). If you don’t have a kitchen scale, sift and lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup, being careful to not pack it down. You want it light, fluffy, and not packed in.
Do Not Overbake
It’s worth repeating: bake the cookies until just barely starting to turn golden brown around the edges. This will keep the texture of the cookies soft while being slightly chewy.
How to Freeze Sugar Cookies
You can freeze either the baked cookies or the cookie dough for future baking.
To freeze baked cookies, simply let them cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge. You will likely want to wrap the cookies individually for the best results.
To freeze the cookie dough, I like to use SouperCubes – they make freezing individual dough balls super easy. Otherwise, dollop the dough on a baking sheet and press down, freezing the pucks. Once they’re chilled through, transfer them to a storage bag. To bake, place the frozen dough directly in the oven and bake for an additional minute or two.
Frosted Sugar Cookies
To be clear, these are not cut-out sugar cookies that hold the shape of whatever cutout you use, and then frost. These are old-fashioned sugar cookies, similar to the Lofthouse-style frosted cookies you can find in the store.
These cookies are delicious on their own, but if you’d like to decorate them, you absolutely can too! I recommend using one of my favorite sugar cookie icing recipes. It’s soft and spreadable, and you can have your own choose-your-flavor adventure!
Simply spread buttercream frosting on the cookies, then add sprinkles, sanding sugar, or a drizzle of caramel or chocolate for fun and festive decorations.
Yes! You can make the dough up to two days in advance. You don’t need to make any additional changes, proceed with baking as directed when you’re ready.
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
These cookies will last for about 4-5 days, as long as they weren’t overbaked. If they really last that long anyway, they do tend to disappear quickly!
Soft Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar, additional for pressing cookies
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, cream together room temperature butter, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar until combined, light, and fluffy. Add vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract, continuing to mix until combined.
- Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, then mix into the creamed mixture until incorporated. Cover the cookie dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
- 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Dollop a scoop (#40 scoop) or 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Dampen a flat-bottomed glass with water, then dip in a small bowl of granulated sugar. Gently press each cookie dough ball with the bottom of the glass until approximately 2 inches wide, or about 1/2 inch thick. Dip the glass back in the sugar between each cookie to recoat.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are just beginning to barely turn golden brown around the edges.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.