No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies

Get out the sprinkles, baby! Here's my long-time best recipe for rolled sugar cookies, made from scratch, sturdy enough for decorating, tender enough to eat. The all-butter dough is easy to handle, requires no refrigeration before rolling out and holds its shape during baking. Best of all, these homemade cookies smell and taste good, thanks to a heady blend of vanilla and almond extracts. Plus if you're in a rush, no problem, mix and bake an entire batch start to finish in just an hour, all ready for decorating, whether it's for Christmas, Valentines' Day, Easter, Halloween or my own claim to fame, family birthdays. Oh, the big smiles that happen whenever old-fashioned hand-decorated sugar cookies appear! And not just from kids!

No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies ♥, just mix and roll, no need to wait. Mix and bake in under an hour.

Just-Baked & Family-Tested. Fast & Flexible. Rolled in Powdered Sugar. Fun for Kids, Fun with Kids for Cookie Decorating Projects. Tender Enough to Eat, Sturdy Enough to Hold Kid-Heavy Frosting. Potluck & Party Friendly.

  • "At last! A no-chill roll-out cookie that is great!! ... worked perfectly!" ~ Carole
  • "We had a great time decorating cookies. Delicious." ~ Bonnie

Happy Birrrrrrrrrrrthday, Dear Daaaaaaad.

In my family, we sing for birthdays — loudly and some times out of tune, mind you, but always-always-always enthusiastically.

Today my father will collect happy-birthday singing telegrams from across the country, all of us wishing him well on this his 88th birthday.

I can’t bake you a cake, Dad. But I sure can bake you Happy Birthday cookies. So hey, watch the front door because guess what FedEx is delivering today!

Happy Birthday, Dear Dad!

A Fun Birthday Tradition.

My new tradition is all of three months old, baking “happy birthday cookies” for anyone within baking range.

So far that’s meant 9s and 0s for a ninety-year old, 1s and 2s for a twelve-year old, 5s for five-year old twins and today, 8s for my father.

It’s fun and produces big smiles from all ages, especially once the numeric significance hits.

Perfect for Christmas Cookies.

I use this same recipe for my annual cookie-decorating party for the grandkids and assorted grandnieces and nephews the Sunday before Christmas. Parents drop off the kids and head out for last-minute Christmas flurry, then return for an adult beverage, a bowl of chili and a cookie-decorating prize ceremony!

Such fun!

But sugar cookies aren't just for Christmas anymore!

St Patrick's Day, Anyone?!

No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies ♥, just mix and roll, no need to wait. Mix and bake in under an hour.

Or Spring Flowers?

No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies ♥, just mix and roll, no need to wait. Mix and bake in under an hour.

Or Halloween?

No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies for Halloween ♥, just mix and roll, no need to wait. Mix and bake in under an hour.

A Pig Roast?

Oh, I wish I had pictures because these cookies were sooo cute! But I was too caught up with last-minute prep for an after-wedding pig roast for a favorite grandniece.

I didn't have a "pig" cookie cutter but found one in my (large) collection that looked like an animal from the backside, legs down and ears up. I flooded some of the cookies in pink, then added a white spiral tail; the rest, I just decorated with a pink spiral. With just this iconic tail, everybody got the joke!

But Christmas? Definitely Christmas.

No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies for Christmas ♥, just mix and roll, no need to wait. Mix and bake in under an hour.

About This Recipe: No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies

  • This has been my go-to recipe for cutout sugar cookies since at least 2013. I'm never tempted to try other recipes, this one just works, time after time after time. When I settle hard on a recipe like this, I call it "mine" and this recipe is definitely "My Cutout Sugar Cookie Recipe".
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Salted Butter + Vanilla + Almond Extract + Powdered Sugar for Rolling
  • Short Ingredient List = all the above + sugar + 1 egg + all-purpose flour + baking powder + baking salt
  • This is a time-friendly recipe. First, unlike most recipes, the dough needs no chill time before rolling it out for cutout cookies. That means it's possible to mix and bake a full batch in an hour, ready for decorating. (And I've come to count on this, down to the minute, almost LOL.) For cookie decorating with Littles, I allow three hours to mix and bake two batches of cookies, make and dye a double batch of icing (recipe to come) and set up the decorating table. While I could (and sometimes do) bake the cookies a day or two ahead, mostly I bake the same day because when everyone walks into the house, the kitchen smells like just-baked cookies!
  • The dough is so easy to work with. It's easy to roll out without sticking at all, the cutout cookies lift easily off the counter and hold their shape during baking.
  • So many don't but these cookies actually taste good! It's for two reasons. First, I always-always-always use salted butter, particularly Land O Lakes salted butter (looking for the best price? check the butter section at Target, especially before the holidays. Both Land O Lakes and Target are Minnesota companies, it makes sense.) Second, I use a lot of vanilla and more importantly, supplement vanilla with almond extract. I do occasionally play with the flavors (lemon? coconut? anise? all good) and repeat them in the icing. So good! I will say, kids like the vanilla-almond combination better than the others except maybe lemon.
  • This is pantry-friendly and budget-friendly recipe, no fancy ingredients to shop for, no hard-to-find specialty anythings to order.
  • How many cookies does it make? That is 100% dependent on the size of the cookie cutters used. But for reference, I make a single batch of medium-size cookies when four or five people are decorating, a double batch when there's more.
  • I do so hope you try and love this recipe!

  • My first recipe for cutout cookies wasn't for plain sugar cookies but for a dough that is dark with molasses and winter spices, it would make great gingerbread men. People love these cookies and they're a welcome change from the usual sugar cookies. Check it out here, Cut-Out Spice Cookies.
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other cutout cookie recipes.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Can you use unsalted butter? Yes, But ... Some bakers prefer unsalted butter, with the idea of controlling the amount of added salt. Me, I follow the European tradition of salted butter which I find produces much better results for many baking projects but especially old-fashioned cookies like sugar cookies. The issue is that you just can't add/distribute enough salt to cookie dough. My take. You do you!

  • Do you really add salt to a dough made with salted butter? Yes. You just can't overstate the difference that salt makes in baking.

  • Can you re-use the parchment? Yes. Parchment can be re-used within the same baking project, so long as it doesn't get crusty with baked crumbs.

  • Can you re-use the same baking sheet more than once? Yes. Just be sure that the baking sheet has cooled down completely before starting the second batch. At Christmas, I often put a just-emptied baking sheet on the back step to cool off in the winter air. That said, if you have storage room, multiple baking sheets are really handy. I love these Made in USA sheet pans (affiliate link) and oh my, pre-cut parchment is convenient.

  • Can you freeze the dough? Yes! Need a small batch? This dough does indeed freeze well, for at least six months. Better news? The frosting freezes too! Just bake and decorate the few cookies you want at a time, no mixing required!

For the Very Best Results ...

For my weekly column in the local newspaper, I interviewed chefs and translated their recipes. The most fruitful question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes.

  • Use good-quality ingredients: salted butter (I adore Land O' Lakes); cane sugar (C&H) rather than an off-brand; reasonably fresh all-purpose flour (a couple of months, say) from a national brand like Pillsbury or Gold Medal versus the higher-protein flours from King Arthur or other brands.
  • Leave the butter and eggs out on the counter for an hour before mixing. Any longer, the butter can get too soft, especially during warm weather if the air conditioning is off. If this happens, just put the butter back in the fridge for an hour or two to re-harden, then try again.
  • Measure the sugar and flour with a kitchen scale, you'll get the same perfect results every time. Here's my favorite Escali kitchen scale (affiliate link).
  • Use reasonably fresh flour and baking powder, purchased in the last six months, about. This is especially important for those who don't bake regularly.
  • Roll the cookies in powdered sugar, not flour, to avoid a floury after-taste.
  • Bake one tray of cookies at a time.

  • STILL MORE TIPS Holiday Baking Tips from a Certifiable Cookie-Baking Fiend That would be, um, yours truly.

What Makes This Recipe Special

  • Perfect for last-minute cookie decorating parties
  • Cookies mixed and baked in one hour flat!
  • Dough can be mixed and rolled out right away without chilling first (most recipes require a good hour in the fridge to firm the dough for rolling)
  • Dough is easy to handle, from mixing to rolling out to cutting out and baking
  • Lovely flavor, not just dull butter-flour-sugar taste
  • No unusual ingredients, just the ones frequent bakers are likely to keep on hand and less-frequent bakers can find without trouble

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If these sugar cookies hit the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...
No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies ♥, just mix and roll, no need to wait. Mix and bake in under an hour.


Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes about 30 large cookies or 42 medium cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces/227g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 375g
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt (more if using unsalted butter)
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling

PREP Heat oven to 350F/180C with a rack in the center position. Cover heavy baking sheets with parchment.

MIX THE WET INGREDIENTS With an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until they're well combined but without overmixing or adding air. Add the sugar, vanilla and almond extract and combine well, scraping the sides a time or two if needed. Add the egg and combine well, again scraping the sides.

MIX IN THE DRY INGREDIENTS Separately, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the mixer.

Starting on low speed, mix until the dough begins to gather itself into a ball, again without overmixing, just enough for the flour mixture to be worked in.

PREPARE TO CUT OUT COOKIES, NO NEED TO FIRST CHILL THE DOUGH! Gather the dough into two rounds about two inches thick, smoothing the top, bottom and sides. Set one round aside or if you like, put it in the fridge for a brief chill.

ROLL FIRST ROUND Sprinkle a clean work surface and the dough round with powdered sugar. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough evenly about ¼-inch thick. Press cookie cutter(s) into the dough, leaving the cookies in place unless they happen to lift out when removing the cookie cutter. With an offset spatula, pull away all the scrap pieces, pile together on the side, then lift the cookies onto the baking sheet, leaving room between for spreading.

SET ASIDE THE SCRAPS For now keep the scraps from the first round on the side.

ROLL SECOND ROUND Roll out and cut the second round, collecting the scraps on the side.

BAKE the “dough rolled once” cookies for 10 – 14 minutes (12 minutes is perfect in my oven) until the edges and bottoms are just golden. Let the cookies cool completely right on the baking sheet, no need to move them to a cooling rack.

ROLL & BAKE THE SCRAPS Collect the scraps into a round and roll out, repeating this process with the scraps until the dough is gone. The “dough rolled twice or more” cookies take less time to bake (in my oven, only 10 minutes).

Now get creative! Frosting recipe to come but get out the sprinkles!

ALANNA’s TIPS The number of cookies will vary widely, depending on how thick the dough is rolled and the size of the cookie cutters. I roll the cookies “pretty thick” and still reliably end up with three to four dozen cookies. My standing mixer handles a double batch with ease but a double batch is too much for a hand mixer. I a-d-o-r-e the combination of mixed vanilla and almond extracts but the most important thing is to make the cookies taste like more than butter-sugar-flour. I have used all vanilla (excellent!) and all lemon (swoon!) and even unusual extracts such as anise (so edgy!). Experiment! Do be careful with mint extract; a whole tablespoon is too much, start with a teaspoon and then adjust to taste. Powdered sugar works so much better than flour for rolling cut-out cookies because it “melts” into the cookies. This technique works on all sugar cookies, try it on your own favorite recipe! I get better results (that is, more even cooking) baking a single tray at a time rather than doubling up and swapping racks mid-way through.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cookie (assumed 42): 94 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 16mg Cholesterol; 83mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 0g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 4 & myWW green 4 & blue 4 & purple 4 & future WW points

More Cutout Cookies for Festive Occasions

~ cookie recipes ~

Frosty Christmas Trees ♥, my long-time favorite cut-out cookie, with an easy-to-handle dough, lovely gingerbread flavor and just a touch of chocolate.

Colored Roll-Out Sugar Cookies ♥, an easy-to-work-with recipe for roll-out sugar cookies, here in Christmas Stars. No icing!

Family Shortbread ♥, spare, simple, ethereal English shortbread. Lots of family tricks and tips, all in one place.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2014, 2015, 2021 & 2023

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Mmmmmm sugar cookies. That dough looks really easy to handle too!

  2. Anonymous3/28/2014

    Thanks for the tip of using powered sugar as a rolling surface. I've never liked to make "roll-outs" because of the flour taste. Now I shall make a batch of roll out cookies with this new recipe. Shall let you know how they turn out, and if the Cookie Monster likes them. kk

  3. Little Bo3/28/2014

    Happy 88th birthday hug to your sweet dad, with his big heart, big intellect, and big life spirit!

  4. Carole3/28/2014

    Happy Birthday Alanna's Dad! AND --- Happy Birthday Carole's Mom, 95 today! We always conference call the person on his/her birthday (even though they're in town) and sing as loudly and as off key as possible! What great traditions.

    Thanks for the lovely column and recipe, which I can't wait to try. I love your no fuss sugar cookies that are dropped -- use it all of the time.

  5. Michelle ~ It is really easy to handle! And without chilling!

    KK ~ Oh you’ll love the difference with powdered sugar. Tell that Cookie Monster hello!

    Little Bo ~ Ahhhhh! He’ll love hearing from you!

    Carole ~ Happy Birthday to your mother! What a coincidence!

  6. Carole4/07/2014

    At last --- a no-chill roll-out cookie that is great!! Thank you for this one! I've always shied away from cut-outs because of the time, the chilling (mine always get rock-hard), and the trouble. I rolled these on powdered sugar and under Saran -- worked perfectly!

  7. Carole ~ Such good news, thanks for letting me know!

  8. Sarah Lovett12/19/2015

    I wanted to comment that I found half of this dough in my refrigerator a year and a half later, rolled them out and they tasted perfect! Will be making a batch tomorrow for Christmas cookies

  9. Sarah ~ I’m not sure if that’s good news or not but I do thank you for letting me know. Let’s hope nobody else repeats the experiment! Enjoy your cookies -- I’ll be making several batches on Wednesday for the family’s big kids’ cookie decorating party!

  10. Anonymous4/08/2023

    I just made the sugar cookie bars and decided to take a look at this roll-out recipe. One question - how thick should they be rolled out to, would you say?

    1. Alanna4/21/2023

      So glad you like the Sugar Cookie Bars! You'll love this recipe too, I think. I roll the cookies about 1/4-inch thick, that makes them a bit crisp on the outside but not throughout.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna