Perfect Soft Sugar Cookies

So many posts have begun this way lately, but I honestly thought this recipe was already on here. It's my very favorite sugar cookie, and I've made it so many times that I just assumed that I had already shared it. If you are a fan of soft, cakey sugar cookies, my apologies for not sharing it sooner. For me, this is the soft sugar cookie recipe that I searched for years to find. I tried every kind of variation on sugar cookies and even some cake recipes, trying to find the perfect balance of buttery, sweet, soft, and cake-like. Once I tried this recipe, I immediately put six stars on the recipe page (out of a possible 5 stars) and wrote, "May I never use a different sugar cookie recipe again." A little dramatic? Perhaps. But you'll have to taste the cookies yourself to decide how much.

As I've said, these cookies are soft. If you are into the buttery, snap-in-your-mouth sugar cookies, these aren't for you. However, if you love those cakey cookies that are sold in your supermarket loaded with frosting, you've come to the right place. On their own, these cookies aren't overly sweet. In fact, that is one thing I love about them. They are perfect with just a dusting of sugar on top before baking. If you want to load on the frosting, though, these cookies are great for that, too. They are also fairly easy to make, without extra chilling steps or difficult-to-roll dough. They hold shape well when you cut them, and did I mention they were soft and delicious? May I never use a different sugar cookie recipe again.

Perfect Soft Sugar Cookies

Heat Oven To 350 Published 02/11/2016
Perfect Soft Sugar Cookies


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Frosting (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer or with an electric mixer, beat together butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture, beat until combined, and then 1/2 of the buttermilk, beating until combined. Repeat once with remaining flour mixture and buttermilk. Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap, flatten into a palm-sized circle and wrap plastic wrap around it. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (Dough can stay in the fridge for up to 24 hours)
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes of your choice and place them on a cookie sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Sprinkle cookies with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Bake until cookies are just starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes. (I prefer them to be just barely brown. Check early if you are using a small cookie cutter.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with frosting if desired.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 20 mins. (Plus 2 hours chilling time)
Cook time: 10 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.
Recipe Source: America's Best Lost Recipes

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