Simple Soft Sugar Cookies

Leave these cookies plain, frost them after cooling, or dress them up with colored sparkling sugars sprinkled over top before baking.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies


  • 1 cup (225 g, or 2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 cups (315 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To finish:

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated white sugar


1 Preheat the oven: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.

2 Beat the butter and sugar: Place butter, both sugars and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the ingredients together until the butter is light, fluffy and clings to the side of the bowl.

White and brown sugar with butter cubes in mixing bowl

3 Add the egg and beat to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

4 Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are mostly absorbed, then increase the speed until fully incorporated.

5 Chill the dough: Chill in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.

Sugar cookie dough ingredients in mixing bowl

6 Shape the cookies: Pinch off a lump of dough. Roll it between the palms of your hands to form a ball roughly 1 1/2 inches in diameter, about the size of a pingpong ball. Roll the dough in the granulated white sugar and place on the baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.

Balled Sugar cookie dough on baking tray

7 Press the cookies into disks: Use the flat bottom of a glass to press down and form thick disks about 2 inches wide. Sprinkle some extra sugar on each disk

Shaping Sugar Cookies With Glass Cutter

8 Bake the cookies: Bake at 375°F (190°C) 11 to 13 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are starting to turn golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before moving cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Finished Chewy Sugar Cookie Recipe on baking sheet

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  • Rozan

    Can I use salted butter and just omit the salt?

    • Carrie Havranek

      Yes, you could try that. Let us know how it works!

      • Rozan

        DE-Licious! My dad , who is my reason for baking cookies , said they were the BEST ones I’ve ever made. Very tasty, very sweet. This recipe is a keeper!

  • Bebe

    My late Mother always added a small amount (1/2 tsp) lemon extract along with the vanilla.

  • Brenda

    Chewy, soft, reminds me of when I was 16!!!


  • rachael

    do I need to chill the dough?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Rachael! The dough is really soft right after mixing, so we recommend chilling the dough. This makes it easier to work with and keeps it from spreading out too much in the oven. Enjoy!

  • Jewelianne

    I made these but each time the dough ismore like batter than cookie dough. This is the only recipe giving me problems. The cookies come out dreamy good but go on sloppy and wet even with an added 1/2 cup of flour.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jewelianne, try chilling the dough for an hour before forming into balls. Irvin (the recipe’s author) lives in chilly San Francisco so I’m guessing the ambient temperature there may be cooler than where you are. Also, make sure you are not softening butter in the microwave to get room temp butter. It’s easy to get the butter too soft that way, which will contribute to the problem.

  • Rachel

    Hi, I’m trying to make a flat cookie. I am aware that these are fairly thin, but could I omit the baking powder? Thanks.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Rachel! I’m not sure what would happen if you eliminated the baking powder altogether (though I’d be curious to know if you try it!). I think you might be better off finding a recipe that’s closer to the kind of cookie you’d like to make. Maybe something like these cut-out sugar cookies, cut into rounds instead of shapes?

  • Marilou

    I’ve made these 3 times in 2 weeks. Everyone loves them. One slight variation: I add just a 1/2 t. or so of almond extract. Be sure and not overbake them. Great recipe… keep them coming!


  • Susan

    Love the addition of a little brown sugar here. It’s curious to see baking powder used in the recipe, usually it’s baking soda, especially with an acidic ingredient like brown sugar it. Baking soda, I’ve read, makes for a crisper cookie, so maybe that’s the reason for the powder? Anyone?

    • Irvin Lin

      Hi Susan. You’ll notice that there’s only a little brown sugar in the cookie. It’s there to give a little subtle flavor but more to help soften the cookie, as the molasses in the brown sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water. Baking soda does need acidic ingredients like brown sugar to work but there’s not a lot of brown sugar in the dough, so baking powder was used as a leavener instead as it has it’s own acid built it.

      • Susan

        Thank you for answering my question. Helpful to know these things.

  • Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

    I’m famous for my cookies that I accidently “forget” to add ingredients too like the yeast. This is a problem. I guess I need baking classes. But this recipe and doable and I should try for our next church bake/rummage sale.

    • Lola LB

      Mise en place is your friend.

  • Chad

    I make a similar cookie. From another on line site, one sugar and crisper. The two will go well together and will of course have people choosing chewy or crisp. More cookie fun.