Soft and flavorful, these no-chill, no-roll sugar cookies really are the easiest you’ll ever bake.
I am normally not a sugar cookie person. I prefer no-fuss cookies, like my favorite brown butter chocolate chip cookies. But the other day I was craving a soft and vanilla scented sugar cookie slathered with buttercream frosting, so I gave in.
Only, I wasn’t going to make sugar cookies the traditional way.
One of my biggest pet peeves is cookie dough that needs to be chilled. Don’t they know that when I want cookies, I want them now? So I searched the Internet and found a recipe I could work with. I fully expected my first batch to be a bust, and so I was surprised when I pulled a sheet pan of perfect cookies from the oven. I’ve baked them a few times now and they’ve come out perfect every time.
They’re soft, and more chewy than cakey. To me they’re as good as any sugar cookie I’ve tried. Straight from the mixer, to the sheet pan, the oven, and then my mouth— it doesn’t get much better than that.
baking tip:No-chill sugar cookies
There are 2 reasons why this recipe doesn’t require chilling:
- Cookie dough with a large amount of butter needs to be chilled so that it doesn’t cause the cookies to spread too much as they bake. So this recipe has 3/4 of the butter most sugar cookies call for.
- Chilling cookie dough also gives the gluten in the dough time to relax creating a softer cookie, and allows the flour to absorb some of the moisture in dough which also prevents spreading. The powdered sugar in this recipes combats both of these issues: it helps the cookies stay soft, and powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which helps with excess moisture.
Easiest Sugar Cookies
For the cookies:
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 1/2 cup (112 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
- 2 cups (450 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1-3 tablespoons milk
To make the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Add to the mixer and mix on low until combined. Mixture will be crumbly at first, but will eventually come together into a thick dough.
- Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and place on the prepared sheet pan 2 inches apart. Use your hand or the bottom of glass to press the balls into thick disks.
- Bake until bottoms just turn golden brown, about 11-13 minutes (see Notes). Let cool on the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a sheet pan to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
- Beat the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of the milk until smooth and creamy. Add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until spreadable consistency is reached. Frost cookies and decorate as desired.
- To roll and cut cookies into shapes: Do not chill. Roll out on a sheet of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thick. Place on sheet pan and freeze 15 minutes. Cut out shapes. Place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake. Baking time will vary based on cookie size.
- If you wait for the edges of the cookies turn brown, they are already a little overdone. What I do when I try a new cookie recipe is I bake one test cookie, checking it often. And then I bake the rest when I determine the correct baking time. These cookies turned out with a barely golden bottom at exactly 12 minutes in my oven.