Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These are the best sugar cookies: rich and buttery in flavor with a crisp exterior and soft interior.

These sugar cookies are truly crave-worthy: buttery and rich in flavor with a crisp exterior and soft interior. I discovered the recipe years ago on the King Arthur Flour website, and it’s been my go-to for sugar cookies ever since.

So, what makes these sugar cookies unique? First, they’re made with cream cheese in addition to butter, which makes them tender without the need for vegetable shortening. Second, they’re made with a touch of almond extract, which lightly perfumes the cookies with the unmistakable scent of almond.

What You’ll Need To Make Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

ingredients for sugar cookies

How To Make Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

Begin by whisking the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda together in a bowl. Set aside.

whisking dry ingredients

Next, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer with beaters).

creamed butter and sugar

Add the vanilla and almond extracts.

adding the extracts

Beat to combine, then add the egg.

adding the egg

Add the dry ingredients to the batter.

adding dry ingredients to sugar cookie batter Mix on low until the dough forms a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.

mixed sugar cookie dough

Pinch off tablespoons of dough and roll in a bowl of sugar.

rolling sugar cookie dough balls in sugar

Place the balls on a cookie sheet, then press them flat with a flat-bottomed glass.

pressing the sugar cookies flat

Bake for about ten minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom but still very pale on top. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

sugar cookies cooling on rack

The cookies are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are made.

How To Freeze Sugar Cookies

If you don’t want to bake all the cookies at once, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.)

To freeze after baking, let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

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Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

These are the best sugar cookies: rich and buttery in flavor with a crisp exterior and soft interior.

Servings: 4 dozen
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 oz (1/4 cup) cream cheese
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for rolling cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1. Set racks in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat in the egg. Scrape down the bowl again, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.
  4. Place the remaining 1/2 cup cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Moisten your hands so the dough doesn't stick to them. Pinch off the dough by tablespoonfuls, shape into rough balls (see note below), roll in the sugar to coat, and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass, flatten the cookies to 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through to ensure even cooking. The cookies will turn golden on the bottom but remain pale on top. Cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel to keep the dough moist between batches.)
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 193
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Sugar: 15 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 104 mg
  • Cholesterol: 31 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Loved this recipe! Really quick and easy to throw together a batch. I prefer these over cutter-shape sugar cookies. These have a light buttery mouthfeel but are satisfying enough that you don’t need to eat a ton of them to satiate that cooking craving.

    • — Sonya on January 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Excellent and so easy to make. Jen, you might make a baker out of me yet!

    • — Deb on December 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • These cookies are everything you said; crispy on the outside and soft in the center. I needed to add another 2 minutes to cook time, which is likely an issue with my oven. Would definitely make them again. Love them

    • — Dianne Radcliff on December 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • Sugar cookies are just about my favorite cookie. It really reminds me of my Mom because her sugar cookies were awesome. I made these tonight and I am so happy with them. They are simple to make and even easier to EAT! I will be making them for those that I give goodies to at Christmas time.

    • — Naomi on December 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Could I roll the cookies in red or green suagr instead of plain?

    Thank you!

    Kristen Berry

    • — Kristen Berry on December 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Definitely!

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • Didn’t have cream cheese so I substituted plain goat cheese. Also added cranberries, candied ginger and white chocolate chips for a Fall twist. I’d give it 👍🏻👍🏻.😀

    • — Laurie Hoffman on November 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • I substituted 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom for the almond extract- delicious! Thanks for another wonderful recipe.

    • — Anna on July 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • These were so easy to make and I added a bit more vanilla than the recipe called for for personal preference. Always trust your recipes Jen! Much love!

    • — Elena on June 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Could I make these as cookie bars? I was thinking of adding your buttercream frosting to the top. Any suggestions for baking these as bars?

    • — Sarah on May 30, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, I suppose you could. I’d use the timing for these Blondies (but keep a close eye on them as I’m not certain the timing will be exactly the same). Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on June 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Tried these for the first time and I think they are awesome! I shall definitely be making more.

    • — Sarah Whittaker on May 15, 2020
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  • These sugar cookies are amazing! They are not overly sweet, even rolled in sugar, and the touch of almond puts them over the top. For my oven, rotating the pans as suggested was critical. Even then, one pan was done before the other. Thank you Jenn, for making my family happy, again.

    • — Rhonda on May 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m about to make these for a friend’s son who is allergic to tree nuts of which almond is one I think. Can I just leave it out or do I need to sub in that amount of vanilla? Thanks!

    • — Cherry on May 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • I would just use more vanilla. Hope the recipient enjoys! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn,
        Just wanted you to know he loved them and ate the 5 dozen in less than a week. Lol. I just subbed in the extra vanilla instead of the almond extract.

        • — Cherry on May 27, 2020
        • Reply
        • Clearly he enjoyed them! So glad 🙂

          • — Jenn on May 27, 2020
          • Reply
  • Could you send me the nutritional value of these cookies. Thank you.

    • — Deborah Glaser on January 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Deborah, I just added the info to the recipe. Hope you enjoy the cookies!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • Best Christmas cookies I’ve ever made and I accidentally put in 1 t of almond extract instead of 1/4. We cut them into Christmas shapes and added some sprinkles. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Janet on December 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • I am sugar cookie connoisseur. These were the BEST sugar cookies I have ever made! There is a little shop in town where I live that sells sugar cookies everyone talks about. These were as good as those! I frosted them with a wonderful buttercream frosting. Thank you for sharing it!

    • — Alicia on December 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • I’ve been looking for this cookie recipe all my life! It’s perfect just the way it is; I had to adjust the cooking time ever so slightly by cooking a little longer, but the ingredients are “on point” and, they are so soft and delectable! If you haven’t tried, they’re a must!

    • — Kathy on October 8, 2019
    • Reply
    • I agree!

      • — Alicia on December 18, 2019
      • Reply
  • Totally 5 stars. This recipe is the perfect sugar cookie. I’ve made many times, it’s my go-to sugar cookie now. After flattening with the glass, I always place a few seasonal colored sprinkles on the cookies before placing in oven. It’s red, white, blue now for summer! Jenn, you rock! It’s great to be able to trust recipes.

    • — Debra Miller on June 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • ☺️

      • — Jenn on June 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    My youngest son just graduated from college and we’re having a party for him this weekend. He has requested frosted sugar cookies for dessert. This recipe looks wonderful. Would they be good frosted? Any suggestions on a frosting recipe?

    Thanks!

    Katy

    • — Katy on May 23, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Katy, I have never frosted these cookies but I’m sure they’d be good with an American buttercream frosting (similar to the one I use on my vanilla birthday cake). If you go that route, I’d omit the sugar on the exterior of the cookies. Or for a more traditional frosted holiday-type cookie, check out these butter cookies. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 24, 2019
      • Reply
  • If I wanted to make these for Valentine’s Day, could I add pink food coloring to the dough, or would it change the flavor? Would pink or red sugar added to the top be a better idea?

    • — Karen on February 10, 2019
    • Reply
    • Pink food coloring shouldn’t change the flavor of the dough, but personally, I like the idea of the pink or red sugar added to the cookie tops. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • These cookies turned out amazing!! Simple and delicious – perfect for those who don’t like anything super sweet! I ended up with 3 dozen, but I’m sure if you did a tablespoon exactly you’d get 4 dozen. I love your recipes and I’m never hesitant to try a new one out because I know it’ll be delicious!!

  • Hi, my cookies turned out great..very nice texture. I followed so carefully my dough wasn’t too sticky and rolled nicely into balls approx 1 tb or 1 inch, I ended up getting exactly 3 dozen, not four!

  • If I am planning on using lavender sugar, should I eliminate the almond extract and just use vanilla?

    • Hi Deb, I think that would be good — then you won’t have those two very different flavors competing with each other. Hope you enjoy!

  • I am looking to make a sprinkle sugar cookie.
    Would it work to roll them in sprinkles before I bake them?

    • Sure, AG, I think that should work. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • I was wondering if I can freeze these cookies after I bake them as I did with your chocolate chip and chocolate biscotti recipe…my goal is to make a few assorted guest trays for the freezer to have when company shows unexpectedly. I will say that your recipes that I have tried have been so good it has been difficult to sneak a dozen away to freeze lol. could you also tell me what other cookies may freeze well in this regard

    • Hi Kim, these definitely freeze nicely! Plenty of my cookies would fall into that same category. To name a few — Double Chocolate Mint Cookies, Spiced Pumpkin Cookies, Toffee Almond Sandies, Donut Hole Cookies, Snickerdoodles, and Holiday Cut-Out Cookies. If you have questions about other, I’m happy to help!

  • After being disappointed with sugar cookie recipes in the past, I figured I’d try yours. Wowsers! Very good! I accidentally forgot to flatten the first batch and they were still delicious, like soft puff balls. Mine didn’t spread too much, so perhaps more can be baked on a sheet at a time. I did make 48 (4 dozen) cookies.

  • Just came by to drop some stars. I’ve made these many times now and enjoy them immensely. Sometimes I experiment with fun frosting but they are marvelous as is.

    • Stephenie, I enjoyed your comment most! “Just came by to drop some stars.” Very nice 😊

  • I love your website and recipes terrific. I just made these cookies and there was way too much flour as cookies did not spread at all. I’m a seasoned baker and followed recipe exactly. Used King Arthur Flour. Any ideas? I guess I should have added flour gradually. Dough was not “sticky” at all.

    • Hi Becky, I’m sorry you had a problem with these! Did you spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge? Is there any chance you may have measured something incorrectly?

  • Happy Holidays. I wanted to make your recipe for Crave worthy sugar cookies. Can you make the day ahead, refrigerate and bake the next day?
    Thank you. Barb

    • Sure, Barb – enjoy!

  • Could I make these Lemon Sugar Cookies?
    I would prefer to use lemon juice and lemon zest, but would that cause a negative chemical reaction? Do you think it would be ‘safer’ to just use lemon extract?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Carol, I love the idea of adding zest only (or lemon zest with a touch of lemon extract)- should give just enough lemon flavor without causing a weird reaction in the recipe.

      • Perfect! Thanks for getting back to me (and you can ignore my other question about the vanilla extract. I will try the lemon zest, and let you know the results!

    • But, I would still want to use some of the vanilla extract, too 🙂

  • Delicious! We rolled some in red sugar and others in green sugar for Christmas. Some got a chocolate kiss for a blossom type cookie.

  • These cookies are the best! The subtle almond flavor and chewy texture are perfect. I love that they have that cakey texture without having to use Crisco (which i find gross!). My new go-to sugar cookie recipe.

  • I have made this recipe several times and it is consistently the very best sugar cookie that I have ever made or gifted to friends and family. It always gets rave reviews because it is simple but elegant. Great recipe.

  • These were all gone in seconds. Everyone waited around the kitchen so they could grab them as soon as I got them out of the oven. I was lucky enough to get one!

    • — Althea in Wyoming
    • Reply
  • These are truly crave-worthy sugar cookies! While most sugar cookies have the taste of shortening and the texture of barely cooked dough, Jenn’s sugar cookies have a buttery vanilla taste enhanced by the hint of almond and the slightly crunchy outer layer gives way to a soft, chewy middle – sugar cookie perfection! For a change up, I make a substitution of 1 teaspoon orange extract with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Another go-to recipe from Jenn!

  • Another recipe, another winner – love this site! Followed the recipe exactly as written (except my oven required about 2 minutes more cook time) and they were delicious! Best sugar cookies I’ve ever had! 🙂

  • Wow wow wow! Just made these cookies. They look exactly like the pics and are delicious! Don’t change a thing, follow the recipe to the T! Thanks for sharing Jenn!

  • Hi Jenn
    I made your sugar cookies for Xmas and they were so delicious. I would like to make them for Valentine’s Day using a heart shaped cutter but I’m not sure whether this dough can be rolled.
    Would it work? I know you have a butter cookie recipe using dough that can be rolled but I am interested in only a soft cookie. Thank you, Lisa.

    • Hi Lisa, Unfortunately, I don’t think this dough will hold its shape very well in the oven — your hearts might look more like blobs 🙂

  • Hi Jenn,

    I am making these cookies for a holiday party and there are people attending who have a nut allergy. Can I make these without the almond extract or is there something nut-free I can substitute it with?

    • Hi Elizabeth, It’s fine to leave it out and substitute more vanilla.

      • Hello Jenn- How much vanilla would you use if you omit the almond extract?
        Thanks,
        Cate

        • You’d just replace the almond extract with more vanilla extract, so you’d use a total of 1 1/4 tsp. Enjoy!

  • This is the best sugar cookie recipe that I have ever made. Always gets rave reviews from everyone that I give these cookies to. Easy recipe, & using an ice cream scoop insures consistent size.

  • Can I substitute sour cream for the cream cheese?

    • Hi SV, I’ve never tried them this way, so I can’t say for sure, but it’s a relatively small amount needed in the recipe, so I think you should be able to get away with it. I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try them!

    • I did try the sour cream instead of cream cheese. They turned out great!

      • So glad- thanks for the followup!

  • I just tried making these last night and they turned out PERFECT! This is by far, the BEST sugar cookie recipe ever! Thanks so much for sharing! It was so delicious, I made sure to share your link to this recipe.

  • Hi! I want to attempt these but I only own a hand mixer with so such attachment. Will it be OK to mix with the beaters or best to do it the old fashioned way with my hands? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Megan, I think you could get away with either. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn! Can the dough be made in advance and then frozen or would that alter taste or texture when ready to bake? Thanks!

    • Hi Renee, I think freezing the dough would still result in great cookies. I would freeze the dough in one large piece and, once it’s defrosted, proceed with the additional steps in the recipe.

      • Thanks Jenn! I ended up just baking these right off and they were delicious! My coworker said they were “sinfully good”! However mine did not crinkle at all but probably because I used a flat bottomed cup to press them down. I’ll have to find a cup that’s convex like yours so it’ll turn out prettier next time. Thanks for the great recipe!!!

  • Can I use salted butter and omit the salt? I am not quite sure if it is chemistry or taste or both…could you help? Can I make these with regular butter? Thanks!

    • Hi Juliane, A stick of butter has about 1/4 teaspoon salt, so I would reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. Enjoy!

  • I have NEVER been a fan of sugar cookies but these are the absolute BEST sugar cookies I’ve ever tried–has to be the cream cheese.

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