Holiday Cut-Out Butter Cookies

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These holiday cut-out butter cookies are a dream to make, and they’re as delicious as they are pretty!

holiday cut-out butter cookies

I usually think of holiday cut-out butter cookies as something to admire, rather than eat. They’re typically not that good and, I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have some cookies, I want them to be worth it! But this recipe from King Arthur Flour is different. The cookies are buttery and tender-crisp with a thin layer of glaze that adds just the right amount of sweetness. They’re as delicious as they are pretty — but even more than that, they’re a dream to make.

The dough is easy to work with and tough enough to stand up to rolling, cutting and re-rolling. Trust me, I had a group of four girls over at my house last weekend; they worked this dough to death and the cookies still came out tender and delicious. Finally, the cut dough holds its shape perfectly when baked — no puffing or spreading — so go ahead and break out all those ornate cookie cutters. It’s time to bake some cookies!

What you’ll need to make holiday cut-out butter cookies


how to make holiday cut-out butter cookies

Begin by combining the confectioners’ sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, and almond extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.


Beat until smooth.


Add the flour.


Mix on low speed until well combined. The mixture will seem dry at first but don’t worry, it will come together.


Scrape the dough onto a work surface (if it’s sticky, dust very lightly with flour).


Divide the dough into 2 discs, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and let it soften for about 30 minutes. Work it with your hands for a minute or so, until it feels soft and pliable enough to roll. Be careful not to overwork it; it should still feel cold.


Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough and rolling pin as well. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll to 1/8″ – 3/16″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes, then use a thin metal spatula to lift the dough off of the counter and onto parchment-lined baking sheets (they can be close together; they don’t spread). Re-roll and cut the dough scraps. 


Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 14 minutes, until they’re set and barely browned around the edges. Note that the cook time will vary depending on the thickness and size of the cookies. Very small cookies might be done in 8 minutes.


While the cookies cool, make the icing.


Combine the sugar, milk, and corn syrup. Stir with a spoon to make a thick but spreadable icing.


If the glaze is too thin, add additional sifted confectioners’ sugar. If too thick, dribble in additional milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Using a small spoon, dollop the icing on the center of the cookies and use the spoon and/or your finger to spread it all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with colored sugar or other sugar decorations while the icing is still wet.


Allow the icing to harden before storing the cookies.


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Holiday Cut-Out Butter Cookies

These holiday cut-out butter cookies are a dream to make, and they’re as delicious as they are pretty!

Servings: About 5 dozen 2-inch cookies
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes, plus 2 hours to chill the dough


For the Cookies

  • 1-1/4 cups Confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with knife

For the Icing

  • 2-1/4 cups Confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon milk
  • Food coloring and sugar decorations, optional


  1. Combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, and almond extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until well combined. The mixture will seem dry and crumbly at first, but don't worry -- it will come together. Scrape the dough onto a work surface (if it's sticky, dust very lightly with flour). Shape into a ball and cut in half; form 2 discs, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator; let it soften on the countertop for 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Work the dough with your hands for a minute or so, until it feels soft and pliable enough to roll. Be careful not to overwork it; it should still feel cold. Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour as well. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll to 1/8" - 3/16" thick, sprinkling more flour over and under the dough as needed so that it doesn't stick. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Use a thin metal spatula to lift the cut dough off of the counter and onto the prepared baking sheets (they can be close together; they don't spread). Re-roll and cut the dough scraps, dusting more flour as necessary so the dough doesn't stick. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, until they're set and barely browned around the edges. (Note that the cook time will vary depending on the thickness and size of the cookies. And mini cookies might be done in as little as 8 minutes.)
  4. While the cookies cool, make the icing. Combine the sugar, milk, and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Stir with a spoon to make a thick but spreadable icing. If the glaze is too thin, add additional confectioners’ sugar. If it's too thick, dribble in additional milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time. (You'll know the consistency is right when a ribbon of glaze dribbled from the spoon will sit atop the glaze in the bowl briefly, before settling and disappearing. Be careful not to make it too thin, or it will drip right off the cookies and make a sticky mess.)
  5. Using a small spoon, dollop the icing on the center of the cookies and use a spoon, knife, toothpick or your finger to spread it all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with colored sugar or other sugar decorations while the icing is still wet. Allow the icing to harden before storing the cookies.
  6. Note: The cookies are best eaten within a day or two, when they are perfectly tender and crisp. They'll keep much longer stored in an airtight container, but they'll soften up.
  7. Note: The FDA no longer recommends ingesting dragées (the little silver balls I used to decorate these cookies). Read more here. Good thing there are a myriad of other decorating choices. See some options here.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Shape the dough into 2 discs, wrap each securely in plastic wrap, and place them in a sealable bag. When ready to bake, remove the disks from the freezer, thaw the dough until pliable, and then proceed with recipe. 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

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  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 82
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Cholesterol: 12mg

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, 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

  • Another great recipe from Jenn Segal! You are my go-to cooking hero! Every recipe of yours has turned out great. I made these for Hanukkah and they were delicious! Not only were they very pretty, but they got rave reviews from all! Now I’m making again for Valentine’s Day. Thank you!

    • — Deb Grannick on February 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are delicious, buttery, crisp little cookies! I followed the recipe exactly, and the only small issue I had during the first bake was that the cookies spread quite a bit for me, sticking all the cookies together. My three-year-old and I did take quite a while rolling and cutting all the shapes out, so I figured maybe the dough was too warm by the time it hit the oven. The second round, we popped the pan of cut cookies in the freezer for about 10-15 mins before putting them in the oven, and they came out perfect. Either way, they tasted delicious! And such a fun way to include the kids.

    • — Katie R. on December 8, 2019
    • Reply
  • I read the reviews after I made these cookies. So to make this recipe work, several people had to alter the recipe, not making Jenn’s recipe any longer. I had the same problem with the crumble. After reading, not to be worried it would come together, it didn’t. I’ve made several of your recipes and had wonderful results, this one was not one of them. (Just sad that I had to trash it 🙁
    just a note; I am not in a high altitude area, I used the metric measurements to get an accurate amount of each ingredient, and I’m not a beginner.
    I feel bad giving 2 stars

    • — Martha on December 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • I had the same issue and also had to trash the dough.

      • — Dena on December 17, 2019
      • Reply
  • These were fantastic and tasted amazing! Will be using this recipe a lot. Thank you for another great recipe!

    • — Lauren on September 14, 2019
    • Reply
  • Only the best and easiest butter cookie roll out recipe I have ever used!!! Thank you!

    • — Lorraine on April 4, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have been looking for a good butter cookie. Do I have to make these as a cut-out cookie? I just wanted a drop cookie or a sliced-from-a-roll type cookie, like a shortbread. These sound so good! Thank you!

    • — Janet on March 17, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet, I think these would work as a sliced cookie. They may take just a bit longer in the oven so keep a close eye on them. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • Before I go on about how delicious these cookies are, I must relay what happened the first time I made them. To start, I doubled the recipe-exactly doubling all the ingredients, as I needed to make a lot of cookies. The dough was super dry but I went ahead and refrigerated it in disks, even though they were pretty cracked. When I brought them out the next day and brought the dough to room temperature there was no change in consistency. So I added two more egg yolks but the dough still was too dry to roll out. So I dumped it and started over. The second time I just made a single batch and stopped at 2 1/2 cups of flour instead of 2 3/4 c because I could tell by the consistency that 2 3/4 cups was too much flour. The dough was firm enough that I just rolled it out immediately instead of refrigerating it first. I made my cookies a little thicker because I’m using them for favors for a shower and they’re going to be individually wrapped. I baked them for about 17 minutes, put them on a rack to cool and just tasted one. Flavor is absolutely delicious, consistency between soft and crisp. They are substantial and are going to hold up well to royal frosting I believe. Thank you Jenn for yet another delicious recipe!

    • — Gail on February 24, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m making 3-4” cut outs for baby shower favors. Each cookie will be wrapped individually. Will this recipe work if I make the cookies thicker- like at least 1/4”? I’m going to be using royal icing to decorate. Thanks,

    • — Gail on February 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Gail – you’ll just need to increase the cooking time a bit. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 18, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi there!
    Need help, I’d like to make cookies for Valentine’s Day with a cotton candy buttercream frosting. Do you think these would work? Any changes you would recommend? Would the almond extract still be okay? Or just a bad idea to begin with? ☺️

    • — Julie on January 29, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Julie, that should work, but I’d suggest making the cookies a bit thicker so that they are substantial enough for the buttercream frosting. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 29, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thank you!

        • — Julie on January 29, 2019
        • Reply
  • I want to use this recipe to make cactus shaped cut outs for a baby shower. Would your other ‘Royal Icing’ recipe work to decorate these sugar cookies? I need a sturdy icing for the detailing.

    • — Molly on December 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes, definitely. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2018
      • Reply
  • Be sure to use WHOLE MILK for the icing or it’ll be too thin. Need that fat to help thicken it up. Otherwise you’ll have to keep adding more and more powdered sugar to the point it’s just ridiculous.

    • — K. Miller on December 28, 2018
    • Reply
  • I have made so many cut out cookies in my life and have tried every recipe I could get my hands on. This is no doubt the best tasting and easiest to make. I have had friends ask for the recipe and with that I have introduced them to your blog (and now book)! I have yet to be disappointed in any recipe I’ve made from Once Upon A Chef. Thank you for helping me!!!!

    • — barb waters on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I never knew I could make cut-out cookies. Previous attempts have been frustrating, but this dough handles beautifully. I made half the batch one day, and the other half a few days later. Both were wonderful!
    Happy Holidays!

    • — Liz on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi,
    Im just in the process of making these cookies… The dough wasnt coming together once I added the flour, so I added an extra egg yolk. Does this ruin the recipe?

    I love all your other recipes I’ve tried and they have always turned out really good!!! Hoping this one turns out.

    Thank you!

    • — Vanessa Seurat on December 17, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Vanessa, How did the cookies turn out?

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2018
      • Reply
  • How can I make the icing more “white”? Yours in the picture seem a strong white than mine!

    • — Crissy Brase on December 16, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Crissy, The only way to make it more white is to add more confectioners’ sugar – was your glaze also thin?

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • Can I use granulated sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar in the cookie recipe?

    • — Aurora on December 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it, Aurora – the confectioners’ sugar is what makes these cookies nice and tender. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • I’m not a big fan of almond extract… can I use vanilla instead?

    • — Hannah on December 14, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    About the glaze, can I leaveout the corn syrup from the recipe? The cookie recipe looks goods by the way. Thanks!

    • — Kaye Estaris on December 4, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Kaye, You could omit the corn syrup; the cookies just won’t be shiny — you’ll also need to add a bit more milk to get the icing the right consistency. Another alternative is using an icing like this one. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi! I’m just wondering if I can use a cookie press with this recipe?


    • — Rhea on November 23, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Rhea, I’ve never used a cookie press so I can’t be sure, but I think it should work. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Excellent recipe! I was looking for a recipe for cookies that could be adapted for any holiday. We followed this recipe exactly as stated, to make heart shaped Valentine’s Day cookies. We tinted the icing pink, red, and purple and used butter knives to spread and decorate our cookies. Not only very tasty and crisp, but very kid friendly too. Looking forward to using this recipe to make “Easter cookies”.

  • These cookies are fantastic! Every time I make them, they are gone quickly. It’s fun making different shapes for various holidays.

  • I have never had this happen when making these types of cookies. The dough was dry and crumbly and fell apart when trying to roll. I had to add water to the dough to get it to hold together and roll out. The frosting was also very odd- stiff and hard to spread on the cookie. I will go back to my old sugar cookie recipe.

  • This were perfect! I have tried many recipes but this one with the icing was delicious.

    This has become my go to site for all my sweet baking. Have since replaced 2 recipes I have used for years with the ones I found here.

    Thank you!!

  • Ugh I’m so sad! First time I made these they turned out perfect. Second time I made sure to follow the instructions perfectly and let it rest over nt in fridge and the dough never came together.

    Do you have any ideas on how I can salvage this? Some sites recommended adding a little room temp butter at a time u til the dough some together. I am so sad. I was planning on having these for my daughters bday.

    • Hi Lena, So sorry you’re having trouble. Is it possible that you left something out? This should not be a crumbly dough once it’s mixed. I’d let it come to room temperature and then see if you can knead it into a pliable dough (perhaps it was under-mixed?). If you still don’t have any luck, I’d try adding another egg yolk. Hope it works out!

  • I just made these cookies. They are awaiting the glaze as I write this. I just want to say I am so pleased with how perfectly they cook, with no spreading. The flavor is very mild, a perfect background to any flavor glaze. A super nice basic cookie.

    • Glad you like them, Anne – happy holidays!

  • Hi Jen, I’ve made many of your recipes and have been thrilled with the result. Thank you! This is the first recipe I’ve made that didn’t work. The dough never “came together” and is dry and crumbly. I’m thinking it is because I didn’t have a paddle attachment as I only have a hand mixer. Is there any adjustment to make it work based on that?

    • Hi Jennifer, I’m sorry to hear you had a problem with these! I don’t think using a hand mixer would cause a problem (although it may take a little more time to come together). It sounds like your dough was either too dry or too cold. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? Did you work the dough with your hands before rolling to make sure it was supple enough to roll?

  • Could some of the dough be frozen at the refrigerator step? I have different events I want to make these for that are spread out over the next week and a half and I saw that you said the dough will only keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

    • Yes, Kaylie, it would fine to freeze some of the dough. Hope you enjoy!

  • These sugar cookies are delicious .
    You are right Jen the dough is very forgiving making them with two children. Didn’t use the silver dragees that you have in your cookie picture because a recent article in USA Today recommends against eating them, use only as decoration. Pre ordered your cookbook. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing such delicious recipes.

  • Just made these and they are delicious! Very buttery and tender. I was inspired by the pretty ones in your picture. Mine came out looking quite amateurish, but still yummy. I’ll have to keep practicing the decorations (and eating, ha!)

  • Hi Jenn,

    I was wondering if I could halve this recipe and get the same results? Do I simply divide everything in half excluding the egg? Also, do you have a time reference for how long it takes for the icing to harden? Thank you!

    • Hi Stacey, yes, it would be fine to halve it. And regarding he egg, I would use half an egg yolk – you don’t need to measure it – just separate the yolk from the white and then use the shell to scoop up half of it. The icing should take a few hours to dry completely. Hope you enjoy!

  • Several years ago I found a sugar cookie recipe that made a huge batch of dough so that I could actually divide it into 5 discs – froze each- which made about 2 dozen cookies. I cannot find the recipe. Could this particular recipe be multiplied without losing the quality?

    • Yes, I think you could get away with that here. Happy Holidays!

  • The NYT just ran an article about those little silver decorator balls not being edible! I’m afraid to put them on cookies, since that seems to suggest they are for eating. What do you think?

    • I agree, Jenn – I guess that’s new – Good thing there are lots of other things to decorate cookies with!

  • I noticed a few people have had issues with altitude. I lived in Colorado for 15 years and never had problems baking. I used the high altitude flour and followed the general guidelines to adjust the recipe to elevation. Usually less sugar, baking powder or soda and increase of liquid.

  • We are having a cookie decorating kids party. I am wondering if I can make the icing ahead of time so minimize the chaos! If I make it mid day, will it harden before using at 6:00pm? How would I store it? I have some plastic squirt bottles, ideally I would put in those and make different colors. Would that work?!
    Love your site and so many of the recipes!
    Thank you

    • Hi Stephanie, It should be fine in sealed squirt bottles at room temp. You can also keep it in bowls covered with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the icing.

  • I made these cookies and everyone raved about them. So yummy and easy to make.

  • Everyone loved the cookies. I too had some helping hands to make them. We’ll make them again.

  • This is the second year I have made theese and they turn out great both times,

  • Is this recipe available with grams converted to cups?

    If so, please provide. Thank you. Liz

    • Hi Liz, this recipe has both imperial and metric measurements. To view them, scroll down to the recipe and immediately under the recipe title on the right side, you’ll see a little toggle. If you move it from “cup measures” to metric, you’ll see measurements that will work for you. Hope you enjoy!

  • I really should have written to you before, but being a grandmother of 4 under the age of 3…..well, I don’t have the free time as much. ANYWAY, I have now made these cookies for special occasions 5 times since reading about it in December/16. I have tried so many cookie cut outs, including my sister-in-laws (who claims to have the best from her farm raised mother…) and these, well, I’ve given the recipe out at least 4 times per occasion are really the best! People are shocked at how good these are…not just pretty to look at! You gave me confidence to bake cookies again. AND…I have since used many other recipes and have not been disappointed!! Thank you for making me a better cook!!!!!!

  • What is the difference between salted butter and unsalted butter when baking cookies?

    • Hi Kitty, While it varies by brand, most salted butter has approximately 1/4 tsp. salt per stick, so you can reduce the added salt in the recipe as needed.

  • These are absolutely delicious! Follow the instructions just as written and they come out perfectly. The almond extract makes them magical. This is my new go to Christmas and any other holiday cookie recipe. I received tons of compliments on how delicious they were at Christmas. I tell everybody your website’s wonderful recipes!

  • I made these cookies for the first time last January kind of in remembrance of my mother who had just passed away. She absolutely loved cut out cookies. She would have loved these. It’s almost Valentines’s Day, so this year when I make them I will make them heart shaped! Thank you for a very easy and delicious recipe. I refrigerate my cookie dough overnight and the dough is very easy to work with and the flavor just really builds in your mouth. When you’re done with one it’s so good you have to have another! Thank you for another recipe that makes me look like an awesome baker!

  • Hi Jen,

    I made this cookie last year and it turned out great. However, my cookie dough was very crumbly this year and I had to add a couple tbsp of water. Could it be because I didn’t mix the dough long enough? I was afraid over mixing it so I stopped when it resembled a pie mixture.

    • Hi Lu, Yes, you need to mix it more — this dough can handle it.

  • I am a very experienced baker however also found your recipe yielded a dry mess. I returned to mixer and added butter to make a workable dough. Dryness perhaps more a function of relative humidity rather than elevation since our relative humidity is much lower than that of eastern seaboard, flour therefore much drier. Wouldn’t bother making again.

  • Baked these months ago for a friend’s birthday, they absolutely LOVED it and ate an entire box (yes, a box!) of them in a few hours.These were so so good. I had a fair share of the cookies as well! I am currently trying the recipe again, and I am baking my last batch of cookies. I bet my family will love this for Christmas as well! 🙂

  • Hi Jennifer can I use my cookie press with this recipe? Thanks!

    • Hi Yvonne, I’ve never used a cookie press so I can’t be sure, but I think it should work. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

  • This was a really difficult dough to work with. I refrigerated overnight and the dough disks were hard as a rock. It took over an hour to become workable. The taste was okay; tasted more like a sweet cracker than a cookie. These were way too much work for such a mediocre result.

    • — Kathleen Tatarek-VanPeursem
    • Reply
    • So sorry you didn’t like them, Kathleen. Did you ice them? They are intentionally not too sweet to compensate for the sweet icing.

    • Looking through the reviews, I see someone else at high altitude had problems as well. I think that may be the issue. I’m in Denver and have always encountered baking problems. Love the website though! I’ve had much success with other recipes I’ve found here. Thanks for sharing.

      • — Kathleen Tatarek-VanPeursem
      • Reply
    • My dough also came out of the refrigerator hard as a rock (I left it in over night). Is that normal? Is the dough still usable?

      • — Cjay on December 23, 2018
      • Reply
      • Yes, definitely – just let it warm up at room temperature for a bit and then work it with your hands until it is malleable.

        • — Jenn on December 23, 2018
        • Reply
  • I don’t have a stand mixer. Can I use a hand mixer?

    • Yes, that should work Candi. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hello. I’m wondering what alternatives you’d suggest in replace of corn syrup? Would golden syrup be OK? Thanks

    • Hi Nicole, I wouldn’t recommend golden syrup here. You could omit the corn syrup; the cookies just won’t be shiny — you’ll also need to add a bit more milk to get the icing the right consistency. Another alternative is using an icing like this one.

  • Hi!

    I would like to include these in my holiday cookie tray, so I want to prepare these in advance. Do you think the cookies can be baked and frozen (without icing) up to a week before? Thanks!

    • Yes, I think they freeze nicely!

  • I love this recipie it comes together easy and the result is perfect!! Love ❤️ your recipies and always trust they are going to turn out!

  • Wondering if you have a suggestion for a gluten free version and a substitute for the Almond extract?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Lisa, While I haven’t tried it, I think you could use a gluten-free flour here like this one. And you can just use more vanilla extract in place of the almond.

  • Can you leave the dough in the fridge overnight? How long will it keep?

    • Yes, it’s great to refrigerate it overnight and would be good for up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

  • Made these to send hearts to my two far away children. Shipped perfectly, slightly soft. They absolutely loved the salty buttery flavor with the sweet frosting on top. Am making a second batch since it was such a home run! Thanks Jen!!

  • I made these cookies with my 8-year-old daughter for her class Valentine’s Day party. We used heart-shaped cookie cutters and colored the icing pink. I wish I could post a photo here…they were so adorable and the kids (and teacher!) loved them.

  • I made the dough exactly as the recipe says last night. It seemed really dry. Took it out today, let it sit for 30 minutes and when I went to knead it it turned into a nasty crumbly mess. Total loss. I live at 8500′ – could that have contributed to the dryness? I didn’t see any high altitude modifications.

    • Hmmm, not certain, but perhaps the dryness is due to your baking at a higher elevation. Check out these tips for high elevation baking. For this recipe, you could try adding an extra egg yolk to the batter for a little more liquid.

    • I had the same problem! Followed the directions but still ended up with a crumbly mess and the mixture never came together. Don’t want to just throw it out but no idea how to salvage it. I live in OH so no elevation problems here. I usually love the recipes from this site but this one didn’t work.

      • So sorry you had trouble with the dough being crumbly, Angela. It’s possible you inadvertently added too much flour — did you use the spoon and level method to measure? It really does make a big difference. Also, it’s important to knead the dough a bit first to warm it up, otherwise it’s hard to roll.

  • Great recipe! This is now going to be my go to sugar cookie recipe. As promised it did not spread during baking, which is always a big problem with other recipes I’ve tried (including one I recently PAID for from a site!). Wondering if I could add cocoa powder to make a chocolate version, and if so, how much would you recommend? Thanks!!!

  • I also have been looking for the perfect cut out cookie and this is it by far! These were heavenly with the icing! The secret to Jen’s recipes are the detailed instructions she includes–that’s what makes all her recipes work so well.

  • Thanks for another great recipe!! I didn’t have almond extract, so I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract after reading your comments. Also, I always dust my counter with powdered sugar when rolling, (just a personal preference.) These will definitely replace the sugar cookies I usually make for Christmas. Everyone loved them, and my family had fun decorating them as well:)

  • Hi Jen! I want to make these cookies and sprinkle some decorators sugar. Would they be too sweet with that and the icing? If yes, can I just add the sugar before baking? Sorry total cookie novice. Thanks!

    • Hi Yvonne, The cookies themselves aren’t all that sweet, so it’s fine to add the icing and some sugar — will be pretty 🙂

  • These cookies are wonderful. In fact, I am going to have to make another batch for decorating because we have been “tasting” them since they were out of the oven this morning.

  • So, I just made this dough and snuck a little taste before I put it in the fridge to chill….it seeemed really salty to me, but I did the 3/4 tsp salt just like the recipe called for.. Will it not be as salty for the finished/cooked product?

    • Hi Jamie, There’s a sweet glaze that goes on top of the cookies and that helps to balance out the flavors. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn! About to make these – should that butter be softened?

    • Yes! Thanks for catching that, Amy. It’s been corrected 🙂

  • Husband loved them!

  • Hi Jen,

    Can I use this icing recipe for decorating gingerbread house? I am trying to find an alternative for raw egg white royal icing. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Lu, Yes, I think it would work well for a gingerbread house. Fun!

  • Thanks for this recipe, just the best biscuits I think I’ve ever made! The ingredients are simple, but make the dough so silky and soft, and super fast to cook. I’ve made a few of your recipes and they always come out really well, thank you from the UK!

  • My dough was crumbly during the entire rolling and cookie cutting process. I was able to make cookies with it, but it was much harder to work with than your description led me to believe. The flattened dough had a cracked appearance and did not look smooth like you dough in your photo. What could I have done wrong? Thanks!

    • Hi Carina, It sounds like your dough was either too dry or too cold. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? Did you work the dough with your hands before rolling to make sure it was supple enough to roll?

      • Thanks for the quick reply! I did use the spoon and level method, but I still must have ended up with too much flour. I’m pretty confident I worked the dough well enough before hand, because the dough was no longer cold even though you said that it should have been. The good news is the cookies still tasted great so I’m going to give this another try. Thanks again!

        • Okay, lmk how they turn out 🙂

  • Very easy recipe, but does take some time , so plan for it. Very light crisp cookie. Thank you.

  • Can these be frozen after baked but before iced?

    • Yes Katie, that shouldn’t be a problem. I hope you enjoy them!

    • These cookies are fabulous, but should be eaten fresh (they do last a few days). I placed some of them in the freezer, but when we ate the ones I had frozen, we all felt that they had acquired a bitter taste; my sense is that the almond extract had somehow reacted badly to the freezing process. What do you think, Jenn? However, fresh they are fabulous, and the icing recipe also perfect!

      • Hi Ilaria, I’ve never had that experience with almond extract!

  • Jenn you never miss with a recipe! You have great taste and I haven’t made a recipe of yours that was unsavory! I have to say again thanks to my sister-in-law for finding you!

  • Can i substitute vanilla extract for the almond extract.

    • Hi Eileen, Yes definitely — use 2 teaspoons vanilla.

  • how if I don’t have corn syrup? nice recipe, my kids will love it

    • That’s fine Mala but your cookies won’t be shiny — you’ll also need to add a bit more milk to get the icing the right consistency.

      • hi Jen, I just had a chance to try this and they are a keeper. What a great recipe, without so many ingredients, u can still pull out these buttery and crisp cookies. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fantastic recipe!

  • Growing up in Vermont near KAF, this has been our family’s cut out cookie recipe forever. We were not allowed to ice our cookies, but there’s a lot you can do with sprinkles, sugars, etc. It’s heaven with eggnog, hot tea, hot chocolate, cold milk…. really anything, all year round.

  • These are beautiful and sound delicious. I’d like to try them without the icing too. Do you think the cookie is sweet enough on its own? Not as pretty but those would be for me!

    • Yes Renee, I think they are sweet enough to enjoy them without icing. Enjoy!

  • Beautiful cookies! Shortbread and butter cookies are my favorites. These would be great with a hot cup of tea.

  • I can’t wait to try these this weekend with my 6 yr old girls. We are bringing cookies to the teachers next Thursday and what a great alternative to the ones everyone else will be bringing.

    Is it possible to add flavoring or color gel to the icing or mix? I thought lemon might be good but I don’t want to mess anything up. Thanks!!

    • Yes Jenna, You could add some color gel or flavoring to the icing mixture. I hope your girls enjoy making them!

  • Can’t wait to try these! How much salt do we use?

    • The recipe calls for 3/4 tsp. salt.

  • I agree with you–this recipe is the best! A few years ago, I went on an exhaustive hunt for the best cut out cookie recipe. After many, many so-so recipes, I discovered this on the back of the tag for a cookie cutter that I’d bought from KAF. I made it, swooned, and have never looked back! The best.

  • OMG! It’s like you are reading my mind. My family have been watching the British Baking Show and I thought the way they make biscuits is very interesting. I have spent days looking all over for a good cut out cookie recipe. We will try your recipe this weekend!

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