The best classic rolled sugar cookie cutouts recipe

Decorated snowflake sugar cookies

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Try this tasty and easy recipe from the early 1960s for old-fashioned rolled sugar cookie cutouts, accompanied below by step-by-step photos! It’s the perfect base to make different cutout shapes.

This recipe is a Betty Crocker classic — one the company called “Mary’s sugar cookies” when it was published in 1961, so named for a former employee. With the recipe, they wrote, “The most delicious and versatile of cookies. From Mary Herman, a thoughtful friend and fine letter writer, who shared many of her special recipes with us when on our staff.”

Whether they’re Mary’s or Betty’s or your grandmother’s, classic sugar cookies are a beloved treat. They’re so simple — too!

They’re made by making a simple dough made with a base of butter, sugar and flour.

After chilling the dough, you roll it out, and use cookie cutters (or even just a knife) to cut out shapes. The cookies are then baked until they have just a hint of color, so they’re still tender and delicious.

Fun decorating classic rolled sugar cookies for Valentine's Day

Once they have cooled, there are many fun things you can do with classic sugar cookie cutouts. One of the most popular ways to enjoy them is to decorate them with frosting, sprinkles, and other toppings. This can be a fun activity, especially when done with friends or family.

You can also get creative with the cookie cutters that you use. At Christmas, choose festive shapes like snowflakes and stars, reindeer and Santas, Christmas trees and ornaments, candy houses and gingerbread men.

For Easter, you’ll find endless ways to decorate egg-shaped cookies, try some bunny and chick shapes, or use icing to make a fantastic Easter basket. Just look at how colored frosting and little sugar candies can make something simple look amazing!

Decorated Easter sugar cookies

Another fun idea is to use the cookies as part of a dessert charcuterie-style board, arranging them with other sweet treats like fruit, chocolates, and candy.

Experiment with different flavors and ingredients, such as adding citrus zest or extracts to the dough, or mixing in mini chocolate chips, or finely-chopped nuts or dried fruit.

The possibilities are infinite, so have fun and get deliciously creative! No matter how you serve them, classic sugar cookies are always a favorite with people of all ages.

Old-fashioned rolled sugar cookies cut-outs

Creaming the butter to make sugar cookies

Creaming the butter to make sugar cookies

Patting the batter for sugar cookie cutouts

Patting the batter for cut-out sugar cookies

Making the rolled sugar cookie dough

Making the rolled sugar cookie dough

Getting the chilled dough ready to shape

Getting the chilled dough ready to shape

Rolling out sugar cookie dough

Rolling out sugar cookie dough

Flattened sugar cookie dough ready to make cutouts

Flattened sugar cookie dough ready to make cut-outs

Cutting out shapes from cookie dough

Cutting out shapes from cookie dough

Sugar cookie cutouts on a baking sheet

Cut-out sugar cookies on a baking sheet

Plain Christmas tree sugar cookie cutouts ready to decorate with green royal icing

Plain Christmas tree cut-out sugar cookies ready to decorate with green royal icing

Using green royal icing to decorate Christmas tree sugar cookies

Using green royal icing to decorate Christmas tree sugar cookies

Finished Christmas tree sugar cookie cutouts

Christmas tree sugar cookies

Plain undecorated snowflake or flower-shaped rolled sugar cookies

Plain undecorated snowflake or flower-shaped sugar cookies

Using icing to decorate snowflake sugar cookie cutouts

Using icing to decorate snowflake sugar cookies

Pink snowflake Christmas sugar cookie cutouts

Pink snowflake Christmas sugar cookies

Decorated snowflake sugar cookies

Decorated snowflake sugar cookies

Decorated snowflake sugar cookies

Classic rolled sugar cookie cutouts

Yield: 60 cookies (5 dozen 2- to 2-1/2-inch cookies)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 58 minutes


  • 1-1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 2-1/2 cups sified Gold Medal Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Mix sugar and butter.
  2. Add egg and flavorings; mix thoroughly.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together and stir in to the butter mixture.
  4. Wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 375 F (quick moderate).
  6. Divide dough in half, and roll out on lightly floured pastry cloth to 3/16-inch thick.
  7. Cut as many cookies from each rolling as possible.
  8. If desired, sprinkle with sugar or nonpareils, or else leave plain to frost or decorate after baking.
  9. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  10. Bake 7 to 8 minutes, or until delicately golden.


Recipe time does not include decorating time

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 60 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 47mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

Bonus recipe: Sour cream sugar cookies (1971)

Published in the Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico) July 8, 1971

Sour cream and nutmeg add interest to this icebox version of sugar cookies.


4-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup dairy sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Sift flour with salt, soda, baking powder and nutmeg. Cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, mixing until smooth after each addition. Blend in vanilla.

Wrap in waxed paper and chill until firm enough to roll. Roll on floured board to about one-fourth inch thickness, cut with large cookie cutters, place on ungreased baking sheet.

Sprinkle with sugar then bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until browned. Makes about five dozen cookies.

Bonus recipe: Grandmother’s sugar cookies (1971)

Published in the The Petaluma Argus-Courier (California) 1971

This recipe comes from Mrs. Richard Borders, who recalls that they got their name because when she was a child, they made them whenever her dear little grandmother came for a visit from the Bluegrass section of Kentucky.

“My own children cheer when it rains, because we can make ‘Grandmother’s Sugar Cookies,'” Mrs Borders reports.


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
Add 2 eggs
1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond flavoring
2 tsp. milk or cream
1 to 2 tsp. orange or lemon peel, grated
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour


Mix well and refrigerate dough for an hour or so. Using the smallest amount of flour necessary to handle, roll out and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes.

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