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.
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!
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.
Creaming the butter to make sugar cookies
Patting the batter for sugar cookie cutouts
Making the rolled sugar cookie dough
Getting the chilled dough ready to shape
Rolling out sugar cookie dough
Flattened sugar cookie dough ready to make cutouts
Cutting out shapes from cookie dough
Sugar cookie cutouts on a baking sheet
Plain Christmas tree sugar cookie cutouts ready to decorate with green royal icing
Using green royal icing to decorate Christmas tree sugar cookies
Finished Christmas tree sugar cookie cutouts
Plain undecorated snowflake or flower-shaped rolled sugar cookies
Using icing to decorate snowflake sugar cookie cutouts
Pink snowflake Christmas sugar cookie cutouts
Decorated snowflake sugar cookies
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
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.