Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Stack of sugar cookies
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 48 servings

These basic old-fashioned sugar cookies are flattened with the bottom of a sugar-coated glass. The dough should be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before you shape and bake them. This vanilla cookie is a good base for seasonal decorations, and it is an easy preparation. Plan to begin this recipe a few hours in advance, as it should chill for a few hours before baking.

Use a cookie scoop to keep the cookies uniform in size. Use regular or a larger grain decorating sugar for the topping.


  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (well beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups/13 1/2 ounces flour (all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: granulated sugar or large grain decorating sugar for finishing

Steps to Make It

  1. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in sugar gradually. Add the beaten eggs, milk, and vanilla extract; stir to blend.

  2. In another bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt; stir to blend thoroughly.

  3. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the first mixture. Mix until well blended.

  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the sugar cookie dough for 2 to 3 hours, or until well chilled.

  5. Heat the oven to 375 F.

  6. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or grease them lightly.

  7. Scoop up the cookie dough with a rounded teaspoon or small cookie scoop and shape it into 3/4-inch balls.

  8. Place the cookie balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

  9. Flatten the cookie dough balls with the bottom of a glass that's been lightly greased with butter and dipped in granulated sugar. Dip the glass in sugar each time you press a cookie.

  10. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

  11. Remove the sugar cookies to racks immediately to cool.


  • These cookies freeze beautifully. Spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze them until firm. Transfer the frozen cookies to freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months.
  • To freeze the unbaked cookie dough, shape it into the balls but do not press with the sugar-coated glass. Arrange the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Put the frozen cookie dough balls in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. When it's time to bake, place them on the baking sheet and let them defrost enough to flatten with the sugar-coated glass. Bake as directed.

Recipe Variations

  • Add about 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to the cookie dough for light spice flavor.
  • Decorate the cookies with a simple cookie icing or a royal icing made with meringue powder or even a lemon glaze icing. Finish them with seasonal decorations, if desired.
  • Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons of shortening; stir to blend. Dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place on wax paper until the chocolate is firm. If desired, sprinkle with crushed peppermint sticks or finely chopped nuts before the chocolate is set.