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a sheet pan lined with white parchment paper with freshly baked sugar cookies with nonpareil sprinkles

Soft and Chewy Bakery Style Sugar Cookies

This is the easiest and best homemade bakery-style sugar cookie recipe EVER! Thin, soft, and chewy sugar cookies sprinkled with crunchy raw sugar for a nice sweet contrast. Buttery soft sugar cookies are perfect any time of year, but they make especially great treats for Christmas holiday baking and snow days when the kids have cabin fever. Plus, you don’t even have to chill this cookie dough before you bake! Sugar cookies don’t get any better than this (unless of course, they’re my Aunt Donna’s famous sugar cookies♡).

Soft and Chewy Homemade Sugar Cookie Ingredients

All you need is 30 minutes and a few basic pantry staples to make these easy homemade cookies. This cookie dough also happens to make the best sugar cookie fruit pizza (or you can try this easy Italian shortcrust pastry)! 

  • 1 1/4 cup  + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or 00 flour) (190g)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (3g)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar (4g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (1.5g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (148g) 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick) (113g)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten (room temperature (50g)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (4-8g) *add the extra teaspoon if you want more vanilla flavor
  • 2 tablespoons coarse turbinado sugar (for sprinkling cookies before baking) (26g)

*I use 00 flour when I’m in Italy, and King Arthur all-purpose when I’m in the States. And the weight of these different flours varies based on the humidity content of the flour and also the environment you’re living in. No matter where you live, just be sure to use the ‘scoop and level’ method to measure your flour into measuring cups and spoons and the recipe works perfectly every time. 

How to Make Soft Chewy Homemade Sugar Cookies Measure, Mix, Sprinkle & Bake. 

Making homemade sugar cookies is super easy. And since you don’t have to chill the dough before you bake, they’re ready in just 30 minutes.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/176°C and prepare the baking sheet. Line baking sheets with nonstick Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer and a medium mixing bowl), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  3. Combine wet ingredients with the creamed butter mixture. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the creamed butter mixture and beat just until combined. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine.  Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently incorporate the ingredients. Add the last 1/2 of the flour mixture and fold with the spatula until no flour streaks remain.
  5. Roll and bake the cookies. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are set and lightly browned on the bottom but not around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool directly on the baking sheet for a minute or two before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!  

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies recipe step-by-step photos

Homemade Sugar Cookie Ideas

Looking for a few fun inspired ways to use this delicious sugar cookie dough or leftover sugar cookie dough? Look no further because this cookie dough recipe is versatile.  Here are a few of our favorite ways to turn sugar cookies into something even more special.

  • make sugar cookie bears by shaping the dough and adding nuts and sprinkles
  • use this dough to make the best sugar cookie fruit pizza
  • add ice cream to make homemade ice cream sandwiches 
  • bake the dough in muffin tins to make sugar cookie cups
  • bake the dough in an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch baking pan for sugar cookie bars

Ways to Customize Homemade Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

There are all kinds of ways to customize sugar cookie dough or any cookie dough really. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • for strawberry speckled tops, add larger pieces of crumbled freeze-dried strawberries to strawberry sugar
  • top cookie dough balls with Sicilian lemon sugar for a lemony accent
  • top cookie dough balls with Sicilian Blood Orange Sugar for a fresh orange accent
  • top with candy sprinkles
  • add 1/2 cup macadamia nuts to the dough
  • add 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips to the dough

Tips to Help You Bake Better Sugar Cookies

  • Why are my sugar cookies crumbly?  Crumbly or dry sugar cookies mean you may have either over-mixed the cookie dough or added too much flour, not enough butter, or a combination of these things. You may be able to remedy this if you find your cookie dough is too dry by adding a little extra softened butter to the mix. Whatever you do, don’t throw away cookie dough or cookies that aren’t perfect. You can add them to a bowl of ice cream, or even use them to make a cookie crust for your next no-bake dessert or key lime pie.
  • Why are my sugar cookies cakey? Usually, a cakey cookie means the flour-to-fat and sugar ratio is out of balance. Which means you may have added too much flour. It can also be if you’ve added more egg or a larger egg than is called for (a typical large egg should weigh about 50-55g once it’s cracked in a bowl). Do not use cake flour which can also give you cakey cookies.
  • Why are my sugar cookies hard?  If your sugar cookies are hard, you may have overmixed the cookie dough, or you may have baked them too long. Baking cookies longer than required leads to vital moisture from butter and eggs evaporating leaving you with a harder cookie. Also, don’t leave them out uncovered for too long if you’re in a dry environment especially. This can also zap moisture from your cookies.
  • How do you store sugar cookies? Unfrosted sugar cookies last up to two weeks in the fridge but keep them away from smelly foods. It’s best to either freeze baked cookies layered between wax or parchment paper in freezer bags and pull out cookies as you want. This way they maintain their peak freshness. Alternatively, you may freeze cookie dough logs tightly wrapped in sustainable plastic wrap or parchment paper and stored them in freezer bags. When you want a freshly baked cookie, cut off dough slices, roll, and bake.
  • Why are my sugar cookies spreading out so much? As you know from above, too much flour in your cookie dough can make cookies crumbly and dry. Alternatively, too much butter and sugar can make cookies spread out and lose their shape when baked. Also, if you chill the dough beforehand, it will help keep them from spreading.
  • Can you overmix cookie dough?  Yes, you can definitely over mix cookie dough. In fact, doing so will leave you with flatter, crispier cookies because overmixing adds more air to your dough which causes them to rise higher and then fall flat. But this method is great if you want extra crispy cookies.
  • What does cream of tartar do for cookies? Cream of tartar acts as a leavening agent in baked goods like cookies but also helps create a super soft cookie texture. If you don’t have cream of tartar, replace it with the same amount of baking powder. 

Looking for More Delicious Cookie Recipes to Make?

If you love cookies, we think we’ve got a few more recipes you may love. Here are a couple of our favorites.

Let’s get started!


I’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you!

Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment below the recipe card to help other readers. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all your questions and comments. Plus, I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag me @BitingAtTheBits on Instagram and I will repost your beautiful sugar cookies!


 

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A beautiful and perfectly cooked sugar cookie covered with nonpareils.

Best Bakery Style Sugar Cookies (Soft + Chewy)


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  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 36 Cookies 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These bakery-style thin, soft, chewy sugar cookies are a treat the whole family will love.  These cookies are full of vanilla, buttery goodness and are ready from start to finish in just 30 minutes! Plus, you don’t have to chill the dough before you bake making these deliciously simple sugar cookies perfect for holiday get-togethers (or a quick snow day activity with the kiddos). Sugar cookies don’t get any better than this!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or 00 flour) (190g)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (3g)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar (4g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (1.5g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (148g)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick) (113g)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten (room temperature (50g)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (4-8g) *add the extra teaspoon if you want more vanilla flavor
  • 2 tablespoons coarse turbinado sugar (for sprinkling cookies before baking) (26g)

*I use 00 flour when I’m in Italy, and King Arthur all-purpose when I’m in the States. And the weight of these different flours varies based on the humidity content of the flour and also the environment you’re living in. No matter where you live, just be sure to use the ‘scoop and level’ method to measure your flour into measuring cups and spoons and the recipe works perfectly every time. 


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/176°C and prepare the baking sheet. Line baking sheets with nonstick Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer and a medium mixing bowl), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  3. Combine wet ingredients with the creamed butter mixture. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the creamed butter mixture and beat just until combined. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine.  Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently incorporate the ingredients. Add the last 1/2 of the flour mixture and fold with the spatula until no flour streaks remain.
  5. Roll and bake the cookies. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are set and lightly browned on the bottom but not around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool directly on the baking sheet for a minute or two before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!  

Notes

  • If you want even more vanilla flavor, add the full 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder.
  • If the dough is sticking to your hands when you’re trying to roll them out, just add a tiny amount of butter or flour to your hands to keep it from sticking. Or you may place the dough in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up before rolling.
  • If you want a slightly crunchy sugar cookie, chill the dough for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Bake and enjoy a crispier sugar cookie. Note that when you store the cookies in a freezer bag at room temperature, the cookies will most likely become soft again.
  • Use this dough to make a fruit pizza crust, because it’s awesome!
  • If you don’t feel like using regular sugar to sprinkle your cookies, simply top the cookies with candy sprinkles.
  • If you want larger deli or bakery-style cookies, roll out 2 to 2 1/2 inch balls, but leave plenty of room for them to spread as they bake! The larger cookies may take a few more minutes to bake than smaller cookies.
  • Why are my sugar cookies crumbly?  Crumbly or dry sugar cookies mean you may have either over-mixed the cookie dough or added too much flour, not enough butter, or a combination of these things. You may be able to remedy this if you find your cookie dough is too dry by adding a little extra softened butter to the mix. Whatever you do, don’t throw away cookie dough or cookies that aren’t perfect. You can add them to a bowl of ice cream, or even use them to make a cookie crust for your next no-bake dessert or key lime pie.
  • Why are my sugar cookies cakey? Usually, a cakey cookie means the flour-to-fat and sugar ratio is out of balance. Which means you may have added too much flour. It can also be if you’ve added more egg or a larger egg than is called for (a typical large egg should weigh about 50-55g once it’s cracked in a bowl). Do not use cake flour which can also give you cakey cookies.
  • Why are my sugar cookies hard?  If your sugar cookies are hard, you may have overmixed the cookie dough, or you may have baked them too long. Baking cookies longer than required leads to vital moisture from butter and eggs evaporating leaving you with a harder cookie. Also, don’t leave them out uncovered for too long if you’re in a dry environment especially. This can also zap moisture from your cookies.
  • How do you store sugar cookies? Unfrosted sugar cookies last up to two weeks in the fridge but keep them away from smelly foods. It’s best to either freeze baked cookies layered between wax or parchment paper in freezer bags and pull out cookies as you want. This way they maintain their peak freshness. Alternatively, you may freeze cookie dough logs tightly wrapped in sustainable plastic wrap or parchment paper and stored them in freezer bags. When you want a freshly baked cookie, cut off dough slices, roll, and bake.
  • Why are my sugar cookies spreading out so much? As you know from above, too much flour in your cookie dough can make cookies crumbly and dry. Alternatively, too much butter and sugar can make cookies spread out and lose their shape when baked. Also, if you chill the dough beforehand, it will help keep them from spreading.
  • Can you overmix cookie dough?  Yes, you can definitely over mix cookie dough. In fact, doing so will leave you with flatter, crispier cookies because overmixing adds more air to your dough which causes them to rise higher and then fall flat. But this method is great if you want extra crispy cookies.
  • What does cream of tartar do for cookies? Cream of tartar acts as a leavening agent in baked goods like cookies but also helps create a super soft cookie texture. If you don’t have cream of tartar, replace it with the same amount of baking powder. 
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Oven Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 64
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 56mg
  • Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
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