Taste

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipes Of All Time

We've even got vegan and gluten-free recipes.
12/01/2017 05:45am ET

Now that we’re done stuffing ourselves with Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes, the holiday season naturally shifts us away from salty food and hurls us toward an abundance of sugar. To be more exact, we’re talking about sugar cookies.

As soon as it’s remotely appropriate, bakers around the world begin making holiday cookies, rolling out their dough, cutting it into snowmen and reindeer, and painstakingly decorating them before biting off their heads. But there’s one problem: They often taste like cardboard.

We’re here to help. Over the years we’ve tried many of our favorite bloggers’ recipes, and we’ve been picky about which are our favorites. We’re sharing them with you here, including classics, twists and healthier alternatives.

You’ll notice several of them are from the same bloggers (ahem, Minimalist Baker and Sally’s Baking Addiction). That’s because they’ve become trusted masters of the sugar cookie. Try these recipes, and no one will be disappointed in your cookies this year.

CLASSIC: Snowman Sugar Cookies
Sally's Baking Addiction
"Whenever I decorate sugar cookies, I always begin with a quality homemade sugar cookie recipe. A recipe that I can always depend on, so all I have to 'worry' about is decorating. My go-to sugar cookie recipe produces soft sugar cookies with slightly crisp edges. It starts with butter and sugar creamed together. Add 1 egg and vanilla (sometimes almond extract, yum!), then flour + baking powder + salt. That’s it. Only 7 basic ingredients." -- Sally's Baking AddictionGet the Snowman Sugar Cookies recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
CLASSIC: Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies With Easy Icing
Sally's Baking Addiction
"Trust me when I say that this is a sugar cookie recipe you need to try. It’s taken me awhile to find that perfectly soft-centered, yet slightly crisp-edged recipe. A cookie that keeps its cookie cutter shape in the oven, has a nice flat surface, a recipe without any crazy ingredients, and a recipe that is easy and approachable for everyone." -- Sally's Baking AddictionGet the Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies With Easy Icing recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
CLASSIC: Easy Slice 'n' Bake Vanilla Bean Christmas Sugar Cookies
Half Baked Harvest
"These are cookies for people who want to have fun making cookies, people who have kids or people who just want a good frickin’ cookie. The whole slice and bake thing takes the effort right out of these and saves you your sanity." -- Half Baked HarvestGet the Easy Slice 'n' Bake Vanilla Bean Christmas Sugar Cookies recipe from Half Baked Harvest
WITH A TWIST: Eggnog-Scented Sugar Cookies With Easy Vanilla Icing
Half Baked Harvest
"Don’t be freaked if you’re not a fan of eggnog, you will still enjoy these sugar cookies. The eggnog really just keeps the cookies soft, moist and lends a nice sweetness that just kind of reminds you of all things Christmas. It’s perfect." -- Half Baked HarvestGet the Eggnog-Scented Sugar Cookies With Easy Vanilla Icing recipe from Half Baked Harvest
WITH A TWIST: Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
Sally's Baking Addiction
"Traditional sugar cookies have their own distinct flavor. But it’s just not what I’d choose if I had other options. So I wanted to create a sweet Christmas sugar cookie that can stand up to its big flavor besties. And the way to achieve it is to brown the butter. Brown butter is always the answer." -- Sally's Baking AddictionGet the Brown Butter Sugar Cookies recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
WITH A TWIST: Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
Sally's Baking Addiction
"There are so many ways to make sugar cookies and adding cream cheese is most definitely my new standard. A little bit of cream cheese produces a richer, softer, and creamier sugar cookie." -- Sally's Baking AddictionGet the Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
WITH A TWIST: Softbatch Funfetti Sugar Cookies
Averie Cooks
"I didn’t want to have to frost them, so baking in sprinkles was my solution. ... I know people love sugar cookies and decorated Christmas cookies, but I think they’re tasteless and way too hard." -- Averie Cooks

Get the Softbatch Funfetti Sugar Cookies recipe from Averie Cooks
LIGHTER: The Ultimate Healthy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Amy's Healthy Baking
"These healthier sugar cookies start with white whole wheat flour. ... Unlike many traditional recipes that call for an entire stick or two of butter, this recipe only uses 2 tablespoons of butter." -- Amy's Healthy BakingGet the Ultimate Healthy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies recipe from Amy's Healthy Baking
GLUTEN-FREE + VEGAN: Fluffy 1-Bowl Sugar Cookies
Minimalist Baker
"I've cracked the code on perhaps the most fluffy, perfect gluten-free sugar cookies on the planet." -- Minimalist BakerGet the Fluffy 1-Bowl Sugar Cookies (Vegan + Gluten-Free) recipe from Minimalist Baker
GLUTEN-FREE: Super Soft Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
Minimalist Baker
"Here’s the thing about sugar cookies. They contain lots and lots of butter, sugar and gluten, the last one being a major offender for a growing number of people. But I say you can still have cookies, you just have to get creative and replace the gluten with something else, like a baking blend? Yes, like a gluten-free baking blend." -- Minimalist BakerGet the Super Soft Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies recipe from Minimalist Baker
VEGAN: 1-Bowl Vegan Sugar Cookies
Minimalist Baker
"They are the classic, quintessential sugar cookie all veganized and tender and perfect, just dying to be frosted and brought to all of your holiday gatherings. Your friends and family will forget all about the gifts and nose dive into these bad boys, guaranteed." -- Minimalist BakerGet the 1-Bowl Vegan Sugar Cookies recipe from Minimalist Baker