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Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Use this recipe for sugar cookie cutouts, adapted from "Martha Stewart's Cookies," to make adorable Santa Cookies (pictured) or charming One-Piece Cookies, a perfect treat for baby showers.

  • Yield: Makes eighteen to twenty 4-inch cookies
Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, April 2009


  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

  2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 4-inch one-piece-shaped cookie cutter. To make an ornament, cut out a hole from the center of the neck about 1/4-inch from the edge using a straw. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

  4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Reviews (31)

  • schatzie-ma 2 Nov, 2015

    This is by far the BEST sugar cookie recipe I've ever tried! This is now my go to recipe! Soft in the middle yet crispy around the edges and they keep their shape when baking so they are just lovely and perfect for cutouts! If you have tried this and it didn't come out the way it is supposed to, try spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife! Oh and for added flavor try adding a tsp of almond extract and use powdered sugar instead of flour to roll the dough! : )

  • eli brumm 10 May, 2015

    This is by far the worst recipe I've ever found on the internet, period. It produces a large amount of kinetic sand, and nothing that even remotely resembles cookie dough. Thanks for making me waste the time and the groceries to throw this entire thing away.

  • susan 17 Dec, 2014

    This was one of the worst recipes that I've ever made. Not only is it too fiddly for me (all the freezing, chilling etc) but the cookies are completely unusable. I've been through the recipe a dozen times to see what I might have done wrong, but I think I did it to the letter. In my experience, there are many easier recipes to use to make shaped cookies, that don't rely on so much faffing about - and give you a nicely shaped cookie at the end. Sad face.

  • Emilyndiaz 19 Dec, 2014

    Just finished making the dough for these cookies. Never has my dough been so crumbly! I couldn't even make a firm ball out of it because it was so crumbly. Did the best I could but my initial thoughts are at least a cup too much flour. It's chilling in the fridge now, will update when I attempt to roll it out.

  • Emilyndiaz 19 Dec, 2014

    Complete and utter failure of a recipe. Needless to say, I threw it in the trash. The Martha Stewart "Basic Sugar Cookie" recipe seems to be a much better version. I for one used a completely different recipe and found much more success.

  • eli brumm 10 May, 2015

    Seriously. This recipe is just atrocious. I'm extremely angry I wasted so many ingredients on my trash can.

  • imarriedbobhope 20 Dec, 2012

    I have made these several times ans they are always delicious. Every time I take them to work I get several compliments on them. I make them a little thicker so they are softer in the middle. They are very good; I, myself, am not a sweet eater but I can't ever resist these cookies!!!

  • deborah felix13 19 Dec, 2012

    You can absolutely freeze these. I also make them a week ahead of time and put in an airtight container.

  • jsorrenti2006 8 Dec, 2012

    I have used this recipe for several years now for any holidaycutout cookies. Average taste but makes great cut outs. The dough is great to work with. Putting the cutouts in the freezer prevents the cookie from spreading and losing shape in the oven, so is a good step. Cookies taste better over time as they soften under the frosting. Hang great on the tree too.

  • ccheslea 28 Nov, 2012

    Does anyone know if I can freeze these cookies after baking so that I can make them ahead of time before Christmas and not have to do everything last minute in a frenzy to prepare?!

  • lais_marcolongo 19 Mar, 2012

    nanaclaire, the purpose of freezing is only to prevent cookies from losing their perfect shapes while baking

  • nanaclaire 23 Dec, 2011

    I didn't freeze them before baking them and they taste fine. What is the purpose of that I wonder??

  • TX2MILori 16 Dec, 2011

    This is my GO TO recipe for Christmas cookies for neighbors and friends! They are SO delicious and offer unlimited decorating possibilities! I even get my children involved!

  • kathe1966 25 Nov, 2011

    I tried this sugar cookie recipe.I comes ouut dee-licious.
    I really think chilling a day can improve them.That was my
    experience.My husband likes to eat them off the cookie
    sheet.I have to make some when he isn't around.Those
    get frosted. Kathee

  • lindacabler 3 Jan, 2011

    How much sugar goes into the Simply Sugar Cookies? I did not see sugar in the list of ingredients.
    Linda Cabler

  • jellybeanjean1776 1 Oct, 2010

    This is a wonderful cookie recipe for cutouts. I don't chill them and the cookies still hold their shape. I doubled the vanilla...but I love the flavor so much I usually double the vanilla in all recipes!

  • IttyBittyBritty 5 Mar, 2010

    I used the plastic wrap and it saved my cookies! It is worth the work and is not very time consuming once you come up with your own routine.

    4 cups of flour was way too much for me so I used 3 and they taste great. I also added 1/2 tbs of lemon zest and a splash of cinnamon for flavor.

  • rsplatts 12 Feb, 2010

    My cookies turned out sooo hard. Followed everything exactly and didn't over bake. I agree they could use a little more flavor.

  • aprilcartergrant 30 Dec, 2009

    This batter created a great-tasting sugar cookie that retained its shape well... it was a little annoying to have to cut out on plastic wrap, transfer to freezer, and transfer to cookie sheet before baking, but it made for nice-looking (and yummy) final products.

  • kdaubenberger 24 Dec, 2009

    These cookies held their shape. The process of rolling out the dough between plastic worked well. I placed the cutout cookies on parchment to make the process of moving them from the cookie sheet that was in the freezer to the sheet I baked them in easier. Cookies could use a bit more vanilla in my opinion, but overall, very good.

  • lawkitty 7 Dec, 2009

    I just got a set of Christmas cookies cutters at IKEA, there is
    a santa similar to the one in the picture, the set is called Kramsno.

  • delightfulgarden 6 Dec, 2009

    Does anyone know if this holds it's shape after baking?

  • Rosamarie 4 Dec, 2009

    I found some cookie cutters like that at Michael's last year.

  • wern0154 30 Oct, 2009

    Any idea how long the dough may be kept frozen?

  • hailinghackney 1 Sep, 2009

    How long do they last if wrapped in a cello bag? Is it best to leave them out on the counter overnight before icing? Is it best to levae on the counter to dry overnight once iced before wrapping? Thanks

  • painterkate 29 Aug, 2009

    can these cookies be stored at room temperature for 4 weeks?

  • lisa lou 122 12 Aug, 2009

    Does anyone know where I can get the cookie cutter? I have been looking since the show was on tv and I can't find them anywhere.

  • mayb2bz4uqtpie 3 Feb, 2009

    If you are looking for the cookie cutter set they are on ebay. They sold out at the store but i saw some on ebay.

  • OlivetoCreate 29 Dec, 2008

    These are the BEST sugar cookies I've ever made. I think the extra work pays off and Martha's Royal Icing is excellent too. I've received more compliments on these cookies then any others.

  • mtmom33 24 Dec, 2008

    Thank you for your comments! Can you direct us to the alternate recipe you used? Thanks!

  • KaterTot 21 Dec, 2008

    WAY, WAY too much work (the freezing is just too much), even for one of Martha's delicious cookies. She has a much simpler recipe on the web site, which I made tonight. I FORGOT the salt, *and* I doubled the recipe, and they were GREAT. Low sodium dieters take note :)))) They taste like spritz, but make a great rolled and cut cookie. I used the Wilton blue silicone mats on my regular dark cookie sheets, and it being new, it smelled a bit when cooking :(

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