Basic Sugar-Cookie Dough

Here's one of the best-kept secrets of professional bakers: It takes only one cookie dough to produce a beautiful assortment of holiday cookies. Use this dough to make Santa's Snowflakes, Orange Spritz, Chocolate-Raspberry Thumbprints, and Hawaiian Snowballs.

  • Yield: Makes enough for our 4 varieties of cookies
Basic Sugar-Cookie Dough

Photography: Antonis Achilleos


  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt; mix on medium speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour in 2 batches, mixing just until incorporated.

  2. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Place each on a piece of plastic wrap; flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

Cook's Notes

Use a kitchen scale to quarter the dough precisely, as called for in these recipes. Each piece should weigh just under 1 pound.


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