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Sugar Cookies

This recipe makes our famous giant cookies, perfect for decorating with Royal Icing or any simple glaze. Also pictured here are Chocolate Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies. Learn how to make Sugared Heart Cookies.

  • Yield: Makes about 16 large cookies or 30 2 1/2-inch cookies
Sugar Cookies

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 1996


  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup fine sanding sugar, for decorating (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

  2. Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.

  3. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla or lemon juice and zest. Wrap dough in plastic; chill for about 30 minutes.

  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, and decorate with sanding sugar, if desired. Bake until edges just start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Reviews (10)

  • mjk 12 Jun, 2014

    I browsed about a dozen recipes before deciding on this one. Thank you! I love it. I did make one adjustment though. First, it's only me here so I cut the recipe in half. Well I don't have vanilla extract so I mixed a half tablespoon of honey with a half tablespoon of heavy cream. A quick taste test said it was okay, so I added it in. Yummy!

  • t-cup 15 Feb, 2012

    If your batter is too dry, then try adding 2 tbsp of milk. I did this and the cookies out wonderfully! Will definitely make these again.

  • Galeongirl 2 Feb, 2011

    the photo states: also pictured are Chocolate and Gingerbread cookies.
    you can make them any color you want with some food coloring.

  • terrie-bear 12 Feb, 2009

    They are different colored cookies because this same picture is used for Martha's Chocolate Cookies recipe.

  • madweber 7 Feb, 2009

    Why are some caramel colored, some white and some chocolate?

  • sinlessbeauty116 17 Aug, 2008

    very easy to make =)

  • twoladybugs 3 Aug, 2008

    Our family LOVES these! I've never been able to make the perfect cut sugar cookie until I tried this recipe and watched the video. It turns out I was always trying to roll my dough to thin. I can't wait to dazzle everyone with Christmas trees this upcoming holiday season! :-)

  • CutuElla 3 May, 2008

    Easy to do, my 2 year old baby boy LOVED THEM!!

  • Little Eyecatchers 12 Feb, 2008

    I've used this recipe since 1998 for my large sugar cookies, it came with my Martha Cookie Decorating Kit. I don't know how many times I've given this recipe to friends. Everyone loves it! I've found it easy to work with.

  • jilljo 11 Feb, 2008

    Is it just me or is this dough difficult to work with? Mine turned out very dry and crumbly and was a challenge to roll out. It tastes good but more trouble than it's worth.

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