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Basic Sugar Cookies

Recipe photo courtesy of Minh + Wass

Sugar cookies are a buttery classic that make a delicious anytime treat. Enjoy your sugar cookies plain, or decorate them with icing to make them festive. This recipe is a favorite of Martha's, who likes to add 1 tablespoon cognac alongside the egg and vanilla, after creaming together the butter and sugar.

Source: Everyday Food, December 2003
Total Time Prep Yield


Sugar Cookies



Cook's Notes

Use flour on utensils to keep dough from sticking: Dip the cookie cutters, and dust the spatula before transferring uncooked dough to a sheet. Rolling dough between two sheets of floured parchment will keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. You can store cookies in airtight containers at room temperature, up to 1 week.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • rabia_laura
    22 DEC, 2018
    I didn't change anything as it was my first time out with this recipe. It was simple and quick, but it lacked flavor and texture. I'm still searching for the perfect sugar cookie.
  • cadakim
    18 DEC, 2018
    LOVE this recipe. I did need to add 2 egg whites to make the dough less crumbly. The cookies are delicious and are perfect for decorating and hold their freshness long after baking. To keep the shape of the cookie after cutting them out, simply put them in the freezer for 10 minutes then put them in the oven.
  • afwifesisney
    16 JUN, 2018
    The best and easiest sugar cookies I’ve ever made! Fantastic flavor as well! Love love love.
  • shannonlucier
    5 FEB, 2018
    Best sugar cookie recipe. I double the recipe and add one egg.... I NEVER refrigerate dough prior to rolling and making.
  • jenpark147815331
    26 DEC, 2017
    I thought this recipe was just OK. I used only 1 3/4 cups of flour, as 2 cups is way too much. The cookies still came out a little too hard and somewhat dry. Taste was OK though.
    • shannonlucier
      5 FEB, 2018
      You need to add 1 egg..... that's what I've found
  • damalewis
    15 DEC, 2017
    I don't know what's going on with all the negative reviews, but these cookies are sooo good. I have never had a batch last 24 hours in my house. I don't bother with the royal icing, I just put sugars or sprinkles on before they go in the oven. I do believe there is a small typo - the original recipe I have from the big cookbook calls for 2 Tbsp of brandy. I use Jack Daniels (yep, that's my secret ingredient - you're welcome), but no matter what you add, you should probably do the two tablespoons of liquid instead of one, as Martha does in the video. They definitely come out much better if you don't pack or shake the flour and instead fluff it before measuring. Also, you might want to use flour with a lower gluten content - I've noticed things I make with King Arthur all-purpose flour often come out very dry. Next time I do these, I'm going to use Gold Medal and/or pastry flour. I've found it works best to divide into 3 parts before chilling. Watch the instructional video - if you make these with a light hand and the right technique, they will not disappoint!
  • kristynamullen
    27 SEP, 2015
    This recipe is the same as the one I grew up with. It is a great, no fail recipe. The negative comments are from beginner bakers. If you make the recipe properly, it comes out wonderfully. For those who are beginners: -Be careful how you measure your flour. If the flour gets packed, you will end up with too much flour and a dry cookie -Mix the sugar and butter until fluffy -Don't overmix after butter and sugar stage
    • rickdavisoni
      7 DEC, 2017
      On Measuring flour: Spooning into measuring cup, then leveling or “Dip & Sweep” Method? I usually Dip & Sweep as a matter of course unless directed to do otherwise, although as a professional baker I always used a balance scale - with weights it always came out great. Then too I was cooking in large amounts and scaling down those recipes gets tricky. I’ll try Martha’s recipe here. It’s been my experience that anything she puts her name to is usually superior. Martha is a Goddess of the Kitchen.
  • zarconefineart
    23 NOV, 2017
    I've been making MS sugar cookie recipe for 10 yrs.. they're great and kids and adult alike love them..
  • esther_collins0
    9 NOV, 2017
    Love these cookies ⭐️. Now I like crunchy and hard cookies, like shortbread. I followed this recipe exactly as instructed, next time I want to add brandy, but these are awesome. I baked them at least 10 minutes... Until they were golden brown around the edges, no chewy cookie for me! Perfect.. I eat them with my daily tea, and I believe these are going to replace my shortbread.
  • joanrodriguezva
    4 OCT, 2017
    I love this cookie recipe. Is my go to for fundraising. And I never have any left. Usually I ran out first on the activities. It's amazing.

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