The Best Sugar Cookies Ever

bouquet of roses, large felt heart with small tray of cookies on white table

You're going to love the Best Sugar Cookies...Ever

Who loves a yummy Sugar Cookie decorated with Royal Icing?  Well, who doesn’t, right? Our family loves a melt in your mouth Sugar Cookie beautifully decorated with royal icing.  I enjoy decorating them for holidays, birthdays, weddings, and more.  

Tried and True Recipe

This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, butter (softened), egg, and vanilla.  No fancy ingredients and all pantry basics.  All tried and true ingredients for a tried and true The Best Sugar Cookies Ever recipe.  

Soften the Butter

It’s important that the butter is softened.  After a quick squeeze test, I knew my butter wasn’t ready.  Has this ever happened to you? What’s a baker to do, right?  There are a few options; delay until the butter is softened, pop it in the microwave (Noooo, never!) or use an alternative and quick method to speed up the softening process.  

Quick Tip

This tip has saved me countless times and without added time delays. What you’ll need:  sticks of butter, boiling water, two glasses or large coffee mugs, paper plate(s), and potholders.  It’s necessary for the glasses/mugs to be large enough that the wrapped sticks of butter don’t touch the glasses or mugs.

Next Heat Up The Water

Once your water is boiling pour it into your glasses/mugs.  Let it rest in them until they are hot to the touch. This doesn’t take long.  When the glass/mugs are heated use your potholders and pour the water out. Stand your butter on end and set a heated glass/mug over each stick of butter. Walk away for a bit, gather your other ingredients together and allow the heat to transfer from the glasses to the butter.  Within no time, you’ll have perfectly softened butter. Do you have a quick tip to soften butter? If you do, please drop it in the comments section below!

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Combining the Dry Ingredients

I’ve always sifted my dry ingredients together (except sugar).  If you have a sifter great, if not, use a fine-mesh strainer. Either method or kitchen tool will work. Once the dry ingredients are thoroughly sifted together, set the bowl aside.

Mixing bowls, measuring cup with flour and a bowl filled with flour.

Sugar, Butter

Place softened butter and sugar into a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and mix together.  Then add egg and mix well.   Combine together thoroughly.

Add in the dry ingredients

Slowly add the dry ingredients to your stand mixers bowl.  Continue slowly combining them together until all the ingredients are blended and pulling away from the mixing bowl.  Place cookie dough into a ziplock baggie or wrap with plastic wrap placing in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Rolling out the Cookie Dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

What you’ll need: two pieces of parchment paper, cookie cutter(s), rolling pin, spatula, extra flour, and several cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.   I always roll out my sugar cookie dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Why? Glad you asked, lol. This prevents rolling pin lines on my rolled out cookie dough.  

The ideal thickness for the rolled-out cookie dough is ¼”.  You could “try” to eyeball this or use two ¼” wooden dowels, placing one on each side of your dough, or use rubber spacers on your rolling pin.  


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Cutting out and Baking

Use flour to coat your work surface, rolling pin, and cookie cutter.  

After rolling out the dough use your cookie cutter of choice and press straight down.  Then slide a spatula under your cookie cutter to transfer the cut-out dough to your cookie sheet.  

Once your cookies fill your tray place them in the freezer for 15 minutes and then into the oven they go. 

Total baking time is 9-11 minutes and rotate from upper to lower rack halfway through baking time.  Remove cookies once baked and allow them to cool to room temperature before removing them to a cooling rack or storage container.

Photography To Inspire You

The Best Royal Icing ... Ever
Video Series

Play Video
Part 1 - Sugar Cookies
Play Video
Part 2 - Sugar Cookies

The Best Sugar Cookies .. Ever Recipe

The Best Ever Sugar Cookies

The Best Sugar Cookies...Ever!
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time9 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


  • Stand mixer, hand mixer, cookie cutters, parchment paper, cookie cutters, rolling pin and an oven.


  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup softened butter


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl the flour and baking powder, Use a hand whisk to mix ingredients together.
  • Beat together sugar and butter. Once mixed well, add the egg. Mix again and then add vanilla.
  • Slowly add flour to sugar, butter, vanilla mixture. Just a few tablespoons at a time. Mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and forms a ball around the mixing blade(s).
  • Gather up the dough and kneed it with your hands until the mixture is smooth. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and place it into the refrigerator to chill. This can be anywhere between 20-40 minutes. If the dough feels hard once removed from the refrigerator, allow it to rest and warm slightly. The dough should be firm but not hard.
  • Cut dough in half and then cut each half in half. Set aside.
  • Prepare your work area. You'll need a small bowl of flour, baking tray(s) two equal-sized pieces of parchment paper, a rolling pin, cookie cutters, and optional, two 1/4" to 3/8" wooden dowels.
  • Take one of the 1/4 cut pieces of dough and gently form into a ball. Sprinkle flour on the lower piece of parchment paper. Then place the dough down and then press down gently with your hands onto the dough to flatten slightly, and sprinkle a light dusting of flour on top of the dough. This will help keep the dough from sticking to your parchment paper. Cover with the remaining piece of parchment paper and begin rolling out dough. Once the dough is 1/4" to 3/8" thick begin cutting out your shapes with your cookie cutter(s).
  • Line your baking trays with parchment paper. As you cut-out, your cookie shapes place each one onto your baking tray(s) leaving some space between cookie cut-outs.
  • Once your baking tray is filled, you'll need to flash freeze the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes. Be sure to set your timer.
  • Remove baking tray from freezer and place it into your pre-heated oven immediately. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the top surface of the cookies has lost their sheen/shine. Do not allow cookies to become golden.
  • After removing cookies from the oven place the baking tray onto a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool to room temperature. Once cookies are at room temperature, remove from the baking tray and store in an airtight container.
  • Repeat until all the dough is used.

The Best Royal Icing..Ever

Over the years I’ve tried many royal icing recipes.  I’d try them only to be disappointed.  They’d crack, discolor, not harden, get too hard, or any number of other less than desirable qualities.  Until I came up with The Best Royal Icing .. Ever that is delicious with The Best Sugar Cookies Ever!


To make this delicious royal icing you’ll need; warm water, cream of tartar, powder sugar, clear vanilla, and my secret ingredient meringue powder! 

Yep, meringue powder and a few other recipe tweaks made all the difference.  Specifically, Wilton Meringue Powder.  We do not have any affiliation with Wilton or its products. 

Contain of Meringue Powder

let's make this royal icing

I use a stand mixer, but you could also use a hand mixer.  In a mixing bowl add in the warm water.  The warm water makes a big difference as does the gradually adding of the meringue powder.  Add in the meringue powder one tablespoon at a time and use a hand whisk to mix it together.  Whisk in the cream of tartar next, and then the clear vanilla.

Place the bowl onto your stand mixer, set it to its lowest-slowest speed, and let it run for 10 minutes.  Set your timer, walk away, and let it run.  Once the 10 minutes have passed you are ready to add coloring and mix for outline or flood fill use.   

The Best Royal Icing ... Ever
Video Series

Play Video
Part 3 - Royal Icing
Play Video
Part 4 - Royal Icing

The Best Royal Icing .... Ever Recipe

The Best Royal Icing..Ever!

Use to frost sugar cookies
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Icing, Royal, Royal Icing, Sugar Cookies


  • Stand mixer or hand mixer


  • 6 ounces Warm water
  • 5 Tbsp Meringue Powder
  • 1 tsp Cream of tarter
  • 1 bag A 2-pound bag of confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1 tsp Clear vanilla, optional


  • Add warm water to a mixing bowl.
  • Slowly add the meringue powder to the water, about 1 Tbls at a time, and mix with a hand whisk until dissolved. Continue adding the meringue powder until it is all blended into the water.
  • Whisk in Cream of Tarter.
  • Add clear vanilla to the mixing bowl and gently whisk.
  • Pour all of the confectioner's sugar (all at once) into the mixing bowl.
  • If using a stand mixer, set at its lowest setting and allow to mix for 10 minutes. You may have to stop once to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a silicone spatula.
  • The royal icing is now ready to divide and prepare for outline and flood fill thickness. Add food color and then ice your cookies.

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