How to Bake Sugar Cookies Perfectly Every Time

A classic sugar cookie dough is essential for every baker’s recipe collection.

Star shaped sugar cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet

Baking Sugar Cookies on Parchment Paper

With the perfect balance of crispy and chewy, sugar cookie dough becomes the basis of so many delicious cookie variations and delectable desserts. So, grab an apron and get ready to learn how to make the perfect sugar cookies like a pro! 

What’s the best sugar cookie tip? Always line your cookie sheet with parchment paper for even baking and cookies that slide right off the sheet. The SmartGrid® lines on our parchment paper make it simple to space out cookies just right, giving you better baking results. Plus, you can reuse parchment paper sheets up to three times. What’s more, our Reynolds Kitchens® Parchment Paper with Stay Flat Dispensing removes curls as you dispense, so you’ll never have to wrestle parchment again.

Melted snowman sugar cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet

How to Make Perfect Sugar Cookies

This recipe produces sugar cookies that are crispy on the edges and chewy in the center, making it our best recipe for all your cut-out and rolled cookie creations. Looking for something festive for your holiday cookie plate? Try our Chocolate Dipped Homemade Sugar Cookies, Snowflake Sugar Cookies, or Melted Snowman Cookies, which use this recipe as the base. 


• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

• 1/4 teaspoon salt 

• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 

• 3/4 cup sugar 

• 2 large egg yolks 

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

This homemade sugar cookie recipe makes 36 two-inch cookies. 



Step 1 

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Step 2 

In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture and combine. 

Step 3 

Wrap the dough in Reynolds Kitchens® Parchment Paper and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. 

Step 4 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Step 5 

Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Cut dough with your favorite cookie cutters before placing it on the lined cookie sheet. 

Step 6 

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on the edges. Slide parchment paper with cookies onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. 

Step 7 

Top the cookies directly on the parchment paper with your favorite icing, sprinkles, and decorations. Store cookies in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days.

Bunny shaped cookies sitting on a parchment lined baking sheet

How to Make Icing for Sugar Cookies

Homemade sugar cookies are delicious and lovely alone, but decorating sugar cookies with colorful icing, festive sprinkles, and decor takes them to the next level! 


• 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar 

• 1/4 cup water 

• 3 tablespoons meringue powder 

• 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract 



Mix sugar, water, meringue powder, and clear vanilla extract in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until just mixed. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons more water if needed. Continue mixing on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks. 

To create different colored icing, divide the mixture into small bowls and add food coloring, 1 drop at a time, to reach the desired color. Cover the bowls as you work to prevent the icing from drying. If icing becomes too thick to spread or pipe, stir in more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. 

Spread or pipe icing onto completely cooled cookies. Set cookies aside until the icing hardens and they are completely dry. 

You may store unused icing in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 1 week. If the icing is too thick to spread or pipe, stir in more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.

More of Our Best Sugar Cookie Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely. We recommend baking sugar cookies (or any cookies!) on parchment paper. Your cookies will bake evenly and our non-stick parchment ensures they will slide off the paper easily without breaking. Each sheet of parchment paper may be used up to three times in the oven. Or, you can slide the entire sheet onto the cooling rack and use the same sheet to catch drips and spills when decorating the fully cooled cookies. What’s even better is that Reynolds Kitchens® Parchment Paper with Stay Flat Dispensing keeps parchment paper flat, so there is no more wrestling with curled parchment paper. Additionally, with our handy SmartGrid® design, you can evenly space your cookies on the baking sheet.

The perfect crispy sugar cookie recipe above calls for six to eight minutes in the oven until lightly browned on the edges. For best results, always follow your sugar cookie recipe’s instructions for the optimal cookie baking time.

Sugar cookies can be stored at room temperature in a tightly covered container for up to two to three weeks. According to the USDA, cookies can be stored in the refrigerator for two months. When storing cookies for a long time, it is better to use wax paper as a separator rather than parchment paper. This is because wax paper allows less air to pass through than parchment paper.

Yes, you can freeze sugar cookies. Always make sure that the cookie icing is completely dry and hardened before freezing. Layer the cookies between sheets of parchment paper (or wax paper) in an airtight container. The USDA recommends storing cookies in the freezer for eight to 12 months to maintain their quality. Before serving, allow the cookies to thaw in the container for one to three hours at room temperature.