This Small Batch of Cut-out Sugar Cookies recipe makes one-dozen sugar cookies and is quick and easy, with no dough chilling time required!
Today’s recipe is this sweet little batch of cut-out sugar cookies. It’s the perfect recipe if you love decorating cookies at Christmas but don’t have a lot of people around to feed them to.
You still get to decorate some cookies (maybe with some
spiked hot chocolate and a fire going in the background to keep you cozy while you work), but you don’t have to find homes for (or accidentally eat) a mountain of cookies when you’re done.
A (Quick) Small Batch of Sugar Cookies
This recipe will make about a tray-and-a-half of sugar cookies, that’s 8 to 12-ish normal-sized cookies depending on how you cut them out.
The finished cookies come out just the right level of not-too-sweet (perfect since they’re meant to be smothered with frosting), with crunchy edges and slightly chewy centers.
The cookies are easy to make (though please read the recipe notes on flour measurement before starting), with a dough that is great to work with. Best of all, the dough doesn’t need to be chilled, so between making, baking, and cooling time, you can be decorating them in about an hour.
- Spooned and leveled all-purpose flour: Properly measured flour is SO important in this recipe. In order to make a no-chill dough, it has a slightly higher flour content than normal cookie recipes. This means that if you over-measure your flour, you are going to have way too much and the dough is going to be crumbly and difficult to work with. For best results, measure your flour with a scale (recommended) or the spoon and sweep method (stir the flour in your container to fluff it up and then spoon it into your measuring cup, sweep excess off with the flat of a knife).
- Softened butter: You must use softened butter in this recipe (not cold or melted). Set your butter out on the counter 30 minutes to an hour before making the cookies. You’ll know your butter is the correct temperature if you can easily press an indentation into it with your finger but the butter around it still keeps its shape.
- Egg yolk: Because this is a small-batch recipe, you don’t need a whole egg, just the yolk. For ideas on what to do with that leftover egg white, check out my post What to Do With Leftover Egg Whites (I recommend my Mini Chocolate Sheet Cake).
How to Make Small-batch Sugar Cookies
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Cream softened butter and sugar together before adding the egg yolk and vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, beating until mostly combined after each addition.
- Gather dough into a ball and roll out on a lightly floured work surface.
- Cut into shapes, bake, cool and decorate!
- A handheld electric mixer: A full-size stand mixer will be too large for this amount of dough, but a handheld mixer is extremely helpful for creaming butter and making sure the dough comes together.
- Thin metal spatula or offset spatula: This dough is easy to work with, but because it’s not chilled, the cut-out cookies can be difficult to pick up if your work surface doesn’t have enough flour. I like to use a metal spatula to lift the cookies to easily transfer them from work surface to baking pan.
Can you freeze sugar cookies?
Yes! Sugar cookies freeze very well. They can be frozen frosted or unfrosted, but if freezing frosted cookies, freeze them solid on a plate or tray first so the frosting doesn’t get smooshed in the freezer.
Store cookies in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag for up two months.
They can be eaten frozen right out of the freezer or set them on a plate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before eating.
How thick should cut-out sugar cookies be?
For these cookies, 1/4-inch thick is the perfect thickness.
How long do cut-out sugar cookies last?
Cut-out sugar cookies will stay fresh at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you want to keep them fresh longer, freeze them.
A Note on Frosting
These cookies are great with royal icing or a simple buttercream. I’ve included my small-batch vanilla frosting recipe below the recipe card (scroll past the cookie recipe to get to it), but if you want to change things up, try one of my other small-batch frosting recipes like:
- Chocolate Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Strawberry Frosting
- Oreo Frosting
My dough is too dry and crumbly, what do I do?
As mentioned above, this recipe uses a slightly higher ratio of flour to wet ingredients so we don’t have to chill the cookies. But this means accurate flour measurement is extremely important. If your dough is crumbly, you probably have a bit too much flour in there (or got a small egg yolk). Not a problem, this is an easy fix.
To fix crumbly dough where you have dry flour at the bottom of the bowl, add milk or water by the 1/4 teaspoon until your dough just comes together. Don’t add so much that your dough becomes sticky and wet!
If there’s no flour at the bottom of the bowl but the dough isn’t quite coming together like it should, try this old baker’s trick. Wet your hands and then use damp hands to gather the dough and smoosh it all together. Once it’s a cohesive ball, it’s ready to roll out.
When baking, for evenly cooked cookies, bake similar sizes and shapes together. Things with lots of edges like stars, trees, and reindeer will cook much faster than things like stockings and presents, etc..
More Small-batch Cookie Recipes
- (Soft) Small-batch Frosted Sugar Cookies
- Small-batch Shortbread Cookies
- Small-batch Snowballs
- Small-batch Buckeye Brownie Cookies
- Small-batch Oreo and Andes Chocolate Cookies
Or check out my Small-batch Cookie Archive!
Small Batch of Cut-out Sugar Cookies (No-chill)
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Metal spatula
Small Batch of Cut-out Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour measured by weight or using the spoon and sweep method* plus more for rolling
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (76g) unsalted butter softened*
- ⅓ cup (66g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, use a handheld electric mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg yolk and vanilla and mix until well-combined.
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture, and mix on medium until mostly combined. Add half of the remaining flour and repeat. Pour in the rest of the flour and continue to mix until the dough begins to clump (this may take a little while) and you can form it into a ball with your hands.*
- Lightly flour your workspace and rolling pin and roll dough out to ¼-inch thick. Dip cookie cutters in flour and cut out your cookies, placing them at least an inch apart on the trays. Use a metal spatula to pick up the cookies if they stick to your work surface at all. Continue to cut out cookies, gathering dough and re-rolling as necessary until all the dough is shaped.
- Bake cookie sheets, one tray at a time, for 6 to 9 minutes, until the edges of the cookies just start to turn golden. Cool completely before frosting. And enjoy!
Adapted from Food.com
Small-batch Vanilla Frosting
- 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter* softened
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon milk or cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract*
- Pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, beat softened butter until light and fluffy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of milk or cream, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Beat until smooth. Add up to 2 additional teaspoons of milk until frosting reaches your desired consistency.
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