The BEST Soft Sugar Cookies Ever

Y’all. I am not kidding when I say that everyone asks me for this recipe. I make these soft sugar cookies with royal icing for basically every holiday. They’re easy to make, inexpensive, come from a recipe that is easily doubled, and SO DELICIOUS.

As always, I’ll include some special blog tips from my experience baking these cookies:

  • You don’t want these cookies to over-bake. If the bottoms are golden brown, they’re over done. They’ll still be delicious, but keeping them soft requires not over baking. Keep an eye on them after 10 minutes and pull them out when the tops look fully baked (not raw towards the middle).
  • Use all room temperature ingredients. This will help all the ingredients combine together more consistently and easily.
  • The consistency of the royal icing matters when decorating cookies. You ideally want a “10 second” consistency (if you swipe your spatula through the icing it should take 10 seconds to go back to being flat) to ice your cookies. Haniela’s has a great guide on royal icing consistency, but we’ll write one up in the future.
  • I’ve written the recipe with most dry ingredients to be weighed. I highly recommend weighing ingredients when baking because it’s more accurate and allows for more consistency between batches.
  • Don’t feel the need to over-decorate these cookies. A simple layer of white (or other color) icing is more than enough to be enjoyed.

The Best Soft Sugar Cookies

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sugar cookies
Servings: 50 cookies (varied in size)
Author: Amanda (Paint the House Pink)



  • 1.5 cup butter (3 sticks)
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 650 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 3 tbs meringue powder
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c water (add gradually)


    Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
    Add in egg, vanilla, and (opt) almond extract.
    Add in flour and baking powder. Mix until just combined.
    Roll dough to 1/4" thickness.
    (Optional) Refrigerate 2 hours before cutting (makes cutting easier and allows flavors to develop).
    Preheat oven to 350 F.
    Line baking sheets with parchment paper and cut out cookie dough. Keep about 1" apart (shouldn't spread but just in case)
    Bake 9-13 mins (depending on the size of cookie).
    Let cool at least 5 mins before transferring to cooling rack.
    In a clean bowl, combine sugar, cream of tartar, meringue powder. Mix until well combined. Slowly add water to reach desired icing consistency and decorate cookies using a piping bag or ziploc bag with the tip cut off.


This dough freezes well – can be frozen for up to 3 months! 
These cookies do great being stored for up to 2 weeks in an air tight container. 

There you have it! The secret to my soft sugar cookies. If you’re looking for some other recipes (including Effie’s sugar cookies, which are more cake-like cookies but still delicious), check them out here. Tag us on Instagram if you make this recipe and let us know in the comments what some of your favorite cookie recipes are!

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