These easy soft sugar cookies are a tired moms way out of having to perfectly decorate one. more. cookie. for one. more. party. Christmas sugar cookies are simple and involve no rolling of dough or cutting out shapes! Just shape into balls, flatten with your hands, and decorate with festive sprinkles.
If the thought of having to decorate one more Christmas cookie or make one more dish for the seemingly endless school and work parties, potlucks, ugly sweater parties, and ornament exchanges, then these easy soft sugar cookies are for you!
These Christmas sugar cookies may not be perfect. But they are fast and easy. And I'm okay with that. I am a big believer that anything homemade should have its flaws.
Plus, does anyone really care about the shape of their cookie once it's in their mouth? Nope. All that matters is how delicious it is.
And these soft sugar cookies are a delicious classic that can't be beat. You probably have the ingredients on hand already, so they are great for down-to-the-wire Christmas baking.
You can never go wrong with a simple, festive soft sugar cookie.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make soft sugar cookies for Christmas, you need:
- baking soda
- baking powder
- vanilla extract
I prefer to use whole milk because of its fat content, but you should be able to use 1% or 2% and have them turn out just fine.
If you'd like to use an alternative to dairy milk, that is fine too! Check out this article for help deciding which dairy free milk is the best choice for you.
This recipe makes a huge batch. FIVE dozen cookies! You can reduce it as necessary and keep the ingredients proportionate.
Preparing soft sugar cookies requires at least an electric hand mixer, but I prefer using my KitchenAid stand mixer. Every cook's kitchen needs one of these amazing gadgets.
First, cream the butter and sugar until they are combined well. If your butter isn't soft, microwave it for about 20-30 seconds. If the butter melts, let it harden slightly. It's important not to use fully melted butter.
Next, add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Then add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Last, add the milk and beat it on medium until smooth.
The dough should chill for at least 1 hour before you shape it into cookies. Warm dough is harder to work with and might cause the cookies to spread more than you want. I chill mine overnight, or I make it a few days before I need it.
Once chilled, roll the dough into ping pong sized balls. Place on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet, press down slightly, and decorate with festive sprinkles. Then bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.
Watch the cookies closely near the end of the 8 minutes. Soft sugar cookies are done when the edges barely begin to brown. If left in after the edges brown, they will become hard and the bottom will burn.
How do you keep sugar cookies soft?
The trick to keeping these cookies soft is to bake them until the edges barely begin to brown. They will continue to bake a few minutes once you remove them from the oven, so this is really important.
If you leave them in the oven until they look completely cooked, they will harden and will no longer be that delicious soft sugar cookie we are going for.
I always remove mine when I think, they look almost done but maybe need a few more minutes. They never need a few more minutes. I take them out at that point.
I also suggest checking them periodically during the first batch. Ovens are not all the same, so yours may need more or less time.
Soft Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon milk
- In a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until combined.
- Add vanilla and eggs and mix 1 minute.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix 2 minutes.
- Add milk and mix until everything is combined and dough is smooth.
- Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
- Once chilled, scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of dough and shape into balls. Place about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 400°.
Serving and Storing
Christmas sugar cookies are a traditional festive dessert that is always anticipated at any Christmas dessert table or cookie exchange. They also make a delicious snack for Santa on Christmas Eve, when he makes a pit stop at your Christmas tree 😉.
You can easily freeze soft sugar cookies for about 6 months in freezer bags. I usually make one huge batch in the beginning of December, freeze them in baggies by the dozen, and then defrost them when the parties start. Then I have Christmas cookies ready to go without having to continually make batches!
Soft sugar cookies also keep well in an airtight container for 3-4 days before they begin to harden.
If you've made this Christmas soft sugar cookie recipe, let me know how they turned out in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you!