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Why I love these cut out sugar cookies

Perfectly decorated sugar cookies are just so much fun for the holidays, or really any occasion, but I think they can be a bit intimidating, which is why we don’t even bother with royal icing in our house.

While I really appreciate beautiful decorated cookies, I think decorating cookies with kids should be easy and fun, which is why I opted for a simple buttercream. This way, they can frost and sprinkle their cookies the way they want, and grownups can pipe frosting designs to their hearts content.

But the best part about this recipe is that the dough requires no chilling, because I’m just not that great of a planner. When we’re ready to make cookies, we are making cookies.

sugar cookies decorated to look like pumpkins with orange frosting and candy eyes

Here’s what you’ll need to make them

Ingredients note: To make this recipe dairy free, we used vegetable shortening in place of butter. You can also substitute vegan butter, or even dairy butter if you’re not dairy free.

Christmas sugar cookies on a counter, christmas trees, candy canes and snowflakes

How to make no chill sugar cookies

Mise en place. Before starting, make sure you have all your ingredients and tools. Preheat your oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper.

Whisk the dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together until evenly combined. Set aside.

Mix the wet ingredients. Add the shortening (or vegan butter) and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat them together until light and fluffy. Then add the milk, extracts, and eggs. Mixing to combine.

Combine everything. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, into the wet ingredients. Beat each addition, until it’s combined, being careful not over mix. Keep adding until all the flour has been added and a dough forms.

Depending on the brand of shortening your using, you might that your dough is a bit wet. If this happens, simply add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time, as needed.

Halloween sugar cookies on a cookie sheet, pumpkins, ghosts, bats, and frankenstein heads

Roll the cookies. Portion the dough into two parts. Cover one with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Then lightly flour your surface and roll the other portion to about 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to make your shapes and transfer them to your baking sheets.

Bake the cookies. Pop them into the oven for 8-9 minutes. The tops should seem set and should not wobble when moved.

They it’s ok if they seem undercooked or not firm to the touch (don’t touch them though, they are going to be hot! this comment is just for reference). Repeat until all the cookies are baked.

Make the frosting. While the cookies bake and cool, make the frosting. You can also do this ahead of time. Simply beat the frosting ingredients together until you get to a smooth, but not firm spreadable consistency. Separate and color your frosting as desired (or skip it).

Decorate the cookies. Once your cookies have completely cooled, decorate them as desired.

Christmas sugar cookies on a counter, christmas trees, candy canes and snowflakes

FAQs and tips for making the best decorated sugar cookies

What happens if you don’t chill sugar cookie dough?

Usually, if you don’t chill your sugar cookie dough, the fats in the cookies will spread further, causing the cookies to lose their shapes. Thankfully, this recipe requires no chill time, so you don’t need to worry about that!

Should sugar cookies be refrigerated?

No. You don’t need to refrigerate sugar cookies. If you do want to refrigerate them, make sure they’re stored in an airtight container to prevent moisture from getting to them, or you’ll end up with soggy cookies.

Do you cut sugar cookies before or after baking?

You want to cut your cookies before baking them. This will give them nice clean edges and all the cookies to bake into their shapes. If you cut them after baking, you will end up with a crumby mess.

Is vanilla extract necessary for sugar cookies?

No it’s not necessary. I think vanilla extract paired with a little bit of almond extract makes a better tasting cookie, but it can be replaced with any extract you prefer. It can also be left out and won’t greatly impact the cookie texture or flavor.

Halloween sugar cookies on a cookie sheet, pumpkins, ghosts, bats.

More dairy free holiday recipes:

Christmas sugar cookies on a counter, christmas trees, candy canes and snowflakes

No Chill Sugar Cookies

Looking for an easy decorated sugar cookie recipe? These dairy free sugar cookie cutouts require no chill time and they turn out perfectly soft and chewy. Plus, they’re easy to decorate with simple buttercream frosting.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American



For the cookies:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup vegan butter or vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dairy free milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup vegan butter or vegetable shortening
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat vegan butter (or vegetable shortening)  with sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add almond milk, extract, followed by the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth.
  5. Add the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, beating each additional until incorporated. The dough should easily pull away from the mixer bowl when the dough is ready. If dough is too wet, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time, as needed.
  6. Roll dough to 1/4” thickness and cut out cookies as desired.
  7. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes, or until cookie tops have set.
  8. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

For the frosting:

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the frosting ingredients until light and fluffy.
  2. Frost cookies as desired.

Keywords: dairy free, sugar cookies, cookies, christmas, halloween, baking

Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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Recipe rating


    1. Gluten free flour behaves so differently than all-purpose. I think you could probably use 1:1 flour, but since I haven’ tested it I can’t say for sure.

  1. Do these freeze well? After baking but before frosting?

    They are delicious and allowed my son to participate at his school Valentine’s day party! Thank you!!

  2. easy! easy to cut and move to the baking sheet. didn’t spread or lose shape during baking. taste was fantastic. we have looked for a cut out cookie recipe like this for a LONG TIME with no luck. thank you!!

  3. I made a double batch of these with dairy-based ingredients (If I make them dairy free I can, and will, eat too many of them!). They came together quickly, and rolled out well. They baked perfectly and kept their shape. The kids were in heaven with the smell. Definite winner.

  4. These were great! The dough was pretty easy to work with but got a little delicate when transferring cut outs to the tray. The cookies held their shape well and did not spread too much. I loved the flavor with the almond and vanilla extracts. The cookies were crispy and delicious.