soft sugar cookies with cracked tops stacked on a plate

Cookies seem to have become a thing for me lately. I seem to be testing a million recipes lately, and these super soft sugar cookies are so fitting for me.

No decorating required – just a bake and eat kind of dessert. That’s why I’ve been pumping out recipes like my favorite dairy free chocolate chip cookies, spicy gingersnaps and fruitcake cookies. They’re also a great way to keep a toddler whose little brother is sleeping occupied for a little while.

The best part is, that while I’ve been working on these cookies, I’ve been prepping for Christmas and participating in one of my favorite annual traditions as a food blogger – The Sweetest Season. It’s a virtual cookie exchange hosted by one of my favorite people, Erin, from The Speckled Palate.

It’s a fun way to get excited about the holiday season and do some good. The Sweetest Season has been supporting Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for the last few years, and I’m so honored to be part of such a great holiday tradition. Learn more about the organization and how you can support it here. And, if you’re able, please make a donation to help support the cause.

dairy free sugar cookies in a serving dish

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There are so many different ways to make a sugar cookie. There’s soft and chewy sugar cookies, thin and crispy sugar cookies, and even frosted sugar cookies.

But, I think the best sugar cookie recipe is a soft and chewy one. I know a lot of people love thin and crispy cookies, but I’m just not one of them – at least when it comes to a classic sugar cookie.

To make soft sugar cookies, you need to get your ratio of fat and sugar just right. They are the two ingredients that have the biggest impact on the texture of a cookie, even though there’s really a lot more to it since baking is just a big science experiment.

In fact, for the longest time I made these cookies without baking soda, and I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t spreading or cracking on the top like my spicy gingersnaps do. So I did a little internet research, added some baking soda, and voila, the cookie did exactly what I wanted it to do.

Here’s what you’ll need to make these soft sugar cookies:

closeup of soft sugar cookies

How do you make sugar cookies soft and chewy?

Preheat your oven to 350˚F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. This helps keep the cookies from sticking to the sheet and if there’s one thing you need to do, it’s this. You could also use a silicone baking mat if you have it.

Prep your dry ingredients. In a medium bowl (not the one you’re going to mix the dough in), whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure everything is evenly distributed before setting the bowl aside.

Cream the shortening and sugar. You can use butter here if you’re not dairy free (equal amounts). You want this to get nice and fluffy, so using an electric mixer really helps. This process gets air into the mixture to create a softer cookie.

Add the wet ingredients. The egg and the vanilla extract go in next. Mix them only until the egg is incorporated. You do not want to over mix the egg or you’ll end up with not-soft cookies.

hand grabbing a sugar cookie from a small cooling rack

Gradually add the flour mixture. I recommend doing this about 3/4 – 1 cup at a time. It helps to get everything mixed a little more evenly and it also prevents your flour from flying all over the place. Keep adding until and mixing until a dough forms. It should start to come together on its own and pull away from the bowl walls.

Roll the dough. Use a cookie scoop or a spoon to balls, about 2 tablespoons full. Roll balls into extra sugar and place them onto your prepared cookie sheet.

Bake the sugar cookies for 10 – 11 minutes in the oven. Keep an eye on them and remove the cookies when the tops have started to crack. They may not look fully set yet, but they will continue to cook a bit as they rest on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. After that, Transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

6 sugar cookies on a wire rack


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    Super Soft Sugar Cookies

    This simple soft sugar cookies recipe is really easy and makes the BEST soft, chewy sugar cookies. No chilling required and dairy free.

    • Author: Melissa Belanger
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 20 minutes
    • Total Time: 30 minutes
    • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
    • Category: Dessert
    • Method: Baking
    • Cuisine: American


    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1 cup vegetable shortening, or vegan butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Extra sugar, for rolling


    1. Preheat oven to 350˚F, and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy – about 1 minute.
    4. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
    5. Add the flour mixture in 1/2 cup increments, mixing to combine and scraping sides when necessary.
    6. Using a small cookie scoop, form dough into balls and roll in extra sugar. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
    7. Bake cookies for 10 – 11 minutes or until cookies have spread and the tops begin to crack. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.


    • Serving Size: 1 cookie
    • Calories: 155
    • Sugar: 8.4 g
    • Sodium: 54.4 mg
    • Fat: 9.4 g
    • Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
    • Carbohydrates: 16.5 g
    • Fiber: 0.3 g
    • Protein: 1.3 g
    • Cholesterol: 7.8 mg

    Keywords: dairy free, basics, easy, cookies, sugar

    Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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    Recipe rating


    1. This recipe is awful. Too chewy and they get stuck to your teeth. They also spread too far and too thinly. I even refrigerated the dough overnight to see if it worked any better. Not at all. Skip this recipe and use something different. Such a waste.

      1. I’m sorry the recipe didn’t work for you. I’ve made it several times and they turned out just like the pictures. I wonder if you baking powder has gone bad. That would make them not rise. Again, really sorry that your cookies didn’t turn out. I know how frustrating that can be.

    2. I’m going to try this out today so I have a good recipe for Christmas I will message back and let you know how they were… can’t wait 🙂

    3. Well I’m back , I tried the recipe and they turned out perfect I did a little modification though, i used salted butter , I added an extra 1/4 cup brown sugar because I love brown sugar in cookies and a tad bit more vanilla as I always do because the vanilla usually gets cooked out… but the texture was exactly as advertised and they taste like Christmas my fiance and I are in love with the cookies.. thank you 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for all the input! I love the idea of using brown sugar 🙂 I will have to try that myself really soon. I actually just adapted this recipe to make a maple cinnamon sugar cookie, too. I’ll be posting it soon. If you’re interested, be sure to check back!

    4. Hi would be trying this recipe soon read the reviews n they are great…just 1 question though was wondering if I could put these cookies in a cupcake tray instead to get the perfect round biscuit shape coz I’d like to decorate them later.

      1. I’m not really sure if there would be enough room inside a cupcake pan for the cookies to spread. You could try it, but I’m not sure if it will turn out. It might also throw the cooking time off a bit because they would end up being a bit thicker.

    5. I’m 15 years old and I made this recipe and it was super easy to follow and my family loved the cookies that I made for them. But the baking time 10-11 min that wasn’t enough for the cookies because they were still raw when the timer went off but then I reset the time another 11 mins and they were done and cooked. The cookies were super soft and easy to eat not hard at all I give this recipe a 5 Star rating.

    6. These are truly AMAZING. I have always been a little scared of sugar cookies because they are so picky and can come out wrong so easily. These are delicious. Melt in your mouth goodness. My kids usually always want icing on sugar cookies, but they loved these plain! I could eat the entire batch myself. They came out perfect. Just as described. I followed instructions carefully and they are to die for, the only change I made was I used real butter instead of shortening. Please try this recipe. This will be the only sugar cookie recipe I use from here on out. I cannot wait until Christmas to make these all season long. Thank you for an amazing recipe!

    7. I just made these and they are awesome, me being allergic to dairy, I had to use dairy free butter, I used 1 cup of butter as the recipe stated, they turned out soft, fluffy, and rose beautifully.

    8. Cookies turned out great, but I had to work with the dough as it was very crumbly. Is there a modification to make the dough less crumbly and more doughy? Thank you!

      1. Hey Brook, I know this is an older ccomment but I was curious to kow what type of egg replacer ypu used? Im vegan and usally do flax egg but I do have types. What type did you use? Did they turn out well? Thanks so much!!

    9. Easiest sugar cookie recipe! Came out so perfect and just like the picture! Love them so soft and yummy!

      1. Followed the recipe but used real butter, and decided against rolling in sugar before baking. Hands DOWN the BEST sugar cookies I’ve ever attempted! Thank you for sharing your amazing recipe! ♥️

    10. Wow. Super easy to make and delicious to boot. I used a cup of butter instead of the shortening and they came out so soft. Will definitely bake again. Thanks!

    11. I’ve made these a few times now – they’re great! This last time I used a flax egg and switched out half the shortening for virgin coconut oil. I skipped the sugar on top. These have more of a crispy shortbread texture , so if anyone is looking for that in a cookie…give some coconut oil a try! Can’t wait to try these again!

    12. These cookies are awesome! I made them for teacher appreciation and everyone loved them. I did add the extra vanilla like some others mentioned to enhance the flavor. I also made a batch with gluten free flour and they turned out just as delicious. I used Bobs Red Mill 1 for 1 gluten free flour. I bake cookies regularly in my house for my hubby’s lunch and these will definitely be in the rotation.

    13. These cookies are awesome! I made them for teacher appreciation and everyone loved them. I did add the extra vanilla like some others mentioned to enhance the flavor. I also made a batch with gluten free flour and they turned out just as delicious. I used Bobs Red Mill 1 for 1 gluten free flour. I bake cookies regularly in my house for my hubby’s lunch and these will definitely be in the rotation.

    14. These cookies are awesome! I made them for teacher appreciation and everyone loved them. I did add the extra vanilla like some others mentioned to enhance the flavor. I also made a batch with gluten free flour and they turned out just as delicious. I used Bobs Red Mill 1 for 1 gluten free flour. I bake cookies regularly in my house for my hubby’s lunch and these will definitely be in the rotation.

    15. Delicious! We have a dairy and egg allergy in the house. I substituted 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce for the egg. They we’re so soft, sweet, and delicious.

    16. My four year old son helped me make these and they came out AMAZING! We followed the recipe exactly but just had to bake a bit longer-our cookies were probably much larger. 😋 Thank you for sharing!

    17. I used avacado oil spread, but cut it down to 3/4 cup as I didn’t want these to soft. I turned them into snickerdoodles of a sort. The dough was pretty soft and I knew it wasn’t going to form a ball without having a mess. I chilled the dough for about half an hour, then dropped them on a cookie sheet llined with parchment on which I sprinkled cinnamon sugar. I dropped the cookies onto the cookie sheet using a teaspoon and sprinkled each top with the cinnamon sugar. I got about 16 cookies in all. Baked at 350 for 10 minutes and they’re perfect, a little chewy, but not to soft. I think this is a keeper.

      1. I forgot to add that I also put cinnamon and nutmeg in the dough, and added 1 more teaspoon vanilla, just because I always do when baking.

    18. These cookies are amazing, nice sweet and chewy i love them!! 10/10 recommend making them. I used Vegetable shortening in a recipe for the first time and i loved it

    19. My first batch I followed the recipe to the T. My dough was loose. I baked a batch anyway they came out thin and soft. My family loved them.
      Then I seen the video on how my dough should look, I added more flour and now my dough looks like the video and I can actually form a ball lol. The cookies came out thicker and I got comments their mouth was dry but the cookies are good.
      Next time I’ll leave my batter loose.

    20. I really liked the taste of this one. I tried to use cookie cutters and made some shapes for Christmas.. They didn’t keep their shape very well – I’m thinking less baking soda or powder. My girls and I still decorated them and enjoyed eating them. I’m sure if I was doing just circular cookies, it would be perfect. I would love to perfect this for a Christmas cookie and other shapes to decorate with kiddos. Also, I used King Aurthur’s Gluten free baking flour for these. Still turned out wonderful 🙂 They taste light and still soft!

    21. These are great! I have a friend who eats both dairy free and gluten free, so I subbed the flour with Bob’s Red Mill GF 1-to-1 baking flour and it worked great! Thanks for an easy and tasty recipe!

    22. the smell was amazing, and the cookies were phenomenal. I made these for my father because he’s been really stressed out and I can’t wait for his feedback!!

    23. Loved it! These were a hit with my family. I used dairy-free Earth Balance butter and I’m also gluten free so I used gluten-free baking flour (Vitacost brand, since it’s all I had) and added a little lemon extract. They raised beautifully and they’re scrumptious! They’re great tea-time cookies!