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.
What is the best soft sugar cookie recipe?
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:
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.
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.
More cookie recipes you’ll love:
- Chocolate chip sprinkle cookies
- Double chocolate chip cookies
- No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies
- Pumpkin cookie recipe
- Snowball cookies
- Fruitcake cookies
- Anise cookies
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350˚F, and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy – about 1 minute.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
- Add the flour mixture in 1/2 cup increments, mixing to combine and scraping sides when necessary.
- Using a small cookie scoop, form dough into balls and roll in extra sugar. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
- 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.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 152
- Sugar: 8.9 g
- Sodium: 54.4 mg
- Fat: 8.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 17 g
- Fiber: 0.3 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
- Cholesterol: 7.8 mg
Keywords: dairy free, basics, easy, cookies, sugar
Published: November 26, 2018. Updated: November 5, 2021.
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