BEST Sugar Cookie Recipe | Soft, Chewy Drop-Style Cookies
Filed Under: Cookies

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

September 30th, 2021
4.95 from 369 votes
4.95 from 369 votes

My go-to recipe, these Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies are perfectly tender and soft with just the right amount of chewiness. They take just minutes to make with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen!

Yield: 16 large cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The perfect amount of sweetness.
Texture: My favorite part, each bite is the ideal balance between soft and chewy.
Ease: Super easy 30-minute sugar cookie recipe with no chilling required.
Pros: Fun, simple, and perfect for holidays from Christmas to Valentine’s Day, even 4th of July!
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? I’ve made this recipe many times, everyone raves about it.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

Not to boast, but everyone who has tasted or made this sugar cookie recipe has said it became their instant favorite!! It took weeks of testing to get it just right.

These Soft & Chewy Sugar Cookies require NO CHILLING and are incredibly easy to bake up.

This recipe is perfect for your Christmas cookie boxes or just enjoying with a glass of milk. If it’s a warmer time of year, it also makes a great base for ice cream sandwiches!

soft drop-style sugar cookie recipe, showing several stacked cookies

This recipe is featured in my cookbook, The Ultimate Cookie Handbook: Your Guide to Baking Perfect Cookies Every Time, which has sold out multiple times!! It makes me so glad to see you guys adore cookie baking as much as I do.

Originally, I had created a sugar cookie recipe with cream cheese that was ultra-soft. However, I found that it would become claggy, and each bite would get stuck to the roof of your mouth. I happened to grab a sugar cookie at a bakery one random day and instantly became inspired by its texture.

my soft, chewy sugar cookie recipe, all baked and ready to enjoy

It was simultaneously soft and chewy. Each bite was so incredibly satisfying! I knew I had to recreate that texture for my cookbook sugar cookie recipe. I’m SO happy with the results… mostly because this recipe turned out to be so easy to make, and they taste utterly delicious.

People will think you went to an expensive bakery when you show up with a box of these cookies. Especially if you stock up on some cute homemade cookie gift packaging.

my sugar cookie recipe, baked and sitting on a plate next to a glass of cold milk, ready to enjoy

Ingredients For the Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe:

  • All-purpose flour – Make sure to weigh your flour accurately. If you add too much flour, your cookies won’t spread at all and won’t be soft or chewy. 
  • Baking powder – This gives the sugar cookies lift, without adding too much spread or browning.
  • Fine sea salt – So important to balance the sweetness!
  • Unsalted butter It’s important that your butter is at a cool room temperature, otherwise your cookies may spread. 
  • Granulated sugar – The star ingredient! Don’t reduce the sugar – find out why here.
  • Eggs – One whole egg with an extra egg yolk lends richness and chewiness to the texture. Make sure they’re at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract – No sugar cookie recipe is complete without vanilla extract.

How to Make SOFT Sugar Cookies

  1. The extra egg yolk helps to add more moisture and richness, for a soft and chewy texture.
  2. The other trick is found in the size of the dough ball…. a whole 3 tablespoons in each! This creates larger cookies that spread out perfectly with ultra-soft centers.
  3. Whatever you do, don’t overbake this sugar cookie recipe. They should still look ever so slightly ‘wet’ in the center when you pull them from the oven.

Why Did my Sugar Cookies Spread?

To prevent flat sugar cookies that spread into little puddles, it’s important to make sure your butter is at a COOL room temperature.

Your sticks of butter should give slightly when pressed with your finger but still hold their shape. To be precise, your butter should be 67°F.

how to tell if butter is at a cool room temperature

How to Get a Crinkly Top in Sugar Cookies

Baking powder is one ingredient that gives these cookies their characteristic cracks, so make sure your baking powder is fresh. Check out my Baking Soda vs Baking Powder article for more details and instructions on how to test for freshness.

You also want to make sure that your butter is at a cool room temperature (67°F) as that can affect the appearance of these sugar cookies as well.

PLUS, rolling the cookies in granulated sugar is important! The sugar helps to draw moisture out from the surface of the cookies while they bake, which dries out the tops before the interior sets, resulting in pretty cracks.

Roll Your Sugar Cookie Dough Balls in Sugar Before Baking!

Roll each ball of dough in a shallow dish filled with granulated sugar. This creates that slightly crispy exterior and beautiful sparkly appearance.

my sugar cookie recipe - portioned dough balls being rolled in sugar and placed on a baking sheet, ready to bake

Can I Make This Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe With a Hand Mixer?

Yes! A hand mixer will work just as well as a stand mixer.

What Kind of Baking Sheet is Best for Cookies?

A light-colored aluminum half sheet pan is my favorite for baking cookies. Avoid dark nonstick pans altogether, they brown too much and may burn the bottoms of your cookies. The below photo features cookies from the same exact batch of dough, baked for the same amount of time at the same temperature. The only difference was the baking pan!

showing the undersides of cookies after testing baking cookies on a variety of baking pans. Some burn the cookies fast!

Check out my Baking Pans 101 post for all the surprising details. Or, just click here to score my favorite baking pans for cookies (and everything else!)

Should I Line my Baking Sheets with Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mats?

I prefer parchment paper for cookies over silicone mats, to line my cookie sheets. Parchment is easier and quicker to clean up. Silicone mats like Silpats can actually lead to more spreading and browning. Check out the details here.

Whatever you do, never spray your baking sheet, parchment paper or silicone mat with nonstick cooking spray when baking cookies. This will lead to too much browning and spread (hello, burnt cookie puddles).

Why Use a Cookie Scoop?

Do You Need to Chill Sugar Cookie Dough?

It’s not required for this sugar cookie recipe. Immediately baking after mixing will result in absolutely delicious cookies; however, if time permits, chilling the dough for 24-72 hours does result in cookies that are thicker, chewier, and more flavorful. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap before refrigerating. When ready to bake, let dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop. Learn more about chilling cookie dough here.

How Long to Bake Drop Style Sugar Cookies

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the sugar cookies are set and are just beginning to brown around the edges. The longer you bake, the crispier your cookies will be.

Can This Recipe be Used For Cut-out Cookies?

No, this sugar cookie recipe was designed for simple drop-style cookies. If you want cookie cutter sugar cookies instead, check out my Cut Out Sugar Cookie recipe here.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

This is totally optional, as these cookies are so pretty by themselves – but if you want to make them a more colorful treat, here are my top tips:

  • Roll the balls of dough in colored sugar before baking. I like to have one bowl filled with green-colored sugar and a separate with red, for easy Christmas sugar cookies! 
  • You can also fold in 1/4-1/2 cup of multi-colored jimmies or holiday jimmies or sprinkles as a last step before rolling the dough balls in granulated sugar, to add even more festive colors to this sugar cookie recipe!
  • Use my Best Buttercream Frosting recipe for decorating. You can get creative with the flavor suggestions in that recipe post or use gel food coloring to add colorful flair.
  • Another favorite is my Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe!

How to Store Sugar Cookies

Store sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Store cookies with a tortilla, apple wedge, or piece of bread to keep them soft for longer.

Can You Freeze Sugar Cookies?

Yes! This sugar cookie recipe freezes beautifully. Freeze the uncoated, pre-portioned balls of cookie dough in a freezer-safe container, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, or in a Ziploc bag. Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge or for 30-60 minutes at room temperature, then bake as directed below.

You can roll the cookie dough balls in the sugar before freezing – however, the dough will absorb some of the sugar, and it won’t have quite the same visual or texture impact compared to rolling in sugar right before baking.

Check out my How to Freeze Cookie Dough article for step-by-step instructions (and how to bake from frozen).

soft sugar cookies on a plate
4.95 from 369 votes

How to make
Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

Yield: 16 large cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
My go-to recipe, these Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies are perfectly tender and soft with just the right amount of chewiness. They take just minutes to make with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen!


  • cups (318 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks (226 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • cups (250 grams) granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup (50 grams) for rolling
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed to beat the butter and 1¼ cups sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture.

  4. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a shallow dish. Using a large (3-tablespoon) spring-loaded scoop, divide the dough into balls, then roll in sugar to coat evenly. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart, and flatten slightly with the bottom of a measuring cup.

  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies set and begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

*If you live in a warmer/humid climate, or if you prefer a thicker cookie, feel free to chill the dough balls prior to baking.
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : sugar cookie recipe, sugar cookies

December 2021 Baking Challenge

This sugar cookie recipe was the December 2021 selection for our monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join the challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win prizes! Learn more about my monthly baking challenges here. Check out everyone’s cookies:


Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Aiko — November 19, 2023 at 10:05 pm

    I made this and it was hard and crunchy do you have any tips to make it more chewy like turn down the temp or to put it in for a less time?

  2. #
    GaryPeter Casella — November 19, 2023 at 9:50 am

    Wonderful! I actually added a drop of almond extract to the vanilla to give it a less obvious, vanilla flavor. However, the most important thing is that I need to thank you for having the measuremtns in grams and not all in “sticks” or “tbsp” or “tsp”, etc… I am in Europe and here, like the rest of the world, things are done in thre metric style. I won’t even consider a recipe if there are in the US style….not using any grams or ml, etc…as measurements. I could, and have looked up the ratios, myself but it is so much easier for we Americans living, especially, in Europe, where cups, sticks, tbsps and such are not used or even known. I thank you for that.

  3. #
    Cora — November 18, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    These turned out perfect!!

  4. #
    Vicki Contratto — November 16, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Will these be soft and chewy if made ahead and frozen?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 16, 2023 at 11:49 am

      They sure will, Vicki – but we recommend freezing the dough, not the baked cookies. Check out the pink tip box (above the recipe) for tips on this 🙂

  5. #
    Kloe — November 13, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    when you said add the 1 and 1/4 cup in then it says put the rest of the 1/4 cup aside. do i add the 1 and 1/4 cup in or just the 1 cup?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 13, 2023 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Kloe! As mentioned in the ingredients list, you’ll need 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup (50 grams) for rolling. So the cookies get 1 1/4 cups, and the other 1/4 cup is for rolling your cookie dough balls in prior to baking. Let us know what you think of these cookies once you’ve given them a try – and be sure to read through the pink tip box (above the recipe) for tips and info to ensure you nail this recipe 😉

  6. #
    Chanin — November 7, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    Delicious! My husband says it’s like eating a cloud.

    • #
      sally — November 10, 2023 at 9:02 am

      HAHA Thank is such a husband thing to say. My husband said it was like eating and big juicy steak!

  7. #
    Liz — November 2, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    Hands down the BEST sugar cookie recipe out there! Texture and flavor are both outstanding. I doubled the recipe and used 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste for the double batch. Scooped them with a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, got 24 cookies. Rolled them in granulated sugar and sprinkled some sanding sugar on top for texture and crunch. Amazing! Thank you for this recipe! ❤️

  8. #
    Angela — November 1, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    genuinely the best sugar cookies I’ve ever eaten

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 3, 2023 at 7:27 am

      So thrilled to hear this, Angela! 🙂

  9. #
    Lucy — October 27, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    What if I don’t have flaky sea salt can I still make them???

  10. #
    Stan — October 25, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    This is the best recipe I have found for soft sugar cookies. I made balls about the size of ping pong balls and the cookies came out great. I found that they still stay soft even if you smash them down too flat. Again Great recipe.

  11. #
    Cassie — October 21, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    Love these! I have made these a few times now and they have turned out great everytime. Such an easy recipe to follow. I love adding sprinkles. I even just made some with Halloween sprinkles for a party and they turned out so well!

  12. #
    Kathy Doerflinger — October 19, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    I made these and I added a packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid, and a packet of cherry Kool-Aid. They were amazing!! Best sugar cookies ever!!! They were also a beautiful color.

1 6 7 8

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed