Filed Under: Cookies

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

By Tessa Arias
  |  
September 30th, 2021
4.94 from 278 votes
4.94 from 278 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.

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.

The holiday baking season is almost upon us. 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!

This recipe is actually featured in my cookbook, The Ultimate Cookie Handbook, 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.

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!

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.

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!
  • Baking powder – this gives the 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!
  • Eggs – one whole egg with an extra egg yolk lends richness and chewiness to the texture, just make sure they’re at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract – no sugar cookie recipe is complete without vanilla extract.

How to make SOFT sugar cookies:

The extra egg yolk helps to add more moisture and richness for a soft and chewy texture. 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. Whatever you do, don’t overbake your cookies. 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 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.

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 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 drys out the tops before the interior sets, resulting in cracks.

Roll your 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.

If you want to make your cookies festive and pretty without extra work, 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 sprinkles as a last step before rolling the dough balls in granulated sugar to add even more festive colors to your cookies!

Can I make this 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 sugar 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!

Side-by-side testing to find the best baking pans! Including nonstick vs. aluminum, and which pans specifically you should NEVER use!

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. Parchment is easier and quicker to cleanup. 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 with nonstick cooking spray when baking cookies. This will lead to too much browning and spread (hello, burnt cookie puddles).

How long to bake drop style sugar cookies:

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies 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 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 make frosting for sugar cookies:

I love my Best Buttercream recipe for these cookies. It’s perfect because you can get creative with the flavor suggestions in that recipe post or even with gel food coloring for a festive flair. Another favorite is my Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe!

How to store sugar cookies:

Store 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! Freeze the uncoated balls of cookie dough in a freezer-safe container, tightly wrapped plastic wrap, or Ziploc bag. Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge or 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.

4.94 from 278 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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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 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! Full challenge details here. Check out everyone’s cookies:

 

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin

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  

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Erica — December 26, 2021 at 11:33 am

    These cookies are so easy and so delicious! I made the Best Buttercream to put on top and it was perfect!

  2. #
    Uhura — December 26, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Fool proof recipe! I did a half batch covered in sprinkles and the other half as a matcha, chocolate Neapolitan. Yum!

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 10:13 am

      Wow, those sound incredible!

  3. #
    Mae — December 26, 2021 at 1:44 am

    Super easy and yummy recipe. Perfect for the holidays.

  4. #
    Electra — December 25, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    I halved the recipient and they turned out perfectly. I think they’re chewy because they’re really large. But they also taste great. Best of all, I’d given up on sugar cookies (“I don’t like sugar cookies”) but these changed my mind.

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 10:47 am

      Thrilled to hear that, yay!!

  5. #
    Ilene — December 25, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    I saw this recipe on Instagram and instantly knew this was for me when I saw that no dough chilling was required. That’s always a plus in my book! I halved the recipe (having a scale is helpful) and the dough came together quickly and easily. I made them festive by rolling the dough in green and red sugar. They’re crispy on the outside and soft inside…so tasty! I’ll definitely make these again!!

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 10:48 am

      Glad you loved them!

  6. #
    Jessica — December 25, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    These are sooooo good! They’re soft and crunchy and delicious. I will definitely be baking these again!

  7. #
    Patience — December 25, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Awesome cookies

  8. #
    Lisa — December 25, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Recipe was very bussin and soooo easy to make! Made these to bring up to my in-laws and everyone loved them. Rolled some in raw sugar and some in crushed candy canes and popped a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle!

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 10:53 am

      Sounds so pretty, great idea!

  9. #
    Barbara Dulong — December 25, 2021 at 9:17 am

    So easy! So quick! They smell delicious!

  10. #
    Sabrina — December 25, 2021 at 7:54 am

    Made this for Christmas Eve and they are dangerously delicious!! I love how chewy these came out❤️

  11. #
    Alžbeta Kušnírová — December 25, 2021 at 12:42 am

    These cookies are super quick and easy PLUS have the perfect texture!!

  12. #
    Wendy Frankel — December 24, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    I wish this had been the November challenge because I made a different sugar cookie for Hanukkah! Tessa’s recipe was so much better and way easier! They were very buttery and light. I made different sizes since we have big and little eaters. This is a keeper and will be made many more times! Thank you!!

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 11:13 am

      So happy you loved this recipe!

  13. #
    Caroline A Betlej — December 24, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    These sugar cookies are very good!! Crisp edges and chewy center!!! Perfect!!!

  14. #
    Matt Dera — December 24, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    Turned out almost perfect (my first time ever doing surface cookies- couldn’t quite get the top to crack), and they taste amazing.

  15. #
    Victoria C. — December 24, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    The first time I made these, I made a double batch, for gifting. That is how much I trust you.
    Classy, classic flavor, wonderful texture…delightful.
    I do have a query…though I followed the recipe to the letter, including weighing the ingredients, they didn’t crack on the top. Any idea why that may be?
    Happy Holidays and a marvelous 2022 to you!!

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 11:38 am

      So happy you loved this recipe, thanks for trusting Tessa! Check out the pink tip box above the recipe for tips regarding the crinkly tops 🙂 I hope that helps!

  16. #
    Shannon Compton — December 23, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    These smelled and tasted delicious! I made them festive with Christmas sprinkles. Mine didn’t spread as much as I would have liked and didn’t get a crinkly top, but it was probably user error somehow. I appreciate a cookie that doesn’t need the dough to go in the fridge before baking, too! Thanks for this easy recipe!

  17. #
    Danielle Lasorda — December 23, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Soft, chewy and delicious. Also not too sweet!

  18. #
    Amanda — December 23, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    I’m usually a chocolate chip girl all the way, but these have won me over. I’ve made them 5 times since I discovered the recipe in October. They have the best texture and flavor!

    • #
      Emily — December 23, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Amazing!!

  19. #
    Chelsey — December 23, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Wonderful soft, chewy cookies with slightly crispy edges. Super easy recipe!!

  20. #
    Brenda — December 23, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Easy recipe with great flavor. Just what I always expect and get from one of Tessa’s recipes.

    • #
      Emily — December 23, 2021 at 2:50 pm

      Wonderful! So happy to hear that 🙂 Thanks for trusting HTH recipes!

  21. #
    Shilpi Mittal — December 23, 2021 at 9:02 am

    I never made sugar cookies before. But first try yielded super soft and yummy cookies. Thanks for this easy recipe Tessa!

    • #
      Emily — December 23, 2021 at 2:38 pm

      So happy to hear that!

  22. #
    beverly — December 22, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    family loved it!

  23. #
    Megan — December 22, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    These cookies are delicious! They have the perfect balance of sugar and vanilla. Everyone loved them.

  24. #
    Nicole — December 22, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    Super easy to work with and delicious!

  25. #
    Ginger Anderson — December 22, 2021 at 11:15 am

    These were super soft and oh so good!!

  26. #
    Kelli — December 22, 2021 at 10:04 am

    The perfect sugar cookie recipe! I personally usually find sugar cookies a little boring so I added some sprinkles for a little extra fun. This recipe was far from boring. Perfect chewy buttery bite.

    • #
      Emily — December 22, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      Happy you loved it, Kelli!

  27. #
    Madeline Rauch — December 22, 2021 at 9:41 am

    By far the best sugar cookie texture ever! I made these last night and my father (usually more of a chocolate lover) ate about half the batch! They are my new favorite recipe for sure!

    • #
      Emily — December 22, 2021 at 10:59 am

      haha love it! So glad they were a hit 🙂

  28. #
    Dawnya — December 22, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Delicious sugar cookies–perfectly sweet & soft & chewy! A great addition to my cookie recipe collection!

  29. #
    Dayris Andrade Araujo — December 21, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    I love texture and flavor of these cookies.. they were chewy, soft but a little bit crunchy.. I guess for all the sugar.. My husband love them.. I only had some trouble with butter.. But everything turned out well!..

    • #
      Emily — December 22, 2021 at 7:36 am

      Glad you both enjoyed them!

  30. #
    Gabriella — December 21, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    These are SO easy and SO delicious EVERY TIME!! Just make it exactly according to the directions and they will be the best sugar cookie you have ever had. They are my go to now, and I can’t believe how easliy they come together too. This recipe is perfect!

    • #
      Emily — December 22, 2021 at 7:35 am

      Wonderful! So happy to hear they’re now your go to 🙂

  31. #
    Jennifer — December 21, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Great sugar cookie recipe! I rolled them in colorful sugar and was able to make them within an hour start to finish. I had some happy family members!

  32. #
    Rebecca Johnson — December 21, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    The best sugar cookies I’ve ever made. I love the dough didn’t need chilling and they still didn’t over spread and stayed soft. My friend promptly ate 3!

    • #
      Emily — December 22, 2021 at 7:11 am

      So happy to hear that!

  33. #
    Amanda — December 21, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    So chewy and delicious!!

  34. #
    Dawn Parsons — December 21, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    DELICIOUS and SO easy!

  35. #
    Alex Lazaridis — December 21, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    Turned out really great! Next time I need to roll them in more sugar though.

  36. #
    Marni — December 21, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    These are so easy to make and melt in your mouth goodness

  37. #
    Michelle Davis — December 21, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    Oh my goodness the cookies were so soft and chewy, we couldn’t get enough of them. I’m keeping this recipe saved!

  38. #
    Madison L — December 21, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    These taste buttery and delicious! I’m not a huge fan of sugar cookies, but this recipe is so so easy to make.

  39. #
    Alexa Vagnozzi — December 21, 2021 at 10:59 am

    What an awesome sugar cookie recipe! Easy to make, chewy yet crispy on the outside. It’s not too sweet either. My family loved them!

  40. #
    Paul H — December 21, 2021 at 10:50 am

    The best sugar cookie recipe that I’ve found so far.
    It’s got the soft chewiness that I like.
    I do add a twist: a tsp of lemon extract in addition to the vanilla.

    • #
      Emily — December 21, 2021 at 4:25 pm

      Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing, Paul 🙂

  41. #
    Ramona Robuck — December 20, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    No need for storage! These cookies were gone in a flash. They baked up just as recipe described.

  42. #
    Melissa Lankheet — December 20, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    Super easy to make and delicious! I dipped my sugar cookies halfway in chocolate and sprinkled some crushed candy canes on top!

    • #
      Emily — December 21, 2021 at 9:57 am

      Ooo sounds so pretty and festive, great idea!

  43. #
    Danielle Arnold — December 20, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    Quick and easy to make and they taste amazing!

  44. #
    Monica S — December 20, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Great recipe! Love how simple it is!

  45. #
    Monica S — December 20, 2021 at 9:42 am

    Such a quick and easy recipe! I love that there’s no chilling required!

  46. #
    Laurie Betts — December 20, 2021 at 7:43 am

    This recipe is very easy to make, the dough is ideal to work with, and the cookies are seriously addicting!

  47. #
    Ashlee Lensmyer — December 19, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    These were DELICIOUS!! I loved being able to roll them in colored sugars for the holiday too! I can’t wait to make them again. Another great cookie win!

  48. #
    Alissa — December 19, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    My kids had so much fun making these and rolling them in colored sugar for a Christmas feel. Turned out great! Very forgiving considering a lot of help from young kids.

  49. #
    Emily Larsen — December 19, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    So delicious, even my teen who said “I’m not into sugar cookies” loved these! Quick and easy to make, came out perfectly. Will definitely be making these again.

  50. #
    Gabriela Czereszko — December 19, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    They are delicious; however, they are a little tricky. I made them twice, and having the eggs room temperature made a difference! My family says they are a keeper!

  51. #
    Jennifer Magnuson — December 19, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    These were delicious! Easy to make and turned out great. Soft and chewy!

  52. #
    Heidi — December 19, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    Great recipe! Quick and easy. I used almond extract instead of vanilla.

  53. #
    Marta — December 19, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    Amazing recipe! So much flavour and perfect for tea time!

  54. #
    Kake — December 19, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Hi Tessa! Did you use Gold Medal AP? I have King Arthur AP and one cup is 120 g. I don’t know if I should still use 318g or 300g. Does it matter?

    • #
      Emily — December 20, 2021 at 4:16 pm

      Hi there! While Tessa does use Gold Medal AP flour for her recipes, she always recommends using the weight measurement provided by the recipe being followed regardless of the brand. If there is no weight measurement in a recipe, only cups, that’s when she recommends following the grams listed on the flour. I hope that helps!

  55. #
    Eddie Fedyuk — December 19, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Truly soft, chewy, and very sweet!!
    But for some reason my cookies were just flat and smooth instead of with creases and cracks in them. I’m thinking I probably flattened them out too much. But either way taste great.

  56. #
    Vanessa T — December 19, 2021 at 9:42 am

    Loves these cookies! Super soft and easy to make. My kids enjoyed rolling them in sugar, colored sugar and cinnamon we were playing around with what we had on hand.

  57. #
    Brittany B — December 18, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    These cookies are so easy to make and turned out delicious! We definitely be making again!

  58. #
    Rose Dubois — December 18, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    These sugar cookies are scrumptious. I rolled them in sparkling sugar so they are crunchy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside.

  59. #
    Rhiannon — December 18, 2021 at 9:04 am

    These cookies taste absolutely amazing! They have such a great buttery taste to them that I love and will be making again.

    • #
      Emily — December 20, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      So glad you love them, Rhiannon!

  60. #
    Melissa — December 17, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    These are a great cookie when you don’t have time to chill the dough first. Family approved!

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