Cut Out Cookies (Best Recipe, Won't Spread) - Fifteen Spatulas (2024)

If you’ve been looking for the best Cut Out Cookies recipe that won’t spread during baking, this is the one! The sugar cookie dough is easy to work with, and it’s a solid, reliable recipe that’s perfect for decorating and special occasions.

This recipe is from my friend Bridget, arguably the cookie queen of the internet, of Bake at 350.

Cut Out Cookies (Best Recipe, Won't Spread) - Fifteen Spatulas (1)

If you’ve ever had issues with your cut out cookies spreading in the oven, or tasting like cardboard, this recipe will make those problems a thing of the past. This is the best sugar cookie recipe!

This is Bridget’s tried and true Vanilla Cutout Cookie recipe from her second cookbook,Decorating Cookies Party.

Decorating cookies can be suited to all kinds of occasions, but I love making these cookies every Christmas, along with Peanut Butter Cookies,Chocolate Crinkle Cookies,Shortbread Cookies, andSnickerdoodles.

They’re very similar to mySimple Sugar Cookie Recipethat I decorate with frosting and Christmas sprinkles, but these are even more flawless.

Cut Out Cookies (Best Recipe, Won't Spread) - Fifteen Spatulas (2)

There are only 7 ingredients required to make these cutout cookies: all purpose flour and baking powder for the dry ingredients, plus butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

They are classic sugar cookies that take well to all sorts of cookie shapes. Decorating cut out cookies is the ultimate arts & crafts type activity that you get to EAT afterwards. Kids and adults love it equally as much!

Step by Step Overview:

First cream together cold butter and sugar, either in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer and large bowl:

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Salted butter is used here, but if you only have unsalted butter, that will work too. In that case, add 1/8 teaspoon of fine sea salt to the ingredients.

Next, add an egg, vanilla extract and almond extract:

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Add all-purpose flour and baking powder, then mix on low speed to incorporate the flour mixture and turn it into a soft dough:

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Roll the dough out onto a flat, lightly floured surface using a rolling pin, then cut your shapes out:

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Be careful not to add too much extra flour during the rolling.

Also, here you can truly do any shape you’d like, and I even do many different shapes with one batch of dough.

Just organize them by size on baking sheets so you don’t have big and small shapes on the same sheet, since bake time will vary.

Set the cookies out on a silicone mat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet:

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In my experience you get a slightly softer cookie with the silicone mats, but you can also cut bake time by a minute or two if using the parchment. Watch the edges of the cookie closely to check for doneness.

Freeze the cut out cookies for 10 minutes, then bake immediately in a 350 F oven.

FYI: Freezing chills the butter, and will prevent the cookies from spreading flat in the oven. This is absolutely essential in order to have the best results.

You should get nice, crisp edges right out of the oven, barely bigger than how you cut them:

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Let the cookies cool completely before decorating with royal icing, buttercream frosting, sprinkles, or any other desired toppings.

More Favorite Cookie Recipes:

  • Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
  • Monster Cookies
  • Snowball Cookies
  • Coconut Shortbread Cookies

You can see more of Bridget’s cookie designs on her blog, or in her first or second book.

Recipe Tips and FAQ

Can cut out cookies be frozen?

Yes, you can either freeze them cut and unbaked, and add a few minutes to baking time when you’re ready to cook them, or you can freeze them already baked, then thaw and serve.

How to make cut-out sugar cookies without cutters:

There are many ways to get creative with this. For round shapes, you can use drinking glasses or measuring cups. If you don’t have those, you simple use a knife to cut squares or diamonds.

How to store cut-out cookies:

These will keep at room temperature for at least 4-5 days, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Store in an airtight container or well wrapped with plastic wrap. If the cookies have been decorated, let them dry in a single layer, then I recommend storing them between pieces of wax paper so the decoration doesn’t get messed up.

How do you adjust for soft sugar cookies?

Cut down the baking time and pull the pan from the oven before you see browning on the edges. You may also swap brown sugar for the granulated sugar, but note that this will add flavor and change the color of the dough slightly.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

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Bridget’s Cut Out Cookies

Servings: 12 to 18 cookies, depending on size

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 10 minutes mins

Freezing Time: 10 minutes mins

Total Time: 30 minutes mins

If you’ve been looking for the best Cut Out Cookies Recipe, this is the one! It’s a solid, reliable recipe that’s great for decorating.

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  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup salted butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

  • Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set this mixture aside.

  • In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until combined and fluffy. Beat in the egg and extracts, mixing until combined.

  • Add the flour mixture in three parts, mixing on low speed. Scrape down the sides and bottoms of the bowl as needed. After the last addition, the dough will look very thick and crumbly.

  • Prepare a rolling surface and roll out a portion of the dough. Cut as many shapes from the dough as possible and place them on a prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

  • Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. Freezing the cookies will help keep them from spreading. Meanwhile, knead the scraps and remaining dough together and continue the rolling, cutting, and freezing process on a second cookie sheet.

  • After freezing, immediately bake the cookies on the center rack of your oven for 9 to 12 minutes (for 3.5 to 4-inch cookies), or until they appear done in the center. The baked cookies won’t change much in color.

  • Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes. With a thin cookie spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.


Calories: 321kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 141mg, Potassium: 127mg, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 490IU, Calcium: 47mg, Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Author: Fifteen Spatulas

Post updated in November 2018. Originally published December 2014.

Cut Out Cookies (Best Recipe, Won't Spread) - Fifteen Spatulas (2024)


How do you make cut out cookies keep their shape? ›

Sandwich your dough between two sheets of parchment, roll, then freeze; it makes cut-out cookies a breeze! If you plan to store it for only a few hours or days, there's no need to overwrap the baking sheet; for longer storage, wrap the entire baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap before freezing.

How do you make cookies that do not spread? ›

As Dawn explains, “Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts liquid in cookie dough. Less sugar allows the flour to absorb more of the liquid, which stiffens the dough and helps prevent over-spreading.” Chilling Holiday Butter Cookie dough helps the cookies keep their shape.

How do you make cookie cutter cookies not spread? ›

To prevent this make sure the baking sheets are always at least on room temperature. Ideally you want to cut your cookies and then chill them with the baking sheet. that way the tray is still cool when it goes in the oven and the cookies have no time to spread before they are baked through.

Why won't my cookies spread out? ›

Oven Is Not Hot Enough

Cookies spread while baking because the fats in the dough melt. If your oven isn't set to a high enough temperature, this won't happen. Make sure that your oven has preheated to the appropriate temperature before baking.

Why are my cut-out cookies spreading? ›

Cookies spread because the fat in the cookie dough melts in the oven. If there isn't enough flour to hold that melted fat, the cookies will over-spread. Spoon and level that flour or, better yet, weigh your flour. If your cookies are still spreading, add an extra 2 Tablespoons of flour to the cookie dough.

How do you keep sugar cookie cutouts from spreading? ›

  1. The Rules for Making Sure Your Sugar Cookies Don't Spread.
  2. Rule No. 1: Bake at the Right Temperature.
  3. Rule No. 2: Don't Over or Under Cream Your Butter.
  4. Rule No. 3: Don't Over-Soften Your Butter.
  5. Rule No. 4: Don't Overcrowd the Baking Sheet.
  6. Rule No. 5: Make Sure Your Ingredients Have Not Expired.
  7. Rule No.
Jul 23, 2022

How do I get my cookies to sp

Higher sugar content will lead to more spread, while lower sugar content will result in less spread. Experimenting with different sugar ratios can help you achieve the desired cookie spread. Flour type and amount: The type and amount of flour used in your cookie dough can also impact the spread.

Should I use baking soda or baking powder in cookies? ›

Baking soda is typically used for chewy cookies, while baking powder is generally used for light and airy cookies. Since baking powder is comprised of a number of ingredients (baking soda, cream of tartar, cornstarch, etc.), using it instead of pure baking soda will affect the taste of your cookies.

Do you have to flatten cookies before baking? ›

If the dough is chilled before baking then the cookies will be slightly more rounded, so if you want slightly flatter cookies then bake them as soon as you have mixed up the dough. But we would not recommend flattening the cookies completely as this will affect the texture.

Should you refrigerate cut out cookies before baking? ›

Refrigerating the dough allows the flour to fully hydrate and helps to make the cookie dough firmer. Firm dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much, which is why chilling the dough is a crucial step for cut-out and rolled cookies.

Why would cookies spread too much? ›

If your ratios of flour, butter and sugar off, the cookie might spread too quickly. This can occur if you aren't precise with your measurements. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, for example, and you add a slightly heaping cup instead of leveling off the cup precisely, you'll end up with too much.

Why did my cookies spread out and flatten? ›

If your cookies consistently come out flat, you may have selected the wrong baking temperature. If you bake cookies using too much heat, the fats in the dough begin to melt before the other ingredients can cook together and form your cookie's rise.

Why are all my cookies coming out flat? ›

Too much sugar can cause cookies to come out flat and crispy instead of soft and chewy. This goes for both white sugar and brown sugar. Not enough flour could also be the culprit. Especially with baking, there's much less wiggle room when it comes to having the proper ingredient ratios.

How do you keep cookies the same shape? ›

To make sugar cookies keep their shape, follow these tips:
  1. Chill the dough: After mixing the cookie dough, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. ...
  2. Use the right temperature: Make sure the dough is at the right temperature when rolling it out. ...
  3. Don't overw.
Aug 11, 2020

Why are my cut-out cookies flat? ›

If you use too much butter, the cookies will end up flat and greasy. And if you use too little flour, the amount of butter and sugar will be proportionally too high, meaning the cookies will spread for the aforementioned reasons.

Should you refrigerate cut-out cookies before baking? ›

Refrigerating the dough allows the flour to fully hydrate and helps to make the cookie dough firmer. Firm dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much, which is why chilling the dough is a crucial step for cut-out and rolled cookies.

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