Last Updated on December 15, 2021 by Chenée Lewis
No spread sugar cookies for decorating are a great holiday tradition! No chill, soft no spread sugar cookies with powdered sugar -- includes recipe for sugar cookie icing! If you like this sugar cookie recipe, check out my Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies, my Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies with Cinnamon Sugar, or my Key Lime Cookies!
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No Spread Sugar Cookies for Decorating
These aren't just any sugar cookies -- these are the easiest, no-chill, no-spread cut-out sugar cookies you can ask for, with festive sprinkles and a super simple dipped icing!
Growing up, my family would always make a cut out sugar cookie recipe and watch movies on Christmas Eve. And it's a tradition we keep alive today! These no chill, no spread sugar cookies continue that tradition -- and make it even better! These cookies have got the vanilla and almond flavors of a classic sugar cookie recipe, with just the right amount of sweetness. They're firm, yet tender with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and they keep the exact shape you cut them into, with NO spreading in the oven!
How do these sprinkle sugar cookies have such great texture while keeping their shape so well? Well, one of the secrets is the type of sugar we're using in the dough!
How do you make sugar cookies not spread?
For these soft no spread sugar cookies, we're using powdered sugar instead of regular granulated sugar, which adds a lighter, and more tender texture to our cookies, making them soft instead of chewy. This is because powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which means these cookies have less gluten.
Typically, granulated sugar in sugar cookies will make the cookies more likely to spread while baking, because the sugar melts in the oven, and also contributes to more browning. Using powdered sugar minimizes both of those effects because it dries out your dough a bit more. So your cut out sugar cookie recipe will come out perfect every time!
Now that we know what sugar to use in these cookies, let's keep going with the rest of the ingredients!
Ingredients for these Foolproof No Chill, No Spread Sugar Cookies
- salted butter - you guys know I almost always use salted butter. It just cuts out that one extra step and brings out the flavor in baked goods in a way that really works for me. If you prefer unsalted butter, feel free to use it and then add ¾ teaspoon of salt to your dry ingredients. Either way, make sure your butter is room temperature: it should indent to the touch, but not be greasy or overly soft. You want it to be just soft enough to work with, but still slightly cool to the touch.
- powdered sugar - measured by weight using a kitchen scale (see tips below).
- egg - your egg should also be room temperature - I like to let my eggs sit in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes to get them to room temp quickly.
- vanilla & almond extract - to me, the best combination of flavors for sugar cookies with sprinkles! Make sure you're using pure vanilla and almond extracts!
- all-purpose flour - like the powdered sugar, I'd recommend measuring your flour by weight for the best accuracy. See tips below for more details!
- baking powder - baking powder gives our cookies a bit of a lift, especially since we're only using one egg.
So to make this no spread sugar cookies recipe, you'll need a few basic cookie tools, like cookie cutters, a baking sheet, and either parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. You'll also want an electric mixer to cream your butter and a rolling pin to roll out your dough. Another great tool I love for rolling out dough is a pastry mat. This is the one I use: it's nonstick, nonslip, and has measuring lines up to 16 inches, which really comes in handy for pie crust! Here are all my equipment recommendations for these cutout sugar cookies with sprinkles!
How do you make sugar cookies not spread?
These no chill no spread sugar cookies are an easy treat any time of year -- to make sure you have no trouble making these cookies look and taste perfect, here are a few of my best tips!
Measure your flour and powdered sugar by weight
One way this cookie dough works without chilling is that there's a higher amount of flour and we're using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar. Unfortunately both of those ingredients are difficult to measure accurately by volume, so there's a chance you'll end up with too much flour or sugar and your dough will have a hard time coming together. To be on the safe side, I always measure flour and powdered sugar by weight using a kitchen scale. I highly recommend picking one up if you love to bake! Otherwise, you can improve accuracy by using the spoon-and-level method for both your flour and powdered sugar.
Minimize handling of the dough
Because we're not chilling this dough, it's even more important to avoid warming it up, so that the butter can say as cold as possible. So try to bring the dough together after mixing with as little kneading as possible. Also, you'll be using a rolling pin to roll it out (I recommend this marble one), but you might also want to use a bench scraper to pick up your cookie pieces after they've been cut and transfer them to your baking sheet.
Coat everything in flour
Whatever you're touching your dough with should be dipped or coated in flour. So you'll want to dust some flour on your work surface, then on your hands before you knead your dough together, and then some on your rolling pin before you roll out the dough. You'll also want to dip your cookie cutters and bench scraper in flour. This will keep your dough from sticking and prevent any related mishaps.
Check your oven temperature
I mentioned this in my White Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Recipe, but one factor that contributes to cookies spreading in the oven is the oven temperature. The higher heat helps to solidify the outside of the cookie before the butter on the inside has a chance to melt, thereby keeping their shape. We're baking these sugar cookies at 375 degrees, but many ovens run a little cold, so an oven thermometer will let you know the accurate temperature of your oven so that you can adjust if necessary.
Don't overbake your cookies!
Assuming your oven temperature is accurate to 375 degrees and your cookies are rolled out to ¼-inch thick, then 8 minutes should be great for these sugar cookies. I would say as little as 7 or as much as 9 minutes. Anything more than that will brown them too much and affect the tender texture.
How to decorate cut out sugar cookies
We're making a super easy, 3-ingredient vanilla icing for this sugar cookie recipe. And to make it even easier, we'll dip our sugar cookies right into the icing before dotting them with sprinkles. It's so simple:
- This is true for most baked goods, but to ensure a neat look you'll want to let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before dipping them in the icing.
- Once your icing is all mixed, just grab a cookie by its outside edges, and dip it face down into the icing. Make sure all corners of the face of the cookie come into contact with icing.
- Bring the cookie out of the icing. Then hold it face down for about 20 seconds to let the excess icing drip off.
- Quickly and carefully flip the cookie over so that the icing is on top. Lay it on parchment paper to set. Now's the time to add your sprinkles!
More F.A.Q. for No Spread Sugar Cookies
There are a few possible reasons -- first, you may not have added enough flour to your dough. Your oven may not be the correct temperature -- I'd suggest getting an oven thermometer to ensure accurate oven temperature. Also, your baking powder my be expired -- check the expiration date or buy a fresh container before baking. Finally, your butter may be too soft -- make sure your butter is slightly softened, but still cool to the touch before adding it in. See above for a few more tips for these no chill no spread sugar cookies!
Sugar cookies get their lift from baking powder. So in this cut out sugar cookie recipe, our cookies get a bit of puffiness in the oven, but because of our sugar and flour, they don't spread too much.
First, your cookies should be completely cooled and any decoration should be set and hardened before storing. Place cookies in layers in an airtight container, separated by sheets of parchment paper. Seal container and store at room temperature for up to one week or in the freezer for up to one month.
You can definitely make these cookies ahead of time -- they'll last for up to a week at room temperature, but if you're not planning to eat them within a few days, you should freeze them in an airtight container for the most freshness. To thaw, just let the container sit, still sealed, at room temperature.
Sure! You can store cut out sugar cookies for up to a week at room temperature. Just make sure they're in an airtight container so that they don't lose their texture.
More Cookie Recipes You'll Love
Equipment you may need
- cookie cutters
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
- In a large bowl, mix butter on medium speed with an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar gradually, and cream together for 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.2 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup salted butter
- Mix in egg, followed by extracts, until smooth.1 large egg, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder
- While mixing on low speed, add dry ingredients to butter mixture slowly, until just barely combined. Dough will be very thick, and you will likely need to help bring it together by hand.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands, form into a ball.
- Dust rolling pin with flour and roll dough out to approximately ¼-inch thick.
- Coat cookie cutters with flour and cut dough into shapes.
- Use a bench scraper to transfer cut cookie dough to prepared baking sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes in preheated oven.
- Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 10 minutes; then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Easy Vanilla Icing
- In a bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mixture should be thick but pourable. Add additional milk if needed for desired consistency. Whisk in food coloring, if using.2 cups powdered sugar, ¼ cup milk, ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, liquid food coloring
- One at a time, hold a cooled cookie upside-down by the outside edges and dip face-down into the icing. Be sure that the whole surface of the cookie is in contact with the icing.
- Lift cookie up and allow excess to drip from the surface of the cookie back into the bowl for about 15-20 seconds.
- Carefully flip cookie, without allowing any dripping icing to spill onto the sides, and place on parchment or cooling rack.
- Immediately add sprinkles before icing sets, if using. Allow icing to set before serving.sprinkles, nonpareils, and/or sanding sugar
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