The Best Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies Recipe

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Wondering how to make soft and chewy sugar cookies? Then you have to try this easy cookie recipe. These simple sugar cookies don’t need to be chilled and stay wonderfully soft & chewy for DAYS! It’s my best sugar cookie recipe!

A cooling rack with freshly baked sugar cookies
MY FAVORITE SOFT SUGAR COOKIES

So I feel like I’m a tad bit late with these cookies, since I just missed Christmas and all, but the truth is that sugar cookies are good all year round. In fact, next to a good Snickerdoodle, chewy sugar cookies are a total favorite of mine any day of the week. I feel like Cutout Sugar Cookies are the Christmas version of a sugar cookie while a classic drop cookie, like this one, is the year round version, you know?

And as with any classic, simple cookie that doesn’t hide behind frosting or anything, it really needs to be just right. Soft and chewy for days, my friends. I don’t want some cookie that’s great for a day or so and then you have to toss them. No, these will call to you from the kitchen counter until they’re all eaten – and it could be 4 or 5 days later (if they last that long).

A row of soft sugar cookies in a small wire basket

WHAT MAKES THESE THE BEST SUGAR COOKIES?

I tested SO many versions of these sugar cookies, I’m pretty sure my mother in law (who watches the twins while I work), thought I was losing my mind. I’d be all, “Just one more version!” and then a week later there’s still new batches on the counter.

But seriously, I love a good old fashioned soft sugar cookie. Like, for reals. So it just had to be right. And I’m happy to say these are it. These sugar cookies are:

  • Not too thin
  • Not too thick
  • Soft and chewy
  • Delicious!
  • And they stay good for DAYS.

In fact these soft sugar cookies are dangerous because you want to keep eating them all! Let’s talk about how to make them.

The Best Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies - a must-have recipe for any good sugar cookie fan! These cookies require no chilling, they're quick and easy to make, buttery and full of vanilla, and wonderfully soft and chewy for DAYS!

WHAT MAKES A COOKIE SOFT & CHEWY?

Baking Soda + Baking Powder

Sugar cookies can easily turn out dry or too cakey. In all my testing, I found that my favorite sugar cookies were ones that used a combination of baking soda and baking powder – and just a bit more soda than powder. Nothing wrong with using just one or the other – I have done both in other cookies. In fact, I have an all baking soda Coconut Sugar Cookie that is delicious! But for the straight up vanilla bakery-style sugar cookie, the combo works best. Baking powder only = thicker and cake-y. Baking soda only = chewy and thin. A combo = just right.

White Sugar + Brown Sugar

The other big thing here is the sugar. Naturally a sugar cookie is going to use white granulated sugar. It’s just how it is. But part of what makes a cookie chewy is a high moisture content. Brown sugar has more moisture than white sugar, because it contains a little bit of molasses. You don’t want to overdo the brown sugar here, but I swapped out two tablespoons of white sugar for brown sugar and the result was fantastic. It makes a much softer and chewier cookie that stays fresh longer.

And just a little tidbit about baking cookies – it’s amazing how much of a difference such a small change can make to a cookie. Just two tablespoons! When I used all white sugar, the cookies didn’t spread as much (less moisture). When I used just a bit of brown sugar, they spread just enough AND stayed soft for DAYS! And when I used just a bit more brown sugar, the flavor started to get a bit too off track and they spread more than I wanted, leaving me with a little thinner cookie with less defined edges. So I totally suggest sticking with it as I have it. The best!

The Right About of Flour

The other important part of a chewy cookie is having enough flour. You have to have enough flour to support the moisture content, but not too much to make it dry. A tight balance, but it’s well achieved here.

A stack of homemade sugar cookies on a blue cloth

HOW TO MAKE SOFT SUGAR COOKIES

So one of the best parts of these cookies is that they are quick and straight forward to make.

  • Start by creaming the butter and sugars together until it’s light in color and fluffy. You’ll actually be able to see the lighter color, so don’t quit mixing until you see it.
  • Next you’ll add the egg, then the vanilla extract.
  • Now add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix it until it’s all combined, but don’t over mix it. Over mixing any batter or dough can lead to toughness.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls of dough and roll them in a little bit of granulated white sugar. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet (I like to line my cookie sheets with silicone baking mats) and bake them!

This is a No Chill Sugar Cookie Recipe

That’s right – there is no need for chilling the cookie dough or even pressing the balls flat. They spread perfectly on their own. These two features make these cookies perfect for spur of the moment baking!

How Long to Bake Soft Sugar Cookies

Mine baked just enough at 7 minutes, but keep an eye on them to see how they do in your oven. I removed mine when they had spread nicely, looked just done enough without looking undercooked, and the edges weren’t quite golden.

A cooling rack with sugar cookies

These sugar cookies are the perfect example of a treat that doesn’t have to be fancy to be awesome. In fact, I think something simple like this is one of the most impressive things when done well and right. And these are SO right!

HOW TO DECORATE YOUR COOKIES

  • If you’re looking to make sugar cookies for a holiday or an event, these cookies would be great rolled in sprinkles, instead of sugar. Use any color you like!
  • If you simply can’t have a sugar cookie without it being frosted, check out my royal icing or my vanilla buttercream frosting. Even my cream cheese frosting would make a tasty addition. Any of them would be delicious!
  • For another fun spin on the sugar cookie, add some sprinkles for a confetti sugar cookie!

Six soft sugar cookies on a cooling rack with sugar sprinkled on the counter

TIPS FOR THE BEST COOKIES

Although this soft sugar cookies are super easy to make, there are a few simple tricks you can use to make sure that your cookies come out perfectly. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Make sure your butter is the right temperature. Room temperature can be a little misleading if your house is too warm or too cool. Your butter shouldn’t be so soft that your finger goes right through it if you press on it, but it should also be able to make an imprint. If it won’t, or it barely does, it’s likely too cold still.
  • Be sure to use just two tablespoons of brown sugar. It adds just enough additional moisture to the cookies to help them spread correctly and stay soft and chewy for days!
  • Don’t over mix the dough after you add the flour. It can over develop the gluten and cause the cookies to not spread as nicely or be tough.
  • Make sure your cookie dough balls are 1 1/2 tablespoons each or you’ll want to adjust the baking time. I also found that size to be just right for spreading well.

How to Freeze These Cookies

These cookies freeze nicely too! Just let the baked cookies come to room temperature, then pack them in a ziplock bag and freeze them. Thaw them in the fridge or on the counter when you’re ready to eat them.

Whether you’re looking for an alternative to a cutout sugar cookie, or simply looking to cure a craving for a good soft and chewy Sugar Cookies, these are sure to be your new favorite easy sugar cookie! They stay soft for days and have the ultimate chewy-factor!

NOTE 5/16/19: Due to feedback about the cookies not spreading well, the recipe has been slightly changed and updated.

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BEST Soft & Chewy Sugar Cookie Recipe | Easy No Chill Cookie Recipe
Recipe

Best Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 30-32 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

If you’re wondering how to make soft and chewy sugar cookies, then you have to try this recipe. These cookies require no chilling, are easy to make, and stay wonderfully soft and chewy for DAYS!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups (358g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp (233g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (28g) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar (additional for rolling)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. You should be able to see the change in color happen and know it’s ready.
  4. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is well combined. It will be thick and shouldn’t be sticky. Do not over mix. Once it’s well combined, use a rubber spatula to help it come together to form a more cohesive ball.
  7. Create 1 1/2 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough. Gently roll into a ball, then roll each ball in the additional sugar to coat. Set the balls on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes. The cookies will spread and the centers will look soft, but should look done. Remove just before the edges begin to turn golden. Don’t over bake. The cookies will be a little puffy when you take them out of the oven but will fall a bit as they cool.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

The sugar amounts are important for these cookies. If you chose to use all granulated sugar, rather than a little brown sugar, the cookie won’t spread quite as much and will be a little thicker and a little less soft.

Be sure to measure the flour accurately. The best way is by weight with a food scale, but if you don’t have one, give your flour a stir, then scoop it out with a measuring scoop. Do not pack it into the measuring cup.

Keywords: soft sugar cookies, how to make sugar cookies, best sugar cookie recipe, easy sugar cookie recipe, homemade sugar cookies

Enjoy!

The Best Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies - a must-have recipe for any good sugar cookie fan! These cookies require no chilling, they're quick and easy to make, buttery and full of vanilla, and wonderfully soft and chewy for DAYS!

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629 Comments
  1. Amy Pham

    Hi,
    Can I use half of cup of salted butter and half a cup of unsalted butter and omit the salt in the ingredients?
    TIA!

    1. Lindsay

      That should be fine. You could just use all salted butter too. How much of the salted butter (or salt) you use depends on the flavor you want. I added the amount of salt that I thought gave the best flavor, so you can adjust as you like.

  2. Karen Nolan

    i am always a big fan of yours Lindsay and all of your recipes have worked out so well for me. So I tried these sugar cookies and the first time I made them, the dough was very crumbly, almost as if there wasn’t enough moisture in it or perhaps too much flour. The second time I was hugely careful with every last measurement thinking that I made a mistake and still, the dough is crumbly and when I formed the balls, after 8 minutes in the oven, the balls didn’t even spread, so I had to flatten the dough down just to ensure they baked. Even at that I had to bake them 4 extra minutes so they wouldn’t be raw. What am I doing wrong? The recipe does seem like it calls for an excessive amount of flour for ratio of butter/one egg. This dough seemed more conducive to the rolling out kind of dough for cut out sugar cookies. Is the 3 cups of flour correct? I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact I goofed up twice despite going to the highest most conscience level of care.

    1. Lindsay

      Are you measuring by weight with a food scale or by volume? Even with taking the most care, it’s very possible that if you are measuring by volume with measuring cup, that would be part of the problem and you are over measuring flour. Cookies are really sensitive to that. If you don’t have a food scale to weight the flour (which I think is most accurate), you want to be sure to loosen up the flour and scoop into measuring scoop. Don’t pack the flour into the cup. I hope that helps, sorry you had trouble.

      1. Erin Block

        The same thing happened to me. I even loosened the flour and did not pack the flour when I measured the flour. And no I don’t have a food scale.

      2. Tori

        Invest in a scale! I can’t say that enough for baking! Please, please, please! I LOVE these cookies! If you weigh out the ingredients, they are perfect every time and they do STAY SOFT FOR DAAAAYS. I got so many compliments on these cookies and everyone asked for the recipe. I even froze some and thawed them out and they were just as tasty as the first day. But seriously, get a scale people! They’re pretty cheap and they will save you so many headaches and wasted ingredients when baking!

  3. Brittany

    I’m so excited to try these! My favorite sugar cookies are from the bakery at Harris Teeter, and I’ve made a few attempts at replicating them, but haven’t come very close. These look really similar, so I’ll give them a shot.

      1. Lindsay

        Are you referring to margarine? I honestly don’t ever use it so I can’t say from experience, but I believe it has more water in it so your cookies would spread more.

    1. Sarah

      Yum this is the best sugar cookie I’ve ever had! My daughters wanted pink cookies, so we added some gel food dye and they turned out PERFECT for our girls night 💜 Thank you for the recipe. So happy google brought us together lol

  4. Ashley

    I’m not sure if my baking skills just suck or what, but my cookies didn’t spread like yours looked in the pictures 🙁 they stayed little balls. How do I fix that in the future? 

    1. Lindsay

      Are you measuring by weight with a food scale or by volume? Cookies are really sensitive to the amount of flour. If you don’t have a food scale to weight the flour (which i think is most accurate) you want to be sure to loosen up the flour and scoop into measuring scoop and don’t pack it into the cup. I hope that helps, sorry you had trouble.

    2. Tina Short

      Don’t feel bad, my attempt did same thing. I used the exact measurements that was posted.  Plus 7mins was actually half the time using 350′. 

      1. christine

        Same here! Just little balls after 10 or more minutes cooking. I pressed them down myself, but I think it must be too much flour?

      2. Lindsay

        These cookies should spread perfectly if the flour is measured properly. Did you use a food scale? That’s the only way to be sure that it is 100% accurate. Certainly you can try reducing the flour.

      3. heather

        Just wanted to say that these cookies are THE BEST! I’ve made them twice and then I lost the recipe. I forgot to actually pin it! I was so afraid I lost it forever, but here it is. So relieved. Thank you for your hard work creating this amazing cookie.

      4. Toni

        Same here! Little balls and needed way more time in the oven. This recipe looks great but isn’t a recipe to do with the kids or one to try and make quickly. Make sure you have  plenty of time and no interruptions. Which for a mom of a toddler, is never. 

    3. Kay

      I am not sure how anyone can mess up this recipe it is so easy!! Turned out perfectly!!! Just do what she recommended and stir the flour then scoop it into the cups. You do not have to pack in the flour. The flour does not have to come to the top of the cups either. These were great and super easy! Thank you for this recipe

      1. LuAnn Schutz

        What do you mean, the flour does not have to come to the top of the cups? I did everything else the way you said and the cookies did not spread and were hard and dry.

      2. Lindsay

        It’s difficult for me to look back at comments because of the way it works, but I don’t believe I ever said that flour shouldn’t be measured to the top of the cup. In fact, I always recommend a food scale to be sure it’s accurate. If you’re using scoops though, you want to stir your flour and spoon it into your scoops so that it isn’t packed into the cups. If the cookies didn’t spread well, you probably over measured your flour.

    4. Stacy

      Well- they didn’t flatten much and I had to cook them longer; but knowing my kitchen skills I’m certain I did something wrong!!! Lol!!! But regardless, these are SO tasty!! Thanks for the recipe! I’m sure I’ll be making them again- perhaps I’ll even do it the right way! 😆 also- I love reading all the tips and tricks!! ❤️

    5. Sierra Ann Robb

      Haven’t tried the recipe quite yet, I wanted to make them tonight (it’s later and my baby is sleeping) i got everything ready and realized I don’t have any dang baking powder :'( this might be a dumb question, but can I just use baking soda without powder? Don’t want to waist all the ingredients if it can’t be done ( new to dessert baking)
      Thanks!!!

      1. Lindsay

        You could definitely try it. The cookies would turn out, they would just be a little bit different final result.

    6. Jennifer

      The cookies won’t spread if your dough is slightly too dry.  My first batch the dough would form together into balls, but was not sticky, was more crumbly. The first 12 I cooked did not flatten at all after 7 minutes so I flattened them with a spatula, cooked it 3-4 more minutes and they were terrific (though thicker than hoped). I added a little water and egg white to the rest of the dough, just enough to make it sticky… the result was the dough was harder to work with but the rest of the cookies spread very nicely after 7-8 minutes in the oven. This recipe is a keeper, though honestly I like the look and texture of the drier dough cookies a little better, no big deal to flatten them with a spatula and cook a little longer. 

      1. Lindsay

        Cookies are very finicky that way. The slightest difference in the amount of moisture makes a huge difference in the way they bake and spread. I’m glad you were able to figure out a solution that worked. It definitely sounds like your day was too dry to start with. I would check how you measure flour next time. The food scale is definitely most accurate. Glad you enjoyed them!

      2. Kalysha

        Tasted great and was quick to make. My only problem was I didn’t have any brown sugar. So I found online you can use honey instead. I think I must’ve added too much because the cookies were flat, cake like, and kinda fell apart. But still we’re good!  I think with the left over cookie dough I’ll add more flour to thicken it up? Idk, but I guess that’s what cooking is all about. Trial and error. 

      3. Lindsay

        Yes, the honey was likely the problem. Just using regular sugar as a replacement probably would have been better, though not perfect.

  5. Cory

    This recipe is fantastic!  Cookies came out so yummy on the first try, and really so simple!   I am always on the look out for quality cookie recipes that will last a lifetime….and so happy  to add this one to my list!  Pure classic!

      1. Jessica

        Do you think this would be a good cookie for ice cream sandwiches?
        Looks delicious! Thanks!

      2. Ornia

        What do you mean don’t pack the flour in measuring cup? I was taught to always do that with a knife? 

      3. Michelle

        Mine barely spread. Followed the recipe exactly. Cant figure out what happened. Still good and very soft just very thick. They dough did seem dry to me, I wonder of I need to add less flour next time.

      4. Michelle Woodruff

        My granddaughter and I just finished these. Wonderful! Soft chewy and taste perfect 

  6. Julie G

    The cookies look delicious and I can’t wait to try them. I much prefer a soft, chewy sugar cookie over the crisp kind. Straightforward recipe and I can’t thank you enough for including the gram equivalent in your recipes. I like baking using my kitchen scale to get the amount of each ingredient as exact as possible. It really does make a big difference as you wrote about the importance of not using too much or too little of each ingredient. I appreciate the efforts you make when providing us with the best possible recipe!!

      1. Stephanie vorodi

        These were great thanks for. Great recipes turned out great soft sugar cookies!!

      2. Caty

        Hi! Your recipe looks amazing! I would like to know the aprox diameter of the cookies. I need to make little bags as gifts, but I don’t know how many cookies I need to make to make it look nice 🙁

      3. Yolanda Contreras Seebert

        Hello what happens if I use dark brown sugar? That’s all I had in my pantry.

      1. Clarissa

        Going to make these tonight. Do you think swapping out the vanilla for rum flavor would be good?

      1. LuAnn Schutz

        I made the cookies. They didn’t spread well and they were fiuffy and a little hard. I measured just as you directed. I’ll try weighing next time. I used the whisk on the kitchen aid and that may have over mixed. I also may have baked them too long. They didn’t seem done at 7-8 min., so I’ll try less mixing and cooking time also.

      2. Lindsay

        If they didn’t spread, it’s likely from over measuring the flour. Definitely try the food scale.

    1. Terra

      Hi! I made these cookies and they spread very nicely. I have a tendency to NEVER measure anything out. Just slap it in a measuring cup and if it looks close enough then there you go! But, in this case I did end up measuring correctly because I didn’t have time for meds ups and they turned out perfectly! I did, however, have to cook them for 10-12 minutes at 350 due to my oven being a little wacky. They’re very fluffy and taste wonderful. I also didn’t have paper or foil to put underneath them, so I floured my board and slapped them on there, they didn’t stick or anything! They were a hit with my family and the guests at our churches Christmas party. My youth group was very happy with how they tasted. Will definitely be using this recipe again!

  7. Katrina

    These look fantastic! I agree, sometimes simple things like a great sugar cookie (or a vanilla cake) are the BEST! Your vanilla cake is always my go to. That is another awesome yet simple recipe!
    Thanks for another great recipe. Hope all is well with you and your boys!

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks Katrina! I’m so glad you enjoyed the vanilla cake and I hope you enjoy these cookies. The boys are doing great! Dylan is looking so cute, I hope you guys are doing well!

      1. Lindsay

        Do you have something else that the cookies won’t stick to? Maybe wax paper or a silicone baking mat?

      2. Jac

        I made these for peach ice cream sandwiches and they were delicious! Everyone LOVED them and wanted this cookie recipe so I sent them this link.  Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!  Also, I used dark brown sugar because that’s all I had and they still turned out great!

      3. Tiffany

        Cookies tasted great! But they didn’t spread…thoughts on what the issues could’ve been? 

      4. Jadine

        It’s there a recipe for the same cookies but just less like 15 cookies I have a small family so I don’t need to many! Please respond when you can I love the recipe though

      5. Lindsay

        I don’t have a smaller recipe, but you could either try cutting the recipe in half, or freeze the extra cookies for later.

      6. Brianna

        This is by far the best cookie recipe ever! My family and I loved it so much and it’s basically fool-proof. I’m not a super great baker when it comes to cookies but this was absolutely delicious! Thank you for this delicious recipe that I will be using for the rest of my life!

      7. Sabira Gillett-Chambers

        Amazing recipe! Very soft and chewy. Would definitely make again.

      8. Becky

        Mine are currently in the oven.  My dough is powder and I have to squeeze tightly to make a ball.  I measured it all.  We shall see if they spread at all.

      9. Jeanette Jacoby

        Im going to make today. Just a warning though. NEVER put wax paper in the oven. If you dont have Parchment paper or a silpat just put them directly on the sheet. NO wax paper in the oven.

    2. Clara

      Hi Lindsay, 

      Thank you very much for this recipe! My kids came home from school to these delicious cookies! I made some w/ sprinkles and some w/out. 🙂 
      However, I didn’t weigh the ingredients because I don’t have a scale and this is where things could’ve gone wrong. 
      The dough was very sticky, so I added more flour. 
      Not sure what I did wrong, but the cookies still came out good! 
      Thanks again! 
      Clara 

      1. Lindsay

        I’m glad you enjoyed them! I’m not sure about the stickiness. The dough has a little bit of stickiness normally, but it’s hard for me to say if what you experienced was a normal amount or not. Sometimes refrigerating cookie dough for about 30 minutes can help reduce some of that stickiness.

      2. Gigi

        My cookies didn’t smooth out they stayed in the ball. The recipe says the flour measurements in cups? Is that different than using actually measuring cups?

      3. Lindsay

        No, it’s measuring cups. The scoops. But people often measure flour differently with those. Some people pack it in and others don’t. That’s why weight measurements are more accurate.

    3. Natalie

      Fantastic cookies! Probably the best I’ve made they’re nice and chewy and easy to make. Thank you Lindsay for this amazing recipe!

    4. Tracy A Magno

      These are the best sugar cookies. I actually substitute the vanilla for orange extract. I’m on an orange kick. Try it in your French toast too. For homade ice cream sandwiches. These cookies, minus the brown sugar are number one. Anyway thank you for the recipe, I will use it always. Tracy, up Haleiwa Hawaii

    5. Aidan W

      I made two batches tonight. On the second one I added 1/3 cup of cocoa powder while reducing the flour by equal amount. They turn out just as good for those looking for a chocolate option! The daredevil in me also combined the two doughs to make a vanilla / chocolate sugar cookie. Oh. My. Lord. 🙌🏼 Thanks again for the recipe !! 

    6. Liz

      I love this recipe and have made it before but Is there a way to make this paleo friendly? I can’t have grains or regular sugar anymore.
      I will mix whatever grain free substitute flour that I need to so it will make it taste just as good.
      For substitute sugar I use xylitol.
      Please help!

      1. Lindsay

        I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed them. Unfortunately I don’t really know anything about those types of substitutions.

    7. Jenna Farmer-Brackett

      Best friggen cookie recipe EVER! I am not much of a baker (too precise for my patience) and I rarely find a sugar cookie that I like (can’t stand the crunchy ones) BUT this recipe beats all! It was easy to make and turned delicious! Just as, if not better, than a local bakery version. Thanks for sharing!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12