The Best Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies Recipe

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 Amount 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
  • 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!


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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Recipe rating

881 Comments
  1. Anna

    This is a wonderful sugar cookie recipe! When I first took them out of the oven, I thought they might be a little puffy, but letting them rest on the pan for a few minutes, as noted in the recipe, reduced the puffiness to a perfect soft and chewy texture. So tasty! 🙂

  2. Anna

    These cookies taste fantastic! My only problem is that they turned out more puffy, not like your pictures as I was hoping for? It seems I have had this problem with sugar cookies before… do you know what the cause could be?

    1. Lindsay

      It could be any number of things probably but I moved last year and noticed something similar with the oven in our new house. I tried the air bake cookie sheets and it worked perfectly. It could just be your oven. Maybe try those baking sheets.

  3. Emma

    when me and my friend where baking this there was still cookie dough on the bottom that was not baked and we went like 10 min over what you said

  4. Kristen

    Have you ever used oat flour instead of all-purpose flour in this recipe? If you, or anyone has, what was the ratio or measurement?
    I have eaten these made by someone else, DELICIOUS, and now I am excited to make them myself!!

  5. Cassidy

    This recipe is like pie crust not cookie dough — I am quite precise with measurements and bake a bunch so not sure how I could have too much flour — a total waste of ingredients as they aren’t even bake-able 🙁 Try a diff sugar cookie recipe!!

    1. Lindsay

      Did you use a food scale? Even if you think you’ve been accurate, the only way to know for sure is a food scale. Given that this is my most widely used cookie recipe – both by myself and others – I do know that it works.

  6. Beverly klinzing

    I think this cookie is delicious I changed the flour to 2 1/2 cups, thanks to Gwen said they were so dry. Thanks Gwen for giving me heads up. I had it all mixed except the flour. I baked the first 12 in the oven longer than 7 minutes and I felt it was still to doughy and backed the next 12 till they were golden. Love the cookie. I put them in the refrigerator for an hour before I rolled them in balls and sugar. I would make this cookie again

    1. Brian Place

      Used this recipe to make a vanilla latte chocolate chip cookie I envisioned. Did not mess with your flour, sugars and butter ratios though. It came out perfect. You truly nailed the perfect texture and chew. Thank you!

  7. Gwen

    I followed the recipe to a T and got the driest cookie dough I’ve ever made. Added 1 tbsp of water so it would come together. I measured all ingredients with a scale and measured exactly 1-1/2 tbsp of dough for the balls and only got 32 cookies. Had to press them down as they didn’t spread at all. They taste good but aren’t as moist as I’d hoped and are very cakey.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m sorry to hear that that was your experience. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but if you used a food scale and still had dry cookie dough, you might need to check the food scale or something. I have made these so many times using a food scale and the recipe is super reliable.

  8. Brittany

    Hi there, I’d like to try this recipe to make cinnamon roll cookies. Can the dough be chilled and rolled into a log?

    1. Lindsay

      I have never tried that. I’m not sure how you’d go about it, but you could try it. It’d have to be fairly cold in order to roll it.

  9. Morgan Swallows

    This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe! One question I have is if I make ahead and need to refrigerate the dough, how long does it stay fresh in the fridge?

  10. Amy Gomez

    Wonderful!!! Absolutely wonderful cookie and so easy, and fun to make! I made these 3 times already and my husband and I love them. I had to write a review because we are blessed by this recipe. For the holidays I added rainbow sprinkles inside the cookie dough and rolled them in a blue sugar/white sugar mixture, they look fantastic and taste amazing with a nice cold glass of vanilla almond milk. Thanks again!

  11. Danny

    I would love to try making these for Christmas this year 🙂
    Would it work if I added chocolate chips as well? 🙂

  12. Sarah

    I’ve made these cookies so many times! They are a huge hit! I have one question though, is the ball of cookie dough 1/2 or 1 1/2? I’ve always made them big but wasn’t sure if they were the correct size…

  13. Teree

    This is the best recipe for sugar cookies I have found. I chilled the dough, rolled them in balls, dipped them in green sugar and added a sugar cookie flavored kiss as soon as they came out of the oven!!! We love them so much I am going to make another batch to chill tonight and roll in red sugar in the AM when I get off work!

  14. Sharon Mullins

    These are the best sugar cookies. Can I substitute the light brown sugar for dark brown sugar?

    1. Lindsay

      Oh wait, I may have misunderstood. You only want to substitute the light for dark brown sugar. That should be fine. The cookies might just spread a touch more.

  15. Christine Gaskill

    My new Favorite cookie recipe! They are perfect! I made 6 batches this season already! Thank-♡You so much! Btw I bought a farberware non stick airbase pan and they slide right off no problem.

  16. Lia

    Hi!!! I’m using your recipe to make sugar cookies and I see that the recipe yields about 30 cookies. If I’m planning to only make around 15 cookies can I split the measurements in half?

  17. Maureen Hildebrand

    BEST SUGAR COOKIES EVER!! 10 stars!! I did sub one of the teaspoons of vanilla extract with 1 tsp almond extract because it’s just so good. I also rolled them in colored granulated sugar and smashed them a little bit with a rocks glass. Divine!

  18. Rebecca Hanson

    My dough came out more dry and crumbly and the cookies didn’t spread like yours. I followed the recipe to a T. I don’t understand.

    1. Lindsay

      It’s truly a balance of “wet” ingredients to dry ingredients (mainly the flour). If the dough is too crumbly, there is either too much flour or not enough of the “wet” ingredients. Typically people over measure the flour. The most accurate way is to use a food scale. If you’re using cups, don’t pack the flour into the cup. Stir your flour to loosen it, spoon it into the cup, then level it.

    2. Amy Gomez

      Rebecca, the first time I made these I over measured the flour too and when I noticed it a bit dry i added a few dashes or milk and a little extra vanilla to the dough until it formed a nice ball. They came out amazing! Use your judgement when you see the dough you could have accidently added too much dry ingredient.

  19. Tara

    Any thoughts on subbing part of the vanilla for almond extract? I just love almond flavor in my sugar cookies and wondering if there is a way to incorporate it into this recipe!?

    1. Lindsay

      Definitely. You can substitute all of the vanilla extract or some of it. Just depends on how strong you want the flavor.

  20. Christina Elliott

    I love this recipe! Quick, easy and cookies come out perfectly every time. Really good with cream cheese frosting and perfect for decorating. My go to sugar cookie recipe!

  21. Heather Adams

    These cookies taste wonderful!!!! Made these 3 times and they are super easy to make. I have never been able to get them to flatten much at all. That’s fine!!! They are beautifully dome like and still soft and chewy!!!! My friends and family love them so no complaints from me!!!

  22. Larna J Anderson

    Made these cookies last Christmas. Absolutely best ever and was asked to make them again this year. Wondering if possible to use this recipe to make snickerdoodles?

  23. Chad

    These cookies are SO GOOD!!!! I halved the recipe– will not be making that mistake again. The only reasonable adjustment is to double the recipe. These are the softest, moistest sugar cookies I have ever eaten! I think the brown sugar is a game changer. I’m going to try this recipe out with varying amounts of brown/white sugar (both to see what ratio I personally favor, and to have an excuse to bake a ridiculous number of these cookies). Thanks for this fantastic recipe, Lindsay! 😊

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