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

758 Comments
  1. slady1013@aol.com

    This is the best sugar cookie I’ve ever made an taste very good I made frosting also my grandson wants me to make more for Thanksgiving

  2. Kaitlyn

    yummy! I didn’t have enough butter so I made these 50/50 butter/coconut oil and it came out great! They needed an extra 2 mins of baking though

  3. Martha

    These really are the best. Perfectly chewy and crispy at the same time. Lovely balance with sugars and a touch of salt. Will make again soon!

  4. Heather

    Best sugar cookie recipe I’ve found. I make them atleast once a week for my kids. They LOVE them!

  5. jen

    When I mixed it free hand and tried to kneed it, It seemed like there was far too much flour, like I need to add water or milk or another egg

    1. Lyndsay

      This happened to me too. I find that happens when I use room temp vs melted butter. They taste good bc the butter melted during baking but don’t look good at all 🙁

  6. Dior

    I love this recipe, but I had to use a substitute for the brown sugar because I didn’t have any. I mixed regular sugar with maple syrup and made some sort of brown sugar. Would that have changed the outcome or…?

  7. Jeff Butts

    I am disabled from a stroke and had a desire for a quick dessert. On a google search, I found you. I had all the ingredients, so I went to the task. I only have a hand mixer so I used a large wooden spoon to blend in the flour a quarter at a time. Near the end, I had to use both hands, but I was very keen not to over mix. It was a rather sticky mix, but the funny thing is . as you say they don’t need to be refrigerated. The dough actually gets stiffer as it sits. I would recommend letting it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. They rolled out nice. I did have to cook mine much longer as well. They spread, but didn’t start puffing till after ten minutes. I actually let the cookies cook even longer until the puff disappeared and the cracks across the cookies showed. Just before any brown edges appeared. Some turned out a little crispier but turned into a chewy caramel taste. Others were nice and soft. All of them are absolutely fabulous. They bare so wonderful with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Thank you so much for sharing. It took exactly one hour and 30 minutes until I was enjoying them. Exactly what I was looking for. I’m sure others will have these done in 45 mins.

  8. HollyRae

    Oh so good!! I have tried so many sugar cookie formulas. They all are good in their own way but I really like this one! Mine came out a little puffier-looking than yours but still oh-so-chewy. I tried something new to me, I shook confectioner’s sugar with drops of lime oil in a jar to combine; then gently rolled the warm cookies in this sugar. OH WOW are these good! like the “lime coolers’ I remember as a kid but so much better. I am now writing this recipe in my book as a keeper!

  9. urmomdotcom

    these were delicious and so simple!! mine were a tad puffier than i usually perfer but they were still just as soft; i mixed in 1/2 cup confetti sprinkles and they were just like funfetti cookies!

  10. Kris

    These are delicious. I formed them into balls. I didn’t roll them. They fell apart if I tried. I made some after freezing them for 10 min and some without. All came out pretty much the same. Just longer cook time. I sprinkled a little sugar on them after they were cooked. Yummy.

  11. Keira

    I don’t know if I made a mistake while baking but they ended up not tasting good at all. It was honestly embarrassing yet funny.

  12. Betty

    I made these cookies today. They came out very good! I only had dark brown sugar, but I used it and they still came out delicious. I will definitely keep this recipe.

  13. Janet Brosius

    I’ve made boat-loads of sugar cookies. All good! This one is maybe right up there with perfect for a drop sugar cookie. Texture is great.

  14. Libby

    My sister in law made these for us and they were amazing! I was curious if you could make a cookie cake from this recipe?

    1. Lindsay

      Glad you enjoyed them! I would need to test the cake to see, but I’m guessing adjustments would need to be made.

  15. Aubrey

    Now the recipe turned out well the cookies are delicious, BUT the dough turned out as crumbly little pebbles and I know thats not how sugar cookie dough is supposed to look. I followed it accordingly but in the end I had to add another egg and a 1/4 of water.

    1. RA

      I wish I’d followed my gut and added less flour. My dough was not stiff. It was just crumbs. I finally got balls made and rolled in sugar. They were still balls when they came out. Nothing like the picture

      1. Lindsay

        It sounds like you over measured the flour. Do you use a scale or cups? Because cups are often inaccurate. You don’t want to pack the flour down into the cup.

      2. Viridian

        Thanks for commenting! Mine looked the same (probably because I measured the flour using measuring cups instead of a scale like the recipe said, oops) and at first I thought it’d be okay, but since I didn’t want it to still be ball-shaped I added 2 tbsp of milk and it formed what I think is supposed to be a stiff dough. Also, I made them with nondairy butter and egg replacer and baked them for 13 minutes since my mom says vegan baked goods take longer to bake than other ones. I should have flattened them out more but they taste great!

  16. Dolores Peralta

    nice texture but not the most flavorful cookie. it also leaves a taste of leavning agent on the finish which makes me think it has a little too much baking soda and baking powder.

  17. Donovin Tulley

    This sugar cookie recipe i been looking for for all my time baking. My wife rated it an 8. Which is awesome! When i bake I’ll do one at a time. Bare minimun time. How they describe. Etc… i followed exact measurements,temp and time i made dough balls and timed for 8 min. came out small and in a fluff. But delicious. . Turned out great. I then did the same thing and flattened the ball. The next cookie test and came out to perfection. So after you ball up and roll the ball in sugar flatten it with your hand and or fingers. But not too thin. They will be perfect at 350 degrees baked for 6 to 7 minutes. You have to let them rest on baking sheet after. For at least 4 minutes. Transfer to something else until next batch comes out. I tried both ways. Flattening the coookie will expand to a flatter coookie. Next time imma add half a teaspoon of almond extract. To the dough when mixing in vanilla. But they turned out as the sugar cookie you are looking for. Phenomenal! Thank you. I took multiple pictures of the process and how i tested. Have to do one cookie at a time to find your preference,cooking time, and preference. I did 7 min at 350 after flattening the ball and cane out to perfection. Love this recipe.

  18. justin

    these are super good. i made mine a little bigger and cooked a little longer. i love the taste, texture, and consistancy

  19. Junnie

    Whoaa these cookies are great, though I didn’t follow the recipe completely it was really good at guiding me on how to make these. The cookies came out wonderful and were soft and fluffy. It did take around 15 mins to bake but that’s ok I like the crunchy outside. They weren’t extremely sweet either but for those who don’t like so much sugar you can omit sugar coating which I did for my mom and she said they were just nice though a little eggy but that’s just personal preference. Overall a great recipe for fast and easy cookies.

  20. Ann S

    Soooo buttery, and they didn’t flatten out at all. I ended up leaving them in for 14-15 minutes, and they still were barely done. I followed the recipe to a tee

    1. kat

      mine too, i flattened mine then put the in the fridge it still was kind of gooey but they were a easier to pick up

  21. Angel Moreno

    I’ve made this recipe before and it is amazing! The cookies turn out perfect every time and are a huge hit in my family! Quick question: If I add pumpkin puree to these cookies, will they come out any different/will I need to add more of anything?

    1. Lindsay

      Glad you enjoyed them! Pumpkin purée would change it quite a bit. It’s hard to say what other adjustments to make without testing it.

  22. Hollyann Wright

    I am making this recipe tomorrow as a neighborly gift to give to the couple next door as I just moved in this past week and want to become their friend. I have one question about the recipe. Can I use sweet cream butter? Is there a difference?

  23. Maddy

    I’m prepping for a party at the end of the week. I plan on making the dough today (also adding gel food coloring to make rainbow colors) and then baking the cookies later in 4 days. Should I refrigerate the dough or freeze it for 4 days? Thanks!!!

  24. Stephanie Buckley

    Great recipe! mine came out thick and chewy. Not too flat. Had to set timer for 9 min, 7 was not long enough. I always mess up cookies… not these! Simple and yummy!!! One question, how should I store these on the counter?

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