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 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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Recipe rating

683 Comments
  1. Tyanne Bland

    My 8 year old is not a baker and she was able to duplicate this recipe well. Cookies look just like the pictures and taste AMAZING!

  2. Faith

    I’m just starting out baking. So far cookies have been the only thing I have struggled with. I followed the directions to a T and yet they flattened and spread out. Where did I go wrong for this to happen?

    1. Lindsay

      I think cookies are one of the hardest things because small differences make a bigger impact than in other desserts. It’s hard to say for sure what caused it. I have noticed differences in cookie sheets and ovens that can make things turn out differently. But also if you don’t cream your butter and sugar together well enough, that can make a difference. And certainly if an ingredient isn’t measured quite right, that can make a difference. Cookies are especially susceptible to differences in ingredients. The best thing to use is a food scale.

  3. Lyn

    I’m about to try this recipe for the second time. First time was amazing but I was wondering if I could make these a night in advance and refrigerate overnight before baking?

    1. Lindsay

      In theory, yes. However refrigerating cookie dough does actually change the way cookies bake usually. I haven’t actually tested these to see if that holds true for these or if the change is a bad one. You could try it though.

  4. Shelley Banning

    This is by far the best soft and chewy sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever come across! If you follow these directions to the letter, you get exactly what is pictured here, & they are just perfection with the right amount of sweetness, chewiness, softness, and they really do hold up to the test of time with freshness, but in my house, with the hubby’s midnight sweet tooth + my teenaged cookie monster, they’re gone the very next day! Admittedly, I scarf a few right when they slightly cool, LOL! 😊😍😋

  5. Ava

    I was wondering if I could make these cookies into shapes. My little sister loves shapes, and she learns with food! I hope you can get back to me.

  6. Liz Sanders

    Absolutely the best sugar cookies EVER!! Easy to follow recipe & I like the way you explain things. You must have gone through a lot of cookies to get it this good. Thank you.

  7. Karen

    These are amazing and truly soft and chewy like the recipe says. I live at high altitude, didn’t change anything and they turned out perfect! I also didn’t have vanilla and substituted almond extract and I don’t think I’ll make them any other way! They were SO good! 😚🤌

  8. Maggie Rider

    These are incredible. I had to make a few adjustments in my oven (340 for about 10 minutes). But once I figured that out, WOW!!!

    The trick for me honestly is (a) butter at the right temp, and (b) creaming it the right amount of time. This is the third time I’ve made this recipe and I’ve finally got it just right!!

  9. Jestiny

    This was a really great recipe and the cookies were nice and soft! I do recommend being careful with the flour measurements if you don’t have a weigh or baking cups. Overall great cookies and i’ll definitely bake them again.

  10. Krista

    I am a vegan and I made this recipe with egg replacement and Earth balance butter and they came out FANTASTIC!!! Super soft and no one in my family could tell they were vegan. I’ll definitely make this again!

  11. Maryanne Hill

    I am anxious to use this recipe for Volunteer week. Our Women’s Hospital Association is packing these up for all Volunteers working at the Vaccine clinic.

    After reading many of the comments, I am thankful I do have a scale …. My question is … Can I add lemon extract to them? If so what should my lemon to vanilla pure extract be?

    1. Lindsay

      I wouldn’t normally recommend lemon extract because it can have kind of a weird artificial taste to it. But if you want to use it, I might just use half to 1 teaspoon, depending on how strong you want it.

  12. Morgan

    Thank you, everyone said they were perfect! This is a great recipe. Saving this for all future cookie making!!!

  13. Linda

    I was wanting to make a larger sugar cookie, 5-6 inches with sprinkles as teachers gifts. How would I do that with this recipe?

  14. Laura

    I did not like this recipe. We can’t even eat them. Way to much butter. The butter flavor is too overpowering

  15. Xing

    I tried this recipe three times. Finally, it turned out as it should the third time. I am not sure what is the reason. but if you do it right and follow the recipe, it should turn out awesome.

  16. Morgan

    I just got the cookies out of the oven! They look amazing and I cannot wait to taste them! The dough was too flour-y so if yours is like mine I suggest using a little bit of milk or water to fully combine them! As a young amatur baker and cooker this was easy to do and follow! I rated 4 stars because of the flour-y situation. I would suggest to any baker of any level to try these amazing cookies out!

  17. Sarah P

    Mine turned out great! I think some people are confused that weighing ingredients versus using a measuring cup is not the same. I don’t have a scale, so I used a measuring cup. I started with 2 cups of flour and added a little more with a tablespoon until it was the desired consistency. I think I used a total of 2 1/4 cup. It was a little dry so I added a teaspoon of milk. Once I started rolling them into balls with my hands they softened up a ton. They cooked perfect and are amazing! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  18. Barb

    I love a soft sugar cookie and these were delish. I weighed the ingredients and ended up with 3 cookie sheets worth of doughballs. I put the first two sheets in at the same time and flipped them around halfway thru baking and that batch ended up underdone. The last cookie sheet, cooked all on its own for 8-9 minutes, was the winner. Deliciously crisp on the bottom and edge but still soft in the middle and top. Threw that tray’s cookies in a gallon bag in the freezer – they were quick to thaw and texture was great.

    I weighed the first 1.5 Tbsp doughball (it was 30g) and used that weight to make the balls at the end rather than messing around with tablespoon measures.

  19. Arianna

    These cookies saved my life, lol. I was down in the dumps and didn’t know what to do and then I saw this recipe and tried it and it instantly lifted my spirits. This recipe must have fallen from Heaven. Thank you!

  20. Andrew

    I made these. As suggested, I measured the flour using my kitchen scale. I added an extra egg, and ran just a little short of vanilla (those bottles are so small).

    The extra egg added a little more liquid, so I had no trouble with these being dry or crumbly. the texture was just right.

    Baked 1 sheet at 7 minutes, the others at 8. In my oven, 8 minutes gave just a little brown along the edge and across the bottom, which helped the cookies hold their shape and boosted the flavor.

    I did not bother with icing. A good sugar cookie is perfectly delicious on its own and these certainly pass that test.

    Maybe not quite as good as my mother’s recipe, but close–and a whole lot faster and easier (no chilling, no rolling, no cutting). I will be making these again.

  21. Jo Ann Frazier

    The best sugar cookie I have ever ate they Literally melt in your mouth .. thanks for sharing this amazing Recipe !!!😀

  22. Janae

    I’ve made these cookies 100 times but they haven’t turned out right since I moved to a new house. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I’ll make sure I’m measuring the flour properly, next time, but wanted to ask do you use a beater or a whisk attachment? Thank you!

  23. PJ

    Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe! Just finished making them for a second time–these came out perfect, just like when we made them last week! So easy and so delicious!

  24. Olivia

    I don’t often leave reviews but for this recipe I MUST. This is by far my favorite recipe I’ve ever ever made, I’ve made it so many times over the past year I’ve lost count! I’ve been reading through the reviews and thought since I’ve made these so many times I may be able to help with making sure this recipe comes out as good as possible! I’ve found that the only way I was able to make them look like the cookies in the picture was to use an ice cream scoop and level it out in the scoop – then all the cookies are small and uniform (making them larger causes them to be pretty tall and not look like the picture). I’ve also found they last best if left out (I’ve left them out in an air tight container for 2 weeks and they lasted super well) – when I put them in the fridge they get super hard and are not as good, but when leaving them out they are the softest and gooiest cookies even if they end up taller/ not looking like the cookies in the picture. I also bake them a few minutes more since I make the dough balls larger than they should be, but regardless of size if you leave these cookies out they will be so soft and amazing! I hope this helps because these cookies are AMAZING!! :):)

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