The Best-Ever Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

Looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe? Look no further than these best-ever soft and chewy sugar cookies!

Wish you had a sugar cookie recipe that was SO delicious people craved them?

I have just what you’re looking for!

Every December, I pull out my recipe for sugar cookies – the same recipe my mom has been making for the past 35 years. I have no idea where she found the recipe, but she’s been making the Best-Ever Soft  and Chewy Sugar Cookies for decades.

And they live up to the name. Soft and chewy, I could eat a whole bunch of these sugar cookies, especially once they’re frosted.

Since I’ve been asked for this recipe more times than I can count, I decided to share it so everyone can enjoy. (Even the pickiest cookie snobs!)

The original recipe makes at least 8 dozen cookies, sometimes more depending on the size of cookie cutters, so I often cut the recipe in thirds … if I only want a few cookies, I make a third of the recipe. If I want more, I make two-thirds. And if I have a lot of time to spare, and have enough energy for the rolling, cutting, and frosting (or I simply need to give away a lot of cookies), I go for a full batch.

Not only are these cookies fun to make with my children, but I also I love to make them to serve my guests and my family. As I try to use all five senses to create a haven, these Best-Ever Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies add a perfect taste in my home!

One simple secret that will save your sanity (and time!)

So often in the middle of seasonal hectic-ness, there just isn’t much time for baking. Especially if you know you need to make 8 dozen sugar cookie cutouts but you just can’t devote an entire afternoon to a bake fest.

I feel your pain. Because my schedule in December can fill up quickly but I still want baking to be part of my family’s holiday traditions, I found a solution I love.

Freezer baking.

Just like freezer cooking helps homemakers prepare meals when they have extra time – and meals (or portions of meals) are then conveniently kept in the freezer, freezer baking is so convenient.

By baking cookies, breads, cakes or pies ahead of time, you can cool, freeze, and then thaw them before serving.

I love baking several varieties of Christmas cookies at the beginning of December, then freezing them until I need to thaw several (or several dozen) to take to Christmas parties.

I’ve used this method when I had a small refrigerator freezer in apartments, and I use it now when I have a chest freezer. It can work anywhere, as long as you have a freezer. And it’s an enormous time and sanity saver. (Who couldn’t use that?!)

How to freeze cookies

If you’re making drop cookies, you can freeze balls of dough to bake later for freshly baked cookies. Or, bake the cookies and then freeze them.

For The Best-Ever Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies, I bake the cookies first, let them cool, then stack them in disposable square foil baking pans. Once a foil baking pan is full, I cover with aluminum foil, crimp the foil over the pan’s edges, and then put the entire cookie package in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag.

Depending on how much time I can devote to my batch of sugar cookies, I either leave them unfrosted and freeze, or I frost and decorate them and then freeze.

If at all possible, I try to frost them before freezing only because it’s much easier to pull out completely finished cookies to thaw and serve.

By using freezer baking for my holiday goodies, guests can stop by at a moment’s notice and I can serve home-baked desserts like these Best-Ever Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies within a matter of minutes. That’s the perfect recipe for stress-free, homemade holidays!

Looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe? Look no further than these best-ever soft and chewy sugar cookies!

Looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe? Look no further than these best-ever soft and chewy sugar cookies!

The Best-Ever Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies


3 eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
1 can evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
3 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder


Beat eggs well. Add sugar and butter. Continue beating.

In a separate bowl, add vinegar and vanilla to evaporated milk. Add milk mixture to first 3 ingredients and keep beating.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together. Add to batter. Mix well.

Chill cookie dough well (at least half an hour). If your dough seems excessively sticky, stir in additional flour in 1/4 cup increments until it’s firm enough to roll out. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen’s location, you may need to add a lot of extra flour. Or, your dough may roll out fine with the suggested 8 cups and a long chill in the refrigerator.

Roll out small batches of cookie dough on lightly floured surface. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Place on baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to brown.

Once my sugar cookies are baked and cooled, I like to whip up this homemade buttercream frosting and decorate. 

Buttercream Frosting


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. milk


Cream butter in a large bowl using a mixer. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well at medium speed after each addition. Add milk and beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

Keep icing covered until ready to use. Store in the refrigerator when not in use.

Disclosure: This post originally was published as Meemaw’s Best-Ever Soft Sugar Cookies in November 2015. Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may make a commission on products purchased through these links. Thank you for supporting this website!

All images courtesy of Pexels and Pixabay.

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  1. Where did your cookie recipe go ???? I can’t seem to access it and it’s my children’s and husbands favorite.???? Please help.

    1. Oh no!! I’m so sorry, Dawn! Technical difficulties … but I’ve added my recipe again. Now you can start baking! :)

  2. Happy Holidays Hillary! I’ve been searching for a yummy chewy sugar cookie to make Christmas cookies for my family. I somewhat have some time, I’m waiting for surgery. Usually I never have time, so I’m looking forward to trying this sugar cookie. I loved your blog! God bless you and say a prayer, I don’t bake very often. I cook but baking is not my forte.

    1. I tried this recipe and found my cookies were not the same shapes as when I put them in the oven. They were puffy and cakelike, but unrecognizable.

  3. Does your icing recipe crust? Will i be able to stack them once decorated with the icing recipe you provided?

    1. If left at room temperature, Britt, the buttercream frosting recipe doesn’t crust. So that I can stack my frosted sugar cookies, I usually pop my frosted, decorated sugar cookies into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set the frosting. If I stack my frosted cookies without the freezer step, the frosting always smears.

  4. My dough came out very sticky! Followed the recipe to a T. I let it chill in the fridge for an hour and a half. I’ve added more flour but it’s still sticky. =( I did a test run of a few blobs (kids decorated them)….rose just fine and came out soft after almost 8 minutes in the oven. Taste is pretty good….hopefully didn’t add too much flour (don’t know if that would dull the flavor). Going to let the rest of the dough chill more but looks like we might not get to do cutouts.

          1. I’m sorry it was so sticky! I hope you didn’t throw all your dough away! Keep adding 1/4 cup flour at a time until you can roll the cookies out.

  5. I followed your recipe exactly as it is written. My dough was SO sticky! I had to keep adding flour. Instead of 8 cups it was more like 12. I quit counting.

    Just getting ready to roll out the dough. So I’m really hoping it comes out tasty. I’m quite worried that all the extra flour is going to take away from the softness I was looking for in a cookie. Fingers crossed they still turn out great!

    1. Sometimes I need to add a lot of flour, Carla, especially when rolling out. The only thing that seems to affect the softness, though, is if I roll the dough out too much. For example, if I keep rerolling dough from the extra cut-outs, those cookies end up not being very soft. To prevent that, once I’m rolling the dough out on a floured surface and it’s ready for cut outs, I try to space my cookie cutters close enough so there’s very little extra dough left over. That way, when I do reroll the excess scrap dough, it won’t be too tough.

  6. I tried this recipe and was really disappointed. The dough was suuuuper sticky and even after adding more flour as the blogger suggested above, they stuck to the cutters, and stretched when I moved from counter ot baking sheet. I got 2 sheets of 12 cookies out of this dough before I tossed the whole batch of dough.

    So frustrating to work with, and the ones that DID get baked were fluffy, cakelike and had little flavor (maybe because of the flour added?). The search for a true sugar cookie continues for me…

  7. Hello we tried this recipe today and it was so good, yes dough was sticky but we added 1/4 cup at a time and it rolled out beautifully. My question is how do you get the color of your frosting so deep in the pictures. I used food coloring from the grocery store!! And it’s more pastel colors. Thanks

    1. I’ve had a lot of luck with Wilton food coloring – the gel based kind. (You can buy it through Amazon, Walmart, or Michael’s.) After using the McCormick liquid variety for years, I never was completely happy with the shades of color. But Wilton works wonders!

      SO glad you’re happy with the cookie recipe! :)

  8. Ok I’m not sure why everyone says they can’t handle this dough but it’s amazing! The cookies turn out nice and soft like Lofthouse cookies but the flavor is better! I used lemon juice instead of the vinegar because that’s what I had on hand. I definitely recommend letting your dough chill overnight. The gluten has more time to form and the dough sets up a little better. It is a sticky dough but if you work with it in softball size batches, make a thick pancake and flour both sides it rolls out beautifully! Cookies puffed up but held the shape! After reading the other comments I got worried. But ignore the negative people and carry on! I promise these will turn out amazing if you work in small batches! Every time I cut out my shapes I’d reuse the dough but add in about a baseball size amount and fold it into my scraps. Then make a thick pancake, flour both sides, then roll and repeat until all dough is used. I do recommend putting your dough in the fridge about half way through and letting it chill for 30 minutes again to refirm up. I tried using the Betty Crocker cookie icing on a cookie but I felt like it wasn’t nice enough for these awesome cookies so I’ll be frosting with a buttercream. If you want a crusting buttercream then use all shortening instead of butter or 1/2 shortening 1/2 butter if you want that butter flavor. This recipe gets an A+ In my book and will be added to my recipe box for many years to come! Thank you Hilary!

    1. Thank you so much, Caryn! I’m with you … I’m not sure why the dough is hard to handle for some bakers. It’s definitely not a quick process, but I don’t think cutout cookies ever are! FANTASTIC advice in working with small batches. Thanks again!

  9. Do u melt the butter or leave it out til room temperature also do the eggs need to be at room temperature as well

    1. The butter should be unmelted, but can be softened. The eggs do not need to be at room temperature, but if they are it’s fine.

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