Soft and chewy simple vanilla sugar cookies are a classic with a buttery and sweet flavor! Made with simple ingredients these homemade cookies are easy to make and perfect for any occasion.
These simple, versatile vanilla sugar cookies are so easy to make and have become my new go-to cookie recipe! They turn out perfect every time with rich vanilla flavor and sweet sugary taste.
They’re different from my cut-out powdered sugar cookies that I make at Christmas because they are drop cookies that don’t require any rolling pin or cookie cutters. They use basic ingredients similar to my crunchy sugar cookies but have a soft and chewy texture.
When you need a classic sugar cookie recipe, this is it! It’s simple yet flavorful plus you can have homemade cookies within an hour with minimal effort or mess!
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love These Classic Vanilla Cookies
- Classic taste: With a rich and buttery vanilla flavor and a dusting of sweet sugar coating, this recipe for vanilla sugar cookies will be your new go-to recipe for Christmas cookies and everyday occasions.
- Soft and fluffy: This soft sugar cookie is only slightly puffy and pillowy with a chewy texture! It is the best vanilla sugar cookie recipe.
- Easy to make: All you need to make this vanilla cookie recipe are simple pantry ingredients. Plus this drop cookie doesn’t require any cookie cutters!
Sugar Cookie Ingredients
- All-purpose flour: Adds structure to the cookies. Measure accurately for best results.
- Granulated sugar: Adds sweet taste. You will need white granulated sugar for both the cookie dough and to roll the cookies in.
- Baking staples: Baking powder and baking soda help the cookies puff up.
- Salt: Just a pinch of salt to enhance the taste.
- Nutmeg: Adds a nutty flavor to the cookies.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is best for baking, but if using salted butter adjust the added salt.
- Egg yolk and whole cream: Adds moisture and softness to the cookies.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract gives these vanilla sugar cookies their classic taste!
How to Make Vanilla Sugar Cookies
Whisk dry ingredients with butter: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ½ cup sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Cut in the butter to form fine crumbs and set the bowl aside.
Beat wet ingredients: In a small bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the egg yolk, whole cream and vanilla.
Combine ingredients, then chill: Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine to form a dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll in sugar: Place 2 tablespoons of sugar on a plate, roll the dough into 1 inch balls then roll them in the sugar and place cookies on prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Flatten cookies: Lightly flatten the dough with a fork that has been dipped in flour so the cookies spread and bake evenly
Bake: Bake easy sugar cookies 9-11 minutes at 350°F or until golden brown and crackly on top. Cool cookies for 5 minutes on a baking sheet then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Substitutions and Variations
- More bold vanilla taste: If you love the rich taste of vanilla, you can use vanilla bean paste instead of extract which has a more concentrated flavor. Substitute on a 1:1 basis.
- Cinnamon sugar: You could add a touch of cinnamon, like I do in these sweet cinnamon sugar cookies.
- Roll in sprinkles: Instead of rolling in granulated sugar you can roll the cookies in nonpareil sprinkles. Perfect for holidays or to fit a color scheme.
- Colorful cookies: Mix in some freeze dried fruit powder with the sugar for a fruity taste that adds a light tint of color to the cookies.
- Almond extract: Instead of vanilla extract, you could use almond extract but only use ¼ teaspoon as it will add a strong taste.
- Frosting: While I love the simplicity of a plain sugar cookie, you can certainly add your favorite frosting on top if desired. Try cream cheese frosting or this Swiss meringue buttercream.
Tips for the Best Sugar Cookies
- Room temperature butter: Don’t use butter that is super cold, nor butter that is too soft and warm. When you press the butter with your thumb it should leave a very slight indent. If your butter is too warm your cookies will spread while baking.
- Measure your flour correctly: If your flour is overpacked, your chewy sugar cookie recipe will be too dense and won’t spread at all. Either weigh your flour or fluff your flour by scooping it into the measuring cup and leveling it with a knife.
- Flattening: This vanilla sugar cookie dough is more dense, so flattening with a fork helps them become more flat and round. Use a fork or get creative potato masher, meat mallet or even a food processor pusher.
- Roll in sugar before baking: A beautiful crackly sugar cookie top is what we are after in this best sugar cookie recipe!
- Avoid overbaking the cookies: Soft and chewy sugar cookies are what we are after! Every oven is different so check often.
How to store vanilla sugar cookies?
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For softer cookies, place a piece of bread in the container. The bread will get hard but the cookies will stay soft!
Can I freeze sugar cookies?
Yes! You can freeze the cookie dough balls or freeze the baked sugar cookies. To freeze the dough, roll sugar cookies into balls and flash freeze on a baking sheet until firm. Transfer to a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen adding a few minutes to the baking time.
To freeze baked cookies, cool cookies completely. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Place parchment paper or wax paper between stacked cookies. Thaw and enjoy.
Why are my sugar cookies flat?
There could be a few reasons! You skipped the chilling time, your butter was too warm or you did not use enough flour. Lastly, I recommend lining your baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (or silpat mat).
Can I use this recipe for cutout cookies?
No. This is for a drop sugar cookies recipe so it is too delicate of a dough to roll out and cut with cookie cutters. My cutout powdered sugar cookies are perfect for rolling and making cut-out sugar cookies with, though!
More Drop Cookie Recipes
- Apricot Drop Cookies
- Oat Flour Cookies
- Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies
- Easy Nut Cookies
- Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies
Simple Vanilla Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup All purpose flour
- ½ cup +2 tablespoons granulated sugar – divided
- 1 pinch Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon Baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup Butter – room temperature
- 1 large Egg yolk
- 2½ tablespoons Whole cream
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar (½ cup), salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Cut in the butter to form fine crumbs and set the bowl aside.
- In a small bowl beat together the yolk, cream and vanilla.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine to form a dough. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- While the oven is pre-heating, place 2 tablespoons of sugar on a plate, roll the dough into 1 inch balls, roll them in the sugar and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly Flatten the dough with a fork (dip the fork in flour to avoid it sticking to the cookies) and bake them approximately 9-11 minutes or until golden and flat with a few cracks on the top.
- Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!