This is the perfect sugar cookie recipe, just like grandma used to make! These sugar cookies are soft, fluffy, and buttery and pair perfectly with butter cream icing.

sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles

Ever since I can remember, my cousins and I would go over to my grandma’s house to help her bake Christmas sugar cookies. She has a special sugar cookie recipe, handwritten on an old notecard, that she makes every year.

We make other types of cookies too, mostly from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, but these sugar cookies are my favorite. They’re fluffy, soft, and pair perfectly with her butter cream icing.

She usually makes a big batch of dough the night before, lets it chill overnight. Then, the next day we roll them out and use cookie cutters to make Santa Claus, Rudolph, Christmas trees, angels, stars, candlesticks, and snowmen to celebrate Christmas in our family. This recipe can easily be adapted to celebrate different religious traditions. Williams Sonoma always carries a great assortment of different cookie cutters and molds for baking.

Then, we mix up whatever color of frosting we want that year, and spend all afternoon decorating! Each cookie ends up being unique. Decorating was always my favorite part as a kid, mostly because of my sugar tooth. I usually walk away covered in frosting because I can’t help but eating the warm and frosty broken sugar cookies as we go.

It’s my favorite Christmas activity, and we’ve been doing it ever since I can remember!

These Sugar Cookies are:

  • Soft, fluffy, and full of flavor.
  • Perfect for a sugar cookie frosting activity for kids. It’s the perfect holiday family activity for you and your little ones.
  • Flexible – can be used for any holiday or special event. We also used to frost “M”‘s for Michigan football game weekends!
sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: The base of the cookie.
  • Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cookie, of course!
  • Eggs: Binds the dough together.
  • Shortening: Used in place of butter in this recipe. Because shortening has a higher melting point than butter, it will make the cookies fluffier and more tender.
  • Milk: Moistens the dough and adds flavor.
  • Baking powder: Helps the cookies to rise.
  • Salt: Adds flavor.
  • Vanilla: Add flavor.

Tips to Make Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

  1. When cutting out the cookies, dip your cookie cutter in raw flour before pressing into the wet dough. The flour helps to prevent the dough from sticking to the cookie cutter, and allows the dough to come out of the cutter more easily. If the wet dough gets stuck in the narrow parts of the cutter it will break the dough.
  2. Keep your countertop and the top of the rolled out dough well-floured as well to prevent sticking.
  3. Make sure to let the cookies cool a bit before you begin to decorate! The cookies are very light and fluffy and cooling them will make them a bit more sturdy. The icing will also run if you frost them while they’re hot.
  4. Make the dough ahead of time for a hassle-free bake day. When it’s time to bake, just remove the dough from the fridge, roll it out, cut your shapes, and bake!
two women and three female children frosting sugar cookies at a kitchen table

Here we are in my Grandma’s very, very orange kitchen in the 90s. It brings back so much nostalgia! And yes, you guessed it, that’s me on the left eating frosting.

I promise you will make a batch of memories! Happy holidays!

Other recipes from Grandma’s recipe box:

Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

Coffee Cake
This is the perfect sugar cookie recipe, just like grandma used to make! These sugar cookies are soft, fluffy, and buttery and pair perfectly with butter cream icing.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lb shortening like Oleo
  • cup milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, add sugar, eggs, shortening, milk, and vanilla. Mix well to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix well until fully incorporated.
  • Form dough into a ball, then chill in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a well-floured surface.
  • Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 400°F for 6-8 minutes.
  • Decorate using colored butter cream icing and sprinkles.

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