These no spread sugar cookies are thick, soft and so chewy! They are the perfect cut out cookies for decorating and hold their shape beautifully. They're made in one bowl and use simple pantry ingredients. Plus I have a super easy cookie icing recipe so you can decorate away!
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There is nothing worse than spending hours making sugar cookies only for the shapes not to hold when you bake them!
This sugar cookie recipe is foolproof, giving you extra sharp corners but a deliciously soft cookie!
When I think about Christmas, my mind jumps straight to Christmas cookies! You can definitely make these no spread sugar cookies year round for all your celebrations but I had to try out some fun Christmas cookie cutters.
If you're looking for a classic Lofthouse style of sugar cookie with icing, check out my buttercream frosted cookies! If you want even more Christmas cookies, check out these gingerbread cookies without molasses, cutout shortbread cookies, and cocoa blossom cookies!
Why you'll love these no spread sugar cookies!
- The cookies need just 7 ingredients, and you probably already have them in your pantry!
- I've used vanilla bean paste to give these sugar cookies a special touch, but you can use regular vanilla extract if you prefer.
- These sugar cookies don't use a leavener (like baking soda or baking powder), which means they don't puff up and instead keep their shape!
- I've made a super simple icing which only needs 1 bowl and takes just 5 minutes to make. This thick icing is shiny and delicious.
- Flour: I've only tested this recipe with all purpose flour. This is regular plain flour if you are in Europe!
- Unsalted Butter: I always use European style butter, like KerryGold, in my recipes. It has a higher butterfat content making it richer and creamier.
- Almond Extract: this is totally optional but I think makes these cookies extra special! It doesn't make the cookies taste overly almond-y.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: you can use vanilla extract if you prefer. Because there aren't a ton of ingredients in this recipe, I think the vanilla bean paste gives a stronger flavor to the cookies.
- Light Corn Syrup: not pictured but is used for the icing! This is going to make the icing shiny.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should become a bit paler, light and fluffy.
Step 2: Add the egg, vanilla bean paste and almond extract. Mix briefly to combine.
Step 3: Add the flour and salt and mix on your lowest speed. As soon as there are no more streaks of flour stop mixing!
Step 4: Place 2 pieces of parchment paper on your counter. Divide the dough in two, placing one on each piece of paper. Lightly dust each with flour, and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out until the piece is ¼ inch thick. If it starts to stick to the rolling pin then sprinkle over some more flour! Place one rolled out piece of dough on a baking sheet, then place the other one on top. Chill for 1 hour.
Step 5: Take the cookie sheet out with both pieces of dough. Remove the top sheet of dough and place on your counter. Lightly flour your cookie cutters and cut out your shapes. Reroll any scraps of dough to cut out more shapes! Place these cookies back on the parchment paper, making sure they are evenly spaced. Repeat with the other sheet of cookie dough, then place in the fridge for another 30-60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius.
Step 6: Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 8-12 minutes. Depending on the size of your cookie, like the large mittens pictured, they might need 12 minutes. Smaller cookies like the snowflakes and toadstools would only need 8 minutes. They should be pale in color with light golden brown edges.
To make the icing, whisk together all of the icing ingredients in a large bowl. It will be very thick and paste like. You'll know it's ready when you hold the whisk above the bowl and the ribbons dripping down hold their shape for 5 seconds before melting back with the rest of the icing.
How to Decorate Sugar Cookies
Here are my top tips to decorate no spread sugar cookies!
- First tip is to make sure your icing is the right consistency. It should be very thick and keep its shape.
- If you want to dye the icing, then separate it into a few small bowls. Use a few drops of food gel, then whisk until the icing is all one color.
- Wilton Tip 4 is the best piping tip to use to decorate these cookies.
- Outline the cookie first, then fill it in with random squiggles. Use a toothpick to gentle nudge the icing into place.
- Use nonpareils, sprinkles and sanding sugar to decorate! If you want to completely cover a cookie or a section of a cookie with sanding sugar, fill a shallow bowl with the sanding sugar and gently dip the cookie in.
- If you want to only use sanding sugar in certain sections of a cookie (like the mitten cuff above!), ice that section first. So for the mitten I used the regular white icing to outline and fill the cuff, then dipped that in sanding sugar. Then I iced the rest of the mitten with the red icing.
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Measuring – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake!
- Fluff and Sprinkle Flour – if you aren’t weighing your ingredients and are using a measuring cup, then use the fluff and sprinkle method to measure your flour. Go to this link here to find out how to do that. It’s important to have the right amount of flour in this recipe as we don't want dry cookies.
- Chilling - the chill time is super important to get these cookies to keep their shape, so don't skip it!
- Vanilla Bean Paste - there are only a few ingredients in this sugar cookie recipe, so using a high quality vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract will make a huge difference!
- Food Coloring – if you want to tint the dough my favorite food gel is Americolor! You only need to use a little bit to get vibrant colors. I used the shades laurel, maroon and tulip red.
I did test this recipe with a leavener, however it made the cookies puff up a bit and spread a tiny bit. Though it was only a little bit of spread and puffing, I wanted to make sure these were truly no spread sugar cookies! Because we are creaming the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, we will still have soft delicious cookies.
You can make the cookies ahead of time, either make them a few days before and store them in an airtight container until you're ready to decorate, or freeze them and then thaw completely when you're ready to decorate and enjoy!
If your cookie dough gets a bit sticky, sprinkle over some extra flour.
Keep the cookies spaced out on a baking tray for at least a few hours. I found that within 6 hours they were set, but you might want to wait up to 24 hours just in case!
I always use Americolor! They have vibrant colors and you only need a few drops.
I used sanding sugar from Target and I picked out some sprinkles from Sweetapolita.
Try these Christmas cookies next!
No Spread Sugar Cookies
No Spread Sugar Cookies
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ½ tablespoon vanilla bean paste can use extract instead
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 ½ tablespoons water
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes. It should go slightly pale in color and be light and fluffy.1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Add the egg, vanilla bean paste/extract, and almond extract. Beat to combine.1 large egg, ½ tablespoon vanilla bean paste, ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Pour in the flour and salt and mix on low. Stop as soon as there are no more streaks of flour. Divide the dough into two.2 ½ cups all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Place 2 pieces of parchment paper down on the counter. Place one piece of dough in the middle of 1 piece of parchment paper and lightly sprinkle over some extra flour. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough on the paper until it is ¼ inch thick. If the dough starts to stick to the rolling pan, sprinkle over some more flour. Repeat with the other piece of dough and parchment paper.
- Place one parchment paper covered in dough on a baking sheet, then place the other piece on top. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
- Take the cookie sheet out of the fridge. Take off the top rolled out piece of dough (still attached to the parchment paper!) and use lightly floured cookie cutter to cut out your shapes. You can reroll any dough that is leftover to cut out more cookies. Repeat with the other rolled out piece of dough.
- Place the cookies on the parchment paper, making sure they are evenly spaced out and not touching. Stack the two pieces of parchment paper with the cookies (carefully!) on the cookie sheet, or use a second cookie sheet if you have it. Chill the cut out cookies for another 30-60 minutes.
- While the cookies chill, preheat your oven to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius.
- Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time for 8-12 minutes. Depending on the size of your cookies they might need 12 minutes, small cookies will need less time! They should be still quite pale with light golden brown edges. Take the cookies out and let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before placing on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make Cookie Icing
- In a large bowl whisk together the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, corn syrup and water. It's really important that your confectioners' sugar is sifted or it will be lumpy!2 cups confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons corn syrup, 2 ½ tablespoons water
- Whisk until it is completely smooth. It will start off quite thick and paste like, you will have to use some elbow grease! It will start to loosen up slightly. You'll know it is ready to use when you lift the whisk up and let ribbons of icing drip back into the bowl, those ribbons should hold their shape for at least 5 seconds before melting back in with the rest of the icing. If your icing is still too firm, you can add 1 teaspoon of water.
- If using food gel coloring, separate the icing into smaller bowls and use a few drops of food coloring.
- Take the cooled cookies and place the icing into icing bags. I used the Wilton tip 4 and 5 to ice my cookies. I recommend outlining the cookies and then filling them in, using a toothpick to nudge the icing where you want it to go. Add sprinkles once you've done the icing! To add sanding sugar to specific parts of a cookie (like with the red mittens and the white cuff!), ice the section that will have sanding sugar on first, then dip in sugar. Then you can ice the rest of the cookie.
- Place the cookies back on a parchment lined cookie sheet to set. I found within 6 hours they were set but you might want to wait longer just to make sure!