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Perfect Vanilla Cut-out Cookies

These cookies have earned their title as Perfect Vanilla Cut-out Cookies.  They are easy, fuss-free, and retain their shape nicely after baking.  It’s a buttery, chewy, tasty cut-out cookie that can be decorated to your heart’s content.

vanilla cut out cookies with icing and sprinkles
Not just another pretty cookie; these taste incredible.

How to make Perfect Cut-Out Cookies

While I was making last minute cookie plans this year, the ever-important question of whether or not to do cut-out cookies came up.  I hold these crucial debates within myself from time to time.

That internal deliberation lasted approximately 11 seconds. These soft, buttery cut-out cookies are known to be so good, they doesn’t even need frosting or sprinkles or…. dare I say it…chocolate. In fact, you only need 7 ingredients and some fun cookie cutters in order to make a cookie party happen.

Let’s talk about how to make cut-out cookies so good, you’ll want to eat them straight out of the oven.

Watch Us Make These Cut Out Cookies

vanilla almond cookies, cut-out cookies, vanilla almond cut-out cookies

Vanilla Cut-Out Cookies are packed with flavor

I’ve made cut-outs from soft sugar cookies and these reliably wonderful gingerbread cookies every year.  It’s the season, and all the cookies beg to be made.

Aside from your usual cookies for that cookie exchange or dessert tray, amp up the flavors with these vanilla cut-out cookies this year. These little treats are perfectly shape-able with your selection of cookie cutters.

Secret Ingredient

The secret: almond extract. It’s a non-negotiable ingredient that provides absolutely amazing flavor that sets these sugar cookies apart from all others.

Make these cut-out cookies big or small. Of course, bake times will vary for bigs vs. smalls, so it’s best to place similar sized cookies together on the same tray.

These cookies are super easy as far as cut-out cookies go.  They keep their shape really well after baking, as long as they go straight from a mini freeze session straight to the hot oven.

vanilla almond cookies, cut-out cookies, vanilla almond cut-out cookies

Keys to Successful Cut-Out Cookies

  • Be sure to measure flour accurately, using scoop/level method, described here. Your cookie dough should end up with a texture similar to play dough; not sticky nor crumbly, but soft and malleable.
  • Don’t skip the 10-minute freeze time prior to baking, as that helps cookies to bake without puffing/spreading away their shape.
  • Take care not to over bake these cookies. They won’t brown much at all, and should appear slightly under-baked when you take them out of the oven. Your adorable cookies will set upon cooling.
  • Because every oven and every cookie-cutter size is different, it will be important to watch your first batch carefully so you know how long your specific cookie shapes should bake for. A good way to test this is to bake a small batch first to determine your best bake time.
vanilla almond cookies, cut-out cookies, vanilla almond cut-out cookies

Decorating Your Cut-Out Cookies

These cookies are tender, buttery, and lightly sweet with a delicious infusion of vanilla and almond – though they don’t contain actual almonds, the bit of extract goes a long way in providing that aromatic almond flavor.

These cut-out cookies are genuinely so good on their own, we don’t often do much besides sprinkle some coarse sugar on top for a bit of texture.

That said, feel free to decorate your cookies to your heart’s content, because you can. Some super easy and fun ideas include:

  • Colorful sprinkles added into your cookie dough; red/pink/white for Valentines, green/red/white for Christmas, or choose a funfetti style. Get creative and have fun!
  • Melt white chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, transfer to a baggie, cut a tiny hole in the corner, and drizzle onto cooled cookies.
  • Of course, your favorite frosting or icing can be used on cool cookies – you may want bigger shapes for this.
vanilla cut out cookies with icing and sprinkles
These cookies hold shape well and are perfect for decorating

More Cookies to Eat

Perfect Vanilla Almond Cut-out Cookies

4.82 from 38 ratings
These Cut-out Cookies are easy, keep their shape well after baking, and are tender and buttery. They are light in color even after baking, which makes them a great canvas for your decorating whims.
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 8 mins
Servings: 48



  • Preheat oven to 350, with rack on lower middle position. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. It’s important to measure flour accurately; use scoop/level method to ensure proper measurement. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes; use rubber spatula to scrape down sides as needed. Be sure to mix the full amount of time or longer. Add the egg and extracts and mix to fully incorporate.
  • Switch to low speed. Gradually add the flour mixture gently mixing just until combined, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Do not over-mix.
  • Use hands to work cookie dough into a smooth ball for rolling; if flour was measured accurately, texture will be similar to soft play-dough. It should not be sticky nor crumbly, but soft and pliable. 
  • Roll dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4″ thick and cut into shapes. Place cookie shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze entire cookie sheet for 10 minutes, which helps retain shape when baking. (If you live in a cold region, you may even be able to place it outside. Otherwise, you can place in freezer in smaller batches if needed.)
  • Transfer sheet of semi-frozen cookies straight into the preheated oven (only bake 1 sheet at a time.) Bake larger/thicker shapes (3.5 to 4 inch diameter) for 9-11 minutes and smaller shapes 7-8 minutes. *It’s important to watch your first batch closely so you know how much time to bake your particular sized/shaped cookies. If they’re baked a bit long, they’ll be more likely to lose their shape. Cookies should be removed from oven when they seem slightly under-baked. They will set upon cooling. 
  • Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely before decorating. 


  • Worth repeating: these cookies won’t brown much, so be sure to take them out even when they look slightly under-baked and pale. As cookie shapes/sizes vary greatly depending on cookie cutters, watch your first batch of cookies carefully to become familiar with how long to bake your cookies without them losing their shape. 
  • Yield amount states 48 cookies, but actual amount of cookies will vary depending on size of cookies/shapes.
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 118IU | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Method: Bake

Did you make this?

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Recipe Rating


    • L
    • 3 stars

    I’m not the greatest baker, so it may be me and my little helper. Dough became too crumbly, didn’t know what to do, so proceeded by smooshing it by hand, seemed to work well enough. Baked for 10 min and still soft upon coming out that many shapes broke. Not sure I’ll try this one again. Thanks anyways!

    • Nicole R
    • 5 stars

    These cookies are AMAZING!!! My Grandson and I always bake cookies. Its our thing, he is 4 and loves to pick diff recipes. We have done about 20-30 diff ones he found online. Today he found these. Everyone in my family, ate one and said “OMG THIS IS IT!!! THE HUNT IS OVER. THESE ARE PERFECT!!!” And they are. We made a few batches w orange zest, some w lemon zest and they are beautiful. Wonderful recipe. Cookie perfection here! Im so excited to share these with everyone during the holidays!

      • Amy Dong

      Awww, I love this, Nicole! Thank you 🙂

    • Jenn
    • 5 stars

    These are THE cookies to bake for Santa. They’re so easy to set and decorate with the entire family. And while not recommended, the dough is delicious raw.

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, so glad you liked them so much 🙂

    • Caroline
    • 5 stars

    Best recipe! love the freezer tip before baking!

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you!

    • Madeleine Gabriel

    Can I refrigerate peanut butter and use that with the cold butter as well?

    • Jen

    I’m SO excited to make these today I’ve been looking for a softer cut out cookie recipe! I had a couple questions, for the butter do you just take it straight from the fridge and add it to the dough or let it sit for a little bit on the counter first? And second does the egg need to be room temperature?

      • Amy Dong

      Butter is cut straight from the fridge. Egg does not need to be room temp. Hope you LOVE these!

    • Carrie
    • 3 stars

    These cookies can be delicious, BUT the wet/dry ingredient ratio is off. I’ve attempted it multiple times, measuring the dry ingredients carefully and without compressing them, following the steps meticulously, and the result is a dough that resembles kinetic sand more than playdough. I end up trying to retroactively add more butter or moisture to save the batch and make it rollable. I love the cookie flavor, but this recipe just doesn’t work for me.

    • Jessica
    • 5 stars

    I absolutely loved this recipe! It worked out beautifully and was delicious. I loved that you don’t have to make dough and then chill it for an hour like so many other recipes. I will definitely make these again!

    • Jan
    • 5 stars

    Best , soft cut out cookies! Her tips made these turn out perfect!

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you so much, Jan!

    • Chenée
    • 5 stars

    These cookies are so easy and perfect for decorating! I can’t wait to make them again!

    • Jessica

    These cookies came out perfect! I love how few ingredients they require and that they are relatively simple to make. Will be making these again for Christmas.

    • Silvia
    • 5 stars

    Absolutely perfect. I loved the almond flavor in them. I’m making another big batch for decorating them with the kids on Christmas.

    • Susan
    • 5 stars

    This is now my go to for cut out cookies! I always double the recipe and make them extra thick. My kids love them.

    • Sharon
    • 5 stars

    This cut cookie recipe is going to go on your Christmas cookie-making list ASAP! Perfect for making with the kids.

    • Heather
    • 5 stars

    so many creative options with these delicately flavoured customizable cookies – and finally a way to retain their shape

      • Candice

      Hey! This is probably a dumb question, but I don’t want to have to make them twice. For the butter, is it 1 cup plus 2 sticks? Or doubled, 2 cups plus 2 sticks? Thanks!

        • Amy Dong

        Candice, it is just 1 cup (so, 2 sticks only.) ENJOY! 🙂

    • Colleen
    • 5 stars

    This cookie recipe is perfect! They totally held their shape and were fun to decorate with grandkids. Thanks for this recipe!

    • Tristin
    • 5 stars

    I have already started our holiday baking, but have yet to make the cut-out cookies. So glad I stumbled upon your vanilla almond cut-out cookies recipe, these look perfect!

    • susan | the wimpy vegetarian
    • 5 stars

    I haven’t made cut out cookies and decorated them in years, but I’d love to do it this year for when my grandkids come to visit!! Thanks for the reminder on a quick freeze before baking – I remember that being critical to holding their shape.

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