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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.

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.

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

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 Cut-out Cookies 2

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
Print

Perfect Vanilla Almond Cut-out Cookies

4.9 from 31 reviews

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
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Total Time: 38 minutes

Yield: 48 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cold & cut into chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350, with rack on lower middle position. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.)
  7. 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. 
  8. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely before decorating. 

Notes

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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 81
  • Sugar: 4.2 g
  • Sodium: 32.5 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.3 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 14 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cut out cookies, vanilla cookies, sugar cookies

Tried-and-True holiday cookies for you:

  1.  Soft, Chewy, Ginger Cookies.  These always turn out awesome.  They’re chewy and soft, but we’ve certainly modified them for cut-out style cookies too!
Soft Ginger Cookies
  1.  Gingerbread Biscotti.  These are coffee dunkin’ great!  I love making these yummy crispy treats for Christmas gifts, because they keep SUPER well and taste outstanding.
Gingerbread Biscotti 2
  1.  Thick and Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies.  Nobody will be able to turn these down.  Dense, thick, chewy, and chocolate lovers’ dream.
Thick Chewy Triple chocolate cookies
  1.  Bakery Style Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These are one of my top cookies ever.  They’re like the ones you’d pay $2 each for at the mall.
Thick and Chewy Big Chocolate Chip Cookies

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

Add a comment

Recipe rating

103 comments

    • Jenny

    What a wonderful recipe! Such gorgeous cookies, and look delicious. My kids will love helping me make these. So festive and fun.

    • Miranda

    Do you recommend any substitutions for eggs? My daughter loves to bake and wants to make some cookies to decorate for her birthday in a few days but she’s allergic to eggs. These cookies look delicious! Thank you!

    • Nicola Morris

    You say that measurements are critical but then you just say sugar, rather than what kind of sugar. I am in the UK so need to convert your cups to grams for accurate measurements, I am assuming that 2 sticks butter will convert to 450g but then with the sugar it depends what kind of sugar you are using, 1 cup of different sugars weighs different amounts.
    Caster = 200g / Raw = 250g / Brown = 220g / Confectioners (icing) = 125g
    I’m hoping that you are using caster sugar.

      • chewoutloud

      You are correct: for UK, it would be caster, 200g. Two sticks of butter = 16TB. Hope that helps!

    • Rosa

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe. I’ve made it several times.
    I don’t always have room in my freezer to chill the dough for the 10 minutes. What happens if you don’t ‘freeze’ the cut-out dough, or instead pop them into the fridge? I also notice that this dough doesn’t call for a rest period, would that help or make a difference?

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you’ve been making & enjoying this! The dough doesn’t need a rest period, though the chilling allows it to keep shape better. If it’s not possible to freeze, you can place them in fridge for a bit longer to ensure they’re fully cold.

    • Veronika

    These are perfect cookies to decorate for the holidays! I was looking for a similar recipe, going to try yours tomorrow.

      • chewoutloud

      My kiddo just made these yesterday again…it’s a tradition around here! Enjoy 🙂

    • Ramona

    These almond and vanilla cookies look like they have the perfect thickness and taste! they look so perfect and pretty. I cant wait to make these.

    • Melanie

    I made two batches this weekend! One of the batches I replaced the flour with Bob’s RedMill all purpose gluten free flour (and added a little bit of xantham gum). The gluten free ones came out just as delicious! This will definitely be my go-to cut out cookie recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Melanie! So happy to hear you all enjoyed these 🙂

    • Jenny

    Yes, I agree; these are the perfect vanilla almond cookies. They came out fantastic and were so easy. I will make them again this week, people in the house have demanded it! Thanks so much for your recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      Awesome, Jenny! When they demand it, we bake it 🙂 🙂

    • Beth

    Everyone should have a cookie recipe like this in their back pocket that takes so few ingredients, likely already in the pantry, and leaves so much room for imagination. Yum.

      • chewoutloud

      We just did another 3 batches: coarse sugar…sprinkles…and drizzled white chocolate. So much fun!

    • Mama Maggie’s Kitchen

    Ooooh my mouth is watering right now! These cookies look so delicious and those shapes are wonderful.

    • Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    I love this recipe. It is simple, straight forward and delicious. My boys decorate a batch and leave the rest to enjoy as is. Happy Holidays!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s so great, Sandhya! Happy holidays to you, too 🙂

    • Ben M

    These are simple to make, delicious, and a great way to use festive cutouts. You don’t even need much to make these perfect holiday cookies because they taste great and if you are using a good cutout, you are good to go. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

      • chewoutloud

      You’re so welcome, Ben!

    • Colleen

    These are for sure the perfect cut out cookie! Making another batch today. Thanks for this great recipe!

    • Bernice Hill

    These cut out cookies look so perfect and have nice sharp edges. I can never seem to get them like that so I just roll them into a log and cut them into rounds. It’s so much less work!

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, these would make great sliced cookies as well. Thank you 🙂

    • Patricia

    Fabulous sugar cookie for decorating!! I followed the recipe directions to a tee and the cookies were the best I’ve ever baked. Highly recommend this sugar cookie recipe-the cookies are absolutely delicious!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay! So so happy you all loved these cookies! Super awesome, Patricia 🙂

    • janice

    hi:
    do i use butter right out of the fridge? most sugar cookie recipes say to use softened. does it matter? and i only have unsalted butter .. is this okay?

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, the butter should be cold. It will be creamed together with sugar in mixer for several minutes until “fluffy” 🙂 Unsalted butter is fine, but you may want to add about 1/4 tsp salt to the mix. Happy baking, Janice!

    • Katie

    These look so amazing! I love when cookies come out of the oven perfectly shaped. Thanks for sharing this just in time for the holidays!

    • Lisa Rios

    Vanilla and almond were literally created to be put together!! They look so cute and soft and just delicious! I bet they’d be perfect paired with a hot chocolate.

      • chewoutloud

      Agreed! Vanilla and almond are a dreamy match!

    • kumamonjeng

    These aren’t too fancy and looks simple and easy to make. I think this would make great party cookies.

    • Myrah Duque

    This recipe is perfect! It would be great for our Christmas cookies. We have lots of relatives coming over and it would be a great treat!

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