Sugar cookies are holiday classics—rolled, shaped, filled or sandwiched, this basic recipe can be called into service to create dozens of different cookies. It will keep its shape once baked, so use your imagination.

Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt


In a large bowl, beat both sugars with the butter and oil until light. Add egg and vanilla and beat for another minute. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir or beat on low speed just until you have smooth dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. On a floured surface, roll dough out 1/4-inch thick and cut into shapes, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until pale golden around the edges; cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

The Variations

Thumbprint CookiesDon’t bother refrigerating the dough—instead, shape it into walnut-sized balls, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and press down on each with your thumb to make a dent. Fill with a small spoonful of jam, mincemeat or other preserves and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until pale golden. If you like, dust with icing sugar.

Gingerbread CookiesSubstitute molasses for the oil, and then add 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger and ½ tsp nutmeg to the dry ingredients. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too soft. Chill, roll, cut and bake as directed.

Icebox CookiesStir 1 cup chopped nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chunks or any other additions you like into the dough. Shape into two logs, wrap in plastic or parchment and refrigerate for several hours or up to a week, or freeze for up to 4 months. Slice ¼-inch thick and bake as directed.

Linzer CookiesRoll and cut simple shapes, like circles, and cut a small window out of half of the cookies before baking. Once baked, spread whole cookies with raspberry or apricot jam, then sprinkle the windowed cookies with icing sugar before placing on top.

Lemon Meltaways Add the grated zest of a lemon to the butter-sugar mixture as you beat it. Bake as directed, and drizzle cooled cookies with an icing made with ½ cup icing sugar and 2 tsp lemon juice.

Cinnamon Bun Crunch Icebox CookiesOn a floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle with dark brown sugar and cinnamon, then roll up, starting from a long edge. Cut the roll in half, wrap in plastic or parchment and refrigerate for at least an hour. Slice ¼-inch thick and bake as directed.

Keep on baking! Read More: 5 Cookie Doughs, 24 Variations