If you’re looking for the ultimate recipe for soft and chewy sugar cookies, you’ve come to the right place. Not only are these sugar cookies fantastically buttery, tender, and doughy; but they also stay soft for days on end. They’re also incredibly easy to make and require no rolling out! Just like your favorite bakery sugar cookies, but better.
THE BEST SOFT AND CHEWY SUGAR COOKIES
There are two types of people in this world: The kind who prefer their cookies to be soft and chewy, and those that are wrong.
As much as I enjoy a thin, crispy cookie or a puffy, cakey cookie from time to time, nothing beats a chewy cookie that stays soft for days after baking– if any manage to last that long. Right? I mean, if anything at all makes you feel like a kid again, it’s smelling the warm vanilla and brown sugar as you sink your teeth into a freshly baked, irresistibly buttery, almost-but-not-quite undercooked cookie.
That thought has been the basis of some of my all-time most favorite (and most popular) cookie recipes of all time* and it still is today, with these soft and chewy sugar cookies.
I don’t take the business of baking cookies lightly, so believe me when I say that this recipe was ridiculously, exhaustively, probably excessively tested. And tasted. (Surprise, surprise, I ate a lot of cookies.) What I wound up finding is that the path to the Best Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies is actually a surprisingly simple one.
* I’ll link to those all-time most favorite chewy cookie recipes at the bottom of this post so you can check those out, too!
HOW TO MAKE SUGAR COOKIES
Some sugar cookies require tons of steps, including several separate trips to the fridge, rolling out the dough, cutting with cookie cutters, and meticulously decorating. This is not one of those recipes. Instead, this recipe takes the hard work out of making sugar cookies but ups the ante with more flavor, better texture, and a sugar coat that glistens just as beautifully as any royal icing job I could manage.
To make these sugar cookies, I first have to gather my ingredients. Most of the ingredients are ones that shouldn’t surprise you when it comes to cookies– flour, eggs, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract– but there are a few key ingredients that make this recipe special that you might not have expected:
- Melted butter. Most cookie recipes call for creaming together room temperature butter with sugar, which will give you a thicker, cakier cookie. However, melted butter will give you a chewier cookie, so I opt for melted almost every time.
- Light brown sugar. Light brown sugar isn’t uncommon in cookie recipes, but most sugar cookies call for granulated sugar only. Mixing in a bit of light brown sugar makes the cookies moist and chewy (thanks to the molasses), and also gives the cookies a deeper flavor.
- Cornstarch. This one is probably very unexpected, but I use it in all of my chewy cookie recipes. 2 teaspoons of cornstarch will create a much more tender cookie as the cornstarch softens the harsher proteins in the flour.
MAKING THE DOUGH
I make the dough simply in my stand mixer, but you can use a bowl and an electric mixer if you’d prefer. This recipe only requires 3 instances of mixing– first, to combine the butter and sugars; then, to add in the eggs and vanilla extract, and finally, to mix in all of the dry ingredients.
After all of the ingredients have been added, a very soft (and somewhat sticky) dough will form. It will be difficult to handle at this point, but don’t worry, after a brief visit to the fridge it will be much more solidified!
I refrigerate my dough for at least an hour, which allows the butter time to solidify and the flavors time to meld before baking. You can refrigerate your dough for up to 3 days, if you need to.
BAKING THE SUGAR COOKIES
After the dough has been chilled, it’s time to bake! Well, almost.
Remember how I mentioned that a lot of sugar cookies require rolling out the dough with a rolling pin? This recipe requires a different– and much easier– type of rolling before you can pop those cookies in the oven.
Scoop the dough and shape into balls, and then roll the cookie dough balls in extra sugar. This gives a glistening finish to the sugar cookies and ensures that the first thing to hit your tongue is a quick-dissolving, light layer of sweetness. I often use additional granulated sugar for this step, but larger-grained sugars like sanding sugar or decorating sugar also give a beautiful finished effect.
Then, I simply pop the sugar-coated cookie dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and get ready to stick them in the oven. Be sure you give your cookies plenty of room to spread though, as they will get quite big. I like to limit 6-8 cookies to one baking sheet, to be safe.
When it’s finally time to bake, put the cookies into a 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes, or until they’re just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges with a puffed, undercooked center. The center will settle as you allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet (<– that’s important!) and you’ll wind up with perfectly soft, unbelievably chewy sugar cookies.
WATCH THE “SOFT AND CHEWY SUGAR COOKIES” VIDEO
MORE CHEWY COOKIE RECIPES TO LOVE
- The Best Chewy Café-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
- The Best Chewy Café-Style Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chewy Chai Snickerdoodles
- Chewy Cherry Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
- Soft and Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 5 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar + additional 1/2 cup sugar to roll
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the cookie whisk attachment, beat together the melted butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, and the light brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined and smooth.
- Add in the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until well combined, but be sure not to over-mix. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop a 2-3 heaping tablespoons of cookie dough at a time and roll into balls, then roll the balls in sugar to coat. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, giving plenty of room for spreading. You should be able to fit 6-8 cookies per tray.
- Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to set and brown and the centers are still puffy and soft and seem undercooked. Remove from the oven and let cool fully on the baking sheet to set the cookies.
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