This cut-out sugar cookie recipe will become your family’s new go-to recipe! It requires simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand and comes together easily—even for inexperienced bakers. The lemon zest gives it just a touch of bright, citrusy flavor. And the cream cheese makes them ultra-soft—it’s the secret to the best cut-out cookies!
The cut-outs hold their shape perfectly and look wonderful on a holiday cookie tray. And they are absolutely delicious! They’ll be the first to disappear at any holiday cookie exchange. Give them a try and see why these are the best cut-out cookies ever!
Ingredients (mix up order)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the butter and cream cheese with the sugar. Beat for several minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon zest.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then gradually add to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.
At this point separate the dough into two balls and roll out to ¼ inch thickness between two pieces of parchment paper. Then the dough should be chilled for at least an hour.
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment or a Silpat. Cut cookies out of the rolled dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack.
Cool completely before icing or decorating.
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Quick tip: Store in a tightly covered container.