Mary's Sugar Cookies are classic soft sugar cookies with buttercream icing and sprinkles. This is my all time favorite Christmas cookie recipe from childhood that my aunt Emily would make every year. Click here for video.
"This recipe is near and dear to my heart. My aunt Emily made them every Christmas and I lived for them!!"
I've had two people ask me about sugar cookies in the last week. I offered to make a treat for my neighbor to say thank you for watching our pets. He requested sugar cookies. Then, I ran into an old friend at my son's basketball practice and she asked me if I had a good sugar cookie recipe! Well, yes Kate, I certainly do and here it is.
The story behind Mary's Sugar Cookies
My aunt Emily used to make Mary's Sugar Cookies every Christmas and I've been making them as long as I can remember. Usually around the holidays but they could be enjoyed any time of year.
I've never asked her, but I'm pretty sure my aunt Emily got the recipe out of this cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book (Copyright 1963). The recipe for Mary's Sugar Cookies is in this book (page 18) and it's exactly the same as Emily's. It's such a great cookie book. I just love it! One hundred and fifty pages of every kind of cookie known to man. And there are LOTS of photos which makes me love it more. It's not easy to find but they do have the book on Amazon.
How to make soft sugar cookies
To make the cookies, start by making the dough. Then you divide it in half, wrap in waxed paper and place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Take out of the refrigerator and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Roll out each disk of dough between two sheets of parchment paper. You can also roll out on a lightly floured surface but it's not as messy this way.
Cut the cookies into your preferred shapes, remove the extra dough and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 7-9 minutes at 350°F.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Mix butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.
Frost the cooled cookies and add sprinkles. You can also color the frosting, if you wish.
This recipe has been around for over 50 years. I would say it's definitely an oldie but goodie. My kids are crazy about these cookies and so am I!
Tools for success
Non-Stick Parchment Paper for Baking
Commercial Hardwood Rolling Pin (My Favorite)
Note: The above items are affiliate links.
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Mary's Sugar Cookies
For the cookies
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar 163g
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 2 sticks
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla I used McCormick
- ½ teaspoon almond flavoring
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 330g
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened 1 stick
- 4 cups powdered sugar 454g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons milk or more, enough to make it spreadable
- Optional garnish - sprinkles
For the cookies
- Mix sugar and butter. Add egg and flavorings; mix thoroughly. Measure flour. Stir dry ingredients together and blend in. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Divide dough in half and roll 3/16" thick on lightly floured surface. (I roll it between two sheets of parchment.) Cut with cookie cutter. Place on lightly greased baking sheet or, if using parchment paper to roll out cookies, just place the parchment paper with cut cookies right onto a cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes or until delicately golden. Makes 30 (3") round cookies.
For the frosting
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat butter, sugar, milk and vanilla together until smooth and creamy. Frost cookies and add sprinkles, if desired.
This post is featured on The Southern Plate Meal Plan Monday #37!
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.
This recipe is in every Betty Crocker Cookbook. At least from '70-'85.
The Cooky Book! Could not love this more…this sugar cookie is the best! Thank you so much for sharing!
Lise Ode says
Great minds think alike! 🙂
Can these be made as a drop cookie?
Lise Ode says
You could roll the dough into balls and press gently with the palm of your hand to make round cookies without rolling them out.
William Preston says
How do you get the frosting such vivid, rich shades of red and green?? Mine ALWAYS end up pink and lime green. Help! 🎅 🎄
Judith Watson says
For more vibrant colours, try using powdered colouring rather than liquid.
This cookie is the best!! Happy Holidays:)
Mom Loves Baking says
Yes! I totally agree with you, Sara! 🙂