Our Tips for the Best Christmas Sugar Cookies

Our Test Kitchen's tried and true tricks for whipping up a dozen sugar cookies… or three.

5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
Recipe: 5-Ingredient Sugar CookiesThese sweet treats are perfect for a simple dessert that everyone will want to celebrate. Break out those shamrock-shaped cookie cutters to get in the sprit. Remember to pick up the green nonpareils for extra festive color. Photo: Hector Sanchez

Making Christmas sugar cookies is one of those skills that seems instilled in most Southerners from birth. So much so that sometimes it almost feels embarrassing to admit that you might not know all the answers when it comes to baking them. Whether it's your first time making them with your own family or you want to discretely check to see if you are indeed the sorceress of sugar you claim to be, take a look at this list. We've gathered our favorite sugar cookie baking tips all together in a greatest hits list that you can refer to whenever you need a Santa's Little Helper.

Equipment Tips

Choose Wisely

Pick a sheet pan that has 2 inches of clearance on all sides of the oven. This will allow for good air circulation and even baking.

Stock Up

Always have two or three baking sheets on hand. Reusing the same sheet over and over will make your subsequent batches melt.

Cut Corners (In a Good Way)

Line your pan with parchment that hangs over the sides so it's easy to lift them out and clean the pan.

Method Tips

Flip It

You can reuse your custom-cut parchment sheet by just turning it over.

Make a Little Noise

When cookies are done, sharply tap the baking sheet against the counter. It will force the cookies to settle faster, creating a crisp outside and a chewy center.

Reach for a Spoon

When measuring flour, spoon–don't pack–the dry ingredient into the measuring cup. This technique helps yield tender cookies.

Crack the Right Eggs

You'll want to bake with room temperature eggs so they easily incorporate into your dough. In a rush? Just sit them in a bowl of warm tap water for 10 minutes.

It's All in the Presentation

Shape Up

Choose cookie cutters with simple shapes; they're easier to handle and less likely to break. Make sure to flour the cutter beforehand too so it will prevent the dough from sticking to it.

Switch It Up

Cut-out cookies don't have to be vanilla. This year, try a deep, dark chocolate version. Dust your cutting board with cocoa powder to preserve the color and flavor.

Roll it Right

We think 1/8 inch is the perfect thickness for a crisp, buttery cookie, but this dough can be rolled to 1/4 inch thick if you prefer a soft texture.

Share Your Cookie Bounty

Travel Lightly

Delicate or intricately shaped cookies aren't built for traveling. Slice-and-bake or drop cookies are more durable and more likely to survive the journey.

Cookie Planning

Simple cookies like shortbread, gingerbread, sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies all freeze well once baked. Make sure your cookies are completely cooled first. Flash freeze the cooled cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Store Your Cookies Properly

Believe it or not, there is a right way to storing cookies. The best way to store cookies depends on the type of cookie and how long you want to store them. Read our best tips here.

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