Sugar Cookies: Perfect Edges Every Time

This is an easy to make, basic sugar cookie recipe that is great for any holiday! Halloween, Christmas, and of course Valentine’s Day!! This is a pretty forgiving recipe. It will work even if you are not super accurate with your scaling, or don’t want to get out the digital scale or measuring cups. The dough is your blank canvas that you can cut out into any shape you like and decorate as you see fit.

Our “cheater” royal icing is easy to make in large batches, and divide for use with multiple colors. This recipe is egg-free and easy to thicken or thin to your preference with a little water!

What you’ll need:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Sheet pans lined with parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Stand mixer, or hand mixer
  • Spatula
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Piping bags with decorating tips
  • Sprinkles or other toppings of choice

Dough Ingredients:

  • ½ cup lard + ½ cup butter
  • 1 ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp good vanilla
  • 3 cups flour – we use a mix of 2 ¼ cups of all purpose flour and ¾ cup of Swan’s Down cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder


  1. Cream together the sugar, pinch of salt, and fat. It should look aerated and fluffy. You can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for five minutes, or an electronic hand mixer will do the trick as well.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and beat together for a few minutes more until well-mixed and fully creamed. Be sure to occasionally use a rubber spatula and scrape down the sides to get everything uniformly combined.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder a little at a time. Once the dough is finished, ball and flatten the mixture, and wrap it in plastic. Let it rest for about half an hour in the fridge before rolling out. If you wish, you can do this step the day before you intend to bake the cookies in order to save time.
  4. When you are ready to bake, roll out the dough to about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Feel free to use cookie cutters or hand-shape the dough.
  5. Carefully transfer the cutouts onto your baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake in a 350°F oven for 6-10 minutes. The size, shape and nature of your cookie cutouts radically influence baking time, so keep an eye out and trust your nose. If you’re baking multiple shapes, separate them onto their own sheet so they cook evenly.
  6. At SCP, we pull the cookies from the oven at the first sign of browning around the edges and when they get aromatic. This is somewhat a matter of taste. If you like the cookies to be a little chewy, you almost “under-bake” them. There will still be some carry-over cooking that happens as they rest.
  7. Let them rest about a minute or two on the sheet tray and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Easy Royal Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp white corn syrup
  • 1 whisper of vanilla extract
  • 1 drop of your food coloring of choice (more for rich color)
  • water (as needed to thin)

Measurements for this icing aren’t necessarily exact, and should be used as a guide. For edges or writing, you will want this icing to be slightly thicker so it sets as an outline. To fill in the cookie, you will want the icing to be a little more thin, so add water as needed. If you make it too thin, just add powdered sugar to bring it back up to the desired thickness.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well-blended. Correct with water or powdered sugar for desired thickness as stated above. Fill piping bags with different colors and desired tips. You will want finer tips, as this icing will set slightly thicker than the tip width. Draw your borders first and let dry. Fill in the inside of the cookie next. You will need to dry these in stages so that the icing finishes flat and smooth before you add decorations on top. If you want to use sprinkles at any stage, make sure to use them when the icing is fresh, otherwise it will harden and they wont stick! Lastly… Enjoy!