Holiday Sugar Cookies

When I decided to teach myself how to make Hanukkah Holiday Sugar Cookies, I searched for a foolproof rolled sugar cookie recipe. I found one on With over 5,200 reviews on the recipe, the vast majority of them positive, I knew it must be great. I tweaked it slightly, adding a combination of almond and vanilla extract to the mix. As promised by those who have tried it before me, the recipe is terrific—simple and delicious. Normally, since I only made a small change to the original recipe, I would just link to it. However, the original recipe is scant on detail and doesn’t have step-by-step photos. I’ve shared it here with lots of added details and pics to clarify the process, just to make sure you don’t run into any trouble along the way. The main thing to remember is to keep your rolling surface and rolling pin well floured. The dough is quite sticky, and even after a prolonged chilling process it can be somewhat difficult to roll out. Keeping your surfaces floured will help you avoid trouble.

Once you’ve baked a batch, head over to my other blogs to learn how to make colorful icing and add beautiful details to your sugar cookies:

Royal Icing Recipe

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Recommended Products:

Hand Mixer

Rolling Pin

Baking Sheet

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Holiday Sugar Cookies


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Servings: Varies based on size of cookie cutters
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Slice the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and put them in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes till the sugar is fully incorporated and mixture is fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, almond extract and vanilla extract with an electric mixer till creamy.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon or spatula till a sugary dough forms. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Flour a rolling surface generously. Place a quarter of the cookie dough in the flour, then flip it and coat the opposite side with flour.
  • Re-flour the surface below the dough and begin rolling it out with a lightly floured rolling pin. You want to roll the dough ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. ¼ inch will produce thinner, crisper cookies and more cookies; ½ inch will produce fewer cookies with a softer texture.
  • Flip the dough once halfway through rolling, and keep the surface floured as you roll. The dough is quite sticky; keeping the surface and rolling pin floured will produce smoother results.
  • When dough is at the desired thickness, use cookie cutters to cut shapes in the dough. In this tutorial I used Star of David and dreidel cookie cutters for Hanukkah (links in the blog above), but any shape—even plain, circular—can be used.
  • Pull the excess dough trimmings from the cookies and reserve.
  • Lift the cookies from the rolling surface and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, spaced 1 inch apart.
  • If any of the cookies stick to the rolling surface, use a pastry scraper to gently loosen the cookie and lift it.
  • Re-roll out trimmings to make new cookies. When trimmings are small, add them to the next quarter of dough.
  • Bake the cookies in batches for 6-8 minutes per batch till they just start to turn golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Continue rolling out the cookies and baking in batches, a quarter of the dough at a time plus trimmings, till all of the dough is used. The amount of cookies will vary based on how large your cookie cutters are, and how thin you choose to roll out the dough.
  • Make sure the cookies cool completely before icing.

Comments (24)Post a Comment

  1. As you reroll in flour, your cookies may start to be tough and very hard. If you want to keep them soft and melt in the mouth all the way through, roll dough out in powered sugar. In fact, an aide in our Jewish preschool told me to do that for Hanukkah cookies and I started doing it for all rolled cookies–Purim Hamentashen in the thousands go easier this way.

    1. Interesting tip Jacquie, though I didn’t notice any toughness on my cookies from flouring. Wouldn’t the sugar make the rolling process very sticky and messy?

    2. Try it once, using the powered sugar as you would flour. You are probably a better pastry chef than I, but we made cookies with the very young students and it worked like a charm. It is only wet if your ingredients are too wet. I have even used it on pie dough. I am in North Carolina and it is often humid here, especially for working with flour. When you keep rerolling with flour, your flour to fat ration gets out of proportion. If you are making three dozen, you are probably fine. But if you are making bazillions, for every person you know and your Hanukkah party, it helps.

    3. I will definitely give it a try. I am by no means a pastry chef, and it does make sense that when making a large quantity that excessive flouring would throw off the fat ratio. Thanks Jacquie!

    4. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      Good Morning,

      I am a fan of making my own oriental dumplings. I am not if this would work for these cookies, however, the oriental people use cornstarch to roll out there dough’s. Nothing sticks to the counter and the dough does not become tough.

      Might be worth giving it a try and it adds no fat.

      Have a wonderful day!

    1. Enjoy Kandra! You might want to try rolling them in powdered sugar rather than flour, as suggested by another reader. I’m going to try it that way next time I bake them!

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Great cookie recipe. I did use powdered sugar to roll out the dough and it did not stick. They taste wonderful and your step by step instructions were so helpful.

  3. Hi ladies! I plan on making these cookies tonight in preparation for the holiday. I do want to make them pareve though since I plan on bringing them for Thanksgiving too. Has anyone used margarine for these instead of butter and do you think it would alter the taste of the cookies? I’ve been on an eternal quest for the perfect sugar cookie recipe and I cant wait to try this one! Thanks so much and happy thanksgivukkah!

    1. Hi Mary- the dough for these cookies can be frozen in disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, like pie crust. When ready to bake, thaw until pliable, then roll the dough out and continue with cutting the cookies.

  4. Beautiful cookies with the blue icing!!! I would love to make this and offer a variety of colors and foods for our friends of various backgrounds. We host a lot and being Military are constantly learning about other friends traditions. I found this recipe specifically for my sons school party this week. Excited to try my first recipe from your site!

  5. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    These cookies turned out great! The only comment I wanted to leave was to NOT use powdered sugar to dust your surface/dough. It melts onto the cookie sheet, making it almost impossible to get the cookies off the pan. I ruined half a batch of dough that way. I switched back to using flour, and the cookies came out PERFECTLY!

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Great recipe!!! The cookies come out light and delicious .
    Best sugar cookie recipe I’ve tried. I did use the powdered sugar tip- it worked beautifully and kept the integrity of the ingredients by not disturbing the fat:flour ratio. Always use parchment paper for cookies, so they did not stick at all.
    Also, my son is severely allergic to almonds, so I used all vanilla extract and added just a bit of orange zest, and they came out just delicious.

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