A customized print-friendly version of this recipe is available by clicking the "Print Recipe" button on this page.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Author: AJ Quigley

Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe

AJ Quigley, a regular on King Arthur's Baking Circle community, emailed us this recipe with the following message: "I ran across one of my favorite sugar cookie recipes years ago in one of those 'company' fundraiser cookbooks, and have used it quite often since then. I checked KAF's recipes and there's not one like it, so I thought I'd share. It makes a tender-crisp, melt-in-your-mouth cookie." We've changed AJ's recipe slightly (baker's prerogative!), but feel it's still true to its origins. Thanks, AJ!

Interestingly, this cookie can go either way, texture-wise: crisp-crunchy, or soft-chewy. If you store them airtight, the cookies will remain crisp. But if you prefer soft sugar cookies, bake them for 13 minutes, then leave them uncovered overnight; they'll soften nicely.

View step-by-step
directions on our blog

At a glance

2 1/2 dozen 3" cookies


Choose your measure:


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, to taste; optional
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt*
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • *Reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon if you use salted butter.



  1. Beat the oil, butter, and sugars together until fairly smooth; a few lumps of butter may remain.
  2. Add the egg, beating until smooth. Beat in the extracts and nutmeg.
  3. Stir in the dry ingredients, again beating until smooth.
  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, until it's stiff enough to scoop easily and hold its shape; overnight is fine.
  5. Just before shaping the cookies, preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) 2 or 3 baking sheets.
  6. Place some granulated sugar or coarse white sparkling sugar in a shallow pan, and scoop the chilled dough by the tablespoonful into the sugar, rolling to coat. Roll each ball into a round in your palms. The dough softens quickly; refrigerate it between batches.
  7. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, until their edges are just beginning to brown. Bake slightly longer for a crisper cookie.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  10. As soon as the cookies are completely cool, store them airtight, to retain their crunchy texture. For soft cookies, allow them to rest uncovered overnight before wrapping and storing.
  11. Yield: 2 1/2 dozen 3" cookies.