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Small Batch Sugar Cookies

This is the best small batch sugar cookies recipe! This small batch recipe is definitely one for your recipe box. These soft, lofthouse style sugar cookies melt in your mouth and are topped with a rich buttercream frosting. 

one sugar cookie on a white plate next to a rack of cookies.

If you're looking for the best sugar cookie recipe, you've come to the right place. This cookie recipe is a keeper and has been in my recipe files for years.

Why This Recipe Works

  • This is a scaled down version of the sugar cookie recipe I've used to make lofthouse cookies for my kids' classroom parties, for school bake sales, and for holiday parties.
  • The cookies are easy to make and they're buttery and soft. The ingredients are mixed in one bowl and the cookies bake in 10 minutes.
  • This recipe will yield about six perfect sugar cookies.
  • Sugar cookies are wonderful cookies to make for the holidays or to bring to cookie swaps. They're actually perfect for Easter, Mother's Day, Christmas or Valentine's Day too.

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Blue Frosted Lofthouse Sugar Cookies with white crystal sprinkles on a cooling rack

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Ingredient Notes

See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and instructions.

  • Butter: I use room temperature, slightly softened salted butter. Butter helps make these sugar cookies tender and it adds flavor.
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar to deliver the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Egg: 1 egg is all you need to add structure to the cookies.
  • Vanilla extract and salt: For flavor.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder: Helps give the cookies a little lift.

How To Make This Recipe

Step 1

  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl, mix together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Beat in the vanilla and the egg.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  • When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Scoop up a quarter cup of the dough and roll it into a ball and place it on a baking sheet.
6 raw cookie dough balls on an orange silicone mat on a baking sheet.

Step 2

  • Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and space the cookies at least 2 inches apart.
6 cookies ready to be baked in an oven on a baking sheet.

Step 3

  • Bake 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. The edges should be very slightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cookie rack to cool completely.
Six Sugar Cookies on a cooling rack with one cookie topped with blue frosting next to a glass bowl of blue frosting

Vanilla Buttercream Icing Ingredients

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts.

  • Softened salted butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Milk or cream
  • Food coloring (optional)

Whip the ingredients together with a hand mixer and easily color the frosting with a few drops of whichever food coloring you choose.

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Expert Tips

  • Use softened butter, not cold butter in this sugar cookie recipe. Softened butter should still be cool to the touch but when you press your finger into the butter, your finger will leave an indentation. The best way to soften your butter is to put it out on the kitchen counter for a half hour before you want to use it. Another way to quickly soften butter is to put the cold butter in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. If you use this method, be sure to watch carefully - you don't want the butter to melt at all.
  • Measure the flour by using the spoon and level method. To measure flour correctly, use a spoon to scoop flour into a measuring cup and slightly overfill. Then, use the back of a knife or other straight edged utensil to level the flour across the cup. Do not scoop the flour. When you scoop, the flour gets packed too tightly and you will end up with more flour than the recipe calls for.
  • The key to making spectacular sugar cookies is to refrigerate the cookie dough before baking. The reason is because chilling the dough solidifies the fat. As the cookies bake, the fat (butter) takes longer to melt which means the cookies won't spread out as much.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Sugar Cookies Last?

Sugar cookies stay fresh for 2-3 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If refrigerated, they last for 1 week.

Can I Double This Sugar Cookie Recipe?

Yes! If you want to make a dozen cookies, this sugar cookie recipe can be doubled.

Can The Frosting Be Made Ahead Of Time?

The frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator until you are ready to frost the cookies.
For best results, bring the frosting to room temperature before using and mix it with a spoon or hand mixer. You might need to add additional milk so that the frosting is easier to spread.

What Are Lofthouse Cookies?

Are you familiar with lofthouse cookies? They're the ones that you often see in the bakery section of supermarkets. Lofthouse cookies are popular because they're not only soft and sweet, but they're so pretty too. Often topped with colorful frosting and a scattering of candied sprinkles, they're perfect for parties.
These soft sugar cookies are very similar to lofthouse cookies but they're so much tastier.

A bite missing from a blue frosted sugar cookie with white crystal sprinkles on a small plate

For this small batch sugar cookies recipe, I use a quarter sheet pan and a quarter sized silicone baking mat. Both of these items can be found in our bakeware page.

If you would like additional information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

To see examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

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If you’ve tried these sugar cookies or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see!

Small Batch Sugar Cookies | One Dish Kitchen

Small Batch Sugar Cookies Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: cookie
Servings: 6 Cookies
Calories: 262kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

FOR THE SUGAR COOKIES

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter , softened
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk (Start off by using 2 tablespoons of milk. If you would like the frosting to be thinner, add more milk). Use cream as alternative.
  • 3 to 4 drops food coloring , optional
  • sprinkles , optional

Instructions

TO MAKE THE SUGAR COOKIES

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl, mix together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Beat in the vanilla and the egg.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  • When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Scoop up a quarter cup of the dough and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and space the cookies at least 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. The edges should be very slightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cookie rack to cool completely.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING

  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Tint with food coloring, if desired.
  • Use a knife or offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies.
  • Top with sprinkles, if desired.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Use softened butter, not cold butter in this sugar cookie recipe. Softened butter should still be cool to the touch but when you press your finger into the butter, your finger will leave an indentation. The best way to soften your butter is to put it out on the kitchen counter for a half hour before you want to use it. Another way to quickly soften butter is to put the cold butter in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. If you use this method, be sure to watch carefully - you don't want the butter to melt at all.
  • Measure the flour by using the spoon and level method. To measure flour correctly, use a spoon to scoop flour into a measuring cup and slightly overfill. Then, use the back of a knife or other straight edged utensil to level the flour across the cup. Do not scoop the flour. When you scoop, the flour gets packed too tightly and you will end up with more flour than the recipe calls for.
  • The key to making spectacular sugar cookies is to refrigerate the cookie dough before baking. The reason is because chilling the dough solidifies the fat. As the cookies bake, the fat (butter) takes longer to melt which means the cookies won't spread out as much.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 205mg | Potassium: 109mg | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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About The Author

18 thoughts on “Small Batch Sugar Cookies”

  1. I made these yesterday, I was just wondering how to adjust the recipe to make cutout type cookies. We really liked them, I have never made a successful sugar cookie before. I am going to add a tad more sugar to the dough. These were really good!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cookies. This sugar cookie recipe doesn’t work very well for cut-out sugar cookies and we don’t have a recipe for those types of cookies yet – stay tuned though.

  2. 5 stars
    I made these cookies for me and my daughter since we were craving something sweet. These were so easy to make and came out delicious! So buttery and soft! Will be making them a lot for Christmas

    1. Hi Katie,
      The cookies really don’t spread all that much. They should be big and puffy though. The ingredient amounts are accurate, I would check the expiration date of the baking powder you used. Expired baking powder loses its potency after its use-by date and this can cause your cookies to improperly rise.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! This is my second batch, hubby who is a die-hard chocolate chip cookie fan has just declared his new favourite.
    Only change I made was to use a mocha buttercream frosting- thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Pat,
      I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed the cookies – they’re some of my favorites too. I bet they were fantastic with mocha buttercream, I’ll have to try that.

      Take care,
      Joanie

  4. Can I add Ricotta cheese to the Sugar Cookie recipe, reminds me so much
    of the Italian cookies. Thanks for your time and trouble

    1. Hi Jayne,

      I’ve never tried adding ricotta cheese to the recipe. If you add it, please let me know how they turn out.

      Thank you.
      Joanie

    2. Beth Kleinschmidt

      Hello..I was just wondering what amount of almond extract to use instead of vanilla? These cookies are magnificent by the way ❤

    1. Angela,

      Just about any substitution will alter the taste and texture of anything you are baking. In the case of these sugar cookies, I have not tested the recipe with anything other than the ingredients listed in the recipe. If you do use cake or pastry flour, you would still need to add baking powder because flours need a leavener to make the cookies rise. Feel free to experiment though and if you do, please let me know how they turn out.

      Joanie

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