These 3 ingredient Sugar Cookies are so incredibly simple to make, have a wonderful buttery flavor, and don't spread in the oven - they are my go-to sugar cookie recipe!
As cookie recipes go, sugar cookies are already a fairly simple recipe. But now it's even easier with this 3 ingredient sugar cookie recipe. And yes, I really do mean just three basic ingredients that you probably have sitting in your kitchen already.
These delicious sugar cookies are similar to shortbread cookies, or butter cookies, which give them an incredible flavor and a crunchy, yet soft texture, with crisp edges. And I know a fair bit about shortbread - considering I am Scottish!
I am a sucker for an easy cookie recipe, like my 15-minute Oatmeal Lace Cookies, but these easy sugar cookies really take the cake for easiest cookie. I am also convinced it is the best sugar cookie recipe I've ever tried - It's so good I even use it to make my homemade Jammie Dodgers! They are the perfect sugar cookies that don't spread and hold their shape when baked.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Simple - Only 3 simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
- Eggless - The cookies are completely eggless, so if you have an allergy you can enjoy sugar cookies safely.
- Incredible flavor - the shortbread-inspired recipe makes delicious buttery cookies that I think are better than a classic sugar cookie (but that may be my Scottish bias talking!) This is why they are sometimes called butter cookies.
- No Spread - The cut-out cookies won't spread and will hold their shape in the oven - so you can make all kinds of fun shapes for holidays or events.
These 3 ingredient cookies actually have, you guessed it, just three ingredients! And they are all pantry staples that you probably already have.
- Butter - You can use salted or unsalted butter based on your preference. Make sure it is at room temperature.
- Sugar - Use regular white sugar for the cookies, preferably the superfine kind (also known as caster sugar).
- Flour - All-purpose flour (plain flour) is best for these sugar cookies. You don't want to use self-rising flour as we don't want the cookies to rise or spread at all as they bake.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make 3 Ingredient Sugar Cookies
This easy sugar cookie recipe only has a few basic steps.
- Step 1: Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- Step 2: In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar together until light and fluffy. You can do this in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer - or even just with a wooden spoon. Make sure your butter is at room temperature, as trying to use cold butter will make it harder to cream together with the sugar.
- Step 3: Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the flour. Mix it in until the mixture starts to clump together. If the mixture looks too dry and won't clump together, you can add a small splash of milk to help it along.
- Step 4: Bring all the dough together and use your hands to bring it into a big ball. It should be nice and smooth - if not you can knead it for 30 seconds, but don't overwork it.
- Step 5: Lightly flour your work surface and place the sugar cookie dough down, use your hands to form it into a round disc, then use a rolling pin to roll it out to roughly ¼ inch thick
- Step 6: Use any cookie cutters you like to cut shapes out of the dough and transfer them to your prepared cookie sheet.
- Step 7: Chill the cut-out cookies on the sheet for 30 minutes. This step is to help them maintain their shape in the oven. If you aren't concerned about spreading you can just skip this step and pop them straight in the oven.
- Step 8: Once the chill time is almost up, preheat your oven to 325°F / 160°C.
- Step 9: Bake cookies for 13-16 minutes. It's much better to judge the the baking time by looking at the cookies, rather than by a timer as every oven is different. You want to take them out when the very edges of the sugar cookies are just starting to turn golden brown.
- Step 10: Let the cookies sit on the baking pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Leaving them on the pan for a few minutes is important to let them bake a little longer into lovely crunchy cookies.
Pro Tip: To transfer your cut-out sugar cookies to your prepared baking sheet without damaging the shape, I love using a cookie lifter - it moves them so much easier and faster and doesn't mess up the pretty shapes! It's also useful for lifting the baked cookies onto the cooling rack without burning your fingers!
Decorating Sugar Cookies
You can absolutely just enjoy these sugar cookies as they are, but if you want to decorate them, here are some options:
Super Simple Icing - For a really easy icing that comes together quickly, mix 2 cups of powdered sugar in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. You can spread this onto your cooled cookies with a palette knife and it will spread out nice and smooth. It won't set hard like royal icing, but it will be dry to the touch.
Royal Icing - If you want your icing to set hard or you'd like to decorate your cookies with intricate designs, I recommend royal icing. Do this by beating together 2 egg whites with 2 cups of powdered sugar. Add a splash of water if you'd like a more runny consistency.
Chocolate - Drizzle or dip your sugar cookies in some melted chocolate for an elegant look. For an extra twist, why not sprinkle with some chopped pistachios?
Sprinkles - You don't have to have icing on your cookies to add a pop of color. If you like you can put some sprinkles right in the dough or pressed on top of the cookies before they bake. This works particularly well with rainbow sprinkles.
How are 3-Ingredient Sugar Cookies different from Classic Sugar Cookies?
The main difference is obviously that there are only three ingredients in this recipe - sugar, butter, and flour. A lot of recipes for sugar cookies contain eggs and vanilla, which makes for a great recipe, but I think once you try this version you may be converted!
The texture and flavor of these cookies are wonderful, and they hold their shape perfectly in the oven - so there's no need for the extra ingredients. And the best part is that it's one of those super easy recipes you can usually throw together without going to the grocery store!
What to Make with 3 Ingredient Sugar Cookies
The possibilities are endless, you can use cookie cutters to create whatever fun shapes you like so this recipe is great for themed parties. I love cutting out hearts to make cute Valentine's Cookies.
You could also use holiday shapes or holiday sprinkles for really quick and easy Christmas gifts.
Add some strawberry jam to sandwich your cookies together and make homemade Jammie Dodgers. Find out how in my Jammie Dodger recipe post!
- Chocolate Chips - Knead some chocolate chips into your sugar cookie dough before rolling it out for delicious chocolate chip sugar cookies.
- Citrus Cookies - Add some lemon juice and lemon zest (or orange) to your dough and icing for a zingy touch of flavor.
- Extracts - This easy sugar cookie recipe is so versatile - add any extract you like to transform the recipe into whatever flavor you like. Some of my favorites are almond extract or coffee extract.
- Large Bowl
- Electric Mixer - (optional) You can do this by hand if you want to
- Rolling Pin
- Cookie Cutters
- Cookie Sheet
- Cookie Lifter
Store your sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. If they don't have any icing on them, they will stay good like this for up to ten days. If they are iced, they will still be safe to eat but the icing may make the cookies go a little soggy after 4 or 5 days.
For best results, line the bottom of your airtight container with kitchen towel to absorb any moisture. If moisture gets into the container the cookies will go soggy.
You might like to try some of these other cookie recipes:
3 Ingredient Sugar Cookies
- 2 sticks Butter 227g (room temperature)
- ½ cup White Sugar 100g
- 2 ¼ cups All-purpose Flour 270g
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.2 sticks Butter, ½ cup White Sugar
- Add the flour and beat until dough-like clumps start to form.2 ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
- Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and use your hands to gently knead it together into a smooth ball of dough - this shouldn't take long, only 30 seconds or less.
- Use a large rolling pin to roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick, use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, and transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet.
- Chill the cut-out cookies for 30 minutes. This is to help them keep their shape in the oven, if you aren't worried about a little spreading then you can skip this step and put them straight in the oven.
- When the chill time is almost up, preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C.
- Bake the cookies for 13-16 minutes, bake time will vary according to thickness so it's best to look for visual cues when they are ready. As soon as the very edge of any of the cookies starts to turn golden brown, remove them from the oven. They should still look very pale in the middle.
- Leave the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.