Homemade Sugar Cookies That Don’t Expand In The Oven

If your a cookie baking and decorating mama then you know the struggle to finding a good sugar cookie recipe. It needs to be yummy but not to sweet and stay the shape you cut it out to. And if your not but want to be then welcome! I’ve played around with so many different sugar recipes over the years until I finally tweaked it to be just right. And I couldn’t help but share it to help you find the perfect recipe to use for all your holiday cookies. They are even Santa approved!

Now before we hop in I want to talk about a couple different tips that will help you make your cookies turn out perfect.

Baking Powder

Almost every cookie recipe you come across will have baking powder in it. It helps it to expand and not be so cakey texture. It’s perfect for cookie. Just not sugar cookies… sugar cookies that are cut out with cute designs will quickly expand and lose their shape and be unrecognizable by the time they come out. So in my recipe you only use 1 teaspoon. You can omit it fully or even drop that down to 1/2 if you’d like. Just don’t do anymore or your cookies will spread.


Now there are tons of cookie recipes out there that claim to be no cool or you don’t need to cook them. But all dough gets sticky when it’s room temperature or rolled into balls with your hands. You can’t avoid it. So you’ll want to make sure you cool your dough after you mix it before you roll it out to cut.

Another trick that helps to keep your cookies from expanding is to cut them out and place them on your cookie sheet and then place them in your fridge for about 10 mins right before going in the oven. This will allow your cookie to start cooking before things start melting (butter) in the mixture.

Oven Temperature

I’ve found with this recipe it’s best to raise your oven a little above what the normal sugar cookie recipe calls for. Most say 350F but if you raise it to 375F your cookie will cook a little faster obviously but it will cook faster than the sugar or better ingredients can start melt. Which causes your cookies to expand.

Parchment Paper

First off you don’t want to have to scrape your cookies off your pan. So your choices are usually parchment paper or cooking spray. With sugar cookies because your wanting them to hold their shape you want to use parchment paper. When you use cooking spray with sugar cookies the oils in the spray will cause the cookie to expand.

Here’s a before and after of one of our cookies so you can see the amount of expanding you can expect from my recipe. The after looks more expanded than it is if you compare it to how close it is or was to the cookies around it. I started to take the cookies off and then put them back to snap this comparison photo.

Before baking
After baking

Now onto this super yummy recipe that’s not to sweet. Not to dull. And doesn’t expand in the oven.


  • 1 cup butter room temperature (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Mix together the butter and sugar in a bowl until creamed. Don’t over mix. You don’t want to cause your cookies to spread.
  3. Add in vanilla and egg. Mix until combined.
  4. Add flour and baking powder to the bowl. Mix in fully. The dough will look a bit crumbly but smash with your finger and it should dough up. If it stays crumbly add water. If it’s sticky add more flour.
  5. Cool in your fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour or your freezer for 20 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle some flour on your surface and use a rolling pin and roll until about 1/4 inch thick. To thin and they will be crunchy and brittle.
  7. Use cookie cutters and cut out your desired shapes. Transfer the cookie to a parchment lined baking pan.
  8. If your dough seems to be coming to room temperature place your cookie pan with cookies cut out on it in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.
  9. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the centers start to puff and before the sides start to turn brown.
  10. Let cool on pan for about 5-10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack until fully cooled. You can use cooling time to make my homemade frosting.
  11. Decorate with frosting. Enjoy!

I hope you have fun making this recipe and don’t forget to read my tips above about how to keep your cookies from expanding. It’s the little things when it comes to making the perfect sugar cookies.

Until next time, Live a life you love!

Xo Jessica!

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