This recipe for easy small batch sugar cookies will give you the perfect amount of dough for a small number of cookies, without having to bake batch after batch! No spread cookie dough with only a short chill for best results.
Ingredients for Small Batch Sugar Cookies
These easy sugar cookies have 8 ingredients:
- Butter - unsalted, softened at room temperature.
- Sugar - for classic sugar cookies, use either superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar.
- An egg yolk
- Flour - either plain flour or all purpose flour.
- Baking powder
- Salt - just a pinch!
- Milk - I always recommend using whole milk (full fat milk) in baking. In this recipe, you could also use semi-skim (2%) but avoid using skim milk as the water content may lead to thinner cookie dough and cookies spreading.
- Vanilla extract - good quality vanilla is the key to a flavourful sugar cookie! You could also substitute with vanilla bean paste for added flavour, but this will leave flecks of vanilla bean visible in the final cookies.
Quick One-Bowl Recipe
Simply cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy - approximately 2 minutes with a handheld electric mixer. Then add the yolk and vanilla, beating briefly to combine into a smooth batter.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the sugar mix and stir with a spatula to start forming a dry crumbly dough. Then add the milk and mix until this comes together into a dough.
Use your hands to form this into a small ball. Then wrap this in plastic wrap and flatten lightly into a disc. This will make rolling out easier. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for an hour for best results.
Once chilled, roll out to about ⅛ inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a knife.
Alternative technique to make slice and bake sugar cookies
If you want to make easy circular cookies without needing to roll the dough out and cut, you can make slice and bake cookies with this dough.
Instead of wrapping the dough as a ball and making a disc, form a log. Chill the log of dough in the refrigerator for an hour (or up to three days). Then cut with a sharp knife into ⅛ inch slices and bake as normal.
Slice and Bake Slicing Tip
To keep slice and bake cookies as rounded as possible, turn the log occasionally as you slice.
As the dough warms, the log will lose its shape. The force of slicing will result in slightly oval cookies. But, by turning occasionally, you will help distribute the pressure and have more evenly circular slices.
FAQs for Small Batch Sugar Cookies
These cookies keep well for several days once baked. They're at their best on the day or day after baking, but in a cookie jar or covered plate, they continue fresh for around 4 days easily.
Yes, definitely! These sugar cookies do best if you freeze the dough before baking. If you're looking to get ahead on preparing for an event, make the dough up to the point of wrapping and then place the wrapped cookie dough in a ziploc bag to store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to use, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. You can then roll and bake as normal.
Sugar cookies are super versatile for decorating! If you want to use just sprinkles, you can add these to cookies before they go in the oven, press lightly into the uncooked shapes and bake them straight into the cookies.
My preference for decorating is to use buttercream frosting with sugar cookies.
If you like these cookies, try some other easy cookie recipes:
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (No Brown Sugar)
- Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies
- Tahini No Bake Oatmeal Cookies
Easy Sugar Cookies (Small Batch)
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ⅓ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- ½ tablespoon milk preferably full fat (whole) milk, but you can use 2% (semi-skimmed) too
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- Begin by creaming together your butter and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and airy.
- Next add in your egg and vanilla, beating to combine.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the mixing bowl with the sugar mixture and use a spatula to begin stirring together. Then add the milk and stir to combine into a thick dough.
- Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap or cling film. Flatten slightly into a disk and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375°F (190C/170C Fan) and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- When the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about ⅛" thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out designs and place these on your prepared baking sheets.
- Reroll the cookie dough as many times as necessary to use this up. The dough is enough for about 18-20 cookies using small and medium cookie cutters.