It’s Time to Rock and ROLL: Our Favorite Recipes for Roll-Out Cookies

Can you walk down the store cookie aisle in June, and pass up every treat? Can you go to the local bake sale and abstemiously ignore the most chocolate-y of chippers? Pass the peanut butter crispies, ban the butterscotch blondies?

If you can, The Force is strong within you, but I do defy you to pass up a crisp, round shortbread, or a snowflake fancy during holiday time. There’s just something about cookies and the holidays that go hand in hand.

Friends come to visit? Out comes the cookie tin. Kids need a snow-day project? Pull out all the colored sugars and rolling pins. I’m always thrilled to see the creativity that each person brings to the table. The most basic of star shapes becomes the merriest of baked goods with a little glaze, a little color, and a lot of imagination.

Even with the (nearly) universal love of cookies during the season, we know that different folks have different favorites. We’ve gathered our favorite rollout recipes for you here, including the classics, the unique and, of course, the gluten free. Scratch or boxed, iced or not, these cookies will bring a smile to the face of the grinchiest Grinch.


If you’re short on time or don’t normally bake gluten free, here’s a recipe for you that fits the bill. Our Gluten-Free Rollout Cookies begin with our outstanding gluten-free cookie mix. A few added ingredients from your pantry, and you’re ready to roll and decorate to your heart’s content.

This recipe was actually the first foray I made into gluten-free cookies, back in 2011; and I still think it’s an excellent way to go for lovely, gluten-free treats.


One recipe that my family comes back to year after year, season after season, is our Holiday Butter Cookies, examples of which are featured above.

Crisp, tender, and oh-so buttery, these cookies have had a starring role here at King Arthur Flour on many occasions, gracing our catalog covers and blog posts. We love this dough because it doesn’t puff nor spread out of shape when baked, so your intricate cutter details stay intact from beginning to crunchy-munchy end. If you’re searching for a recipe to bake for decorated gift giving, this is the real deal.


Some days, no matter what the season, it’s all about the chocolate. If you’re craving something deep, dark, and not as sweet as traditional sugar cookies, check out our Chocolate Cutout Cookies. Dark snowflakes with bright white icing? A great way to keep the holiday drama all about the cookie tray and not about (insert hot topic of your choice here.)


I know, I know, you’re thinking I forgot all about gingerbread, right? No, no, I could never do that, I love it far too much!

Our Gingerbread Cookies recipe can be used to make many different cookies, cutouts, people, even decorative “stained glass” cookies.

When the elves are clamoring for a treat and you’re up to your elbows in ribbons and tape, our gingerbread gookie mix is a real life-saver. It’s easy to mix up a batch of dough and enjoy all the wonderfully spicy flavor and crisp texture of cookies made from scratch.

And have no fear my gluten-free friends, we have a gluten-free gingerbread recipe for you, too. Bake up a batch and bring on the icy cold milk!

We hope you get to try one, two, or all of our favorite recipes this season. We’d love to hear about your cherished recipes, along with stories about your cookie-baking traditions. Did I ever tell you the story of my Dad’s mishap with a round flour bucket, and a set of stairs? Let’s just say I can still hear the thump, thump, thump of the container bouncing down each stair, a white-powder Slinky bent on escaping out the front door. We can laugh now and consider it part of our family holiday history, so don’t be shy โ€“ please, please share your cookie stories!

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's bakerโ€™s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. Joan G

    I have sugar cookie dough in the fridge in one large lump. Do I slice some off to roll? It is very hard. Should I warm it up on the counter for a while before I start to roll?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Joan, cutting off a chunk of your dough (rather than trying to work with the whole thing at once) will make it easier to work with. Like pie dough, well-chilled sugar cookie dough can sometimes need 15-30 minutes at room temperature before you’re able to roll it – it should still feel cold, but not rock hard when you begin to roll. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  2. Carrie

    Don’t forget your Light Spice Holiday Cookies.

    I discovered this recipe three years ago and it is the ginger cookie I’ve been looking for my whole life. Not soft and floury like some gingerbread cookies. Very spicy, not dull. Crisp, but not as hard as a gingersnap. I use about 1/4 cup less flour than the recipe calls for, so I can be generous in flouring my board and rolling pin. If I do this, it’s an easy dough to work with, very cooperative.

    I made them for a party this weekend, decorated with your Royal Icing recipe. Many compliments. I am never going to look for another gingerbread cutout recipe again.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Well, I don’t think we could have asked for a better review than that! Thanks so much for sharing your love of this recipe, Carrie. Happy Holidays! ~ MJ

  3. Amy S

    I’m looking for a good soft rolled sugar cookie recipe. I don’t like crisp holiday cookies, and I want a dough that I can roll and make into shapes (so drop cookies are right out). My mom had a great recipe that is now lost since she passed away. At one point I was told that in the ratio of sugar-to-fat that the sugar needed to be less than the fat to produce a softer rolled cookie. I haven’t necessarily found that to be the case. I’m not necessarily looking for a cake-like cookie, either. Is it more of the thickness to which I roll out the dough? Should I include something like vinegar for tenderness? Or sour cream/yogurt? Is shortening instead of butter the way to go? Help!!

    1. PJ Hamel

      Amy, shortening instead of butter is definitely the way to go. For a softer cookie, roll thicker, and bake for a shorter amount of time. I know exactly what you mean, too – a sugar cookie that’s a bit thicker but still light, and soft but not damp/mushy. You might try this recipe for Vanilla Sugar Cutout Cookies, rolling about 3/8″ thick and baking just until set. Good luck – PJH

    2. Heather

      I have a great soft sugar cookie recipe. I don’t like crispy ones.

      4 cups flour
      1 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 cup butter

      Mix together like pie crust.

      1 1/4 cup sugar
      2 eggs
      1/2 cup milk
      1 tsp vanilla
      1 tsp baking soda

      Add to dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Chill for 1 hour.

      Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Dough will be sticky but only add a little bit of flour. The less you work with the dough, the better.

      Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes. Bake until bottoms are just barely beginning to brown. Don’t over bake.

  4. Paul from Ohio

    Holiday Butter Cookie recipe is very tasty………BUT, to me is a pain in the you know what….with all the chilling and warming to roll out then somehow combining all the scrapes then chilling and warming yet again……..pretty major pain to make in my book and I’ve had several go arounds with them…love/hate relationship you might say. Wish someone had a good tip or two that would help me crack the code to a successful cookie production. I have lots of fun ways to decorate them, but getting to that point is………..

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can always set the cookies up ahead of time in smaller batches and freeze them before baking. Then bake all in one day, and then do all the decorating. Don’t try to go start to finish in one go- it can be very frustrating. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    2. Carol

      Paul: I have a basic cookie dough that you do not have to chill much. I roll it out right after baking and just chill the rolled out sheet in the freezer for a couple of minutes for more detailed cutting.
      just make sure dough is not too sticky before you start the rolling and cutting:
      1 C butter, 1C sugar, 1 egg, 3/4 tsp baking powder, scant half tsp salt and 3 C flour.
      Flavor as you like, vanilla, lemon, almond *** easy. have been cutting cookies for 50 years and am picky about cookies keeping their shape and being fast to make.

  5. Deb

    My 9 year old wants to decorate cookies for her birthday sleepover party (have mercy!). I’d like to get as much of the party prep done in advance as possible. Could I make the dough, roll it out and then either refrigerate it, or even better freeze it, so the night of the party I can pull it out and the girls can use cookie cutters and decorate to their hearts’ content? Thanks.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sounds perfect. If you give each of the girls a tray to work on, you might minimize the sprinkle mess, too. You can also have some cookies prebaked, so they can get started on the fun decorating while the first batch of cookies bakes- 9 year olds can lose interest quickly. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  6. Sara N.

    I love gingerbread cookies but loathe having to roll and cut them. Is there any reason I couldn’t make them into slice-and-bake cookies by rolling the chilled dough into logs, chilling it again (based on what I read in the recipe), and then slicing and baking?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you want to try that, don’t make the logs too big. Be sure to rotate the logs as you slice to avoid a flat side. Use a very sharp knife to avoid dragging the dough out of shape, and clean you knife blade every stroke. Happy baking! Laurie@ KAF

  7. waikikirie

    I so admire you artist talents MJ….Those cookies are so beautiful. Question…..In the first picture, the one of the plate of cookies, there are square ones that look like they have sprinkling of confections sugar with a (?) cherry surrounded by (?) chocolate. What ARE they. I don’t even know that they are but they are calling my name….(Just want my hips need….teehee)


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