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Chewy and Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe Without Vanilla

I love to bake and I think that cookie recipes are one thing you can never have too many of right? So today we’re baking soft sugar cookies that also have a chewy center. This cookie recipe without vanilla extract makes about 30 cookies so there will be lots for you to enjoy and to freeze for later!

So if you are looking for the best sugar cookie recipe let’s bake together!

Chewy sugar cookies are the best, and my honey asked for them specifically. This is a classic sugar cookie recipe, that you can decorate with royal icing and sprinkles if you wish.

That buttery melt in your mouth goodness is what a perfect sugar cookie is all about and it’s just the easiest recipe too.

Soft cookies are just so good. Do you prefer soft chocolate chip cookies or crispy ones? It really is personal preference. This cookie is soft and crispy on the edges. The best of both worlds!

soft sugar cookie recipe without vanilla 3 cookies and plate in background

Our sugar cookie recipe is without vanilla, but we’ve left notes below for you to add it in if you wish. We like the light fresh flavour that you will enjoy with lemon zest added instead. And we add a little lemon juice to the powdered (confectioner’s) sugar icing. Sugar cookies must have sprinkles IMHO!

So why are we baking this sugar cookie recipe without vanilla? Well vanilla flavor can be very strong and it can overpower the sweetness of the butter and sugar. I really like the lemon zest, or you could add almond extract, maybe some nutmeg or cinnamon if you prefer.

That’s the fun part about baking a recipe like this one. You get to add your own flavours and make new recipes. Just like our easy biscotti recipe.

best soft and chewy sugar cookies stacked on top of each other on parchment paper

Ingredients you will need for these easy sugar cookies includes:

sugar cookie recipe without vanilla ingredients image
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Baking soda
  • Eggs at room temperature
  • Confectioner’s sugar & sprinkles (optional icing)
  • Now if you really think you need vanilla extract in your sugar cookies, by all means go ahead. I’ve included the measurements in the recipe card below.
closeup image of sugar cookies with sprinkles

Tips for making this easy cookie recipe without vanilla extract

  • Start with the butter and eggs and room temperature.
  • Blend the sugar and unsalted butter well using a small hand mixer on low speed. Or if you are feeling strong, you can use a whisk! I also use a stand mixer, whatever you have on hand is fine, as long as the butter and sugar are light and creamy.
  • Always use room temperature eggs. They will bind better to the cookie dough and give you an excellent result
  • Use a cookie scoop to form the cookie dough balls so that they will be uniform in shape and size. Then flatten them with the bottom of a glass or back of a spoon.

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  • If you wish to make cutout sugar cookies, roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper or use the DoughEZ rolling mat system. I love to use it for pie crust and cookies! (linked in the recipe card below)
    I like to use a cookie scoop to make sure I’m getting the same amount of sugar cookie dough each time. You can also use a regular teaspoon for this.
  • Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out the cookie dough.
    Use the back of a spoon or the bottom of glass to lightly flatten the cookies and make sure they are well spaced for baking.
    Store your buttery sugar cookies in an airtight container so they will retain their chewy goodness. You can also freeze the cookies for up to 3 months in an airtight freezer bag or container.
soft sugar cookie recipe without vanilla on white plate

Recipe FAQs

Will my cookies without vanilla extract taste ok?

Absolutely! Vanilla is added into just about every baking recipe – desserts etc., but it does have a very strong flavour. I would recommend that you add the lemon zest suggested in this recipe.

Can I freeze the baked sugar cookies?

Yes, which is why this is such a perfect sugar cookie recipe! After the cookies have cooled completely, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They will be fine for up to 3 months.

What other flavouring could I use instead of vanilla?

You could try different extracts, like almond extract, lemon extract or sprinkle in a little nutmeg or cinnamon. Or both!

These are the best sugar cookies

Like I said earlier, you can never have too many cookie recipes, especially this easy sugar cookie recipe without vanilla. I think the lemon zest gives it a wonderful fresh flavour! If you love this recipe, please give it a 5 star rating, and leave a comment below!

best soft and chewy sugar cookies vertical 3
soft sugar cookie recipe without vanilla 3 cookies and plate in background

Chewy & Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe Without Vanilla

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

a soft and chewy sugar cookie without vanilla recipe that is full of old fashioned goodness. We include two ways to make them in the instructions!


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cups unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon zest instead of vanilla (or 1 ½ tsp vanilla (use pure extract)
  • Funfetti sprinkles for decoration
  • ¼ cup white sugar for rolling the cookie dough balls in


Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda,and put the flour mixture to the side while you complete the next step.

In a large bowl, cream together the unsalted butter and 1 ½ cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the lemon zest*. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended.

Wrap dough with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Use a teaspoon or cookie scoop to get the same amount of dough each time, and roll the dough into small balls. Then roll the balls in the 1/4 cup of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly. Tip: I use the bottom of a small glass to do this – or the back of a large spoon

Add some sprinkles to each cookie (optional) or wait until the cookies are baked and cooled, then you add some frosting and sprinkles (again, totally optional)

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned at the edges. I bake in a convection oven at 350F for 10 minutes and the sugar cookies are perfect

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Make sure you let them really cool down because if not they will break.

Instructions for a cutout sugar cookies:

After the dough has chilled for 1 hour, separate the dough into two balls –

Using a rolling pin, roll out the cookie dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper (waxed paper) or my fave, the DoughEZ rolling system

Carefully cut out the cookies using your favorite cookie cutters.

Bake at the same temp and times, and just until the cookies are golden around the edges. Oven temperatures vary according to heating method, make and model, and altitude. So this isn’t a recipe that you can stick in the oven and walk away from. Maybe bake the first tray and check back often to make sure they don’t burn!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 64mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g

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collage of sugar cookies, stacked, on plate and one single cookie

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Judy Kahansky is an experienced writer and baker, creating delicious desserts (including pie!) for over 40 years. She loves to take classic and vintage recipes and update them to fit the busy lives of her readers. When not baking, Judy and her husband Mark are passionate golfers, travelers and dog lovers, spending as much time as they can with their sweet pup Millie.

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