Vanilla-Bean Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies made with 1 cup sugar (soft and cakey)

Sarah Kieffer does it again with these exceptional sugar cookies. Use the best vanilla extract you have and note that these cookies are positively magnificent with the addition of vanilla bean paste- they have deep vanilla flavor and you can see the specks of vanilla bean in the finished product. I’ve made this recipe countless times and have found that if you make them as Sarah intended, with 1 ¾ cups sugar, they will be flat and chewy. Yet, if you make them with only 1 cup of sugar, they will be plump and cakey, and could possibly even be construed as healthy because we cut out an entire ¾ cup of sugar. Make them whichever way you prefer and enjoy often!

Sugar Cookies made with 1 3/4 cup sugar (flat and chewy)

Vanilla-Bean Sugar Cookies

Serves: 20 cookies

Adapted from Sarah Kieffer’s 100 Cookies


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, left at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar (or 1 cup sugar- read note) plus 1/3 cup sugar for rolling cookies
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on med-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 ¾ cup sugar for flat, chewy cookies or 1 cup sugar for plump, cakey cookies and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. 
  3. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fully combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. 
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cookies into 2 tablespoon size balls and roll in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Place 10 cookies on each baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned at the edges. Store cookies in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

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