• 2 1/2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces cream cheese , cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, melted and still warm
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of half an orange
  • ½ cup raw or granulated sugar for rolling in

Most sugar cookie recipes require great attention to detail.   I just want a great sugar cookie without all the rules and regulations. Many recipes call for the butter to be precisely the right temperature and it must be creamed to the proper degree of airiness. If not followed perfectly, even the slightest variation, can result in your cookies spreading or becoming too hard once cooled.

Here is a more approachable recipe for perfect sugar cookies that anyone could make anytime. The melted butter is easily mixed together with a spoon – no need to cream. By replacing a portion of the melted butter with vegetable oil we ensured a chewy cookie without affecting the flavor. Incorporating the cream cheese into the cookie dough kept our cookies tender, while the slight tang of the cream cheese made for a rich, not-too-sweet cookie.

Makes 2 dozen cookies, but I like to double the recipe and freeze some to give away!

The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies.


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking stone or sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.

Place 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place 1/2 cup raw sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, vanilla and orange zest; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until soft dough forms.

Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each. Using your hands (your best kitchen tool), roll the dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in raw sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Resist touching the cookies and let them cool on your baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer these beauties onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Now enjoy! Crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside…the perfect sugar cookie!