It’s all about temperature. To keep sugar cookies from spreading and get them to stay in their rolled-out shape, you will need:
- Cold Dough
- Cooled down cookie pan
- Accurate oven temperature
Most any recipe you use will be tested against spread. So while you may read an article that suggests that you adjust an ingredient in your recipe, it is probably the temperature of something that is off.
So first, purchase an oven thermometer. These are very cheap and are designed to sit in your oven at all times. Use it to test whether your oven is truly heating to the temperature you set it to.
After mixing the dough, you need to chill it for about an hour.
Always roll out the dough when it is cold and get the cookies in the oven as soon as you cut them out. If they sit out for awhile (because, maybe…you are doing this with kids helping)…just pop the whole cookie pan in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to get them chilled again before baking.
And never use a warm cookie sheet. In fact, keeping your dough cold can help you in this process. Make 2 pans of cookies, put them in the oven, put the dough back in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour. When your dough is chilled again, your pans are cooled from the last batch and you are ready to bake again!
It is tempting to just keep rolling and cutting and getting all your shaped sugar cookies ready to bake, but trust in the process and you will receive perfectly shaped cookies that don’t spread!