Smash These Sugar Cookies for Soft Middles and Crispy Edges|Recipes Spots

  • on December 17, 2023
Smash These Sugar Cookies for Soft Middles and Crispy Edges

Smash sugar cookies on a plate
Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder

The quest for cookie perfection is real. Especially around the holidays, my social feeds fill with videos and images of perfectly shaped, perfectly decorated cookies. They’re like works of art, too pretty to eat.

While I admire these edible artworks, I don’t want to make them myself. Sometimes I just want to have fun baking and not worry about every little visual detail. I took this rebellious attitude and channeled it into these smash cookies. They’re the punk rockers of sugar cookies.

Instead of streamlined cut-outs or tidy rounds, the buttery sugar cookie dough is rolled into balls and smashed on the baking sheet. This gives them a unique appearance and helps form crispy, golden-brown edges and bottoms that caramelize. They bake at high heat for a crispy on the outside, tender and buttery on the inside treat. I love them.

Smash sugar cookies on a plate
Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder

Make These With Kids

Since smash cookies are all about having fun, I suggest getting a kid or two involved. They’ll love helping form the balls, roll them in sugar, and then give them a good smashing. I find this recipe great for getting a bit of aggression out, and then you get a warm cookie afterward. Win-win.

And because the quirky cookies do not need to look perfect (in fact, the opposite), they’re fairly kidproof. If the dough sticks to the cup, use a thin metal spatula and slide it between the cup and dough, then stick the remaining balls in the freezer for a few minutes to firm back up. If any dough falls off, just smush it back on and bake.

My #1 Tip for Making Smash Cookies

The trick to a perfect smash is achieving the right dough temperature. I have had the most success with freezing the dough balls for about 30 minutes, letting them warm up on the counter for just about three minutes, and then smashing them. This yields nice craggy edges without sticking to the cup or whatever you’re using to smash.

Results will vary depending on your freezer and the temperature of your kitchen. Add or subtract chilling time as needed to get a good smash without sticking.

Stack of smash sugar cookies on a plate
Simply Recipes / Sarah Recipes

Make Them More Festive

For a colorful cookie, roll the dough in colored sanding sugar instead of granulated sugar for a pop of color. You can use sparkling sugar, which has larger crystals. I didn’t care for it as much during testing since it makes the cookie especially crunchy and sweet, but no one I fed them to complained. You can also add a simple icing of powdered sugar and milk.

Smash sugar cookies (covered in red and green sugar sprinkles) on the counter
Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder

Sugar Cookie Recipes

  • Best Sugar Cookies
  • Lofthouse-Style Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
  • Christmas Sugar Cookies
  • Simple Soft Sugar Cookies

Beat together the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla:

Add the butter and 1 cup of sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl (with a hand mixer plugged in and ready to go). Start on low speed to combine, then increase to medium speed and beat until pale and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat until well-mixed, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl and paddle once or twice to ensure everything is fully incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients:

Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Form and chill the dough:

Pour the remaining 1 cup of sugar into a small bowl. Line a rimmed baking sheet that will fit in your freezer with parchment paper.

Scoop the dough using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or by the heaping tablespoon to make balls about 1 1/2 inches across. Gently roll into balls and roll in the sugar before placing on the lined baking sheet. It’s okay to place them right next to each other. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and chill for 30 minutes.

Rolled smash sugar cookie dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Meanwhile, arrange oven racks in the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the oven. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.

Smash the cookies:

Space the cookies out between two large baking sheets, leaving at least 3 inches between each ball (you may need to bake in multiple batches). Use the bottom of a large, flat drinking glass or a measuring cup to smash each ball as best you can. They should measure 2 1/2 to 3 inches across.

If the first ball is too hard and difficult to squash, let them sit out for a few minutes to soften just slightly. Not too long or the dough will get sticky; you want the cookies to form crackly edges. If the dough breaks off at all while smashing, just squish it back together.

Smash sugar cookie dough ball smashed using the bottom of a bowl
Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder


Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, then swap and rotate the baking sheets. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the center is set, another 3 to 5 minutes (8 to 10 minutes total).

Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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Smash sugar cookies on a plate
Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder
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