This is Grandma Prudy’s easy sugar cookie recipe for THIN and CRISPY cookies, not to be confused with the kind that you put frosting on. These ones are light, snappy, and shatter in your mouth when you take a bite. The flavor is exquisitely buttery. They are irresistible and I may or may not have eaten about 5,000. Dip them in milk! Die happy! (If you are looking for a frosted cookie, try The Softest Sugar Cookie Recipe of Your Life.)
Eric’s parents were in town last weekend for Charlotte’s baptism. On Sunday afternoon we were deciding what cookies to make for Cookie Sunday (a very serious tradition at our house).
We were having trouble narrowing it down, so I made everyone tell me which kind they wanted most, and then we all got 3 votes that we could put under any cookie. (So you could put all 3 votes under your own cookie or divide them up however you like.) Now you have a strategy for next time you can’t decide what cookie to make, you’re welcome. (What, no one else has this problem??)
Most everyone wanted chocolate chip cookies of some sort, but Eric wanted them to be these ones with maple and raw sugar, Truman wanted chocolate chip with M&Ms, and Chip wanted regular ones. (The phrase “divide and conquer” comes to mind) Kris was the only one who wanted CRISPY drop sugar cookies, the kind her Grandma Prudy used to make, even though none of the rest of us are huge fans of crunchy cookies.
Well everyone gave Kris a pity vote, don’t ask me why, it certainly wasn’t me, but she ended up winning. That was the point when Truman let out a guttural scream, like a wounded animal, and started crying real tears. For a moment I thought he had hurt himself somehow, and we all stared at him expectantly, but then he yelled, “I HATE CRUNCHY SUGAR COOKIES!!!!” and that’s when we all started dying laughing, trying to choke it back and bite our tongues so he couldn’t see, while we sent him into a time out.
We ended up making both kinds of course. (After a stern talk with Truman.) Kris decided to make a half batch of easy sugar cookies because she thought she would be the only ones eating them. We all enjoyed the warm chocolate chip cookies when they came out of the oven.
But guess what happened over the next 24 hours? We DEMOLISHED those crispy sugar cookies. They were gone way before the chocolate chip cookies. And we were all sad that Kris hadn’t made the full batch.
Here’s the thing about Grandma Prudy’s easy sugar cookie recipe: they are kind of like air. You breathe them in without really thinking about it. A warm chocolate chip cookie is like an event: you need to sit down with a glass of milk and really focus in on the warm richness of it.
But Grandma Prudy’s easy sugar cookie recipe? You nab one on your way to get a glass of water in the kitchen. You take two more as a snack on your drive to pick up the kids. You eat 4 with a glass of milk while Netflixing, and barely even realize what happened. I bet that in the process of writing this post I’ve had at least 7. Don’t judge. I’m telling you, these sugar cookies are dangerous.
And you can trust me, because I consider myself firmly entrenched in the soft sugar cookie camp. One of my most popular recipes is for The Softest Sugar Cookie Recipe of Your Life, and I stand by that title; I’ve never had a homemade sugar cookie that stayed so soft, even on the edges. Top it with The Best Buttercream Frosting For Sugar Cookies and you will be in heaven.
How to make Crispy Sugar Cookies
But these drop sugar cookies are in a different category entirely. They are impossibly thin and impossibly crispy. They shatter in your mouth when you take a bite, and then they melt into exquisite sugary bliss. You will get crumbs everywhere. You will have butter and oil on your fingers after eating them. And it will only give you an excuse to grab another one.
They are scary easy to make. You don’t even have to roll the dough, or chill it, meaning you can go from zero to warm cookies in 30 minutes. It’s a simple mixture that has butter, white sugar, powdered sugar, and vegetable oil. The oil is part of what makes them so crispy. The other thing that helps with texture is the cream of tartar. It gives these simple sugar cookies a tender crumb (that melt in your mouth texture), and the same tart aftertaste that you get with snickerdoodles.
Here is Grandma Prudy’s original recipe. (When she got older, her doctor told her to cut back on salt, so she cut it out entirely from her baking. But what’s a cookie without a little salt? Terrible, according to everyone who tried them. Kris (her granddaughter) added it back in you can see. And also some mace. Or nutmed?? ha! Nutmeg would be pretty good in these.)
Grandma Prudy is my husband Eric’s Swedish great-grandmother. Her parents were immigrants from Sweden. She was a lovely lady who I never had the chance to meet, but she left dozens and dozens of amazing recipes that we all remember her with. She was the Swedish cookie queen:
Mexican Wedding Cookies (In our family we call them Sweethearts)
Eric’s mom Kris told me that every time they went on a road trip, her mother would make a giant batch of these simple sugar cookies, and another giant batch of Gingersnaps, and they would store them in empty coffee cans to enjoy while they were driving. I seriously can’t think of a better road trip snack!
One more thing, Prudy always baked these cookies with a red hot candy in the middle, like this:
I didn’t think I would be into this, but Kris proved me wrong, again. The red hot melts into the same texture as the rest of the cookie, so instead of having a hard cinnamon candy for your middle bite, it adds just a little kick of cinnamon that blends right in with the cookie. It’s delightful.
(Check the comments within a few days of me posting this. I’m SURE Kris will have LOTS to say about me eating crow over crispy sugar cookies. She’s been waiting for this day a long time I think. We argue about crunchy cookies vs. soft cookies ALL the time. I frequently have to save batches of cookies from the jaws of over-baked death when she is in charge.)
But not these sugar cookies. It’s impossible to over bake them. You want them to be BROWN on the edges when you take them out of the oven. Crispy heaven!! See, I’ve come a long way over the years. Crispy simple sugar cookies with no frosting or royal icing really do have a place in the world. Kris, you can die happy now.
More cookie recipes you will love!
- The Softest Sugar Cookie Recipe of Your Life << these really are the best sugar cookies, if you’re looking for a soft and buttery cookie that is frosted. Frost with The Best Buttercream Frosting For Sugar Cookies!
- Soft Chocolate Sugar Cookies (That Hold Their Shape) << These are the chocolate versions of those ones.
- Coconut-Frosted Sugar Cookies with Strawberry Hearts << I LOVE these ones. They use the same sugar-smash method for shaping the dough.
- Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies << I could not stop eating these!
- Lemon Curd Sugar Cookie Sandwiches << for some reason this recipe never took off and I don’t know why, because what could be better than lemon curd + sugar cookies??
- Peppermint Snickerdoodles << At Christmas… or any time!
- Shortbread Cookies from Fifteen Spatulas
- Old Fashioned Crispy Tea Cake Cookies from Southern Plate
- Crispy Snickerdoodle Cookies from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Crispy Sugar Cookie Recipe (Grandma Prudy’s Thin and Crispy Cookies)
- 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks - I liked salted, unsalted is fine too)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large large eggs
- 4 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for smashing cookies
- red hots, optional
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat 1 cup butter for about 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Make sure it is nice and smooth, light and fluffy.
- Add 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1 cup vegetable oil (I like to use light olive oil).
- Beat until well combined, scraping sides to make sure the butter and sugar gets incorporated.
- Add 1 tablespoon vanilla, and 2 large eggs. Beat well until smooth.
- Add 4 and 1/2 cups flour, making sure you measure it correctly (spoon it into the measuring cup.) Don't stir yet.
- Use a small spoon to stir 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt into the flour. Break up any chunks of soda or tartar.
- Beat the dry ingredients into the dough until just barely combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Make sure all the flour is incorporated, but don't over mix (or you will get a tough cookie. Who wants that??)
- Use a 1 inch cookie scoop to shape the cookie dough. A 1 inch ball of dough will yield about a 2 and 1/2 inch wide sugar cookie. You don't want them bigger than that. (Trust me. I'm usually the one using 1/4 cup of dough for my cookies. But not these ones. Tiny is better.)
- Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheets with about 2 inches in between each cookie. The dough is pretty soft because of the oil, but fear not, they bake up just fine.
- Add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar to a plate. Lightly wet the bottom of a drinking glass that has a flat bottom. Dip the glass in the sugar and use it to smash one cookie dough ball. Dip in sugar again and repeat with the remaining dough. You want to smash the cookies so they are about 1/4 inch thick.
- Press one red hot in the middle of each cookie, if you want.
- Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. You want the edges of the cookie to be light brown, and there should be no shine in the center of the cookie. The bake time also depends on how much you smashed them.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Eat 500 a day until they are gone. These are really good dipped in milk. Crispy crunchy heaven!