Dolly Parton’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

I have no idea if this recipe truly originates from Dolly, but if it did, thank you Dolly! Not only are you a super cool chick, but you gave me my go-to recipe for sugar cookies for going on probably 10 years now.

I happened across this fab recipe while googling – heck, maybe I was using Netscape (remember when Netscape was a search engine and not a defunct ISP? Or am I alone?!) at that time. Anyway, I searched for a sugar cookie recipe, and found this one. Intrigued, I tried it out.

It was perfect.

Since then, when I make sugar cookies, this is the only recipe I use. I’m convinced there is no better. The taste (with just a little bit of lemon zest) is out of this world. The dough rolls and keeps its shape when cooking beautifully. And they taste amazing. Did I mention they’re delicious? (The dough is yummy, too).

Last year, my guy, his buddy, and I were snowed in for days. It was a weird, wonderful, memorable time – I’d never seen anything like it in all my years in Seattle.

One day, we spent an entire afternoon frosting sugar cookies and drinking hot buttered rum. The guys totally got into it – cabin fever, I guess – and we had a blast. They may have gotten a little creative with the gingerbread shapes (again: cabin fever!) – please skip past the top right part of the following photo if your sensibilities are, well… sensitive. I added some “censored” bars just to be extra safe.

The baby blue Beetle convertible with a black top is a testament to the kind of fun car I would love to have. Maybe someday.

Here’s another view:

I was very proud of my Bumble (even though the chest and belly button action are a bit much) and my attempt at the bundled up little brother from A Christmas Story (shame on me, I forgot the scarf!). My guy made a fishbowl with Swedish Fish. So creative!

And when I broke one of the poor cars while frosting it, I just borrowed a tree and a snowman and made a little scene out of several cookies.

Gotta go with the flow!

This year, my Christmas sugar cookies are frosty-looking snowflakes shaped with round- and flower-shaped cookie cutters. I frosted them various
shades of blue and dusted them with sparkly sugar sprinkles.

Far less creative than last year – but if we get snowed in again, another batch will be in order, so stay tuned!

Dolly Parton’s Sugar Cookie Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Kitchen Treaty
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: Approx. 2 dozen cookies
When I make sugar cookies, this is the only recipe I use. I’m convinced there is no better. The taste (with just a little bit of lemon zest) is out of this world. The dough rolls and keeps its shape beautifully when baked. And – worth mentioning again – they’re absolutely delicious!
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Zest of one medium lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  1. Cream sugar and butter together in a large bowl, beating until well incorporated.
  2. Add the egg yolks and lemon zest. Beat until well mixed.
  3. Sift the flour over the wet ingredients, and mix just until combined.
  4. Knead together very gently until it forms enough of a ball to plop onto a piece of plastic wrap. Work the dough just enough to get it to stick together, but be careful not to overdo it. Honestly, I get so paranoid about overworking the dough that I pile the crumbs onto the plastic wrap, fold it up around the mound, and press it together that way.
  5. Completely wrap the dough with the plastic wrap.
  6. Chill dough for three hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Roll out dough – I go as thin as 1/8 inch, but I prefer about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes, adding additional flour as necessary to avoid sticking.
  9. Place cookie shapes on a cookie sheet (no need to grease) and bake for about 8 minutes, just until the cookies start to turn pinky beige around the edges.
  10. Let cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet, then move to wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Eat plain or decorate with sugar cookie icing.

Sugar Cookie Icing

Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Kitchen Treaty
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: Approx. 1/4 cup
This is a terrific sugar cookie icing recipe. It’s easy to frost the cookies with it, and it hardens nicely for easy storage and travel.
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring (optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients well and use immediately. If the frosting is too thick, add more corn syrup until you get your desired consistency. If it’s too thin, use more powdered sugar.
  2. If you’re adding sprinkles or Swedish Fish or you name it, add them right away, before the frosting hardens.

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Originally published on The Hazel Bloom December 10, 2009. Updated and posted on Kitchen Treaty November 25, 2012. More about this

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6 Responses to “Dolly Parton’s Sugar Cookie Recipe”

  1. Crazy Lady posted on December 10, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Is that just plain sugar you sprinkled on the frosting?

  2. Crazy Lady posted on December 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Is there a printer friendly button? I would like to print this!

  3. Kare posted on December 10, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Actually it’s cupcake/cookie sprinkles. Plain sugar would probably work fine, it’s just a little finer so not quite as sparkly.

  4. Kare posted on December 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Hmm… not yet, but I should work on that! For now you could copy and paste into Notepad or Word, or I can create something for ya – let me know :)

  5. Patsy Bell Hobson posted on January 15, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I’m saving this recipe for Valentines Day.

  6. R. Hughes posted on December 9, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Is the cookie hard or soft after it is baked?

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