Food & Nutrition

The Secret Ingredients Grandma Puts in Her Sugar Cookies

Amp up your baking game and make cookies that rival Grandma’s! These added ingredients go way beyond an extra dash of vanilla: They’ll have everyone asking for your secret recipe.

Freshly baked sugar cookies on cooling rack. Closeup with extremely shallow dof. ; Shutterstock ID 153370979; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeMarie C Fields/Shutterstock

There’s nothing better than a batch of sugar cookies. They always invoke childhood memories of the holidays or remind me of spending time in the kitchen with Grandma. She always had a few special ingredients up her sleeve that really made those cookies something special! Start with this classic sugar cookie recipe and add from there.

Orange Zest

Mandarin zest on wooden board with couple of mandarins alongside; Shutterstock ID 554047369; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeRuslans Golenkovs/Shutterstock

For a boost of flavor (and beautifully colorful addition), add a couple teaspoons of orange zest to your sugar cookies. They won’t taste overwhelmingly orange-like, but the zest adds some subtle pops of flavor as you eat the cookies. Just enough for people to wonder what your secret is! Orange zest transforms this holiday favorite, too.


Cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder on wood; Shutterstock ID 646377511amphaiwan/Shutterstock

A dash of cinnamon adds a nice warming quality to sugar cookies, especially those made around the holidays. Go one step further and add some finely chopped pecans for a really flavorful punch.

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