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The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Without Butter

Here is my recipe for sugar cookies without butter, one of many no-butter cookie recipes here on The Frugal South!

soft chewy sugar cookies made with oil instead of butter

I personally love a classic cutout sugar cookie.

But I hate chilling the dough, rolling it out, and cutting out all of my cookies. Who has time for that outside of the holidays?

Turns out you can make a delicious sugar cookie without butter or any extra steps!

Read on for all of the details and get my recipe below…

Soft Sugar Cookies Without Butter Basics

soft sugar cookies without butter on a rack

Soft sugar cookies are such a classic treat.

They are slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside with a subtle vanilla flavor. They have to be the perfect comfort food!

My super easy soft sugar cookie recipe even uses oil instead of butter, so you don’t have to check the fridge to see if you have any butter before you make them. 

Did you know that vegetable oil is actually six times cheaper than butter?

So these cookies are both frugal and delicious. 

This oil sugar cookie recipe uses the following seven basic ingredients that most folks can find in their house:

  • all-purpose flour
  • white sugar
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • vegetable oil
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs

If you have these ingredients on hand then you can make these delicious cookies. 

Tips for No Butter Sugar Cookies 

I bake ALL of my cookies on a silicone baking mat like this one from Target.

It prevents the cookies from sticking and is so much easier to clean. 

Set of 2 silicone baking mats

I’ll never go back to dirty pans or parchment paper again. My silicone baking mat and silicone muffin pan might be my most-loved kitchen items.

Do not worry if the dough feels oily. The cookies will turn out great regardless.

Your hand will get slightly oily when rolling the dough balls. 

oil sugar cookie without butter dough ball being coated in sugar

Making the dough into balls (I use a small ice cream scoop to keep them the same size) and rolling them in sugar is essential to these turning out perfectly.

stainless steel cookie scoop

Don’t skip this step even though is it slightly annoying! The work with be worth it, I promise. 

It’s also very important to remove the cookies from the oven when they still seem a bit soft. They will harden as they cool.

I repeat: do NOT overbake these cookies!

They will get too hard and difficult to eat.

Sugar Cookies No Butter: Variations & Substitutions

closeup of cookie - the best sugar cookiewithout butter

There are MANY substitutions and variations you can make on these soft sugar cookies!

Here are some common substitutions people have tried and that appear to work:

  • Using almond flour or gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour
  • Use rice bran oil, olive oil, or avocado oil in place of vegetable oil
  • Replacing the teaspoon of vanilla extract with 1/2 tsp of almond extract
  • If you have butter on hand instead of oil, you can definitely use that instead. Just make sure it is soft or slightly melted. 

I hope you enjoy the best sugar cookie recipe without butter below! Any questions? Please leave a comment below or send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page

Check out these other great recipes:

Yield: 4 dozen

No Butter Sugar Cookies

cooked sugar cookies on baking sheet

Soft and chewy sugar cookies with no butter. No chilling, rolling, or cutting out.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (for rolling)


    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Mix the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
    3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.
    4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently mix everything together to form a thick dough. 
    5. Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll each ball in the sugar coating.
    6. Place cookies a few inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
    7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until just starting to brown on the bottom. Do not overbake or they will be hard as rocks!

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Tuesday 20th of February 2024

how do i double the recipe


Thursday 21st of March 2024

@camden, you literally double the ingredients


Saturday 17th of February 2024

Can I freeze the dough for a later use?


Sunday 18th of February 2024

I honestly have no experience with freezing dough so I'm not sure how it would react. I have frozen the baked cookies with success, though!


Thursday 16th of November 2023

i have made this recipe twice and i love it. if you don't havebutter or just don;' to use butter this is the recipe you need to use


Tuesday 7th of November 2023

I did 3 eggs instead of the two in the recipe. I also use olive oil, but only used 1/2 cup. I put the oven at 350 and did 15 minutes in the oven.



Friday 2nd of February 2024

@Jess, Why, was it to replace other ingredients due to dietary preferences


Thursday 21st of September 2023

Had a random late night sugar cookie craving & no butter! This recipe was easy and they turned out SO well! Definitely recommend.

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