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The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Without Butter

Here is my recipe for sugar cookies without butter, adapted from my super popular no butter Snickerdoodle cookies!

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:

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  • 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. 

silicone baking mat

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.

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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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.


Sunday 17th of September 2023

they were okay texture was nice, looks really pretty, melted in my mouth, Although; I wasn't a fan of the flavor definitely could have tasted better I can really taste the oil.


Sunday 3rd of September 2023

P.S. I wasn't sure whether the cookies need to be flattened a bit but I haven't found this in the recipe, so I googled and found out that yes, after you place them on the cooking sheet, you should slightly flatten them. I used a bottom of a glass. They turned out just right!


Sunday 3rd of September 2023

These cookies are phenomenal! Thank you.


Tuesday 1st of August 2023

Thank you for this great recipe! We are dairy free in my house due to an allergy and these were perfect! Great texture! Quick to make too, so this momma was happy!

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