Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookies


Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book includes two recipes for sugar cookies. The one I am sharing here is called Ethel’s Sugar Cookies and it’s the recipe my mom always followed. When I saw shortening on this list of  ingredients, I immediately pictured the big blue tub of Crisco we always had in the cupboard for baking. My mom used Crisco in most of her cookie recipes, and her pie crusts, and all kinds of other things. I know it’s a bit taboo these days, but I bought some Crisco just to make these cookies. The holidays are all about tradition, right? I substituted real lemon zest for the lemon flavoring, but otherwise this is pretty close to the original.

little helpers make better cookies!

Collin and I had a great time cutting out all kinds of Christmas shapes. This dough is easy handle and the cookies hold up well for frosting.  Just make sure to refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 2 hours (especially if you use Crisco) so it will be firm enough to roll out and cut without sticking.

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, 1976

Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: A Passionate Plate
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest from a small lemon
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Mix the shortening, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly with an electric mixer. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix just until the dough is combined. Pat the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a clean surface, dusted with flour, roll out the dough to 1/8″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into your favorite shapes. Bake 6 t0 8 minutes, or until cookies are a delicate golden color.
  3. You can decorate with sprinkles before baking, or frost later with Royal Icing, or eat them plain.



  1. I used to make these for different holidays (Valentines, St. Pat, Halloween, etc,) using my 1968 cookbook and my huge collection of cookie cutters. I used margarine instead and left off the lemon zest. I still make them occasionally for Christmas using my mother’s vintage cookie cutters. Pretty tasty, especially with butter and powdered sugar frosting. Don’t forget the sprinkles!

  2. Chardi says:

    Ethel’s have been a favorite since I was a kid. My G Grandma always had these in the cookie jar. My favorite memory though, is discovering 2 friends in high school also made Ethel’s. Ena P and Ann H. God Bless

  3. Liz says:

    thank you so much I was delighted when I found the recipe for Ethel sugar cookies my mother also always made them and I’m so excited to make them now myself

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