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10 Simple Store-Bought Sugar Cookie Mix Hacks

Your cookies will look (and taste!) like they're made from scratch with these sugar cookie mix hacks.

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pieces of butter on wrapping paper on grey kitchen table backgroundRuta Lipskija/Getty Images

Use real butter in your dough

Store-bought sugar cookie mixes will give the option of adding in butter or margarine, but always choose butter! It’ll give your cookies the best, closest-to-homemade flavor. Use unsalted butter to be sure your cookies don’t taste too salty. Here’s the difference between unsalted and salted butter.

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Add extracts

A teaspoon or two of extracts will noticeably boost flavor when blended into your sugar cookie mix. Vanilla is the obvious choice. For a more intriguing flavor, add both vanilla and almond extracts. Rum, maple and anise are other delicious varieties to consider.

(Try these flavor hacks that work wonders with store-bought cookie dough.)

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Lemon Zest4kodiak/Getty Images

Stir in citrus zest

Your sugar cookies will sing with fresh citrus zest added to the mix! Use a Microplane grater to remove one to two tablespoons of fine zest from lemons, limes or oranges, and mix the zest into your dough.

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Sour cream Dairy products,Directly above shot of cream in bowl on tableEvgeny Karandaev/Getty Images

Add sour cream

Stir 3/4 of a cup to one cup of full-fat sour cream in with your cookie mix, butter and egg. Sugar cookies will bake up with a wonderfully soft, cake-like texture. (Here’s why it works!)

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High Angle View Of Cookies On TableRyan Cutler/Getty Images

Mix in tasty ingredients

Take plain sugar cookies up a notch with exciting mix-ins like chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, toasted chopped nuts, chopped dried fruit or M&M’s. Add these after blending your butter and egg into the sugar cookie mix.

This is our favorite hack for holiday Pillsbury cookie dough.

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Homemade cookies and a glass of milkPhamai Techaphan/Getty Images

Give your cookie dough some color

A few drops of food coloring make regular sugar cookie dough so much more fun, whether for drop or cutout cookies. Make your cookies all one color, or make batches of different colors to roll or stack together before slicing and baking.

You can do more with premade cookie dough than you’d believe!

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Step by step recipe galette or pie with nectarines. Female hands cover the dough with plastic wrap.Dubravina/Getty Images

Chill the dough

One of our favorite tips is to chill cookie dough before baking, and that goes for sugar cookie mix doughs, too. Chilling lets the dough fully hydrate for better-tasting cookies and also firms up butter in the dough so that the cookies won’t spread.

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Holiday BakingLisa J. Goodman/Getty Images

Roll cookies in toppings

Form your sugar cookie dough into balls, then roll them in toppings like sprinkles or colorful sanding sugars. For snickerdoodle-like cookies, try rolling them in a cinnamon-sugar blend. After rolling, bake the cookies as directed.

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Woman Frosting CookieDanielle D. Hughson/Getty Images

Frost cookies with homemade icing

You saved time with a store-bought sugar cookie mix, so make an easy, homemade buttercream, cream cheese frosting or decorating icing to top them. Add food coloring or flavored extracts to make them even snazzier. Here’s our recipe for easy royal icing.

Our editors think THIS is the best store-bought cookie dough out there!

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Chocolate Dipped Cookiesjmalov/Getty Images

Dip your cookies in chocolate

Gently melt chocolate or white chocolate chips in a microwave or a double boiler. Dip your baked, cooled sugar cookies in the melted chocolate, then let them cool. Once set you can even add a second dip or drizzles of a second kind of chocolate to your cookies.

Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.