Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Best-ever recipe for soft sugar cookies you can roll and cut out with cookie cutters! Easy to make, no chilling required, and they don’t spread into shapeless blobs as they bake. Made with a secret ingredient that gives them the most incredible flavor, and topped with a cool sour cream icing.
The cutout cookies that don’t spread are perfect for cookie decorating, and by that I mean the kind of decorating that is almost like a work of art. If you are a cookie artist, this is the recipe for you! They are easy to make and sturdy as can be (perfect for shipping), and they hold their shape beautifully. The texture is similar to shortbread, but not crumbly.
The soft and chewy sugar cookies are a drop cookie, so there’s no decoration needed! If you want you can jazz them up with some colorful sprinkles, or sparkling sugar, but they don’t really need anything more. They’re easy-peasy and quick to make, perfect for when a sugar cookie craving suddenly hits!
But these soft cut-out sugar cookies are in a category all their own.
It’s the best of all possible worlds, a sugar cookie that is soft as can be, rich, and tender, that you can roll out and cut shapes from!
The shapes hold up really well too. Say goodbye to those indistinguishable blobs that you’ve pulled from your oven in the past. These sugar cookies keep their neat edges. I did my research on this problem back in 2011 when I published that first cut-out cookie recipe. You can read about all the reasons why these rolled cookies don’t spread by clicking this link: How to Bake (Easy! and Delicious!) Cutout Cookies with Neat Edges.
I used all those same tricks when I created this new, soft, rolled sugar cookie recipe.
And all the tricks to make rolling and cutting sugar cookies quicker and easier. You don’t have to chill this dough, and you don’t even have to put flour on your counter! This recipe is no-muss, no-fuss, quick, easy, and incredibly delicious!
The flavor is like none other, thanks to a secret ingredient: cream cheese! The cream cheese imparts the most incredible richness. The cookies almost taste like cheesecake!
And all that creamy-dreaminess is reinforced when you top these sugar cookies with a cool sour cream icing. I discovered this frosting back in December, when I made those Chocolate Peppermint Swig Cookies, and oh my goodness! It is so good. It’s sweet and creamy and adds so much to this recipe. Just spread it on with a spoon and garnish with a few festive sprinkles. So pretty!
HERE ARE A FEW HELPFUL TIPS TO GUARANTEE SUGAR COOKIE SUCCESS:
- If you love your sugar cookies soft, be extra-careful not to overbake them! Your bake time could vary based on how thick you roll the dough, and what size cookie cutters you use. If the dough is rolled thinner than noted, and the cutters are small, you probably won’t need the full bake time listed on this recipe card. Use your judgement, and pull them from the oven when the edges feel set and the cookies are just barely beginning to turn golden on the bottoms. If you bake them too long, they could become hard.
- You can decorate these cookies with royal icing too! I made a big batch to donate to my kids’ school, and they came out fantastic. The sour cream frosting is just a little quicker/easier, and it tastes so good!
- If you want, you can skip the sugar cookie icing, and just use sprinkles instead. Top the cut-out shapes with sprinkles before they go into the oven.
- These sugar cookies can be baked several weeks ahead and frozen. Just stack them up in a zip-top bag and pop them in the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, let them thaw at room temperature (with the bag open), and frost them with icing.
- If you prefer to chill the dough, you totally can. (Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.) I’ve tried it both ways: with and without chilling, and both work beautifully. If you chill the dough, it’s a little harder to roll out, but the shapes cut very nicely. I prefer not to chill because I am impatient. It still works well, but I do think it’s helpful to dip your cookie cutter in flour before every cut.
- If you’d like to make a gluten-free sugar cookie, just sub out the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free flour blend. I link to some of my favorites in this post: Why Use Cake Flour?
- For a dairy-free sugar cookie recipe, use cold (solid) coconut oil in place of the butter, and use vegan cream cheese.
- These soft sugar cookies will keep at room temperature for 1 day, or in the fridge for about a week.
- The sugar cookie frosting will form a slight crust on the top after about an hour, but it will remain soft and moist underneath, so be careful about stacking them!
- For tips on how to decorate with royal icing, check out these posts: Iced Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, and Spiderweb Cookies.
Find tons more great cookie recipes on my “Cookie Recipes Galore” Pinterest board!
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Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
For the soft cut-out sugar cookies
For the sour cream icing
- 1/4 cup (56.75 g) unsalted butter, , softened
- 1/3 cup (76.67 g) sour cream
- 2 1/2 cups (300 g) powdered sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- drop of pink food coloring, (optional)
- white nonpareil sprinkles, (optional garnish)
- white sugar pearls, (optional garnish)
To make the soft cut-out sugar cookies:
- Place the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium-low speed until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract and mix on medium speed until combined.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
- Mix on medium-low speed until a stiff dough forms (about 1 minute). If the dough is too sticky to handle, try mixing in a little more flour.
- Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick (rolling pin rings ensure an even and exact thickness) between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
- Remove the top sheet of parchment, and cut shapes with a 3-inch heart cookie cutter.
- Peel the shapes from the bottom layer of parchment, and place on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until just barely beginning to turn golden on the bottoms.
- Cool completely, then frost with sour cream icing.
To make the sour cream icing:
- Place the butter, sour cream, powdered sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whip on medium speed until smooth.
- Tint with pink food coloring, and garnish with white nonpareil sprinkles and white sugar pearls.