A super soft sugar cookie recipe that is a tried and true favorite. These soft and chewy cookies bake up fluffy, are best topped with buttercream frosting and perfect for any holiday or party!
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Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
I’ve been using this delicious sugar cookie recipe for several years, and these really are the best sugar cookies with a super soft, fluffy and moist texture! If you love sugar cookies, also try these brown sugar cookies, copycat Swig cookies and sugar cookie truffles.
Ingredients for Soft Sugar Cookies
I’ve tried numerous ingredient combinations for sugar cookies and 2 secret ingredients for the best soft cookies are sour cream and butter!
Find the printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Unsalted butter and sour cream: Sour cream helps make them super soft and moist, while softened butter makes the outside edges crispy.
- Sugar: A MUST for sugar cookies that adds sweetness and texture!
- Large eggs: Eggs bind and help the dough hold shape.
- Extract: Vanilla extract for rich flavor and lemon or almond extract for additional taste.
- Baking staples: All-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt add structure and gives the sugar cookies lift and rise.
Customizations and Variations
There are so many ways to make these soft sugar cookies your own!
- Sugar cookie bars: Super soft sugar cookies but in bar form with a sweet flavor, soft base and plenty of frosting and sprinkles.
- Celebrate the occasion: Cut out dough with shaped cookie cutters to match the holiday. Add food coloring to the frosting and festive sprinkles on top.
- Skip the frosting: Roll cookies in colored sugar before baking or fold some multi-colored jimmies into the dough like I do in funfetti cake mix cookie recipe.
- Half batch. This recipe makes bout 2-3 dozen cookies, so you can easily cut it in half to make less. Or store half of dough in freezer to make fruit pizza.
How to Make Soft Sugar Cookies
The first thing everyone looks for in a sugar cookie is the softness then the flavor, these have both!
- Make sugar cookie dough: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.Add in eggs, extracts and sour cream then mix until combined. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
- Chill: Split dough in two and place in saran wrap dusted with powdered sugar. Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours.
- Roll dough: Roll out dough on a baker’s mat or parchment paper to about 1/4″ thick. Add up to another 1/4 cup flour if dough is still sticky.
- Cut into shapes: Cut the cookie dough with a cookie cutter that has been dipped into flour.
- Bake: Bake at 350°F for 8-9 minutes, until edges are slightly golden.
- Cool then frost: Allow cookies to cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Tips for Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
Here are some extra tips to help you make the softest cookies!
- Don’t overmix. It’s easy to get heavy handed when mixing the dough, but you want to mix the dough until just combined. Over mixing causes them to dry out, and your cookies won’t be as soft and fluffy.
- Chill the dough. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 to 2 hours before cutting shapes to prevent spread in the oven. Make the dough a day or two beforehand just like my easy butter cookies!
- Thickness. I like to roll my dough out about 1/4 inch thick. It gives the cookies the perfect width and makes them rise beautifully in the oven.
- Perfectly shaped cookies: Roll out your dough on a baking mat or between two pieces of parchment paper (so you don’t have to peel up the shapes) then dust cookie cutters with powdered sugar or flour and cut out perfectly shaped cookies.
- Cool before frosting. As tempting as it is, let them cool completely before frosting the tops. If they are still warm, the frosting can melt and change texture.
5 star review
“AMAZING. These are the best sugar cookies! So soft and delicious. They look and feel like those store bought cookies but the best part is they’re from scratch therefore you get to control all the ingredients and of course they taste better, too!”-Sharona
Decorating Soft Sugar Cookies
I love to top these cookies with lots of frosting and sprinkles!
- Buttercream frosting: A light and fluffy buttercream frosting is the perfect compliment. A simple vanilla frosting also tastes great.
- Cream cheese frosting: If you like a tangier frosting, this is a favorite. You will need to refrigerate the cookies due to the addition of the cream cheese. You could also use a sour cream frosting.
- Sugar cookie icing: I especially love using this icing when making Christmas sugar cookies. It’s perfect for decorating, has a beautiful shine and is a bit easier than a royal icing.
It is a balancing act! You don’t want to have too much butter because that will make your cookies to spread when baked. Chilling your cookies is also helpful.
I don’t recommend ever opening the oven, but getting a closer look and feel with a touch from the spatula, you can tell if they still need a few extra minutes. Looking through the glass and using an oven light this will help to see
Usually if the cookie dough is dry or crumbly it usually means the dough was over mixed or too much dry ingredients are added in the dough. To reverse this process add in one to two tablespoons liquid. Use either water, milk, or softened butter to help.
You will want to make sure that the butter is not too soft but also not melted when you are mixing. Once the cookies are baked, you can use a circular cookie cutter and place around the sugar cookie. In a circular motion, circle to the cookie a few times until it begins to make a perfect circle shape.
Storing and Freezing
These cookies will keep for about 3 weeks, if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
You can also store them with or without frosting in the freezer. Just wrap them in plastic wrap and place in a zip top bag for up to 3 months. Just be sure to freeze them the same day you bake them. :)
Sugar cookie dough can also be made ahead and kept frozen for up to 3 months. Just wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then stick in a freezer zip lock. Thaw for 2 hours at room temperature to soften before rolling out. You can also keep dough in the fridge and use with 2-3 days.
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- Cookie Sheet
- 1 cup butter , at room temp
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs , at room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon lemon or almond extract , whichever flavor you prefer
- 1 cup sour cream
- 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¾ cup butter
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cookies:
- In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar. Beat until creamy. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon extract and sour cream and mix together until combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
- Split dough in two and press flat in saran wrap (this will make it easier to roll out later). Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours.
- Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on a baker's mat to about 1/4" thick. Add up to another 1/4 cup flour if dough is still sticky. Cut with floured cookie cutter.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes, until edges are slightly golden. Then allow to cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
For the Frosting:
- For both the buttercream, combine all listed ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Feel free to add in food coloring. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Frost buttercream on cooled cookies and serve. :)
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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