Perfect Sugar Cookies - the best chewy sugar cookies with vanilla cream cheese frosting and festive sprinkles!
These cookies are great for any holiday, just like my Chewy Snickerdoodles and Molasses Cookies.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Perfect Sugar Cookies with sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting make an appearance on our holiday table each year. This is the cookie we leave for Santa ( along with oats for the reindeer! ). They are chewy, with slightly crispy edges and can be dressed up for any theme and occasion. I adapted my ginger molasses cookies recipe to get the same perfect texture and look. These cookies are bound to become a family favorite!
These Sugar Cookies are perfect for a few reasons: they are super easy to make, the can be frosted and decorated with sprinkles or enjoyed plain. They are chewy, sweet with slightly crackly tops and frosted with my favorite cream cheese frosting.
- unsalted butter
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- almond extract
- all-purpose flour (bleached)
- baking soda
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
How to make the best sugar cookies?
Sugar cookies are most often made with white granulated sugar, butter, egg, flavor extract, flour and baking soda. It is important to let the butter soften at room temperature before creaming for the best texture of the cookie.
- Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Beat butter with sugar and cream for 3 minutes.
- Add egg, extracts and mix in.
- Stir in dry ingredients.
- Scoop the dough into 1.5 tablespoon size balls. Place on a baking sheet.
- Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Cool before frosting.
How to form sugar cookie dough:
The ready dough can be:
- scooped, rolled in your hands into a smooth ball and placed on a baking sheet (cookie nr. 1) ;
- rolled in your hands, placed on baking sheet and gently pressed with a bottom of a glass (cookie nr. 2). Cookie nr.2 will be bigger which gives you more surface to decorate.
- dropped right at the baking sheet (cookie nr. 3) and baked.
- You can also roll the dough balls in white granulated sugar before placing on a baking sheet.
My favorite sugar cookie frosting is made with cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. To make the best frosting, make sure the cream cheese and butter and very soft. Mix them together until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar, half of a cup at a time. Beat until you reach the desired texture. You can also add food coloring to this frosting.
- butter: it should be very soft so you have to scrape it off the wrapper. It will cream better.
- vanilla: I highly recommend using a quality vanilla extract, not imitation. Add almond extract for that signature sugar cookie flavor.
- flour: use bleached all-purpose flour (un-bleached changes texture of baked goods, especially cookies) and measure it out by fluffing it in the containers you store it in, then using a spoon scoop it out into your measuring cup, then level off the top and use in the recipe.
- frosting: make sure cream cheese is softened for the best smooth frosting texture.
You can prepare the dough, scoop it with a cookie scoop and place on a baking sheet. Freeze, then place in a ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you want to freeze already baked cookies, do not frost them beforehand. Cream cheese products don't freeze well.
To keep the cookies chewy and soft, I recommend storing them in an air-tight container. Some cookie jars have a rubber seal which makes them air-tight and perfect for storing chewy cookies.
More holiday cookies:
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Perfect Sugar Cookies
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened ( 12 tablespoons )
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour see note
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 oz. cream cheese softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar see note
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric hand mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar ½ cup at a time and cream for 3 minutes.
- Add egg and both extracts to butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, in 3 parts, to butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Scoop the dough with a medium size cookie scoop (1 and ½ tablespoon size) and roll in your hands into a smooth ball. Place cookie balls on a prepared baking sheet. If desired, press gently with the bottom of a glass (see note).
- Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (see note).
- Cool for 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
- To make frosting: in a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and mix well. Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. You don't have to use all 2 cups, just until you are happy with the texture.
- Frost completely cooled cookies and decorate with sprinkles OR enjoy plain.
- Baking time for these cookies is between 8 to 10 minutes. Every oven is different so check the cookies at 8 minutes and if needed add one minute at a time. For me the magic number was exactly 9 minutes.
- To properly measure out flour: stir the flour a few times in the container you keep it in, then spoon into measuring cup and level out with knife.
- Please note that the butter should be really soft, not just room temperature to touch. It should be so soft, that you need a knife to scrape it off the wrapper. It will ensure proper creaming with sugar.
- I use 1 and ½ cups of powdered sugar in my frosting but you can use as much as 2 cups, just until you reached the desired texture.
- You can roll the dough balls in white granulated sugar before placing on baking sheet. My favorite frosting for cookies is made with cream cheese and not an overwhelming amount of powdered sugar, just enough to make the frosting spreadable.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate.
This recipe was originally published on December 12th, 2017 and updated on October 15th, 2019.
Can you make frosting into chocolate? If so, how much coco do you use?
Made these cookies and they came out so soft and delicious
Yay! That's wonderful! Thank you, Gina!
Will the frosting harden enough to put the cookies in tins with other things? Don’t want another frosting fiasco this year
These were such a fun cookie to make with the kids, we decorated them and couldn't get enough. These are the perfect cookie for Christmas!
Thank you so much, Lily!
The perfect holiday treat! I love sugar cookies!
Yay! Thanks, Katerina!
Looks so good! Can't wait to try these with my family.
I hope you love them, Katie!
Andrea Thueson says
Love this style of a sugar cookie! Perfection!
Thank you, Andrea!
Kellie Hemmerly says
We made this recipe this weekend and it is absolutely perfect! So easy and the dough was easy to work with.
That's wonderful! Thank you, Kellie!
Yes! I love these cookies, and I'm definitely making them for all the holidays coming up! Or for any reason I can think of, really.
Great recipe! This would be so fun to take to all our parties this winter, and not too difficult!
I love all the tips on this. Especially how to form the dough and whether you can freeze. This is a life saver recipe.
These are all just gorgeous! I can't wait to try!
These are amazing and so easy! I'm wondering what food coloring you used to get that pretty blue frosting? I love it with the snowflake sprinkles. Soooo cute!
Hi Shannon! I am so happy to know you love the cookies! I always use gel food coloring by Wilton. I think I got a set in Hobby Lobby. Hope this helps!
These look delicious. Do you think they would keep well in the freezer?
Hi Kaleigh! Yep, you can make the dough, scoop it and freeze. When you are ready, just let them sit in room temperature while the oven preheats. Hope this helps!
Suzanna Starr Williams says
Tried these today and they were just what I was looking for! Thank you!
That's wonderful! Thank you so much, Suzanna!
Hello, wondering if this frosting stiffen up enough to individually pack them in little gift bags? Thanks for recipe!
I just want you to know that I have searched FOR YEARS for a copycat Pillsbury Sugar Cookie recipe! This is perfect! I have never been so happy with a recipe. Thank you thank you THANK YOU!! 🙂
Hi Hannah! THANK YOU so much for this sweet comment! It made my day! I am so happy to know you love this recipe. I was thrilled to make it and share it on my blog. Thank you for trying it and for coming back to let me know. Have a beautiful day!
Hi! Can I roll this dough out and use cookie cutters on it?
Hi Megan! I don't think it will hold the shape well. So sorry!
Was looking for a quick recipe to make to, I'm a last-minute kind a gal, 😋 glad I found this one! I'll make these before I prep everything for Christmas dinner, God bless and Merry Christmas 🌲🍪🌌🎄🎁🕎✡️✝️☪️☮️
Just made these for a Christmas cookie exchange I'm having with my sisters this weekend, this recipe is fool proof and I just took my first batch out of the oven. They turned out perfect! Now I'm waiting to frost them until tomorrow. Thanks for this recipe, this will be my go to for the years to come I'm sure!
Hi Jessica! YAY!! That's awesome! I am so happy you made these cookies and love them! Thank you so much for the feedback! Merry Christmas!