Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Stacks of soft sour cream sugar cookies on a cooling rack with a white background

Soft Lofthouse style sour cream sugar cookies are the perfect cut out cookie recipe. Slather these cookies with cream cheese frosting and add sprinkles for the perfect sugar cookie!

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Frosted sour cream cookies with sprinkles on a white plate on a white background

So…I’m not usually about fussy.  I’m a jeans and tee shirt girl.  I drink instant coffee.  I’ve carried the same purse for the last two years.  But sometimes a little bit fussy is ok.  And these sour cream sugar cookies are one of those times.

The dough for these cookies is a little bit fussy.  It has to be chilled.  It has to be rolled out with a of a dusting of flour and the gentlest hand on the rolling pin.  It has to be baked and then cooled and then frosted.  

But for all the fussing around, you will get the most tender, fluffy sugar cookies, thanks to the fat and acidity in the sour cream.  If you add the tangy cream cheese buttercream to the top and a few sprinkles, you will have a cookie that people fight over to keep the leftovers.

Three stacks of sugar cookies in a row on a grid shaped cooling rack with a white background.

What makes these cookies “soft and fluffy”

Sour cream and baking soda. The sour cream is added fat which tenderizes the dough, making them nice and soft. The basic nature of baking soda combined with the acidic nature of sour cream gives these cookies lots of lift creating air bubbles inside the cookie which makes the cookie fluffy.

Why do we have to chill the cookie dough?

Chilling the dough gives the butter time in the fridge to harden a little bit. It also give the liquid ingredients time to hydrate the flour in the dough creating more depth of flavor and allows the gluten a chance to relax so the dough will be easier to roll out. Refrigerating the dough also decreases the likelihood your cookies will spread into giant unrecognizable blobs.

How do you keep cookies from spreading when baking?

Chill the dough. I know, I’m repetitive. But for real, you’re greatest chance of success comes from chilling the dough. It firms up the butter and the sour cream (the fat sources in these cookies) so they doesn’t spread as much during baking. The cookie’s structure is more formed before the butter melts so it won’t spread. I find it helpful to chill my cut cookies in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes before baking especially if my apartment is warm. This helps to cut down on spreading.

Don’t use butter that is too warm or too cool in your dough. How do you know? Room temperature butter should give when you push on it but not squish or be melty.

Use parchment paper to line your cookie sheets rather than baking spray. Greased cookie sheets add additional fat to the system and can encourage spreading. The parchment also adds an additional layer of insulation between the hot pan and your cookie so that your cookie has a greater chance to solidify before it gets too warm and starts spreading.

Leaf shaped cookie cutter on rolled out sheet of dough

Bonus-these cookies freeze beautifully so you can make them in advance.  Makes them a little less fussy.  

How To Freeze Baked Sour Cream Sugar Cookies:

Layer baked cookies in a freezer safe container with layers of plastic wrap covering the cookies tightly.  When you’re ready to eat them, remove from freezer and lay out on a cookie sheet to thaw for 30 minutes.  Frost as desired.

How To Freeze Unbaked Sour Cream Sugar Cookies:

Make and chill dough per the directions. Roll and cut cookies as desired. Lay them on an ungreased cookie sheet (preferably lined with some parchment paper). Freeze on cookie sheet for 1 hour. Then remove cookies from cookies from cookie sheet and place in freezer safe container for up to 3 months. To Bake: place frozen cookies directly on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake like normal adding about 3 minutes to original bake time.

Tips for Success:

  • Chill dough-for at least an hour or up to overnight. This is a really soft dough so even if it’s been in the fridge for awhile, you shouldn’t have too much trouble rolling it. You may even want to chill the cut out cookies in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before baking to decrease the chance of cookie spread in the oven
  • Roll dough gently-we want thick, fluffy cookies so don’t roll the dough thinner than 1/4 inch and press gently while rolling.
  • Cut the cookies thick-these cookies are meant to be soft and a little bit doughy, not rolling them too thin and cutting them thick helps with this.
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting-buttercream has a tendency to melt right off a warm cookie so give them plenty of time to cool. In a hurry, place cookies on a cooling rack in front of a box fan to cool fast.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar granulated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • If you have a stand mixer-fit with paddle beater.  Beat on high speed the butter and until light and fluffy.
  • Add in sugar.  Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  
  • Scrape down the sides and turn your mixer to low.  Add in the egg, sour cream, and vanilla and mix to combine.  
  • Scrape down the sides.  As the mixer is running on low speed add in the baking soda.  Slowly add the flour a 1/2 cup at a time and mix to combine. Final dough will be soft.
  • Chill dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • When you're ready to bake your cookies, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin.
  • Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut shapes as desired.
  • Bake cookies on greased or parchment lined cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely and frost as desired

Cream Cheese Buttercream

Soft American style buttercream with extra tang from a healthy dose of cream cheese.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword buttercream
Prep Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  • If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth and well blended.  By well blended, I mean that there are no lumpy butter bits.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and beat until well blended.
  • SLOWLY (I cannot stress this enough-it will be like a snowstorm in your kitchen if you pour that powdered sugar in too fast) add in the powdered sugar, beating to combine.  

Notes

2 sticks butter=1 cup butter
8 cups powdered sugar=2 lb. bag powdered sugar
If the frosting is too thick, you can add water one tablespoon at a time to thin out to desired consistency.  Again, I’m not kidding about the one tablespoon at a time.  You can’t take the water back out once it’s in.

Do you love making cutout cookies? You should try these easy rolled sugar cookies! Love sugar cookies but not the hassle of rolling and cutting? Try these sugar cookie bars-all the flavor, much less hassle!

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Happy Baking!

Sources:

Food52