the best soft sugar cookie + cream cheese frosting recipe

My mom’s sugar cookies are famous. For real. They’re soft and cakey with a rich cream cheese frosting that pretty much everybody loves – it’s way better than the tasteless “royal” icing that’s often used to decorate sugar cookies or the pasty pink frosting on those store bought ones. She makes them for every holiday and I don’t know how many people have requested the recipe over the years. Good thing she doesn’t mind sharing recipes, because I’m going to share it with all of you today.

This is, hands down, the best soft sugar cookie recipe, complete with amazing cream cheese frosting. So much better than store-bought!


One thing I really like about this recipe is that you don’t have to chill the dough before rolling it out. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really like making cookies to be an all-day affair. I’d rather just mix them up and get them baked, and that’s exactly what you can do with this recipe.

This is, hands down, the best soft sugar cookie recipe, complete with amazing cream cheese frosting. So much better than store-bought!

Click here to download the printable recipe card below.



The recipe is fairly straightforward, but here are a few tips:

1 – Don’t roll the dough out too thin! If you want nice, soft, puffy cookies, your dough needs to be right around 3/8th of an inch thick once rolled out (and yes, I do sometimes grab a ruler and measure until I get a feel for it).

2 – Don’t overbake! Cookies should not be brown AT ALL. Not even a little (see photos below) or they’ll end up crunchy. Plan to stick around while the first tray of cookies is baking and keep a close eye on them to see how long they’ll need in your oven. When done they’ll be nice and puffed and firm enough to come off the cookie sheet pretty easily – they won’t be gooey – but even the bottoms will still be white (photos below).

3 – You will need flour to roll these out, especially the right at first. Go ahead and dump some flour on your work surface, then scoop out some dough, then put more flour on top. As you continue to cut cookies and roll out more dough, some of the flour will get mixed in and you won’t need to add as much each time.

This is, hands down, the best soft sugar cookie recipe, complete with amazing cream cheese frosting. So much better than store-bought!

Oh, I almost forgot – your cookie total will depend on what size cookie cutters you choose, but I’d say you can plan on 4 dozen good sized round cookies from one batch.

Make sure you wait to frost them until they are completely cool. The frosting recipe included is delicious and super easy to mix up. If you like a lot of frosting on each cookie, you might want to increase all the frosting ingredients by one half to make sure you have plenty (6T butter, dash of salt, 6 oz cream cheese, 4-5T milk, 4.5 cups powdered sugar, 1.5t vanilla).

This is, hands down, the best soft sugar cookie recipe, complete with amazing cream cheese frosting. So much better than store-bought!

And that is the perfect soft sugar cookie.

This is, hands down, the best soft sugar cookie recipe, complete with amazing cream cheese frosting. So much better than store-bought!

Now, baking up and then frosting an entire batch of sugar cookies can take some time. In an effort to speed things up, I’ve found a super easy frosting method that’s much quicker than spreading the frosting on each cookie with a knife, and looks kinda fancy. Click here to check it out (it looks like the photos you see below).


Great tip! You can frost a whole batch of sugar cookies in no time with this simple method (and all you need is a plastic sandwich bag!).


  1. 1

    Kristie says

    I can’t wait for the Superbowl. These will be such cute footballs. Plus by then we might be over the big push to lose some weight!

    • 9

      autumn says

      Yes and no. It’s doesn’t get hard like a royal icing does, so I wouldn’t stack them more than 2 or 3 high, but it does set up enough that you can layer them on a plate after a few hours.

  2. 11

    Sofia says

    Hi! These look So yummy! I can’t wait to make them! I was just wondering if you can freeze the dough at any point so that I always have some in the freezer?

    • 12

      autumn says

      Yes, you can freeze the dough, but you’ll want it to come to room temperature before trying to roll it out otherwise it will be very hard to work with. The cookies themselves actually freeze beautifully!

    • 15

      autumn says

      Usually I would say yes, but you might have an issue with the cookies spreading a little too much. If you want to try it, I’d recommend rolling the dough a little thicker than directed in the post. And make sure the butter is only softened, not melted. Let us know how it goes!

      • 16

        Joy says

        I used butter and found that I had to use more than a cup of flour *extra* to get the consistency like dough! (And I din’t melt the butter; it was just softened.) Now, this worked for me because I like less sugary sugar cookies, but it means that mine aren’t really a good reflection of your recipe. (just an FYI, since I didn’t see anyone answering this from experimenting with the recipe.)

        • 17

          Jo Evans says

          I use real butter when baking myself. Were your cookies fluffy and light? The icing adds enough sweet for my using, but I’m curious on the fluffiness of the cookie?

  3. 22

    Megan says

    Hi – these look amazing – just wondering if the icing hardens so that the cookies can be packaged and gifted? Thank you!

  4. 23

    Katherine says

    These look delicious so I tried them, but I can’t seem to get the frosting right. I followed the recipe exactly but it turned out very very runny and not at all something I could spread on. I kept adding powdered sugar (2-3 more cups!) and it’s still too soft! should I have whipped the butter and cream geese first? Is3 Tbs too much milk? Please help!

    • 24

      Alichia says

      I had the exact same issue with the frosting. That plus it appeared very grainy like the cream cheese just didn’t want to integrate. Probably wouldn’t use this recipe again.

      • 25

        Victoria says

        If your icing looks “grainy” it means your butter and cream cheese were not to temperature (e.g. softened enough) to combine fully. sounds like a technical error not a problem with the recipe.

  5. 26

    Paige greenwood says

    In the list of ingredients you say margarine and in the body you say to cream together sugar, butter, eggs and milk… So does it matter if you use butter or margarine? I know some recipes actually matter. I assume this one doesn’t?

      • 28

        Suzette says

        Actually, she said it “might” make them a bit thinner, so to make cookies a bit thicker. But I have actually made these with butter and they came out great. I rolled my dough to about 3/8″ and they were perfection!

  6. 31

    Flavia says

    Hey! I’m Flavia from Argentina, I made these a couple of days ago and I have to say they are absolutely delicious! <3 Thanks for sharing this recipe with us, it's definitely my new fav. X

  7. 32

    PRISCILLA says

    1 t VANILLA
    3 T OF MILK

  8. 41


    My family and I did NOT like these cookies…. they had a weird metal after taste. I an completely disappointed what a waste of products, money and most of all time. After we each choked down a cookie each I tossed the rest. I don’t know if I did something wrong but to my knowledge I followed the recipe to the letter…. nonetheless I’ll never make these again.

  9. 44

    Allison says

    Just made them with my boys. They are perfect! I overestimated the amount of icing I would need though. I doubled the icing recipe because we love it.

  10. 45

    Justine says

    This is one of the worst recipes I’ve followed. The dough was impossible to work with, my cookies didn’t hold a shape and puffed up like a loaf of bread. And they taste like flour. Waste of time and ingredients

  11. 46

    Kenya says

    I’m going to be trying this recipe out, but I was wondering if they would hold the shape of a cookie cutter (e.g. snowman, wreath, heart etc.)?

  12. 48

    Inma says

    I haven’t tried it yet but now I am a bit concerned about some of the reviews. I was planning on using butter instead of margerine. Also wanted to use a cookie cutter. Will it hold its shape??

    • 49

      autumn says

      Hi Inma. I’ve never used butter instead of margarine in the recipe so I don’t know how that would work out. However, as written the cookies do hold their shape beautifully!

  13. 50

    Jen says

    I definitely have to agree, the misspelling of milk, margarine is listed as an ingredient but butter is used in the recipe, and while I know about the “t” vs “T” for teaspoon and tablespoon, many people don’t, and it is one key away from being a typo and ruining a recipe. There is no mention if the butter/margarine is salted or unsalted. The author should seriously consider remaking this card.

    I am apprehensive to try this, I want a softer cookie recipe than the one I currently use, but I also don’t want to waste my time or ingredients making this. Also, five teaspoons seems like an excessively large amount, I’m guessing that’s why the previous post mentioned that her cookies puffed up like a balloon.

  14. 51

    Beth says

    My daughter and I made these cookies tonight and they turned out perfectly! They were fluffy and easy to work with. I also really like the cream cheese icing.Thanks for the great recipe!

  15. 52


    I tried this recipe 2 times, followed the recipe from top to bottom and I cannot say anything good from this recipe. My honest advice: DONT EVEN ATTEMPT THIS!

  16. 55

    Aubrey says

    I come from a family of amazing cookie makers, but I myself started making cookies a couple months ago. Once I attempted this dough recipe I have never strayed. I have used this recipe 6-7 times now and have had great success everytime. The instructions and tips provided are clear and create soft and delicious cookies! If you had made these cookies and were disappointed, I would try then again while reading all the tips provided. Like I said, I am not an experienced baker but have tried amazing cookies and these I promise are amazing cookies!

  17. 57

    remziye coban says

    Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe. I am from Turkey.I tried cookie. It is unbeliveably soft though it doesn’t seem so. My four years old daughter really liked the cookies. The day after I baked the cookies they were even better.

  18. 60

    Angela Morrison says

    I made these cookies today. The dough was great to work with and the cookies looked perfect…BUT…Before I frosted them I decided to taste one and it was AWFUL. An overpowering flavor of baking powder came through. I think the problem is the 5 teaspoons of baking powder called for in the recipe! It is WAY TOO MUCH!! Was this a typo? Unfortunately, I had to throw out the whole batch.

    • 61

      autumn says

      So sorry they didn’t work for you Angela. 5 teaspoons baking powder is correct, and I’ve never been able to taste the baking powder. It’s actually not that much baking powder, considering how much flour goes into a batch. Lots of readers have had success with this recipe as well. I’m not sure what happened to your cookies, unless somehow you used tablespoons instead of teaspoons or baking soda instead of baking powder. Again, sorry it didn’t work! I know how disappointing that is.


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