The Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies for Christmas Sugar Cookies or Valentine’s Day!
I decided that I must figure out my favorite old fashioned sour cream sugar cookie recipe. Sour cream sugar cookies are the kind that you get from your grandma and remember from your childhood. There are so many recipe variations out there and so many people love their recipes. I wish I could try them all, but I had to narrow it down to four to test out.
So I used 4 different recipes to make 5 batches of sugar cookie dough, which meant I baked over 150 cookies in a matter of days. I really wanted to be able to compare and discover what worked best for me. The final recipe ended up being the clear winner for me and my taste testers!
The sugar cookies are soft and flavorful. Some people think sour cream sugar cookies taste like the Lofthouse sugar cookies you can buy at the store, and I can see why, but these homemade sugar cookies are so so much better! The Lofthouse ones are way to dry for me (and I think the frosting is gross). Ha.
At first, I thought, “How could this recipe work with so many eggs?!” But somehow this recipe does work and it works well. Use full fat sour cream. We’re not going for low-fat cookies here! If your butter is salted, you can just reduce the amount of salt added in the recipe.
While the cookies hold their shape, they do still puff up while baking, so detailed cookie cutters are not ideal with this recipe. If the sugar cookies are over-baked, they will be more dry and less soft. The longer you bake them, the more puffed up they stay. Otherwise, they puff up while baking, but will flatten out a little bit while they cool. Honestly, both ways taste pretty good, so you’ll just have to figure out what you prefer.
If they are over-floured while rolling out, they will be less soft too. So just be mindful of that and use as little flour as you can while rolling out the dough scraps, but you will probably need at least some flour at first because the dough can be pretty sticky.
I’m a huge fan of cream cheese frosting! And I don’t like it when the frosting tastes mostly like a bunch of powdered sugar. I think this frosting recipe is just the right balance of flavor and is absolutely perfect on these soft sugar cookies. But if you prefer frosting without cream cheese, simply replace the cream cheese with more butter and you are good to go.
Use clear vanilla in the frosting, if you want it to be as white as possible. And for adding color, I prefer to use gel food coloring for more vibrant colors than the liquid food coloring drops.
You can make the dough up to 3 days ahead and chill. FYI – They are still delicious after baking, frosting them, and leaving them in the fridge overnight too.
Bake some up and dip them in Dulce de Leche Fondue, you don’t always have to frost them! Grab some heart cutters and make a batch!
The Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the sour cream, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla or almond. Beat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined. Dough will be thick and sticky. Divide dough in half and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Press and flatten the dough into a disc, then wrap and cover it with the plastic wrap. Another option is to place the dough between two pieces of parchment or waxed paper, then roll dough out to ¼-inch thick while between the paper. Place dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- If not rolled out already, flour the working surface and rolling pin. Roll dough to ¼ inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Carefully place cut-out cookie dough on prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with the dough scraps, until dough is used up. Keep other half of dough chilled until ready to use. Be careful not to over-flour, especially as you are rolling out the scraps. The less flour you use, the softer the cookies will be.
- Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes. Edges will be set and middle of cookies will look uniform and set as well, but still be light in color. Let cool on the pan.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla for about 3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing to combine.
- Start with 2 tablespoons of the milk or heavy cream and add the salt, beat for about 3 minutes. Add more milk until desired consistency is reached. (3 tablespoons works for me.) I usually use milk because it is easy and convenient for me, but heavy cream will result in a more rich and creamy frosting. For more of a buttercream frosting, replace cream cheese with an additional 1/2 cup butter, for a total of 1 cup butter. Makes 4 cups frosting.
These cookies puff up while baking, but will flatten out a little bit while they cool. We don't recommend detailed cookie cutters with this recipe.
Careful not to over-flour while rolling out, otherwise they'll be more dry and less soft.
Use clear vanilla in the frosting, if you want it to be as white as possible. If adding color, use gel food coloring for more vibrant colors.
Recipe Adapted From: The Girl Who Ate Everything